URGH! A Music Blog

Going Off The Rails On A Gravy Train!

Posted in Gravy Train,Junior Senior,Pop by M on August 14, 2007

Last night your URGH team took a special class field trip to see Junior Senior!

Hell yeah! Go Junior! Go Senior! Go Junior Junior—

A blurry photo of Junior Senior

Oh, that photograph didn’t come out well at all.

It was only a few months ago that Junior Senior was completely invisible—their album Hey Hey My My Yo Yo went unseen in the US and news about them was nonexistent. But now they are back in the states with their most recent album (released today with a bonus EP) and a hot tour!

The JS boys put on a great show. And Jeppe “Senior” Laursen is really tall! Unfortunately we were forced to leave after just four songs due to the personal problems of an URGH associate. But we were treated to the complete opening act: Gravy Train!

The four members of Gravy Train

How were they? Not so good! Most often the annoying foursome would start their Casio keyboard beats, jump around on stage, and yell incoherent insults at the audience. The artistic highlight of their performance was rhyming “pussy” with “Bonaduce”. And when you consider that Danny’s last name is better rhymed with “cootchie”, you know this apple needs a lot of polish.

A large man in a loincloth and the singer from Gravy Train.

During their song “Frat Party”, Gravy Train invited an enormous, loinclothed audience member to swig from a funnel and spit beer into the crowd. We also got to see his testicles.

Three songs into their set, as they began chanting “Lick the dick! Lick the dick!” I realized something: I’ve heard these assholes before. In 2003 Gravy Train was warmly profiled on Salon.com! The reviewer used all of the magic words to lure me in: “the anti-Nelly’n’Kelly”! “Party disc of 2003”! “CeCe Peniston“!

So I downloaded their sample tracks. Then I set my computer on fire.

If Gravy Train has had five years of success they must be doing something right. I only wish they weren’t doing that something in my general vicinity; their stage act is even sloppier than their recordings. Perhaps it was a bad idea to purge them from my memory; if I burned their name into my forearm with the heat from my contempt-laden gaze, I would have known to show up two hours late to Junior Senior. As CeCe herself would say: “No good, ey ey, yeah yeah, ow.” Beware!

Bonus Junior Senior Concert Photos: Better photographers from last night are Reno1020 and BPearis. Enjoy the carnage.

And buy Hey Hey My My Yo Yo—out in the US today! I have my copy.

Tell ’em that it’s Human Nature

Posted in Michael Jackson,Pop by M on June 18, 2007

Oh Michael Jackson.

“The girl is mine”, but “the kid is not my son”?

Ain’t that just like a man?

The Twilight of Fred Schneider

Posted in B-52s,Johnny Cash,Pop,Roy Orbison,Sophie Ellis-Bextor by M on May 21, 2007

Let’s hear it for late-career resuscitations!

One of the best examples is Roy Orbison. Bruce Springsteen kept his name alive on “Thunder Road” in the mid-70s, much like Big Punisher did for Mobb Deep. Later on Tom Petty and the guy from ELO sat down with Orbison and created a knockout 80s single!

After that Orbison was working, even if it wasn’t always on his own terms. He became a Wilbury! And David Lynch set his music to a lip-syncing, cross-dressing Dean Stockwell!

Then show-business killed him. But Orbison retained his spotlight.

A few years after Orbison’s demise, we prepared Johnny Cash for his own twilight renaissance. This was achieved mostly by forcing the man to cover every contemporary artist possible.

I personally would have rather heard Cash cover “Hey Hey What Can I Do” or “Back On The Chain Gang”, but these songs were over a decade old! Instead, Cash was used to reassure artists with then-unproven legacies. Depeche Mode, Trent Reznor, and Beck were all established artists, but only Cash could give them immortality. The hands of a master!

Now so many of our authentic, original rock figures are dead. The ones who are almost deceased are hardly waiting in obscurity: Keith Richards has topped headlines at least two separate times this year, albeit both stories were about death.

Who can the stars of this century dig up to make their own careers significant? May I suggest: The B-52s?

The B-52s

Think about it. They aren’t rock originators, but they certainly have the giddy, playful spirit of early rock and roll. Their guitars and Kim and Cindy’s original hairdos were a conscious throwback to the period. Sure, their lyrical content is just plain hallucinatory, but their rock cred is real!

Just think of what you can make them do! Timbaland won’t need Justin or Magoo to hype him when he has Fred Schneider rapping over his beats. And when it comes to female pop, Gwen Stefani and Fergie can never spazz out quite as well as our favorite blonde and redhead.

It seems that pop sensation Sophie-Ellis Bextor is ahead of the curve! She’s already co-written a song with Fred Schneider—“Supersonic”!

“I had a wishlist of people I wanted to work with, people who make really good pop music and the B-52s were on there.”

That’s the late-career recognition I’m talking about!

But if Sophie’s already put Fred to work, we may have missed the boat on The B-52s. Oh well; there’s always R.E.M.! Make Michael Stipe cover that solo Rob Thomas song!

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Baby Girl I’m Feelin’ You!

Posted in Dance,Phil Collins,Pop,Supafly by M on May 18, 2007

Andrew Tumi from Supafly in the Moving Too Fast Video

I used to think that the goofy pop reggae of Supafly in the song “Moving Too Fast” was an affront to the 80s song it sampled.

Until I realized it was fucking Phil Collins.

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…The Bad, and The Queen

Posted in Pop,Queen Elizabeth II,Tori Amos by M on May 6, 2007

A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II

You know it’s bad when I see a new portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and think: “Fuck this Tori Amos bullshit!

Sorry your Majesty!

Tori Amos as Pip.

What’s with these American Doll Posse alter-egos of Tori, anyway? Putting on different wigs and typing inexplicable nonsense just makes her seem like…plain old Tori Amos. Or Gloria Estefan.

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Pretty Much Idiotic!

Posted in Napoleon Dynamite,Pop by M on May 5, 2007

I have come to revile the two-word qualifier “pretty much”. It’s bad!

Why? First off, it’s wishy-washy. Defend your opinions, bloggers! The Killers are either acceptable or awful; they aren’t “pretty much my favorite band.” Really, they aren’t.

More importantly, the words “pretty much” make everyone sound like Napoleon Dynamite. Not only is your statement weak, it’s couched in Dynamite’s hoarse, childish whine. People, the world needs far fewer Napoleon Dynamites.

A fake Napoleon Dynamite

The web’s worst “pretty much” offender? None other than Pitchfork Media! Their headline “Peter Hook Pretty Much Confirms New Order’s Demise” today had me frothing at the mouth. Show me some muscular prose, music dweebs!

I did a Google search for “pretty much” on Pitchfork. 24,500 results! Pitchfork authors have used the mealymouthed, movie cliched phrase possibly tens of thousands of times! The Brooklyn Vegan and Stereogum losers don’t even come close.

I’m issuing a fatwa! Any music publications which want to be taken seriously must write seriously! No half-assed, unenforced statements! No mumbled, disinterested headlines! No “pretty much”!

Bonus Hypocrisy: I’ve used the forbidden phrase once before here at the URGH! I describing Schiller’s music as “pretty much an album long riff on the same chord progressions as Phil Collins’s ‘In The Air Tonight’.”

In my defense, I cannot hear Napoleon Dynamite quoting my words. However, take out “pretty much” and I can almost hear them coming from between the pearly whites of Patrick Bateman….

Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, holding an axe.

“I really wish Patrick Bateman would start a music blog,” says Brooklyn Vegan reader Will. Make it happen B.E. Ellis! We’ll compare business cards later.

Destiny’s Child vs Bronski Beat

Posted in Bronski Beat,Destiny's Child,Pop by M on April 14, 2007

More mashups!

Destiny's Child Say My Name CD single

“Turntablism” expert JayBee! has combined the sounds of turn-of-the-century Destiny’s Child hit “Say My Name” with the 80s deliciousness of Bronski Beat‘s “Small Town Boy”.

I thought it would be unnecessary at first. Aren’t most mashups created from old and new songs? This is old and…not as old. It doesn’t matter, though, because JayBee knows how to make this work!

“Small Town Boy” is as intense and addictive as always, but “Say My Name” feels less monotonous under JayBee’s control. He plucks the harmony instead of the melody of the chorus, making the DC track far less abrasive. Beyonce tastes better with a spoonful of the 80s!

In addition to the track on his MySpace page, there’s also a fan-created video mashup! Somebody hire JayBee! He’s already got fans!

Who Wants To Know?! Who Wants To Know?!

Posted in Jimmy Ray,Pop by M on April 5, 2007

M: Oh no! Jimmy Ray? What are you doing here? I pushed you out of my time machine and stranded you in the late 90s!

Jimmy Ray: I haven’t gone anywhere, M! My Epic Records web page is still up, unchanged since the year 1999! Just click on the Page Properties if you don’t believe me!

M: Yikes! Look at those media files! WAVs! AIFFs! And the grainy grainy music video for “Are You Jimmy Ray”! Here in William Gibson‘s vision of the future we don’t have pixelated, low quality versions of cheesy music vi—aw, who am I kidding? Here’s the YouTube link.

Jimmy Ray: Wow! Video quality has changed a lot in eight years!


Jimmy Ray in the Are You Jimmy Ray music video, 1999 version


Jimmy Ray in the Are You Jimmy Ray music video, YouTube version

M: I can taste the future!

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It Was Acceptable At The Time!

Posted in Calvin Harris,Pop by M on March 27, 2007

Marty McFly and his mother Lorraine in Back To The Future

It’s OK, Marty! Incest like that is “Acceptable In The 80s”!

This is according to one Calvin Harris, an electronic pop twiddler with an unfriendly animated gif on his MySpace page! Improbably, it seems he created disco. “Acceptable In The 80s” is pleasant enough to survive silly falsettos and doofy lyrics like “I’ve got hugs for you if you were born in the 80s.”

About those hugs, Mr. Harris: watch out! Girls born after today’s date in 1989 are still underage! Trust me on this one! Trust my parole officer, too!

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Gypsy Woman (She’s Duffless)

Posted in Crystal Waters,Hilary Duff,Pop by M on March 26, 2007

Photos of Hilary Duff and Crystal Waters

M: Excuse me, Mr. Internet, but is this Hilary Duff song “Gypsy Woman” a cover of Crystal Wat—?

Mr. Internet: No. Here’s the track as clumsily uploaded to YouTube.

M: My goodness! This sounds like it was composed in Mario Paint!

Lay off the cat sound, Hilary.

Bonus Mario Paint Composition: Sh-Sh-Shake Your Money Make-UHH???

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