Monthly Archives: January 2007

Pachelbel’s Canon

Mr. Thursday has recently come across two different videos involving the most overplayed piece of classical music in history.  The first is a video of some anonymous young guitarist playing a heavily affected electric guitar along with a recorded version of the aforementioned Canon.  It’s a fun rendition, and though our player has some skill, Mr. Thursday plays a little geeter and can tell you there’s only one maneuver in there that requires any sort of proficiency, and there’s enough distortion on the guitar to mask most errors committed throughout the piece.   All this said, it’s still fun, and here it is.  

Far more pleasurable, in our opinion, is this following clip regarding, again, the Canon de Pachelbel.  It’s invading your life, and you haven’t even realized it.  Special dedication for this video goes out to all the other former cellists out there (yes, Mr. Thursday was once in the 4th grade string orchestra) who know the pain of this piece.

Now if only someone could do one of those about grammar…

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Maintainin’ Your Rep

There’s a long standing tradition in American national sports broadcasts involving a Philadelphia sports team. The network broadcasting the game is obligated to hire either (1) a self-righteous commentator like Joe Buck to bash the Philadelphia sports fans at every opportunity, bringing up the Snowballs For Santa incident if it’s a football game, and it’s baseball spinoff, Batteries for J.D. Drew during the summertime. This, incidentally, is damn annoying for those of us who live in Philadelphia and watch sports.

The other option for networks is to hire ex-players who used to play against the Eagles/Phillies/etc, such as Michael Irvin, and for these players to recall with horror their playing days and what the treatment from the fans could be like. This is equally annoying, but mainly because we have to guess that Michael Irvin is saying all-sorts of mean, nasty things, because, well, we don’t know what he’s actually saying.

Regardless, it has always been Mr. Thursday’s position that Philadelphia fans are no worse than Boston or New York. They’re passionate, they show up for every game, and they demand a lot from their players. Since the national broadcast teams have to bring up throwing snowballs at a drunk, disheveled Santa Claus in 1968, it seems as though some Philly fans have become a little restless that their reputation keeps citing a nearly 40-year old event.

So, last weekend, with the New York Giants we so inferior toward in town, some fans took it upon themselves to import snow to the stadium parking lot in a big truck and chuck snowballs at visiting Giants fans. In case anyone was unaware, it was about 65 degrees at kickoff for Sunday’s game.

We got this story from Run Up the Score, and have no idea if it’s true, but, if so, it’s amazing. We’re amazed. This is amazing.

If anyone can confirm this story, or provide some visual accompaniment (pictures, video, whatever), send us a line at MrThursday128 [at] gmail [.] com.

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In news that is only related because it, too, would fit under this title, President George W. Bush is going to give a speech tonight about the “revised” plan for Iraq. The plan isn’t going to be much of a surprise, as it will apparently call for a “surge” of more troops into Iraq to do whatever it is that more troops would do. The various American newspapers have already written numerous articles and columns about the plan that hasn’t been revealed in the speech that hasn’t been spoken. It’ll air on all the major networks tonight at 9PM, EST. We’ll be tuning in to find out what we already know.

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Steve Serby Is An Asshat

Mr. Thursday is not one for anonymous interweb tirades, but we’re working on 3 hours sleep and this just has a way of angering us enough to write about here.

Steve Serby is a sports columnist for the New York Post. He, to our knowledge, mostly writes about football, but we admit that we only presume this because the only other instance in which we’re familiar with him was that in 1981, Serby got jacked by Richard Todd, a QB for the New (Jersey) York Jets, after Serby wrote that Matt Robinson should start in his place. Todd didn’t care for that, and let Serby know by tossing him into a locker.

Anyway, fast-forward 25 uneventful years, and Steve Serby is writing an article called “Philled With Emotion“, about the upcoming Philadelphia Eagles – New York Giants playoff game, mostly regarding the eminent hostility between the teams and their fanbases.

Serby, like every other sportswriter in America, blames the Philly fans for the hostility in his article. Her summarizes thusly:

The venom is fueled by a fan base that has no Super Bowl champion to call its own. The proud people of Philadelphia can boast of “Rocky,” of Smokin’ Joe Frazier, of their cheesesteaks, but let’s not kid ourselves: They are afflicted with the same inferiority complex every other city in the country has with New York, and that isn’t provincial poppycock. It’s probably magnified by the proximity. Every rabid Giants fan is Steve Mara and every Eagles fan is the guy who taunted him in the workplace and paid for it.

We’d like to respond specifically to the portion of that quote we’ve bolded.

Steve Serby, you’re a fucking twat. You’re right. We, the people of Philadelphia, hate New York. But the reason isn’t some kind of little brother inferiority complex. It’s because of people like you, Steve Serby, with your pompous, “Well, of course New York City is better than everywhere else”, we-are-the-center-of-the-universe attitude.

Where is the connection, exactly, between Philadelphia’s hatred of New York City (and we assume you mean the city, and not the state, even though you neglected to put “City” into your article) and your supposed inferiority complex? Do we envy Dallas, too? Or the entire state of New Jersey? What aboue Boston? We must have a big inferiority complex for Atlanta. Now, it’s true that we don’t hate Boston, Atlanta or New Jersey as much as we hate you, but during football season our hatred of your overblown, concrete, rat-infested, shit-stain of a city doesn’t compare to our disdain for Dallas.

While it’s possible that some people in some cities feel an inferiority complex in regards to New York City, it’s not true of the overwhelming majority of the population in Philly, or any other city on Earth. Boston can’t stand you either, and it’s for the same reasons–you’re a bunch of arrogant blowhards. Washington despises you, and if you’re going to try to tell us that the capital of the United States has New York City-envy then, well, we just don’t know what to say. Your arrogance has overrun our ability to argue, if that’s what you believe. It, clearly, cannot be penetrated or reasoned with.

So, do we envy New York City? Do we relish those first few moments when we step out of Penn Station by Madison Square Garden, out onto the sidewalk, and choke on your disgusting, polluted air? Do we Philadelphians wish and hope that we, too, can pay $15 for a burger for T.G.I. Friday’s? Or that we can live in a Manhattan or Brooklyn slum with rent higher that a two-bedroom in Rittenhouse Square? That we can pay $8 for a grilled cheese? Where the best thing happening for New Year’s is a bunch of idiots standing in the middle of an interesection staring upward for 4 hours waiting for a bunch of lightbulbs to sink?

Give us a break.

Steve Serby, you and your goddamned city can go fuck each other.

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A Good Year For Music!

Mr. Thursday buys a lot of music. We try to get a decent variety of genres and time periods and such, but there is far more music out there than we have money to purchase, and so, even though we’re compiling our own version of the Best Of List, we are prepared to take any suggestions for albums that may be better than anything we’ve listed here. We also put the disclaimer that this is merely our Favorites list, so if we bashed your favorite band or love your deepest musical enemy, well, sorry. It’s not a definitive list.

Instead of a countdown of our top thirty-one albums (or thirty-seven, depending on your counting), we’re just dividing them into groups. The numbers don’t mean anything, they’re just present for the counting. The rest should be self-explanatory, we think.

Found Sound, 2006. Music that did not come out in the past year, but we found it and loved it and cherished it, anyway.

1. Miles Davis – Bitches Brew – 1969 The first track is just a wash of noise for almost four minutes until Miles jumps in with his horn. Suddenly, the dozen assorted other sounds make sense, the next hour is done for.

2. Miles Davis – Kind of Blue – 1959 – We’ve seen this album a million times and always avoided it for the simple reason that it can be bought ANYWHERE, and if we’re at a record store, we may as well spend our money on the albums that are difficult to find. We finally broke down and bought this album this year, and we understand all the reasons people call it the greatest jazz album ever.

3. Fugazi – The Argument– 2001 – We’ve known Fugazi for a while, and even saw them live in 1998, on a rare tour. That said, we sort’ve lost track of them sometime after Red Medicine and just recently started picking up their latter day works. The Argument sounds nothing like Margin Walker,but we can actually whistle Fugazi tunes now, which is pretty amazing.

4. Elvis Costello – King of America– 1986 – Kind of bluesy, and kinda country, and all in that flawed Elvis Costello mean-spirited ballady kind of way. Wonderful stuff.

5. Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um– 1959 – The only complaint about this album is that Mingus himself, the great upright bassist is mixed too far down to be heard properly. That said, this is high octane jazz, lots of fun, and lots of virtuosity on display.

6. Bear vs. Shark – Terrorhawk – 2005 – Oh, man, were we upset when these guys broke up after only two albums. We loved their first album, Right Now, You’re In the Best of Hands, and had heard nothing but good things about their second album of rock/hardcore mix and match. Finally picked it up, and we were NOT disappointed.

Disappointments. All of these albums could have or should have been better.

1. The Beatles – Love – “Hey, the Grey Album was cool, right? Well, why don’t we take Beatles songs, and mash ’em up with, get this, Beatles songs!?!?” They could have done a lot more with this, as the results are only sometimes cool, and worse, they make the average audience think they’ve done more than they have, by using rare, alternative cuts of tracks (like the virtually unknown acoustic version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, or the barren version of “I am the Walrus”).

2. Grizzly Bear – Yellow House – Saw them live, and they sounded pretty good. Bought the album, and its something we could sleep to, sadly.

3. The Futureheads – News and Tributes – Not half the energy of their first album, though “Skip to the End” is a favorite track.

4. Camera Obscura – Let’s Get Out of This Country – Highly recommended by the cool bartender at a favorite Philly bar, but it’s too quaint for us.

5. I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness – Fear is on Our Side – The band name made us laugh out loud, and thus, we needed to own this album. The music is not half as fun as we thought it would be. In fact, it’s not fun at all. These people are Death Cab miserable.

6. Raconteurs – Broken Boy Soldiers – We thought this would be Jack White with a better drummer. It didn’t sound like Jack White at all.

7. Sufjan Stevens – The Avalanche – There’s a reason these tracks weren’t on Come On, Feel the Illinoise!

8. Tapes’n’Tapes – The Loon– Cool cover art, cool single (“Insistor”), and that’s it.

9. Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not – Really awful.

We Might Forget. These albums weren’t terrible, but we’re not confident they’ll stick.

1. Yusuf – An Other Cup– Cat Stevens is now Yusuf Israel Islam, and this is his first pop album in 30 years. His voice has diminished, and his songwriting is somewhat repetitive. Maybe he just needs more practice.

2. The Hold Steady – Boys and Girls in America – This album doesn’t have the lows of their previous efforts, but it doesn’t nearly have the highs, either.

3. Liars – Drums Not Dead – We don’t know why, but we’re trying really hard to like this album, and it’s not working that quickly.

4. The Mountain Goats – Get Lonely – We know their best when you’ve memorized every word of every song, but that’s coming to us harder than it has on albums past.

A “7-point-something” on Pitchfork. These are all good albums. As of this writing, we like them all, but don’t love any of them completely. They are all flawed, but their positive attributes mostly make up for these flaws.

1. Belle and Sebastian – The Life Pursuit – It’s B&S, except there’s, like, energy and stuff, and the lead singer sounds different than we’ve ever known him to be.

2. Neko Case – The Fox Confessor Brings the Flood – We definitely like this album more than her other albums, which we also liked. Are only complaint against Neko is, in fact, that she has this massive, booming, dramatic voice, and we wish that she’d use it more often for songs like “John Saw That Number”, and ever more lighthearted than that. Her albums are too draining to listen to half as often as we’d like.

3. Christine Fellows – Paper Anniversary – We haven’t spent too much time with this album, so it’s likely to jump up or down a category in the upcoming weeks as we get a better listen to it. John Darnielle adores it, which is why we picked it up in the first place, and while we haven’t been stunned by its majesty, we do find ourselves wanting to go back to it more and more.

4. Sparklehorse – Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of the Mountain– Read somewhere that Tom Waits really likes Sparklehorse. We don’t know if that’s true. It’s an interesting album, though. It feels big. The singer has a weak voice, but it makes him more interesting. He uses its flaws well. The last few tracks drag on the album though.

5. Bowerbirds – Danger at Sea– We don’t know what a Bowerbird is, but they sing with lovely harmonies, arpeggiated accompaniment, and a sort of mysticism. Listen to “My Oldest Memory”, and then listen to it again and again. And again.

6. IV Thieves – If We Can’t Escape My Pretty– This is another recent pickup that’s likely to change slots soon. We’ve been enjoying this album pretty thoroughly. It’s biggest flaw so far is that we’ve been unable to remember any of their songs.

7. The Strokes – First Impressions of Earth– Naturally, Rolling Stone made a big deal about this album, since the Strokes decided to do something “different”. The album has been largely lambasted, but we contend its criticisms have been unfair. Certainly some of the tracks, most especially the first single, “Juicebox”, are different from their previous efforts, and not in a good way. However, most of the album is solid, if not memorable, and there are at least three standout tracks (“You Only Live Once”, “Razorblade”, “Red Light”) that hold a lot of promise for future Strokes material. If this was Radiohead, it’d get critical love and it’d be called a “transitional album”.

8. John Mallinen – EP– He’s apparently friendly with Sufjan Stevens and Denison Witmer and that whole crowd, and sounds a bit like Iron and Wine, and is a lovely sort of singer-songwriter. It’s not much, but it’s all beautiful.

Addictively Good Albums. All these records got a lot of iPod love from us this year.

1. Islands – Return to Sea – Take two quirky indie rock guys, let them raid Julliard, and see what you get. It’s immaculate, it’s goofy, it demands to be played loudly in cars in the summer with the windows down.

2. Clinic – Visitations – The singer sounds eerily like Thom Yorke. Every song is a thumping, pulsing beast of a thing. It’s like the Beta Band backing Thom Yorke, but the album was recorded by aliens on steroids.

3. The Dears – Gang of Losers– Apparently lead singer Murray Lightburn, who possesses the Best Name In Music, is frequently called the Canadian Morrisey. We kinda saw it on their last album (No Cities Left), when the lyrics are menacing but simple and we swore that The Dears should be hired to write and record a Bond theme, given the inherent drama in their music. This album? Way less drama, but better songs.

4. The Decemberists – The Crane Wife– This album doesn’t sound as Old-Worldy as their previous stuff, and it starts slowly, but it picks up steam after a couple of “only-decent” tracks, and once it gets rolling it’s a stunner. Musically, it’s a lot more progressive–instead of Short-Stories-With-Melodies, they tell the briefest of tales, focusing on a singular point or emotion, and repeating over and over for surprising effect.

5. Man Man – Six Demon Bag– Having heard only a couple of tracks before buying the album, we were excited. Then, once we heard the whole thing, we were pleased to hear no wasted space. The is about 3/4 filled with “songs” and the rest is like nightmare soundtracking.

6. Bruce Springsteen – We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions – There’s something amusing about Bruce Springsteen doing an album called The Seeger Sessionsthat doesn’t possess a single song written by Pete Seeger. Plenty of songs recorded by Seeger, but all of these tracks were written by others. That said, they’re excellent renditions, in a Bruce Springsteen way. Bruce is like a modern day Elvis Presley with his covers–they’re all good, but they all “Bruce-ified”.

Cream of the Crop. The absolute best of the year.

1. TV on the Radio – Return to Cookie Mountain– It seems as though a lot of critics and bloggers are putting this album near or at the top of their lists. Personally, we were so excited for this album that we stole the tracks when they leaked (with all the names messed up). That might not sound like anything special, but it’s worth noting that we had to download and install LimeWire in order to do this, as we don’t own any mp3 pirating software. We then decided we couldn’t wait the extra 3 months for the album to come out in America, so we bought it from the UK. We then found out the American version has 3 extra tracks that our version did not, so we bought those on iTunes. We love this album. Deeply. Profoundly. We think it’s possible that TV on the Radio is one of, if not the, best band on Earth.

2. The Roots – Game Theory – With help from our Philly bias, we’ve loved The Roots ever since Illadelph Halflife. We’ve loved them for their flaws and despite their flaws. We’ve loved their deservedly legendary live show. We love ?uestlove’s afro. This is their best album, and it’s not really that close. I will hear arguments to the contrary, but I will strike them down with the force of a Zinedine Zidane headbutt.

3. Pela – Exit Columbia Street– It’s only an EP, and it’s only available through iTunes. Every track is brilliant, with extra special love for “The Trouble With River Cities”. If these guys would release a full length album that’s on par with this, we’d lose our mind. As we’ve said before, think Coldplay, but with a bit more energy, swap the piano for guitars that actually make sounds, and replace all of Coldplay’s hackery with wonder and glory and awe.

4. mewithoutYou – Brother, Sister– We remember when mewithoutYou had no albums out and played shows every weekend with a friend of ours band. They are currently one of the best bands we’ve heard, and yet barely anyone knows who they are. We blame this on the every lethal “Christian band” moniker, which is a shame. Not that their Christian, but that because they are, some people are immediately turned off to them, before hearing a note. They have changed noticeably with every album. Their earliest stuff was screaming, sloppy punk, that refined into screaming punk, and from that into a tougher indie rock, and now it’s a proggy, tough, indie rock. We don’t describe the sound properly, but it’s a GOOD sound, and you should hear it. Really.

5. Tom Waits – Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers, and Bastards – A lot of people are not putting these three disks of musical awesomeness onto best of lists simply because it (somehow) recieved the designation, “compilation”. Orphans is not a comp. It was originally meant to be, but it isn’t. There are some covers on there, but, to the best of our knowledge, nothing on there appears on another Waits album. And of the 50 odd tracks, at least 30 are new originals. Waits displays his Louis Armstrong-ed voice, his song writing, his penchant for the peculiar, and his appreciation for his influences here. Listen to “You Can Never Hold Back Spring”, and his reading of Bukowski’s “Nirvana”. They’re worth the price of the album alone.

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