Monitor Down

The music blog that doesn’t want to hear itself

My Confused Stance on the Cold War Kids

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cold war kidsThe human brain is weird, and sometimes things just don’t add up. Why, for example, can somebody like peanut butter but hate peanuts? Or try to squeeze through the last quarter-second of a yellow light, but get annoyed when other people do it? It baffles.

And, as you may have gleamed from the title, this baffledom extends to none other than the Cold War Kids. I’ve had several run-ins with this OC band (like, as in their music) since they began their steady ascent to popularity a few years ago, and despite a damning heap of evidence suggesting I should like them (a lot), it just seems to be another one of those things, and I have no idea why.

To demonstrate the depth of this conundrum (which I’m sure is shattering your world as you read this), here is a list of everything the Cold War Kids have going for them, in my modest opinion:

1. Nathan Willett’s voice is unique, loud and completely amazing.

2. Their sense of melody is pretty much genius.

3. Their choices in instrumentation aren’t obvious, and provide just what each song needs.
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Written by Peter Kimmich

July 16, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Michael Jackson Dies after Cardiac Arrest

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michael jacksonPop singer Michael Jackson was rushed to the hospital around 1p.m. Thursday after suffering a cardiac arrest, several media outlets are reporting.

E! Online reports that an eyewitness saw the 50-year-old Jackson taken to UCLA Medical Center in an ambulance from his Los Angeles home. E! also heard from Jackson’s father, Joe Jackson, who is currently in Las Vegas. He said, “People in Los Angeles called me and are with Michael and tell me he was taken to the hospital … his mother is on her way to the hospital now to check in on him.” The elder Jackson had no information on Michael’s condition.

TMZ also spoke with Joe Jackson, who told them Michael is “not doing well,” as well as to one of the Jackson brothers, who said he is in “really bad shape.”

Jackson collapsed in his home around noon, and staff found him unresponsive, E! reports. The LA City Fire department handled the call, but refused to identify Jackson by name to the media.

“When the team arrived, they saw that CPR was already in progress by someone at the home. The person not breathing was transported to UCLA Medical Center and remains there,” a fire department spokesperson said.

Michael Jackson was due to perform several shows in London next month, but was forced to cancel due to contract problems.
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Written by Peter Kimmich

June 25, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Posted in Old, stale news

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Take Two Minutes and Listen to The Satan Song

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It’s not Jack Black, but it’s pretty much just as awesome. Ladies and gents, Stephen Lynch:

Written by Peter Kimmich

June 18, 2009 at 8:49 am

Song-o-scope: Blur’s “Battery in Your Leg”

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I’m going to go out on a limb and say the last track on Think Tank, Blur’s almost unknown, oddball final album, is possibly one of the band’s most amazing songs. Hear me out.

First, Think Tank itself is a crazy album. Compared to the lush, mega-produced pop fuzz you normally associate with Blur (Song 2, Beetlebum, Death of a Party), Think Tank is a rickety, rattletrap CD that sounds like it was recorded in a barn. (It was.) Combine the clanky, rusty sound with the African vibe injected into a few tracks, and you already have the planet Pluto of rock albums. Then, factor in that this was the album that split the band, since Graham Coxon, the Grand Baron of Awesome Guitarists and one half of Blur’s songwriting factory, left the band in the middle of everything.

Because of this, only one track on the entire album contains any guitar work from Coxon. So take all of the frustration felt by a guitarist at the twilight of his partnership with a band, and shove it all into one guitar track. That guitar track is on “Battery in Your Leg,” the only song Damon Albarn admits to writing about the band itself. To describe the track: the piano, mostly normal. The lyrics, a little bummed out, but normal. The guitar, like a haunting, boiling, infectious disease. The reason I believe this song to be of Blur’s best is simply because it says the most. And half of what it says is completely independent of the lyrics.

P.S. The band’s reunion was recently reported in the news, and apparently there might be plans for US show dates. I’ll definitely keep an eye on that.

Written by Peter Kimmich

June 6, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Posted in Song-o-scope

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Top 10 Most Hated Music Genres. Ever.

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You could be in your car. Or walking past someone else’s car. Or just in your room minding your own business. It doesn’t matter where you are. But sometimes, when you least expect it, all of mother culture’s fury collides in a wave of malicious fate, and you suddenly find yourself exposed to someone else’s horrific, unforgivable taste in music. Sorry, man. It happens to everyone. There’s nothing you can do about it.

Except what I’m doing, which is blogging about it. Here are the top 10 most detested genres of music, as per the average, reasonable person (i.e., me). You might not personally hate all of them – but realize that most people do. So do the world a favor and stop liking them now.

nickelback10. Hillbilly Rock. What? I’m talking about that goatee-sporting, tricep-flexing, urban cowboy grunge that seems to dominate mainstream rock airwaves. These are the bands who sort of sound like metal, but they drape themselves in an arrogant, pseudo-patriotic aggro vibe that endears them to guys who drive raised pickups and their drunken, bar-fighting girlfriends. This is when they’re not writing whiny ballads about how messed up their childhoods were. All of it actually sounds like one band (who might be called Three Doors of CreetherNickelMudd) who shoots all of their videos on the same crumbling hilltop and buys all of their clothes from the same Dickeys outlet. They’re around because radio DJs have to play them or else, and some people are tricked into liking them because they hear them on the radio all day. But in reality, everyone else hates them passionately.
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Raygun Video Shoot in Progress Snapped by Rogue iPhotographer…

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Overheard the Brit band Raygun filming a video shoot near my work building in Hollywood, and wandered down to watch.

Got this pic of The Adj rocking out in front of the big fan:

The Adj, axe and green screen

The Adj, axe and green screen

Hey, it was on an iPhone. They don’t zoom.

Written by Peter Kimmich

May 15, 2009 at 1:55 pm

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The Shins at the Hollywood Palladium: Turning Hipsters into Lions?

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the shinsI thought the Palladium floor was going to break through during the brief minutes between the end of the Shins’ set and the encore. The crowd was screaming, stomping and chanting like wild animals, and I can only imagine the band was backstage feeling kind of frightened.

The Shins, a band I think everyone should see live before they die, Had just walked offstage after a fun, tight set at the Hollywood Palladium Sunday night, and the crowd immediately went from a mellow, jovial pack of smiling faces to a shrieking, frothing pile of freaks. I guess they didn’t want their serenity to end.

Going on after openers Delta Spirit (who is definitely worthy of their own review, just not over this lunch break), The Shins took the stage amid another uproar, accompanied by a couple of new band members. They started with “Australia” and a few other songs from their latest, Wincing the Night Away. Not to spend too much time on words (there’s a video here, too), they swept through a smooth, clean set of third, second and first-album favorites including the now-becoming-obligatory “New Slang,” “Phantom Limb” and the trippy-in-a-good-way “Sea Legs.” Aside from the album songs, the band also let everyone in on some of their newest material, including “Double Bubble” and the punchy “The Rifle’s Spiral,” which featured some sweet guitar hammering.
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Written by Peter Kimmich

May 15, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Posted in Reviews

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