Biscuits, Triscuits…

Ohio and more–Part 3
October 21, 2009, 5:52 pm
Filed under: music and musings

I spent my time in the midwest going to different places that my friend Casie found important and awesome. One was a giant grocery store called Jungle Jim’s which carried nearly everything from all over, as well as giant watermelon’s and fruits from all over the world. Outside of the store was a giant gated area with fake huge wildlife such as giraffes and big trees.

They also had a shelf full of snuggies. Only $15.

Snuggies are fascinating and ridiculous. The idea of a big robe that’s basically a blanket with sleeves is so silly.

On the way to Chicago we went to this giant flea market nicknamed “the dirt mall” in Ohio. I found amazing VHS tapes, saw tons of random vintage stuff, and creepy Nazi and KKK paraphernalia. There were also these marionettes and absurd puppets with their mouths open.

We drove from Cincinnati to Chicago where we met up with friends, I ate a burger at a restaurant that names all their burgers after metal bands, and got to see a Gay Mart. Our drive consisted of mix tapes we found and scavenged for in Casie’s car and one we made before we left. This mix tape contained three different homemade mixes that postponed our trip by 2 hours. We had a Jem and the Holograms tape, a tape with House of Pain’s “Jump Around” on it. One song to each side. So one song was the song and one was instrumental. I got to witness Casie Fox’s amazing rapping skills.  We listened to Brainiac, Veruca Salt, tons of mystery tapes with strange noises including random soundblips from Casie’s childhood. We would yell out pony everytime we drove past ponies or a big truck carrying ponies. At the flea markets we had purchased Michael Jackson’s “Bad”, and the Best of Buddy Holly. We also listened to a Blondie/Pat Benetar tape that was basically just the hits.

We passed signs in Indiana for Brownsburg and Whitestown.

In Madison, Wisconsin I sat on the porch of my friend’s house drinking wine and eating food we had made and I felt like I could be so happy if only I could live in the simplicity of a small town. My desire to have a complicated, busy, muddled existence would make it impossible for me to live in a place as beautiful and sweet as Madison. I wished I could have that ability, because it would be so nice, and so cheap and so lovely. But my mind would wander too quickly for a place like Madison. So it is only suitable for me to visit for a couple nights, sit and read outside by the water,  go to some thrift stores, buy some scones and hit the road.

On our way back to Cincinnati, we drove through a bit of Chicago again and passed by an L stop where there was a woman in a wedding dress waiting at the train platform. I wondered whether she was late for her own wedding, or just a crazy woman in a wedding dress.

We drove through Indiana again and passed a huge, vast field of green that looked musty and fresh, just begging to be laid in.

Once returning to Cincinnati we went to Final Friday where all the art galleries downtown are open late. We went to one of Casie’s friend’s places where there was an exhibit that was just Roseanne’s living room. To a T.

My flight back to New York was at 5am the next morning. It was really great to slow down, I loved how parts of it smelled like campfires, and black birds speckled the sky. I enjoyed walking in graveyards to find a mystery box that could contain god knows what but it became dark before we came upon it. We also watched a lot of ghost stories on tv and I learned about a haunted bar. The midwest does seem like the perfect place to find ghost stories, whether or not you believe in them.


Hallelujah the Hills on Tour
October 19, 2009, 9:55 pm
Filed under: music and musings

And they’re off! If they are in your city please check them out as they are a brilliant band, awesome dudes, and tell funny stories on stage.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 – The Treehouse, Columbus, OH

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 – Southgate House, Newport, KY

Thursday, October 22, 2009 – The Beachland Tavern, Cleveland, OH

Friday, October 23, 2009 – The Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL

Saturday, October 24, 2009 – Cowboy Monkey, Champaign, IL

Sunday, October 25, 2009 – Mad Planet, Milwaukee, WI

Monday, October 26, 2009 – 501 Club, Minneapolis, MD

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 – The Mill, Iowa City, IA

Thursday, October 29, 2009 – Replay Lounge, Lawrence, KS

Friday, October 30, 2009 – Hi-Dive, Denver, CO

Saturday, October 31 – Muse Music, Salt Lake City, UT

Monday, November 2, 2009 – Sunset Tavern, Seattle, WA

Tuesday, November 3, 2009 – Berbati’s Pan, Portland, OR

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 – Stillwater, Ashland, OR

Thursday, November 5, 2009 – Luigi’s Slice, Sacramento, CA

Friday, November 6, 2009 – Hemlock Tavern, San Francisco, CA

Saturday, November 7, 2009 – Nickel City, San Jose, CA

Sunday, November 8, 2009 – The Bootleg, Los Angeles, CA

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 – Trees, Dallas, TX

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 – The Mohawk, Austin, TX

Thursday, November 12, 2009 – The Mink, Houston, TX

Friday, November 13, 2009 – Caledonia Lounge, Athens, GA

Saturday, November 14, 2009 – The Milestone, Charlotte, NC

Sunday, November 15, 2009 – Local 506, Chapel Hill, NC

Monday, November 16, 2009 – Tea Bazaar, Charlottesville, VA

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 – The Red And The Black, Washington, DC

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 – Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA

Thursday, November 19, 2009 – The Cake Shop, New York, NY

Saturday, November 21, 2009 – Great Scott, Allston, MA

Ohio and more (Part 2)
October 19, 2009, 12:23 am
Filed under: music and musings

During my trip in the Midwest we made a visit to the Creation Museum.  I thought it would be an entertaining experience to go to this place that believes dinosaurs existed at the same time as humans. The thing was, so many people believe it and it is pretty convincing at times, so I was actually terrified the entire time I was there and kindof just wanted to leave.

I had a lot to think about after this museum. I felt sorry for people who are jaded and may buy into this. The museum makes so much money off of just people going to see it that they did not need mine and I felt bad for giving it to them. There was also a show with an animatronic girl in front of a campfire questioning why she is here because her teacher’s taught her about Evolution. Evolutionists apparently claim there is no God, that everything is based on science and that because of this fact, there is not reason for humans to exist. This girl then questions the heavens because she doesn’t know why she is here because of her one-sided teachers and thus two guardian angels who are all hip, speak in slang, and wear sunglasses fly out. They explain that evolutionists are wrong, that the earth is only 6,000 to 10,000 years old, and dinosaurs existed at the same time as humans and here’s why:

This was in a section called The Garden of Eden. Clearly. It showed Adam and Eve being all coy or something once they’d bitten into the apple. on the other side of the hall was a dinosaur in the bushes, just chilling near Adam and Eve.

Here is the evidence of the Bible’s account of dinosaur history.

This sign states that it’s a fact that two of every kind of dinosaur was also on Noah’s arc and that is how they lived after the flood.

This sign reasons that dinosaurs were small enough to fit on the arc, in case that was someone’s counter argument.

Quoting the Book of Job, the museum claims evidence of dinosaur citings in the bible.

Yes, that’s right. Dragons. In a movie about Dragons and Dinosaurs, Creationists state that all the myths of dragons in the middle ages could have been dinosaur encounters. They even say that the reason dinosaurs no longer exist is that “humans killed them out of fear or to show off.” That is a direct quote.

And of course, all dinosaurs, and the rest of the world, were vegetarians before the flood. Because being carnivores was a direct result of sinning.

Ohio. Finally! (Part 1)
October 13, 2009, 7:43 pm
Filed under: music and musings

I went on a vacation to Cincinnati, Ohio at the end of the summer and had a really great time exploring Cincinnati, seeing old kitchens, visiting some museums, and hanging out with old friends. Here’s some small anecdotes/facts from my trip:

They have a race of rubber duckies down the Ohio River. It’s all to raise money for the Freestore Foodbank. You buy a rubber duck or as many as you want because the proceeds go to the foodbank, and if your rubber duck wins the race, you win a car. I wish I’d been able to be there to watch thousands of rubber ducks floating down the Ohio River.

My friend who lives in Cincinnati lives across the street from a small Old folks asylum where she warned me I may be woken up or alarmed by people screaming bloody murder. Which I did witness but was oddly un-phased by.

One part of this vacation required that I eat at all of my friend’s favorite ice cream places. So we went into town to get some ice cream and drove past a man whom she remembered being described to her as “the man with the moonface”. He looked so incredibly terrifying as he sat on a bench alone. He truly did have the most horrifying moonface ever.

Awesome old kitchen stuff:

This is the stove located in Casie’s house in Cincinnati. It is amazing looking and it works.

My friend Jared’s stove/awesome kitchen in Madison, Wisconsin. There is that cool unit beneath that is just used for storage and a really great stove with a latching stove top part to make it just a counter surface. It would be easier to see, but Jared has a large booty.

There is a lovely Aquarium in Cincinnati that we went to one day

They look like Fraggles

We watched people feed the lorakeets, but I did not, as I feared getting my nose bitten off.

Saw some disgustingly fat frogs. They look like Newman.

And this guy!

More musings on my trip to come. I only apologize that they are so late.

October 13, 2009, 6:26 pm
Filed under: music and musings

I was asked to review the self-titled EP of Brooklyn duo Sisters recently. In response to my request for a copy of their album, I was sent a cassette tape in the mail three days before deadline. Granted, I am an advocate of cool forms of media, I like records and even mini-discs are entertaining, but there are only certain things a cassette tape is good for, and it is the following:

1) Nostalgia

2) Mix Tapes

3) Road Trips

4) That remix of “I’ll be watching you” entitled “I’ll be missing you,” by Puff Daddy that was released after Biggie died

5) The 90’s

Aside from the above list, I have NO USE for a cassette player when I am listening to legit music that I am supposed to like and write about. Granted I did like some of what I’d heard from Sisters’ myspace page but I was unimpressed by the scratchy sound of the purple cassette tape they sent me in the mail because they were “out of CD’s.” We live in the age of the internet and computers. It is so easy to make a digital copy of something, and while it may suck some of the quality out of it, it cannot be worse than the sound on this tape. If you are going to record straight to tape, fine, but make the quality bearable! Otherwise you just come off as a pretentious dbag who used a tape to record your album because you thought it would make you cooler. While I was finally able to get a tape player and it proved that it sounded terrible, I am more inclined to write that I had no possible way of knowing if Sisters’ plays good music because their tape made me want to smash it.

Unfortunately, I think the use of tapes are coming back because of how inexpensive it is, so if you send me a tape, send me a walkman along with it to make my review worth it. I’ll mail it back. Otherwise, I will only write about the make and design of the tape itself, colors, decorations, etc… No music, because I will assume it sucks.

Hallelujah The Hills- Colonial Drones
October 12, 2009, 9:53 pm
Filed under: music and musings

A couple weeks ago, I went to the CD release show for Hallelujah the Hills’ second full-length Colonial Drones, which I had the pleasure of receiving before their Sept.22 release date but was too busy to write about until now. The great thing about this Boston band is that while they manage to transport the sounds straight from the record onto the stage, their live show is also somewhat theatrical and the emotions are just as strong, if not more so, live than on the album. The set began with an ambient jam session that was extremely dissonant and untuned and quickly came together to create the first song. The group mentality that is present both on and off the album is really endearing and while Walsh is the songwriter/ringleader, there is a real brotherhood, a warmth and strength that comes out of their music. That being said, I am very excited to write about their second album released off Misra that is available now! Buy it if you like it!

Hallelujah The Hills

Colonial Drones


It always comes down to the second full-length right? The test of whether you make the cut? I’ve been watching Hills for a while now, waiting to be bored or not entertained but it never happens. They sometimes fit into a sound that could so easily risk being dubbed as overdone and un-interesting. With the names of Wilco and Mountain Goats ringing through one’s head, there is still something about Hallelujah the Hills that surpasses just being grouped into that genre.  Ryan Walsh’s passionate, strange, puzzle piece lyrics find themselves extracted from what could be a wacky work of literature and placed in beautifully orchestrated songs with urgent instrumentals and choral chants.

There’s a local, aesthetic quality to their sound; it’s relatable, well-written, and manages to make sense lyrically despite the “out-there” aspects of the writing. The vagueness of the lyrics is also one that is so well-known and intrusive that it’s hard not to feel as though you are one of the many voices singing along on the album. In the soulful tune “Put The Gurus in Charge,” Walsh starts off slowly. He sings, Here we are where we thought we began/lost and high and burnt out with no back up plan. He brings it right into something familiar and that’s it; as the trumpets blare and the whole family sings repeatedly, You were brought here by design/now you live until you die, it doesn’t matter if one knows exactly what just happened in the song, what matters is they are a part of it. Tunes like “Station,”  a quick, quiet piece with keys and guitar, as well as “Classic Tapes,” show off so perfectly one of my favorite things of HtH, and that is how they scream. It’s not like soul screeching screams that sound painful and hard to make out, these are bellowing, heart pumping, exciting yells of joy or heartache, but they feel more honest than some of the most emotional sounding singers.

Colonial Drones is a nonsensical collage of thoughts exploding into gorgeous melodic noise, samples and quirky sounds. Using Balkan sounding horns, lively backup vocals, and dynamics in quality and volume, Hills shows off an aged quality, an ability to continue to put out interesting, experimental music. With whirring, windy strings, and an assortment of instrumentals, including a whistling chorus, there’s a feeling of camaraderie with the band; how they all come together in what feels like a big gluey, emotional, melodic mess. The album itself reveals in splices that while everything is so well recorded, there is a rawness, and edge-y style, an openness that makes it more than just likable music, it’s well-done music that holds up every single time.

-Lauren Piper