Tag Archives: Green day

SXSW 2013

IMG_0926 covpy

Just moments before sitting down to write about the best and worst of the South By Southwest music festival of last week, I found out about the death of Jason Molina, the troubled genius behind folk-blues outfits like Songs/Ohia and Magnolia Electric Company.  This news would have been unsettling and heartbreaking regardless of what I was about to embark on, but sitting here trying to write about my 10th year at the music festival, I can’t help but think back to my first year in attendance and how I got to see Magnolia Electric Company perform at The Parish. 

A lot has changed since that night a decade ago when Molina first enchanted me with his fragile, somber voice. Over the years I’ve seen SXSW grow along with my understanding of the festival and all its nuances.  I think back to those performances from the first few years and wonder where the festival’s one time luster has gone. Don’t get me wrong, I still had a great week, seeing dozens of bands each day, but along with the growth of social media, SXSW has become more about the hype and less about discovering unpolished gems like my friends and I did 10 years ago with Jason Molina and his band.  Yes, Dave Grohl, Stevie Nicks, and John Fogerty played a surprise set together, as well as Prince and Green Day (badge only shows), but due to the influx of speculation and misinformation within the Twitter world, I was unable to see several shows I would have in years past due to the miles of sheep lined up in hopes of seeing MTV TRL darlings like of Usher and Justin Timberlake.

Yet as much as these moments of frustration tainted my week, I still relished my chance to see up-and-coming artists pour their hearts out on the stage.  Within the past ten years I’ve seen unknown artists perform at SXSW that went on to big time success (Bon Iver, The Fleet Foxes, and TV On the Radio), and I expect that many of the artists seen this week will go on to do just the same. Who knows? Maybe in ten years folks will be lining up for miles to see some of my favorites from this past week while I roam 6th street, 10 years older and wiser, in search of that next great unearthed treasure.

In memory of Jason Molina, I present to you my list of the best and worst of SXSW 2013.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under South by Southwest

Best/Worst Album Covers of 2009

Unfortunately, there will not be any “Road Trip” blogs for two weeks due to all of my trip photos being on my home computer.  Never fear! The best of lists are here! Over the next couple weeks we will be unveiling our top albums, songs, and below, our best and worst album covers.  Enjoy your holiday season, and of course, enjoy our look back on 2009.

The Worst…

10. Kenny Chesney
“Greatest Hits II”

It looks like Kenny's roadies left all his gear on the beach. I guess he'll have to load it all himself! Fortunately, he doesn't have any sleeves to roll up.

9. Green Day
“21st Century Breakdown”

I think this album is supposed to look urban, dirty, and rebellious. Instead, it looks like a polished paint by numbers.

8. Susan Boyle
“I Dreamed a Dream”

When you are famous for being ugly with a beautiful voice, you probably shouldn't plaster your ugly mug on the CD cover, even if your hands are covering half of the mess. Like Obama would say, "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig." (Too harsh?)

7. Monsters of Folk
“s/t”
Oh! I get it! It’s folk stars in cartoon form! There’s Conor Oberst, Jim James, M. Ward and there’s….um…there’s….the dude from “Doonesbury”?
6. Adam Lambert
“For Your Entertainment”

Gay.

5. Twisted Sister
“Big Hits and Nasty Cuts: The Best of Twisted Sister”

I don't know what's worse: five 50-year-olds in ripped jeans and make-up or the monster's claws ripping through their image.

4. Chris Brown
“Graffiti”

Obviously, Chris Brown is not the best at making good decisions, but who knows what he was thinking with this cover. Maybe he's auditioning for the part of Judge Doom in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit 2". "Hey evil cartoon creatures! If you don't help me with my plan I'll spray you with The Dip!"

3. Ben’s Brother
“Battling Giants”

It looks like somebody went a little overboard with their collage. "But there were so many cool pics to cut out of my 'National Geographic!"

2. Bill Engvall
“Aged and Confused”

God is great. Beer is good. The world is crazy! EL OH EL!

1. Brooke Hogan
“The Redemption”

I know money may be tight for the Hulkster these days but this is God awful...I'm guessing Hulk must have owed a favor to a blind South Beach air-brush artist.

The Best…

10. The Black Lips
“200 Million Thousand”

At first glance this cover may seem lame with its scrawled letters and monotonous black and white lines, but if you stare at it a little longer, a gruesome face will emerge from the mess of lines. Beware!

9. Grizzly Bear
“Vecktamist”

I don't get Grizzly Bear, and it frustrates me to no end. Their 2009 release "Vectamist" has been critically acclaimed, yet I listen to it and find myself yawning. What am I missing here? Well, at least I can appreciate the album's expressionist cover, a vibrant blend of triangular shapes and chipping paint.

8. Baroness
“Blue Album”

It sure is nice having a graphic artist in your band.

7. Weezer
“Raditude”

Sure, this Weezer album sucks dog balls, but you can't deny the shear awesomeness featured in this image of a canine catapulting across a living room. If I could describe this picture in one word, it would "RADITUDE"! (Eck, I just gave myself douche chills)

6. Antlers
“Hospice”

This cover may seem boring and simple, but that is what makes it so brilliant. Everything seems to fit perfectly: the contrast of the colors and the cyclical feel of the two hands reaching out. When you notice that the left upper-hand is wearing a hospital wristband, the album's title "Hospice" takes on a much larger meaning.

5. Flaming Lips
“Embryonic”

This isn't the cartoony water color Flaming Lips cover you've grown accustomed too, which is fitting when considering the stark change in style the album contains. Dark and appalling, both the grimey music and the cover's image of a woman attempting to emerge from a hairy cocoon will leave you confused yet searching for more.

4. Dinosaur Jr.
“Farm”

I'm not sure if these walking plants are inspired by LOTR's Ents, or if they are supposed to be giant pot plants, but there is something damn cool about this image of vegetation dudes carrying cute women away from the city smog. It doesn't really fit the album's grinding riffs and howling guitar solos, but when a cover is this kick-ass, does it matter?

3. Biffy Clyro
“Only Revolutions”

This is a truly captivating photograph that only raises questions. Are these two being held captive? Why is there a fire? What do the sheets waving in the wind represent? Are they being held back? Or do they somehow represent sexual tension? Or am I just going crazy? It's too bad the band's music isn't nearly as interesting as this photo that will lead you to either enlightenment or insanity.

2. Animal Collective
“Merriweather Post Pavilion”

Stare at the picture for a moment. Is it moving like water? What makes it even cooler is how fitting it is alongside "Merriweather Post Pavilion's" watery, spaced out sounds.

1. Yo La Tengo
“Popular Songs”

A rusty, unravelling cassette tape - not only does it make you nostalgic for the age of the mix-tape, but it also makes you a little sad. Kids being born today will never own a physical piece of digital media. All their music, movies, and video games will be kept on a hard drive, not taking up space and gathering dust in the basement. At the same time, they will never know the joy of making that perfect blend of songs to be listened to ad nauseam in your car as your cruise the loop. As much as us "Hippies and a Ouija Board" want to keep this era alive, sometimes "Ghosts Don't Always Want to Come Back".

7 Comments

Filed under Best/Worst Album Covers