Monday, December 29, 2008


Goin' OFF THE GRID like Jason Bourne for a week or so.

Be back Tuesday, Jan 6th -- have a good new year, Hatesexy peeps!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

2008 Geek Film List

So: I'm a film geek. Not a FAN so much as just a GEEK. I've been criticized in the past for not seeing enough quote "grown-up" unquote movies. But I think you guys, my loyal and humble readers, all know i prefer science fiction / fantasy / superhero crap / horror films / stupid comedies / spy movies / cartoons to, y'know, films about relationships and costume period dramas and that kind of thing. You also know that, every year, that my list is mostly gonna contain those types of films. I haven't seen "Milk" or "Gran Torino" yet, and I'm sure I will at some point, and I'm sure when I do I'm gonna love 'em or at the very least appreciate them. I have, however, seen Iron Man twice.

So -- you know me, you know what I like. My name is Jonny. I'm a geek. Here's my list.

(*note* -- I notice I didn't see any comedies this year, or barely any, and certainly none that make the list. I didn't see Tropic Thunder. I didn't see Zach and Miri. I will at some point, and then we can talk again.)

Iron Man. Sorry folks, for my money, the best superhero film of all time -- okay, mayyyyybe barring the original Superman from '79, or at least the first half of that film before Luthor enters the picture -- is Iron Man. Mah friends, it is pitch perfect. It FEELS like the original comic book in every way. It isn't overwhelmingly dark like a certain other superhero film this year, and it isn't overblown or occasionally stupid like, I dunno, Daredevil or Spider-Man 3. And best of all, it exists in a larger universe where there are actually other superheroes, and they interact and connect, which is like frickin' geek catnip, y'know? Robert Downey, Jr. is amazing casting, I'll watch Jeff Bridges act the fucking phonebook, and I even liked Gwyneth "Fishstick" Paltrow. FUN. It was great, great fun, the most fun I've had in the movies in a long, long time.

Wall-E. Just -- wow. A feast for the senses, a gloriously funny and heartwarming film that never descends into maudlinity. I'm glad the film critics across the country are acknowledging how amazing this film is, too -- usually animated flicks get shoved into the "kids' films" bucket and ignored come awards time (except, of course, in the technical arena -- whee!) The main character doesn't even SPEAK except a few noises and to say his own name, and yet you fall madly in love with him, and that's an accomplishment. Possibly the best Pixar film thus far (but then, I have weird tastes -- my second favorite is Cars, with its love of Route 66-ania).

Cloverfield. Somewhere between the knocked-out audience we sat with for this film and eight months later, public opinion shifted on this film. Don't know why, don't know how. Totally undeserved, too -- for my money, the best pure scares I had in the movies this year BAR NONE. This was what I wanted all the "giant monster ravages the countryside" movies of the 50s to be like -- all assault and terror and never-ending twists and turns and peril (if they'd had budgets that allowed for more than MAN IN SUIT! maybe they would have been!) J. J. Abrams took an old cinema staple, turned it on its ass and whooped it up for the cynical digital age, and managed to scare the fucking beejezus out of me while only BARELY EVEN SHOWING THE MONSTER IN QUESTION. Y'know? Amazing. Creepy-crawly and scary and amazing.

Burn After Reading. Okay, fair's fair -- I love Los Bros. Coen. I think, although "No Country" was one of the best films I've seen in the last 10 years, that I like them best when they write little unassuming stories like this one full of extremely stupid people that fuck each others' lives up. Their "big" movies are great, but when they shoot low they end up hitting high anyway. Those who saw it: tell me you didn't jump TWENTY FEET IN THE AIR when, smack in the middle of the movie, it suddenly takes a huge left fucking turn that leaves you completely stunned. And Brad Pitt's performance is best-supporting-actor Oscar-worthy, methinks.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I stand by my original opinion -- in fact, if anything, this film was better upon second viewing. Apart from a couple wobbly moments at the very beginning -- it takes Harrison a minute or two to find the heart of the character again, and can someone please keep George Lucas away from cute CGI creatures for the rest of eternity? -- it hits the mark, over and over. And again: the original films were the serial adventures of the 30s, THIS film was all about 50s sci-fi, and that is why there's aliens in it. Okay? Are we settled on that point?? The script coulda been a little punchier in places, but I still think this film will age well. Talk to me in ten years.

Quantum of Solace. I just wrote the review for this one, so you know how I feel. Bond has never been about the gadgets and broads, and winky-winky double entendres do not "sexy" make. A taut, fascinating, slightly mystifying, visually-fascinating thriller, and an intriguing addition to the series. Next time: Moneypenny. Please.

The Incredible Hulk. Wondering: how come nobody was talking about this film? Again, saw it twice, better even the second time, part of the same "larger universe" thing that Iron Man is, and perfectly nails the comic book in question. Great casting, great acting, great CGI (WAY better than the last Hulk film, like way way better), and some terrific action. One slight misstep: Tim Roth, whom I normally adore, seems mismatched. Not quite as fun as Iron Man, but I still had a total blast.

The Dark Knight. FINALLY I get to the Dark Knight, and honestly, I wasn't sure if it was gonna make my list, because I have some serious misgivings about this one. Yes -- Heath Ledger's performance was career-defining, and it is a tragedy beyond tragedy that he won't be able to reprise the role, nor be recognized for it in his lifetime. But in the rush to congratulate this film, there are some serious problems with the film that have been overlooked. #1: doesn't anybody mind Bale's "gritty Batman" voice? #2: the tone is unrelentingly dark, almost to the point where it becomes funny. #3: it's overlong by about half an hour. #4: I'm not sure the two-face arc works, and did we really need to kill off Rachel? What was the point of that, exactly? ISSUES. I have issues. I recognize the achievements of this film, but I think the first one was far better, visually and plotwise and acting. It's GOOD but I think there are two other superhero movies this year that far surpass it.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. I know, I know -- its so unhip to like The Big Jesus Lion Story with its anvilicious allegories and bright-sunny-happy mood, anymore. But I get so sucked into this world in a way I don't with, like, Lord of the Rings or (sorry!) Phillip Pullman's. I remember reading these books as a kid and maybe they didn't make me think like LOTR or hate God like the Amber Spyglass but man, did Lewis get where kids wanna be when the real world gets 'em down. And I think the films do a damn fine job of capturing that -- visually enrapturing, faithful to the source material, beautiful and airy-light and fun.

The X-Files: I Want To Believe. We just saw this last night, and I have a question: Do you all, like, not like the X-Files anymore or something?? Why did nobody go see this? I fully anticipated, from the numbers it did and the reviews it got, to suck, or at least be totally mediocre, but it, like, DIDN'T. It felt like a great, well-developed X-Files episode, and maybe that doesn't make it a great movie but it sure makes it a good something or other. It's creepy and scary and has great character arcs for Mulder and Scully and at no point did I go "man, this is stupid" or "man, I'm so sick of the "mytharc" crap" or whatever that I did at the low points of the series. As Harry Knowles points out: these characters are our friends. I missed them, and this was FAR, FAR, ***FAR*** better than it got credit for. Give it a rent, without fear.


Speed Racer -- LOOKED astonishing, like visually one of the coolest films ever. Feather-light plot-wise. Fun, but not ENOUGH fun.

Hellboy II -- I just blogged about this and still, GAHHHHHH.

Get Smart -- not actually disappointing -- can any movie with Anne Hathaway be TRULY disappointing?? -- and I *did* laugh, but it didn't go NEARLY far enough into screwball territory. Buck Henry, come home, all is forgiven.

The Ruins -- the book gave me the SERIOUS CREEPING HEEBIE-JEEBIES for weeks. The movie wasn't scary at all. FAIL.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

LA Denizens: upcoming Silver Phial show!

My Mixed Emotions vol. 453: Phil Collins

I so desperately want to hate Phil Collins. I mean, duh, right? There's really nobody in the history of rock I should hate more, is there? Nobody more despicably commercially-minded, nobody more kind of icky and British-'cause-it's-cute and bald and horrible. Nobody who is more the exact antithesis of everything that's good and right and rebellious and angry and dark and cool about rock music. He is a black hole of hip -- he actually sucks OTHER musicians' hipness in with him. When he played with Led Zeppelin at Live Aid in '86 or whenever, he actually made THEM less hip. And they're a fucking bulletproof tiger. He's twenty-five shades of wrong, thirty-two fucking flavors of wrong. He's Phil Fucking Collins, motherfuckers, and he's a pariah non pareil.

Except -- my problem, folks, is that I can't. I just can't hate him. I've managed to fix my inability to hate Coldplay (that lyric about Roman Catholic choirs singing made me so physically ill I was on bed-rest for a week just to recover, and I'm glad Joe Satriani is suing them for it, 'cause they were askin' for it) but even WITH the soundtrack to Tarzan, I can't fix this. It's a problem.

Let's examine, for a moment, why, exactly:

1. He was in A Hard Day's Night and you weren't. Unfortunately, this automatically makes him cooler than you. Maybe not cooler than most other musicians of that era but definitely cooler than you. So that takes away the "high and mighty" defense, i.e. "I was in the Brian Jonestown Massacre for ten minutes so I'm cooler than Phil Collins." Were you in A Hard Day's Night? You weren't? Case closed.

2. Early Genesis was indisputably righteous. They may not have the cache they did back in the 70s, but even still, people will qualify their hatred of Genesis and Phil Collins with the phrase "...but they were good when Peter Gabriel was in them." And it's true, they were. And Phil's drumming plays no small part in that -- if they'd had a wimpy, tempo-less drummer like, say, a Carl Palmer, they'd have about 1/10th the power they did have. I mean, Steve Hackett ain't exactly Tony Iommi, so why'd they rock then? A: Phil Collins. Plus, dig his harmonies with Peter Gabriel -- they have the identical voice and there's times you can't tell who's singing what.

3. Early-late period Genesis is better than you think it is. I ain't talking about the just-post-Gabriel era of "Trick of the Tail" because frankly, without Gabriel, their prog-rock noodlings lacked, y'know, intellectualism and eccentricity, which is kinda why the group was good to begin with (well, that and Gabriel's foam-rubber costumes -- it was like watching the prog-rock Rock-A-Fire Explosion!). It's just lots of long noodly guitar solos. But there was a brief, shining moment when Phil's commercial leanings merged perfectly with the still-present progressiveness of the group AND the just-developing new wave influences of the early 80s. I'm talking about the Duke and Abacab albums, and a few surrounding singles.

Let me prove it to you:

4. You like "Against All Odds." You do. I mean, maybe you don't think you do, but I bet you really do. Flash back with me to the mid-80s -- that is, if you weren't, like, a zygote at the time. You're at a high school dance. That pretty cheerleader you've been eying is sitting over in the corner. You wanna dance with her, but they're playing Van Halen, and what's the good of that?? Suddenly "Against All Odds" comes on. Ah -- it's your in, my friend. You approach her. "Um -- care to, uh, dance?" you stammer. She looks coyly up at you, beautiful in her feathered hair and geometric-patterned dress. "Okay," she shrugs. Good enough. Phil Collins says: you're welcome.

5. There is at least one other Phil solo song you secretly like. Late at night, when nobody's home, you've got that one Phil Collins song on your iPod, and you play it, and maybe cry a little bit. Maybe it's "Sussudio," and you wonder, endlessly, what does it mean? Maybe it's "In The Air Tonight" -- did he watch that guy drown, or didn't he? For me, it's an obscure little low-level hit called "I Cannot Believe It's True," which has the power to take me RIGHT BACK to 1982, and my very first kiss with the lovely Eithne Daire. Sigh!

6. He is a good drummer.

Get past the minute and a half of Peter Gabriel pretending to mow the lawn, and listen to Phil's playing. He's solid like Bonham, but then fills like Bill Bruford, and he never ever ever gets in the smegging way, and he grooves. And any way, you probably haven't heard this song, so give it a go.

So end result: I hate Phil even less and maybe you do too. Or maybe you still feel a deep, abiding loathing for him, in which case only sixteen hours of Miami Vice will help you, and that isn't on YouTube.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Year end addendum

How the heck could I have forgotten the Cure's "4:13 Dream?" HOW?

It's phenomenal, and if you don't have it, GET IT.

Monday, December 15, 2008

WLOL listeners and Hines and Berglund fans!

I didn't even remember this song EXISTED but Trix mentioned it last night, and then Max blogged it this morning, and WOW did it bring back a flood o' memories. Morning DJ's Hines and Berglund on now-defunct radio station WLOL 99.5 in Minneapolis played this until it became actually disturbing.

I think it is actually *impossible* to feel shitty when you listen to this.

(PS: The little YouTube link has the title wrong -- it is HUBBA - HUBBA ZOOT ZOOT. Not Hubba Bubba. Hubba Bubba's the gum. Got it? Good.)

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Some Albums I Liked In 2008

Okay, so my rant goes like this: I've read so many year-end lists, now, and have been utterly *appalled* at how much awful, ball-less music is contained therein. Indie Rock reigns supreme these days -- playing music that lacks actual, honest-to-christ rock is cool, and being completely intellectual and up in your own head (vs. enjoying rocking your balls off) is, like, totally in. As much as I try, I can't get it up for, like, Vampire Weekend. Or Death Cab For Cutie. Or Likke Li, or British Sea Power or or or or - GAHH. GAHH! Ball-less! And drab, and so totally NOT SEXY, if that makes any sense.

That said: there's lots that DOES turn me on, and you'll notice a preponderance of actual, sexy ROCK. I'll leave the R&B list to friends of mine who know more and listen more -- there was a lotta great THAT this year, too, but this is my expertise:

Glasvegas, S/T -- sounds like the Jesus and Mary Chain fronted by the bloke from the Proclaimers. And if that frightens you, and it probably should, you'll be pleasantly surprised, methinks. The songs are magnificent, epic, big, sweeping, great, fun.

Black Angels, Directions To See A Ghost -- one chord and the truth, or something like that. Dark, evil psychedelia, from the Spacemen 3 region, filtered through a bit of freak-folk sensibility, but not the icky bits, if that makes any sense.

Black Mountain, In The Future -- dark, ominous, HEAVY rock and roll. Stoner rock to be sure, but damn smart, mysterious stoner rock.

Glen Campbell, Meet Glen Campbell -- in which the man proves that he's STILL FUCKING GOT IT, as witness his ability to turn my very least favorite Foo Fighters song (do I have a favorite? I do not!) into something transcendent. I could listen to him sing the phone book. Swear to god.

Darker My Love, 2 -- would be on the list if it contained only "Two Ways Out," my favorite single of the year, hands down. As it happens, it contains ten other magnificent songs, and a healthy smatterin' of pure fuzztone bliss.

Duffy, Rockferry -- THAT VOICE! THOSE SONGS! THAT PRODUCTION! I mean, you'd have to be, like, *dead* to not appreciate how cool this is, and how righteous. If yr. sad that Amy Winehouse will never make another album, Duffy should at least ease your pain a little.

Flight of the Conchords, S/T -- comedy rock that actually, y'know, rocks. Most comedy records have very little replay value -- once the joke is done, YOU'RE done. Meanwhile, I played "Motha'uckas" about two hundred times this year and still love it.

Foxoboro Hottubs, Stop Drop and Roll!!! -- pure, unmitigated, hook-laden garage-rock glory from a disguised Green Day. Who knew they had it in 'em? Best song: "Red Tide," which appears to be a Kinksian ode to a woman's "special time."

Magnetic Fields, Distortion -- hated it at first. STILL hate the sound. Like, HATE. Meanwhile, the songs have grown on me, BIG TIME.

Oasis, Dig Out Your Soul -- in which our esteemed Mancunian heroes turn in an album with only two dud songs. Its a fairly magnificent work, and if this list was in any order, would reside near the top, if only to piss off Jim DeRogatis, who continues to (as always!) miss the point.

Primal Scream, Beautiful Future -- the fuck? Did nobody buy this record? Did nobody notice its strange and unholy combination of fuzzrock and 80s new wave pop?? It's magnificent. Go back, relisten. It should be in EVERY critics' top ten.

Raphael Saadiq, The Way I See It -- Motown revivalism at its purest -- but oddly, it doesn't just wallow in soppy balladism, it actually ROCKS. A magnificent album that gets better with every listen.

The Raveonettes, Lust Lust Lust -- my SECOND favorite single of the year was the fuzz-laden "Aly, Walk With Me," a mysterious spy-music slab. Elsewhere, there's enough three-chord pop to make the ghost of the Primitives happy.

Ryan Adams, Cardinology -- discussed in these very pages. I shan't reiterate other than to say its my favorite breakup record.

The Verve, Forth -- one shitty hit single and an entire rest-of-the-album of cool psych-rock stoner jamz. It was far better than it was given credit for, and deserves a relisten.

Polara, Beekeeping -- their best since the 2nd, or even the 1st -- a magnificent slab of angry, fuzzy, uplifting, rip-snorting songwriting, one of THREE (!) albums auteur Ed Ackerson put out this year, ALL of which are totally worthy listening. Maybe my second most-played album this year.

AC/DC, Black Ice -- if it wasn't so perverse, and if it wasn't five songs too long, I'd let this one top my list of the year just for being, y'know, so damn PURE. It's AC/DC, it's heavy, it rocks, game over.

Brian Wilson, That Lucky Old Sun -- in which our man finally delivers an entirely solid album of pop glory in the form of an odd conceptual ode to California, the less boosh-wa version of his Van Dyke Parks collabo "Orange Crate Art."

Kings of Leon, Only By The Night -- let this album top their list, and power to 'em for it. I think I would too, if this list had numbers. "Stadium rock?" Sure, if you define the term as meaning "songs with tremendous hooks and power." A killer album, and CRIMINALLY underrated.

Paul McCartney / The Fireman, Electric Arguments -- in which our other man delivers a fully experimental, loose, fully awesome psych-rock album for the first time in years. If you'd wondered where "Pepper"-era McCartney went -- here he is, like *really, fully is*.

MGMT, Oracular Spectacular -- yeah, okay, this one IS indie, but its magnificent. Here's a group that writes great disco-pop-dancey-whatever songs, perfect for indie radio play, but with INSIGHTFUL, INTERESTING lyrics and great arrangements and hooks.

REM, Accelerate -- who knew they had it in 'em? I certainly didn't think they had a jot of actual rock left, and they managed to turn in a non-sucky album that's about, oh, 2/3 great. This one is tending to hover at the bottom of official polls, like they feel they should nod to it so REM doesn't think its okay to go back to writing bad Beach Boys pastiche -- but I think it stands on its own.

PS: Oh, I forgot Gary Louris' "Vagabonds!" A phenomenal, gorgeous little record -- modest, homespun charms, to be sure. Better even than the last batch of Jayhawks records -- and that's saying something, the group never managed anything close to a bad record. Oddly, the best track is the bonus track "Three Too Many" which is the very best song Gene Clark never wrote.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Holy crap! I got reviewed by Pitchfork!

...last year, for a ten-year-old recording, but HEY! I'll take it.

Shatterproof: "Prozac Melody" [from Splinter Queen; MCA; 1996; r: Catlick; 2007]
In a different 1996, Shatterproof would've been a success story-- maybe a modest one, with a single enduring alt-rock chart entry รก la Spacehog or fellow Minneapolitans Semisonic, but a success story nonetheless. In the actual 1996, MCA didn't find anything compelling in Shatterproof's grandiose college-friendly Badfinger/George Harrison-style power pop, and the band wound up being purged from their Fort Apache imprint before their sophomore record could be released. Shatterproof were repeatedly denied a shot at releasing their second album's recordings elsewhere and eventually broke up, and when I heard this song for the first and only time on college radio a year or two later, it was credited to two of the ex-members' subsequent band, Lunar 9. Some 10 years later, in the middle of a period spent listening primarily to rap, dubstep, r&b, and the odd bit of stoner rock, I stumbled across this song again on an otherwise lukewarm reissue of Shatterproof's indefinitely shelved MCA recordings. For a song I'd spent so little time actually hearing and so much more time trying to reconstruct inside my head, "Prozac Melody" was surprisingly close to what I thought it should've sounded like: a leisurely but massive-sounding guitar overlaid with a bed of pseudo-orchestral keyboards and a warmly Anglophilic borderline-falsetto lead vocal. The one thing that I forgot: the weirdly mordant, mournful-slash-cheerful cast to the lyrics: "I get my sunshine from a pill/ It's my Prozac melody/ I fell in love with someone ill/ It's my Prozac melody." It's even got a huge anthemic build-up at the end, which I really wish a festival crowd could've gotten the chance to sing along with. [Nate Patrin]

One thing I disagree with: "Splinter Queen," which is available on iTunes, is nowhere near lukewarm, its fucking genius and you all should rush over and download it IMMEDIATELY if you haven't already, 'cause its kinda fucking great. The combination of my erstwhile nemesis/songwriting-partner/best-friend Jay Hurley's melancholic but extremely celebratory melodicism and my Brian-Wilson-By-Way-Of-The-Mid-90s arrangements makes for what *I* think is a lost gem of the era, and to my mind, "Mum's The Word" is the best thing on there. As for the rest -- heh, sure! FEED MY EGO. It needs it. (Thanks to Ashley for finding that review!)

PS: I am ALL ABOUT "weirdly mordant, mournful-slash-cheerful." Its kinda awesome that he LIKED that, so many other people in my life have had a problem that I write these extremely cheerful songs that always have the saddest, most depressing lyrics, but that's kind of what I'm about. Like a piece of rich chocolate candy filled with arsenic.

(EDIT) PSS: I should mention that the "massive singalong coda" was written by Chris Hill, auteur and songwriter for Mercurial Rage, and its always been my fave part of the song.

Monday, December 1, 2008

So when did it become uncool to like Oasis?

I remember in, like, '94 or '95, when "Definitely Maybe" came out, it was so goddamn cool to be an Oasis fan. Ed Ackerson from Polara, who was and still is the coolest guy I know, hipped me to them early on -- I remember him telling me they were like the Stone Roses only more rock, "and what the hell is wrong with rock?" he asked. When my old band Lunar 9 got accused of "aping Oasis" -- which we never did, it's the same reason Oasis get accused of aping the Beatles, its so easy to pigeonhole melodic rock music with whatever's the handiest and easiest correlate -- it didn't really seem like an insult. In fact, I took it as quite flattering -- it meant my songs were, y'know, memorable if perhaps a bit easy at times (true!) and that we had pudding bowl haircuts.

Then, at some point, the tide fucking TURNED, and boy did it turn hard. I suppose Oasis didn't help matters by making "Be Here Now" which is the very definition of rock n' roll coke bloat (but, then, do we fault Fleetwood Mac for making Tusk? The Stone Roses for making Second Coming? The Stones for making Goat's Head Soup? No, we do not, or should not). They followed it up with "Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants" which got more attention for the title typo than the music within, and "Heathen Chemistry" which didn't get any attention at all for anything. At that point, saying you liked Oasis was just about like saying you liked Matchbox 20 -- it meant you sucked. It wasn't even cool anymore to say you liked the first two albums, which I think we can (or should!) all agree were fucking great albums, top to bottom. It wasn't even cool to have pudding bowl haircuts anymore.

Meanwhile, though, it was really quite okay to still like the Dandy Warhols (for a while) or Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or the Brian Jonestown Massacre or any number of other fuzzy/melodic bands with interesting hair. In fact, it was actively encouraged. If you were in a band, and you had Oasis influence you buried it deep under a layer of dark black fuzztone and sang in a really LOW REGISTER (see: my heavy metal post) and that pretty much covered it up like a thick layer of pancake over a zit.

And like, for a time, I was Oasis Fan #1. And I'm not usually prey to Public Opinion about SHIT -- hell, I'm the guy who'll stand up and say he likes JOURNEY, full stop. I'm not afraid to express an unpopular opinion if, in fact, I believe strongly in it, and I'll defend it eloquently. And yet, even I fell prey to the anti-Oasis sentiment. When someone likened my new batch of songs, which are far more fuzzy and rawk, to Oasis, I remember being a little stung. Hell, I'd been trying to do the Dandy Warhols or the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or the Brian Jonestown Massacre, why the hell do they think it sounds like Oasis?

Then it struck me, and I'm about to express an unpopular opinion: Oasis are basically those bands, only they write better songs. It's true. Honest to god. The difference between a Darker My Love or a Morning After Girls and Oasis are really quite minimal. I bet they have the same batch of influences -- the Beatles. The Stooges. The Small Faces. Psych-rock in general. The Stone Roses. Ride. My Bloody Valentine. The Velvet Underground. They probably dress the same (only the American bands have beards, now) and they probably think the same and maybe they do slightly different drugs (coke vs. heroin, or coke vs. heroin, coke, whiskey, more coke, and some pot) but they're basically the same type of bands. And its not like the Cool Bands write better lyrics -- shit, the lyrics on the Dandy Warhol's best record fucking quote "Charlotte Anne" by Julian Cope, and I'm hard pressed to understand the sentiment behind Darker My Love's excellent but really-equally-lyrically-vacant-to-Oasis "Two Ways Out," as much as I adore it. They aren't even more consistent -- was there even half a good album in the Brian Jonestown Massacre's latest, "My Bloody Underground?"

The crime Oasis seem to have committed, then, is simply that they write songs with memorable hooks. They're those bands, only with Memorable Hooks.

For some reason, this has Fallen Out Of Favor with the hipster contingent. It is now far more cool to write long droney songs with maybe one or two notes involved in the melody. Unfortunately, this does not result in More Better Songs. It might bring more to mind the Velvet Underground and the long bits of "Sister Ray," but what it alas means is that you can go to shows by lots of these bands and go home without remembering a single song. This is not good, people. This is bad. The Velvet Underground, I'd like to remind you, also wrote "Sweet Jane" and "Who Loves The Sun" and "What Goes On" which are nothing if not big gigantic hooks.

Meanwhile, the new Oasis record is receiving the predictable "best album since..." type of reviews, and their star is rising ever so slightly as a result. Most American critics fall back on the usual "they suck 'cause they ape the Beatles" trope -- which has never really been true except in the occasional ballad, if anything the group started out aping T. Rex and moved onto louder things -- and treat the band as a kind of hysterical British joke, like the rock equivalent of a Roger Moore Bond film or something. They somehow failed to notice that "Don't Believe The Truth," their album previous to this one, was also mostly great, or that "Mucky Fingers" on that one was a more believable and likeable Velvets rip to ANYTHING on the latest Brian Jonestown, or that "Lyla" was the great comeback single that never was. Never mind, though, "Dig Out Your Soul" is as good as some of the critics who listened to it are saying it is -- you'd have to be braindead not to feel a thrill from "Shock of the LIghtning" or to feel the awesome psych-groove in "Falling Down." And c'mon -- if "I'm Outta Time" isn't Liam's prettiest, best singing ever, I'm a Monkey (Man)'s Unkle, okay? There's great songwriting all over the thing, and great playing, and great production, and its subtle and psych and kool and dark and all other manner of adjectives and its time you took another look and maybe realized its cool and maybe they always were rather cool, okay?

I realize, though, that at the end of the day it is still basically pop music, and if you have a problem with pop music IN GENERAL, like songs with hooks that are 3:30 and get played on the radio, you're not gonna get turned on to Oasis. No matter, though, next time someone says my songs sound like Oasis I'm gonna be more than okay with that, thank you very much. I've come to terms with it all.