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Tag Archives: Rock

Pope Francis I: “New Church Album Will Rock”

15 Mar
A shirtless Pope Francis, on tour supporting his album White Smoke Rising.

A shirtless Pope Francis, on tour supporting his album White Smoke Rising.

VATICAN — The recently elected Pope Francis I announced that the Catholic Church’s forthcoming album will have “more of a New Testament element.”

The heavyweights of Christ’s gospel and godfathers of the Christian genre are looking to release tracks later this year, but will not deviate far from the mantra that made them one of the millennia’s most followed acts.

Luis Antonio Tagle, the Archibishop of Manila and synth player in the Church, said, “When we were working on Benedict XVI, we got caught up in a lot of great experimental stuff.  It was a much softer period.  Our next papacy is going to be good and it’s going to sound great when played loud!”

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A Pep Talk For Your Finals

11 Dec
Are you a Wildcat? ARE YOU A MOTHERFUCKING WILDCAT!?!?

Are you a Wildcat? ARE YOU A MOTHERFUCKING WILDCAT!?!?

Listen up, kiddies, because this is going to be the nicest damn thing you hear from Sherman Ave for the next three years.

You’re going to rock your finals. Because we said so.

Remember the first house centipede you found on your wall freshman year?  You captured it live in the free purple plastic Northwestern cup with the weird straw, dropped it in the toilet, watched its disgruntlement as it flailingly realized its own mortality, and showered urine and verbal profanity on it before flushing. That centipede was a mild and euphemistic foreshadowing of what is going to happen to your finals this week.

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Review: Joe Pug at Lincoln Hall

21 May

Joe Pug. In a vest.

Few men can silence a room by simply playing their guitar and harmonica. But that’s just what Joe Pug pulled off repeatedly last Friday night at Lincoln Hall, extinguishing the conversations of drunk teenagers and fathers by dropping his music down to the barest possible finger-picking — reducing a rowdy weekend crowd to absolute calm as every member strained to catch Pug’s lyrics.

Much has been said about Pug, and many have fallen for the singer-songwriter harder than a Chicago Bulls starter crashes to the floor in the playoffs. This phenomenon probably has something to do with Joe Pug being one of the best new songwriters in America, and the fact that the man does everything right with his music, from the recording and distribution of his songs to his stellar live performances of them.

Joe’s second full-length album, The Great Despiser, is barely a month old, and it is already the embodiment of all that is good in music. And Pug, the man who used to cover the postage to mail burned copy of his EPs to fans who requested them, knows that the best way to publicize an album as amazing as this one is to tour the living shit out of it. Which brought Pug and his touring band to the confines of Lincoln Hall at the same time summer weather and unwashed protestors were flooding into Chicago. Coincidence? Probably, but all three made my life much more interesting.

Plenty of singer-songwriters know how to poorly fingerpick, play harmonica, and come off as “Dylanesque,” but Pug knows how to do all of these things well. These are the qualities that are laid bare in Pug’s live performances, backed up by a killer touring band transformed into a force to be reckoned with thanks to oodles of talent and the conviction that comes with touring behind music of this magnitude. Together, Pug and his band transform the boundaries of folk, country, and rock n roll all in one blistering rendition of “Speak Plainly Diana.”

They brought the Lincoln Hall crowd of hipsters, empty nesters, radio DJs, and college students covertly sipping on Keystone Light to the edge with killer versions of songs like “The Great Despiser” or “Nation of Heat,” but had the capacity to bring immediate peace to the audience with a performance of one of Pug’s numerous hymns. I swear, that man has written more hymns than most Methodists can even conceive of.

It’s next to the place where Dillinger was shot.

I’m not the only arrogant douchefeather who holds this opinion, but the only artist currently working on Joe Pug’s level is Justin Townes Earle. The two are impeccable song-writers, crafting their music that gives due deference to the canon they harken to while simultaneously pushing new boundaries, kicking ass, and taking names like their Woody Motherfucking Guthrie III. It doesn’t hurt that the two can finger-pick like Merle Travis if he had grown up listening to Bruce Springsteen and both men are about as American as PBR and Republican primaries. But far more palatable.

Lyrically, Pug remains ambiguous enough to maintain an elusive quality that heightens each song’s value, but tangible enough to feel like a line directly referencing your individual situation. To be honest, I still can’t tell if the lyrics to “Nation of Heat” are about America’s abuse of the lowest rungs of society, his mother, or Sylvia Plath.

Across from the prison and beside the great lake
Below the rooftops and above the highways
The spirits pay rental on the basements they haunt
And the pages just draw pictures of the things that they want
I cook my dinner on the blacktop street
I come from the nation of heat

Maybe all three. Who cares? It’s a great song, and I love it, and Pug and his band killed it last night. Also, the bassist looked like he was having an orgasm the whole night every time he played a long tone, and the drummer sometimes looked like a pissed-off Zach Galifianakis. These are all good things.

But the best part of the night came after the show, when Pug shook hands and chatted with every last audience member next to the merch table. It’s how Pug does business — give your fans an amazing musical performance, then spread the good word through personal connections. And sell a lot of vinyl LPs while you’re at it.

Why We Should Stop Hating on Nickelback

3 May

Trashing Nickelback hasn’t always been a thing. In fact, about ten years ago, a lot of you loved Nickelback. During the 2000s, Nickelback was one of the top-selling musical act in the United States, coming in second to the Beatles. That’s right. The American people willingly chose Chad Kroeger — goatee and all — over U2, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, and the Rolling Stones.

“Stop pretending you don’t want me.”

So why have you suddenly turned your back on the band you used love? I have a few ideas, all of which boil down to your failure as a human being. So for all of you who love to trash Nickelback, there are several reasons that I would very much like you to shut up.

1. You are filthy hypocrites.

Flash back to your life ten years ago. Did you have the words to “How You Remind Me” memorized, like I did (and still do)? Damn right, you did. So did every other kid in America, and you know what? You were proud of it. I even remember my five-year-old sister singing that she’d never made it as a wise man, that she couldn’t cut it as a poor man stealing, and that she’d been to the bottom of every bottle. It was literally — yes, literally — impossible to escape this song.

I have since reached the conclusion that, music-wise, Chad Kroeger and his pals are not what I would call “talented.” In fact, they suck. But you know who else sucks? Avril Lavigne, the Black Eyed Peas, and the Spice Girls. And if you hear “Sk8r Boi,” “My Humps,” or “Stop!,” you’re gonna sing. You know why? You love it. Sorry.

2. We get it: you’re just like everyone else!!! U R so awesum!!!

“Nickelback sucks.”

THE SKY IS BLUE!  CANCER IS BAD!  RICKY MARTIN IS GAY!

It’s funny how by criticizing a band for bringing nothing new to the table, you are, well, bringing nothing new to the table.

If you are going to talk, please present me with new information or a unique perspective. Saying how much you hate Nickelback is a cheap and unoriginal way to gain approval, and it does not demonstrate your value as an individual. So stop it, or so help me, I will delete your number from my contacts and remove you from my Facebook friends.

3. Nickelback’s horribleness + you not liking them ≠ you having good taste in music.

Laughing at the atrocious dialogue in From Justin to Kelly does not make you a movie critic. Gagging at the thought of chocolate-covered bacon does not mean you have a refined palate. And being sort of creeped out by serial rapists does not make you a good judge of character.

See what I’m getting at?

Nickelback has earned the support of highly respected individuals.

4. This level of sadism kind of disturbs me.

I will admit that I take joy in the suffering of a good number of people. Yeah, it sort of makes me happy to see the reaction to a B- from the girl who speaks Spanish before the professor gets to class, because she needs to know that her fake accent does not make her a better person than me. And yes, very few things thrill me more than an ugly photo of Jessica Biel, as I am obligated to hate anyone in a relationship with Justin Timberlake.

But Nickelback? What, besides filling your ears with sounds on par with nails on a chalkboard, did Nickelback ever do to offend you? Don’t you think the band everyone loves to hate has suffered enough? Apparently, not.

5. And lastly, in the words of Nickelback’s devoted fans on YouTube…

“[W]e need this, its almost as good as sex and mary jane its definately needed so jesus i love you see you eventually AMEN.”

“[T]his song exposed the illuminati!!.. lol.”

“Thumb up my comment please, my caterpillar just died, its what she would of wanted.”

I don’t know about you, but the idea of debating fans like these is simply terrifying to me.