Rough Book

random musings of just another computer nerd

Category: Music

Six-man football releases new album

Alternative indie-band Six-man football has released their latest album titled … you can get silly again.

When asked about why the band has only four members (a vocalist, lead guitarist, bassist, and drummer) they replied:

We realized that only hipsters listen to indie bands until they get popular. Also, hipsters like anything that appears “ironic”. Hence, we only have four members and we also dress in baseball uniforms. Due to this ostentatious display of irony, we expect that we will have a lot of hipster fans until word of our existence spreads to the normal population. This way, we expect to slowly, but surely, grow our fan-base.

... you can get silly again

Six-man football: ...you can get silly again

This is fake. You can make your own album cover by following these instructions:

  1. Get a random article from wikipedia. The title of this article is the name of your band.
  2. Get the last four or five words, or the very last random quote on quotationspage.com.
  3. Get the third picture on explore the last seven days from Flickr. This picture will be your album cover.
  4. Use Photoshop, gimp, or pixlr.com to create your album cover.

Where has all the good music gone?

I’m writing this partly in response to this well-written post. I couldn’t agree more. There is a serious dearth of good mainstream music today. Granted, my tastes are geared more towards various forms of Rock and Metal and so I’ll be referring to bands that mainly play that kind of music.

I rarely listen to mainstream music anymore. I find it to be completely boring. Of course, there are a few catchy tunes now and then that are good for a listen or two, but there is nothing that captures and captivates the mind – nothing that you can listen to over and over again and hear something new each time. Gone are the complex chord and rhythm changes and meaningful lyrics. Instead, mainstream music has devolved into predictable chord-progressions, simple rhythm structures, and inane, uninspired lyrics. In fact, it’s almost embarrassing when you realize that songs from some bands sound almost exactly the same. Try listening to the choruses from Dirty Little Secret and Swing Swing by The All-American Rejects, or for that matter, any song by Nickelback. I won’t say that these bands lack talent, but the fact remains that their music isn’t exactly stellar.

If you really want to compare, take a look at these lyrics from Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd. These lyrics come from the second chorus:

When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse,
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone.
I cannot put my finger on it now.
The child is grown, the dream is gone.
I have become comfortably numb.

Haunting. Nostalgic. Beautiful. You’d be hard-pressed to find anything this profound from music these days. The entire song is a conversation (of sorts) between a doctor and Roger Waters. The non-chorus parts of the song are sung from the point of view of the doctor, and the chorus is from Waters’ point of view. The song and the entire album is built upon a set of themes. It’s a little too long to go into now, but if you’d like, take a look at this analysis of the song, and this analysis of the movie and the album. It’s very hard to find a complex, self-referential, and thematic work like that in mainstream music today.

The bands that I listen to now include Coldplay, Muse, The Shins, The Strokes, Modest Mouse, Pinback, and Sigur Rós (just to name a few). A quick tangent on Coldplay. Many accuse them of sounding too much like U2. I’ll admit, I did that too initially, because Chris Martin did sound like Bono. But this is only true of their early works. Bono’s voice evokes in you a sense of pain, longing, aching, and hope. Chris Martin’s voice is much mellower. Furthermore, their later works may sound superficially like U2’s, and this happens only if you concentrate on Chris Martin’s voice. But the music is very much different. Anyway, you may not have heard of some of the bands above. If you have, kudos to you! If you haven’t, I urge you to listen to them. I try to listen to music from independent labels because I do think that they sound better, are more innovative and have their own sound and character. Major labels mainly support bands that will get more air play, that will top the charts and that can get the most number of 12-14 year-old girl fans (I’m sure an accountant at one of the big labels has come up with a formula that translates this number into a dollar amount). The latter seems the be the major metric these days for the success of a band, and the first two seem to have an inverse relation to the quality of music these days.

Now that this decade is almost over, I’m left wondering what exactly would define this decade in terms of music. The 60’s and 70’s both had amazing rock bands in addition to disco (which defined the 70’s in some sense). The 80’s of course, has 80’s music, replete with synthesizers and synth-drums. The 90’s is definitely grunge and alternative. What about the 2000’s (or 00’s)? I can’t find any particular genre that defines it. If you go by mainstream, the only thing that defines music for me in the 2000’s is terrible, music-as-a-commodity stuff. But if you go by independent music, you’ll find a bunch of rich, innovative (and definitely fringe and avant-garde) music. Their success definitely has to do with the growth of the internet. Bands no longer need labels and radio to promote them, and this only highlights the fact that good music these days doesn’t come from big labels (corporations that just want to make money), but they come from small, independent labels that just want to make good music. But that’s another topic to explore.

U2

I went to the U2 concert yesterday. The last time I saw them was four years ago. I remember that experience being absolutely amazing. It was also my first real concert. I couldn’t wait to see them again. Fast forward a little less than four years to a cold January morning at the Glendale Arena. Abhishek and I went there at about six in the morning to get the tickets. They weren’t going to start selling until 9, and were going to hand out arm band at around 8, I think. So this is how the whole ticket thing was going to work. There was no first-come, first-serve. They gave you an arm band with number on it. After everyone had received their arm bands, they would pick a random number to serve as the starting point. Then sequentially, from that number, they would go forward and loop around until one less than the starting point. For example, let’s say we had arm bands numbered from 1 to 100. Let’s assume that they picked 60. Then everyone goes sequentially from 60 to 100, and then from 1 to 59. I guess it was sort of fair, meaning everyone pretty much had an even chance. Anyway, Abhishek and I stood far apart in the line because we didn’t want to get numbers close to each other since that would ruin our chances. I think he got 13 and I got 30 or something. After getting our arm bands, we went to sleep in my car for about an hour. Then, while pondering our chances, we decided to check out other sales venues. They were all packed, so we decided to stick around. At 9 o’ clock, they picked some random girl to draw the number. I remember being really anxious. She picked 15. That meant I was 15th in line. But since they had 12 ticket counters, I was effectively 2nd in line. Anyway, Abhishek and I checked the seat layout to figure out the best seats for the price. We wanted section 223 since that would put us directly in front of the stage. When I went up to the ticket counter, the lady told me that I couldn’t pick anything. So I just asked her to give me the best 8 tickets she could. She gave me 8 seats in section 223. Sweet.

Fast forward to April 14th. Warm April evening. We were all in front of Glendale Arena, waiting to go in. “We” consisted of me, Sadhana, Parthavi, Josh, Suhrid, Abhishek, Apurva, Parag, and Tanjot. Josh had brought me about three small bottles of Sauza, which I hid in my socks. They didn’t even pat us down as we went in. We lounged about for a while and got some stuff to drink and then went in to see the opening act. I was surprised at how calm I was… I wasn’t very anxious or anything. In fact, I wasn’t anxious waiting for this entire concert to happen. Somehow, that made it better because I didn’t anticipate or expect anything.

U2 came on. It was just pure ecstacy. I haven’t enjoyed myself so much in a long time. I can’t even begin to describe the surge of emotions that went through me. The music was all around me, surrounding me. I was whooping and singing, no, shouting along to the songs. It was a wild trip the entire way through. The three little bottles of Tequila helped too. Sadhana claims I was moving too much and slamming in to her, but as usual, she says that because she is on crack. Ok maybe, I slammed her a little bit. This dude next to me, however, was playing air-guitar. But most of the time I was just singing along and clapping. U2, of course, was promoting their new album, so they played a couple of songs from there. But the best part was when they started playing their classic stuff – War, Joshua Tree, and Achtung Baby. They even played stuff from Boy, and also from All That You Leave Behind. Oh yeah, and their stage effects were awesome! It was somewhat like a light show. They had these light trails going around the (circular) stage. They also had some sort of curtain or something in the background that would display images. Then you have just the band themselves… simply awesome. The chemistry they share between each other, and with the audience is so rich. They are very few bands that can elicit such a response from the audience. When they played “Where The Streets Have No Name”, you could barely hear Bono because the entire arena was singing along! Then of course, you have Bono’s monologues. He said something that was really poignant. He said that a certain tsunami happens every day and still doesn’t make it on the news. A 150,000 people die every day in Africa because of AIDS, and that still doesn’t make the news. How fucked up is that?

Anyway, to sum it all up… It was just quite simply, an amazing concert. I haven’t had this much fun in a long time, and I haven’t felt this happy in a long time. My voice is gone, and my throat hurts, but hell… it was worth it.

w00t

You know what’s so sweet? I am using Winamp to make an http connection to my FreeBSD machine to access music that’s on my XP machine through an SMB share. So my music goes from my XP machine through the SMB share to my FreeBSD machine and from there over the internet through a symlinked directory in my pub folder to arrive at my laptop. So Schweeet! I can access my entire music collection!

Things I would like to do

Sometimes I wish I had time to do the many things I would like to do.

First, I would like to code a lot – no surprise there. Then, I want to do some linguistic stuff. Read up on all sorts of languages; try to make inferences as to their relationships and their derivations. I want to be able to decipher languages that have not been deciphered – like the Linear A script and the Harappan Script. Oh yeah, talking about scripts – I would even like to go on an archaeological dig to these sites (Crete, Harappa). That would be awesome. Oh hell, I wouldn’t mind just any old archaeological dig.

I want to learn Indian classical music completely. I wish I hadn’t been such a brat when I was little. My mom tried to teach it to me. I learnt a little bit, but I was never happy about learning it it. I was such a brat. I really regret it. I’ve been trying to read up on it as much as I can, and I find it very intriguing. There seems to be intricate mathematical relationships between the different scales. Compositions seem to follow certain rules. That is something I would really like to understand.

I want to come up with a way to describe dancing – and I mean stuff like the Salsa, Cha-Cha or Rhumba. Yeah, that sounds strange – but I have noticed that these dances have a strict set of rules and transitions from one step to another are clearly defined. There has to be a mathematical relationship involved!

There is so much to learn in this world and not enouch time. I know that is one thing I will always have – the urge to learn more and more…

Crash Into Me

You’ve got your ball
you’ve got your chain
tied to me tight tie me up again
who’s got their claws
in you my friend
Into your heart I’ll beat again
Sweet like candy to my soul
Sweet you rock
and sweet you roll
Lost for you I’m so lost for you

You come crash into me
And I come into you
I come into you
In a boys dream
In a boys dream

Touch your lips just so I know
In your eyes, love, it glows so
I’m bare boned and crazy for you
When you come crash
into me, baby
And I come into you
In a boys dream
In a boys dream

~Crash Into Me, Dave Matthews Band

Hmmm…

Piano Stealers

They took away the other piano that was in the MU. Now they might put some stupid store in it’s place. Why? WHY?!

State Fair and Garba Pictures

Garba pictures are up

Went to the Arizona State Fair today. It was great! Saw Gin Blossoms and went on a whole lotta crazy rides. I was sick after the first two… but got better… then did some more crazy rides. Spiral fries are awesome.

Piano gone. I am sad.

I should have mentioned this when I first got here, because that’s when I noticed it. They converted the Art Gallery in the MU into an Einstein Bros. How ridiculous is that? There used to be a Piano in there that I liked to play – although it was slightly out of tune. I don’t know where they put it. This really sucks… as if there is a dearth of stores in the MU. Make Way! Capitalism coming through!

California Rules, P2P Rocks, Metallica sucks even more

Hey everyone, how’s it going? I’m in California right now and I’m having loads of fun… yeah… it feels great to be away from that searing Arizona heat. I’m looking into creating a new message board which looks nicer and has a lot more stuff. Work on the webpage is going to be delayed (as usual =( ) because next semester looks to be a lot of work. Anyway, the main issue here is Napster. As you might already know, it is most probably going to be shut down at midnight on Friday. The issue here is how to keep it going… Well, there are many ways… first of all, there is a service called Napigator that’s available and it lets you connect to other servers. There are also other services like GNutella, ScourExchange and iMesh that allow peer-to-peer connection. The recording industry may have won the battle, but for all purposes, it has lost the war. There is no way it can stop services like GNutella because unlike Napster, GNutella is de-centralized and there is in effect, nothing to shut down. Well… I’m assuming that it’s going to be a while before the idiotic heads of record labels finally understand this. And as for Metallica, I’ve lost all respect for them… their “campaign” against Napster was nothing more than a publicity stunt. And Lars Ulrich can go to hell. Well, anyway, they pretty much destroyed themselves with Load and ReLoad… but oh well… I’m thinking that in a way, shutting Napster down will actually help this new technology… Alright then… time for me to go… cy’all later!

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