Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dissecting This Post Femur By Femur, Or, Take Two!

Saturday, January 16, 2011

I wrote out a post somewhat similar to this almost a week ago.
As with anything you write, I went through the period of "is this good enough?" (Believe it or not, I do actually have some kind of standard for posts [it had to be developed, naturally... I mean, please, don't go back to the earlier posts and expect a standard of quality]; some make it, some don't, and some have to be reworked to hit par.)
I went back and reread it.
Every day.
Tuesday through Saturday.
Five times over the course of this week, if not more.
As time went on, I disliked the post more and more.
Basically, the standard is "if somebody else posted this on their blog, would I bother reading it?"
Every day, I answered, "no. You wouldn't. Chuck it, and start over."
I wondered what I could do to make this post better. After all, words can be changed, photos removed and replaced, paragraphs edited or eliminated.
So, here we go. Round two! I hope this turns out better than it's predecessor.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Well, here we are. I still don't know what's going on with this post.
I have decided I'm not going to read it over. The time for dawdling has long passed.
I'm actually quite pleased with the way it's turned out, but you can just never be too sure. I've got no clue as to what the hang up is, I'm just a little hesitant on this go 'round. Which is just silly; it's not like this is the first post I've ever made, for all that's good and cheesy.
We'll just have to see.
Reginald Kitty is not amused.

We all know that talking music is something I can really get into, and this blog is the biggest and bestest outlet to do that with. I mean, do you think people want to hear me waffle on about this drivel if they're face-to-face with me?
No. They don't. Believe me, I've tried.
Let's be honest, though, I don't know much about it; I don't play any instruments (I've never had the patience for it), I can barely carry a tune (with or without a bucket), and I don't understand the jargon as well as I'd like to think I do.
What conclusion can we draw, then?
I'm just really opinionated.
I find it's similar to watching HGTV, or DIY Network. Maybe you know, or maybe you don't, but my dream profession would involve working with houses; architect, general contractor, interior designer, or just good ol' fashioned flipper are all things I could really sink my teeth into and enjoy the hell out of. Unfortunately, numbers make me weep like an injured kitten, so I must settle for something outside the first ring of joy.
However, if you make the mistake of watching home improvement shows with me, I'll annoy the pants off you in the first fifteen minutes, guaranteed.
Favorite phrases to use during home improvement shows: "that's a waste of space"; "that architect should be shot"; "...would have worked better"; "there aren't enough windows"; "or, what would be really cool..."; or, my personal favorite, "that doesn't look like a load-bearing wall".
How did I arrive at this longwinded conclusion?
By trying to figure out how on earth I was going to tackle talking about the genius that I have discovered in Ryan Ross and Jon Walker (proving that I am, in fact, late to every party). Honestly, I'm still trying to figure out what to say. One ill-fated blog attempt under my belt, this one with no prospect of improvement, and I still have no idea where to even start.
With one long swig from my Imagine mug, I shall toss caution to the winds, and just write whatever comes to my brainbox.

I do a lot of research on a band if I like them. Sometimes, part of the fun of the music is knowing where it came from in the first place (trivia, snippets of wisdom, stories from the writers, or, sometimes, the artists themselves are thoroughly entertaining). Stuff like this? JACKPOT! GOLDMINE! Big bucks, no Whammies! Imagine my reaction when I discovered there was a part two.
Of course, band research doesn't ever really stop. There's always something new to discover about the folks that bring such pleasurable sounds into the doldrums of your everyday life.
Interviews are always my favorites, so imagine my surprise one evening last November, when, in my insomnia-fueled psychosis, I run across this one with a couple members of the Plain White T's (writing playlist favorites for years), out to promote their fresh release, "Wonders Of The Younger" (it's not "Big Bad World", but certainly on par with "Every Second Counts"... but that's not what we're here to talk about). I suggest you fast forward to the thirteen minute time stamp, for those of you who don't really care what Tom Higgenson has to say about festival season at home and abroad (if you do care, you will note that, while he mentioned Lollapalooza, he blatantly ignored Cochella and Bonnaroo)...

I've seen and read enough about Tom Higgenson to know that if he says something has a '60's vibe, odds are great that I shan't be disappointed.
On this advice, I had just found a brand spanky new, shiny-tastic toy to play with.

Oh, what fun!

Since I have terrible issues sleeping (who are you to judge me?!), I spent several nights enjoying interviews, exploring their catalog (limited though it is), reading articles and reviews, and, generally, having fun with my latest discovery.
In all of this research, I'd have to have been a right dunderhead to not recognize, as Mr. Higgenson so kindly informed us in that interview, that the Ross/Walker team had been engaged elsewhere before their latest venture.
Panic At The Disco, they called themselves.
Yes, I had heard of them when their first album came out. It was, apparently, some big deal at the time, blah, blah, blah.
I wouldn't know. All I needed was a thirty second preview on iTunes and a look at the man-liner (yes, I know it's usually called guy-liner, and, by calling it man-liner, it ruins the play on words... I think man-liner describes the practice better)...
...and fourteen year old me thought nothing more of it.

I was assured in my research that their second release, "Pretty. Odd.", was a far cry from that original material. And, as was evident by the Young Veins promotion, the man-liner was a thing of the past.
Of course, if we're going to poke fun at where they were at four or five years ago, I must be willing to do it, myself...
Oh my God. I haven't seen this picture in a long ol' while. What a couple of bumbling idiots.

Side Note: my mother laughed hysterically when she saw this picture. I'm not sure whether I should be glad it got it's intended effect, or offended by the retrospective hilarity that ensued.

Male make-up aside, I decided to try out their new sound; after all, the more the merrier, right?
Besides, with a few years in the rearview mirror, surely maturity will win out, right?
I mean, we've all grown from man-liner and... well, whatever my personal contribution represents.
Yes, I believe we have.
I have to say, Ryan Ross is rockin' that Monty Hall suit. Nothing screams fun like heavily checked waistcoats. The sad part? I'm serious.

When I did my traditional YouTube search (I'll type in the band name, and watch the very first video that comes up), and watched this video...

Due to technical difficulty (i.e., they don't allow embedding), you'll have to click here to see it. Do so. You won't be sorry.

We now resume our regularly scheduled programming.

...I was blown away.
It reminded me of something...
And we all know I like to be reminded of that.

"Pretty. Odd." charmed the pants right off of me; although, since I do all of this research in the early morning hours, I probably wasn't wearing pants, anyway, but you get the point I'm making.

Of course, going about it in the wrong order, what with learning about The Young Veins first, then the later, pre-split material (confusing, but not inaccurate) from their prior gig, I shouldn't have been surprised.
Regardless of the fact that Brendon Urie may or may not annoy me (which, apparently, defies some kind of universal law, like gravity, or the butter-side-down theory), the only other thing I disliked about the album was that there simply wasn't more of it.
There. I said it. They left me wanting more, just like Col. Parker and Brian Epstein made their respective acts (credit where it's due, and all that).
All I can say is look it up for yourself.
Chances are, if you enjoy reading this blog, and you haven't heard this album yet, you'll be glad you checked in here today. You don't have to thank me, but checks may be payable to...
Reginald Kitty is not amused. He will take your money, though.

As for what I know about the split, I kinda stopped paying attention when I read this in an interview (BAND RESEARCH!) with Mr. Ross on that very subject:

"Brendon's more of a Peter Gabriel fan, and I'm more of a Ray Davies fan."

When I read it, I nearly had a heart attack.
Ray Davies, the mastermind behind the one and only modtastic Kinks?

As in, "The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society" Ray Davies?
Let's be honest, we all know the Ray Davies Mr. Ross was talking about. I just couldn't make up my mind which photograph to use, so I figured, "use 'em both!"

This explains so much!
Thus, we have this...
If you don't recognize the musical genius of this songwriting team, your ears must be made of some impenetrable substance. I'd get that checked out by a doctor, if I were you.

To be frank, the songs are New Millennium elysium. Their debut album, "Take A Vacation!", is what I like to call a perfect album. The odds are very great that you will not touch the fast forward button once during a listen through this album, meaning you can just leave it on. No fiddling about with checking or unchecking in playlists, or wasting battery on your iPod by twiddling about to skip something that's slightly unpleasant. Just set it to play straight through, and you won't hear a sucker in the bunch.
Though I fall into a very small niche in the market, they've got the sound I look for. If my grandmother, who died in 1966, were to hear this album, she'd want to head to the nearest now near-extinct, Rob Gordon-esque record shop and pick up a copy for herself.
I saw an interview that was posted on the Young Veins website in which they were asked what music influenced their sound. Do you realize how refreshing it was to not only know every band they mentioned, but to actually own every album they talked about?
I almost wept over my keyboard.
I take this as official confirmation that we have encountered a most rare sighting: fellow anachronisms!

Regardless of this depressing Twitter message (is Twitter not the most useful/creepy/totally screwed up tool ever?)...
I firmly believe that, as a team, or solo, they've both got nice, long careers ahead of them. There's so much growing and wiggle room with these guys, it makes me feel like a topless puppy just to think about it.
Apparently, I'm not the only one. This Twitter response from the official Plain White T's feed backs me up.

Mr. Walker has already released a delightful solo EP of home recordings; if you loved "McCartney" in 1970, you'll love this, too. I was instantly reminded of Paul's classic solo debut as I listened to Mr. Walker's latest efforts. Go on, spend five bucks, treat yourself.
Though I haven't bought it yet, I've been playing the fool out of it.

If you're not going to buy it, at least listen to track four (I'm listening to it as I type this sentence, actually). You'll probably buy the album if you do.

I leave you now with a video that continues to tickle me (I can't help it, I'm big on wordplay)...

Fifty billion bonus points if you can guess my favorite plural noun.

OK, I lied, I read the whole post over.
Sue me.

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