Me Love Pop Rox

Surf rock has always made me weak at the knees... I can say with complete honesty that The Beach Boys will forever be a cherished favorite of mine.

You might have noticed, if you're as into indie music as I am (har har), that surf rock/pop rock is making a delicious comeback, with bands like Best Coast, Wavves and The Drums.
Los Angeles' Best Coast is probably one of the most exalted bands to ever be birthed from the indie scene. They were ranked as the #1 Best New Band of 2010 on NME's Top 100 list. Everywhere you turn Bethany Cosentino, BC's lead singer, is being interviewed and/or worshiped, as she should. "Multi-instrumentalist" Bobb Bruno and drummer Ali Koehler are Cosentino's sidekicks in producing the cutest, angstiest music since Mirah. Listen to "Happy" and "Crazy For You" off their debut album.

Want a funtime? Meet the volatile threesome, Wavves. After the many band member switch-outs, Wavves has finally settled (at least for the time being) with lead vocalist Nathan Wiliams, Billy Hayes and Stephen Pope. Hayes and Pope are both former members of the late Jay Reatard's band and chose to join Williams last November. The band recently released its third album, King of the Beach. Let me just say, if it were legal to marry an inanimate object, this album would be at the top of my list. Check out "Idiot" and "Take On the World."

The Drums' music is new to my ears, but already golden in my heart. The best way to describe their sound is to picture yourself on a beach in a garage with the
most badass pair of Ray Bans propped up on your nose. The Drums is Jonathan Pierce, Jacob Graham, Conor Harwick and the late guitarist Adam Kessler, who supposedly dropped out of the band last week as announced via the group's Facebook page. They released their first album in June and have been receiving nothing but praise and incredible worth. Hopefully Kessler's peace-out won't damage their climb up the indie success ladder. Give their album a listen, especially "Let's Go Surfing" and "Best Friend."


A Beautiful Moment in Film

This has to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing scenes ever filmed. Everything fits together so perfectly.
Wes Anderson is a genius.

The Royal Tenenbaums, 2001


Violent Punk Protesting!

I guess the only way to get shit done around here is by violent means. At least that's Against Me! frontman Tom Gabel's approach.

I'm kidding. Sort of. Tom Gabel was arrested back in 2007 for getting into a bar fight and slamming some guy's head down on a table, which turns me on, oddly enough.

I've been listening to the Florida based foursome for about six years now and seen them live once at ACL in 2008. Here's a picture from their performance, but you can't even see them. I swear I was closer, it just looks like I'm miles away!
I absolutely love their passion and enthusiasm for everything that's wrong with society. They've got balls, and they use them accordingly.

So far, Against Me! has released five full-length studio albums. Their debut album, Reinventing Axl Rose, came out in 2002. "Baby, I'm An Anarchist" has to be one of my all-time favorite songs. As The Eternal Cowboy made waves in 2003. I recommend "Sink, Florida, Sink" and "You Look Like I Need a Drink." Their next album was Searching For a Former Clarity in 2005. This one's even more anti-politics than their other albums with "From Her Lips To God's Ears (The Energizer)" sadistically serenading Condoleeza Rice and "Unprotected Sex With Multiple Partners" about the corruptness within the recording industry. New Wave graced our ears in 2007 with a slightly poppier sound, but you could still feel the brutality. Check out "Thrash Unreal" about the consequences of hard drug use and "Animal." The band's most recent album, White Crosses, has only been out for a couple of months, and I have to say I'm disappointed. Maybe it's the new label or just Tom Gabel getting softer in his old age (he's only 29!), but, whatever the reason, the album's more about gush than fist fights. They almost have a...hold your breath...Green Day vibe going on. Seriously. I do like "White Crosses" and some of "I Was A Teenage Anarchist" in which Gabel actually sings "Do you remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire?" Pretty much admitting he's a softy now.

Softy or not, he's still as adorable as ever, and now he and his wife, artist Heather Gabel, have a little baby. Congrats to the couple. Now, go find your RAGE, Tom!!!


Now for the Men!

Ok, so I just gave you my Top Ten Celebrity Female Crushes.

Here is my list of Top Ten Celeb Male Crushes:

1. Conor Oberst, age 30, Singer (Brights Eyes, Desparecidos, & The Mystic Valley Band)

What can I say? He just speaks to me.

2. Leonardo DiCaprio, age 35, Actor (Inception, Shutter Island)

3. John Krasinski, age 30, Actor (The Office, License To Wed)

4. Paul Dano, age 26, Actor (Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood)

5. Paul Rudd, age 41, Actor (Role Models, I Love You Man)

6. John Corbett, age 49, Actor (Sex and the City, United States of Tara)

7. Trent Reznor, age 45, Singer (Nine Inch Nails, How To Destroy Angels)

8. Josh Hartnett, age 31, Actor (Wicker Park, 30 Days of Night)

9. Hugh Jackman, age 41, Actor (X-Men, Australia)

10. Ryan Reynolds, age 33, Actor (Amityville Horror, Adventureland)


But still sometimes I can't believe you're real...

...It's just that I've got diamonds in my eyes for you.

For entertainment's sake, I've decided to give a visual list of my top 10 female and male celeb crushes.

I'll start with the ladies.

1. Jenny Lewis, age 31, Singer/Actress

Check out Jenny's new project, Jenny & Johnny, a collaboration with her boyfriend of five years, Johnathan Rice.

2. Zooey Deschanel, age 30, Singer/Actress

She stars in one of my all-time favorite indie flicks, Gigantic.

3. Megan Fox, age 24, Actress

Two words - Jennifer's Body. That's when I knew I loved Megan Fox.

4. Michelle Williams, age 29, Actress

See the indie film Mammoth. You'll understand my infatuation with Michelle Williams.

5. Alexis Bledel, age 28, Actress/Model

Classic Gilmore beauty, and she's from my hometown, Houston.

6. Evan Rachel Wood, age 22, Actress

She's beauty meets darkness.

7. Scarlett Johansson, age 25, Actress/Singer

It's easy to see the attraction here. I don't particularly take to her singing voice, but she's a decent actress and one helluva bombshell.

8. Elizabeth Banks, age 36, Actress

Such a charmer. She just seems like a decent person to be around.

9. Alison Lohman, age 30, Actress

Drag Me To Hell made me love her.

10. Katy Perry, age 25, Singer

Cute, but outrageous. (like me!)


I'll be your wave carrying you to shore.

Jason and I saw Indie Pop band 'Islands' at The Parish on 6th St. Tuesday night.

Steel Phantoms (meh) and Active Child (omg) opened for them.

Nick T. put on a great show wearing all white with a bizarre white hood that he draped across his face half the set. They opened with "Disarming the Car Bomb" from their newest studio album Vapours. For the most part, they stuck to the newer songs, but every few songs, they'd throw in an oldie from either Return to the Sea or Arm's Way.


A Hot English Toddie and Some Ginger Jam

For the past month, I've been interning, sans profit, at my favorite Austin radio station, 101X (101.5 FM), specifically the morning show, the MorningX with Jason Dick and Deb O'Keefe.

I wake up at 4:50am on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, pack a light breakfast and a Red Bull, drive out to Emmis Communications in North Austin, and sit at a computer from about 6:00am-12:00pm. Ok, I made it sound unbelievably boring, but it's really not. My tasks typically include writing and posting a blog entry about each of the topics discussed on the show, editing and uploading a podcast for each segment, emailing airchecks to our sponsors such as Ideal Image, Budweiser, and Restora Austin, and, finally, I edit a few of the segments, chosen by Cassandra, my boss, and make them into Morning Xtras which are played the 
next morning prior to the show.

So far I've had a blast. Jason and Deb are hilarious, most of the interns are easy to get along with, and Cassandra, the associate producer of the show, is really easy-going and helpful. This has truly been a great experience for me. I'm still unsure whether or not I'm interested in pursuing a career in radio, mainly because of the money. Almost everyone that works at Emmis, aside 

from the business people like HR and Sales, has at least two jobs, which is pretty discouraging, but I'd much rather be happy and poor than miserable and wealthy. I've stood by that philosophy most of my life. I don't want to be one of those people that dreads going to work each day and never sees their family. Life is far too short for that bullshit.

It's exciting and scary to think I'll be graduating in six months. I still feel like such a baby in this world, but, at the same time, I know I'll be fine because I'm already so independent and have been for years now. If all the adults before me could do it, surely I can too. I'm excited for everything that's about to happen in my life. I'm almost done with school (for the time being), I'm about to get a REAL salary-based job, and I'm preparing to take a really big step with my boyfriend of almost a year. As frightening as it all seems, I know I can do it, and I'm ready.

"...But she was grateful for everything that had happened.
And she was anxious for all that would come next."
-bright eyes, "Waste of Paint"

For more on Jason and Deb:
MorningX Official Site
MorningX Twitter
Jason and Deb Facebook


AMC Has Done It Again

In 2003, Image Comics began publishing the eerie, yet typically comedic black and white zombie comic, The Walking Dead. American Movie Classics, better known as AMC, announced last August that they had bought the rights to make a television adaptation of the comic. Filming began on May 15, and the series is scheduled to debut in October.

The comic revolves around Kentucky-based Rick Grimes, a police officer, and his family, along with many other characters that are introduced throughout the volumes. The synopsis pretty much consists of what you would assume - a group of townspeople learning to work together while struggling to maintain their sanity and survive a zombie apocalypse. Goody goody gumdrops! Sounds pretty fun, huh?

I'm hypothesizing the TV show to be a great hit, especially if it's filmed and produced with the same degree of tact and entertainment that AMC's current original series' are, such as Breaking Bad and Mad Men.

There are currently 12 volumes; I have read the first six and am greatly anticipating the TV series premiere.

To see some sneak peeks and photos go to this link:
The Walking Dead on AMC


Music to my ears (literally!)

Whether they'll be hailed the next Johnny & June or the new Bob Dylan & Joan Baez, this duo is bound to feed folk lovers everywhere the most delectable spoonful of indie-bluegrass ever produced.

That's right. The stars have aligned, the clouds have parted and my dreams have come true. Thirty-one-year-old Singer/songwriter, Jenny Lewis, also the vocals and beauty behind Rilo Kiley, is teaming up with Johnathan Rice, her boyfriend of about six years to form 'Jenny & Johnny.'

Lewis started out as a child actor appearing in various short films, sitcoms and commercials. You might also recognize her from the 1998 film Pleasantville.

In the late '90s, she formed Rilo Kiley, which started out as a country band and slowly transitioned into indie rock. Rilo Kiley released five full-length albums, including More Adventurous in 2004 which received enormous amounts of praise.

She kicked off her solo career with Rabbit Fur Coat under Conor Oberst's record label, Team Love. In 2008 she released her second solo album, Acid Tongue, which contains two of my all-time favorite songs - "Next Messiah" and "Acid Tongue."

Johnathan Rice is intriguingly Scottish-American and devilishly handsome in my eyes. He has released two full-length studio albums, Trouble is Real and Further North.

This isn't the first time that Lewis and Rice have collaborated, however. Rice joined Lewis in "Carpetbaggers" off of her most recent album, Acid Tongue, which also ushered in a little help from mastermind Elvis Costello.


Dream Pop duo Beach House is currently at the top of my obsession list.

I saw them perform at Coachella in April, and I plan to see them again at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in October.

The chords are brilliant and haunting, the vocals are so smooth they sound like their own instrument. It's the perfect music to listen to on the beach (hence the name), in the rain, curled up next to someone by the fire or even by yourself while soaking in the tub. It's highly unlikely that I'll ever get sick of this sound; it's magic.


They told me he was bad, but I knew he was sad...

That's why I fell for (the leader of the pack)...

The Shangri-Las
1964 death rock


Coachella 2010

So, this is how I know I got a good one. A couple of months ago, Jason and I had a conversation along these lines:

Me: Let's go to California in April.
Him: Why? What's going on in April?
Me: Coachella Music Festival is April 16-18, and the lineup looks amazing this year.
Him: I just looked at the lineup. It looks awesome. I'll book our flight.

Yeah, I pretty much died.

And, now, the time has come. Exactly one week from today we'll be in sunny CA, soakin' up the music and sleeping under the stars.

I'm so antsy with anticipation of the performances. I'm getting to see a number of my all-time favorite bands in a short 3-day period!

Here's a little taste of what I'll be experiencing next week:

She & Him

Deer Tick

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

The Avett Brothers

Them Crooked Vultures

the xx



It's a very, very MAD world.

My latest (and greatest) television obsession is AMC's Mad Men, a show centered around the advertising industry in the early sixties. I know, unless you're already interested in the critical art form known as advertising, you wouldn't expect to take a liking to this show, but trust me, watch one episode and you'll be mesmerized.

The main theme of the show is really the role of women. At this time in our country's history, they were expected to make nothing more of themselves than housewives and mothers. They were taught to be curvy pieces of eye candy, told by their mothers and grandmothers to "tease, but never give it up until you have successfully reeled him in."

The show focuses on the character of Donald Draper (aka - Dick Whitman), creative director at ad agency Sterling-Cooper with a troubled past and a sugar-coated present/future alongside his bombshell wife, Betty, and their two small children.

Supporting characters include Peter Campbell, the brown-noser/potential blackmailer that everyone loves to hate, and Peggy Olson, the young, determined secretary turned copy writer.

Aside from the show being brilliantly written and elegantly shot, it manages to accurately portray the ideological snap-snot of what is arguably recognized as the most destructive decade America has ever experienced.


Ladies of Alt Rock

Is it just me, or do Erika Wennerstrom and Kim Gordon share some sort of resemblance?

Maybe it's just the fact that they're both overtly successful middle-aged women, each embodying an undeniable talent with a guitar in hand.

Gordon, at age 56, is not only a lead guitarist/vocalist for no wave/alt rock gods, Sonic Youth, but she's also a visual artist, curator, wife, mother AND she has her very own clothing line, Mirror Dash. However, the main reason why she's at the top of my 'people to be like' list is because of her admirable relationship with Thurston Moore, fellow band mate and her husband of 27 years. I have a shit-ton of respect for the couple because recent events in my life have proven what I've been told my entire life - relationships suck, marriage is a bitch and it takes way more effort than most people are willing to give. Their remarkable bond is an exception. They love each other in a loveless world.

End of soapbox monologue.

On to Erika Wennerstrom. This lady is a powerhouse. Her voice envelopes and epitomizes every aspect of blues-rock. Wennerstrom is lead guitarist, vocalist and pianist for a newer-on-the-scene, somewhat-underground band called Heartless Bastards. I've, personally, had the honor of seeing them play twice. They opened for Jenny Lewis at Stubb's in Austin June of last year, and I also saw them last October when they opened for Wolfmother. Both performances were absolutely memorable and disappointment-free.


Variation on the Word Love by: Margaret Atwood

This is a word we use to plug
holes with. It's the right size for those warm
blanks in speech, for those red heart-
shaped vacancies on the page that look nothing
like real hearts. Add lace
and you can sell
it. We insert it also in the one empty
space on the printed form
that comes with no instructions. There are whole
magazines with not much in them
but the word love, you can
rub it all over your body and you
can cook with it too. How do we know
it isn't what goes on at the cool
debaucheries of slugs under damp
pieces of cardboard? As for the weed-
seedlings nosing their tough snouts up
among the lettuces, they shout it.
Love! Love! sing the soldiers, raising
their glittering knives in salute.

Then there's the two
of us. This word
is far too short for us, it has only
four letters, too sparse
to fill those deep bare
vacuums between the stars
that press on us with their deafness.
It's not love we don't wish
to fall into, but that fear.
this word is not enough but it will
have to do. It's a single
vowel in this metallic
silence, a mouth that says
O again and again in wonder
and pain, a breath, a finger
grip on a cliff side. You can
hold on or let go.


New 'She & Him' due this spring

Indie-rock's favorite duo, She & Him, is composed of actress Zooey Deschanel and singer/songwriter M. Ward.

The two met in 2006 on the set of the indie film, The Go-Getter, in which Deschanel played the role of a quirky young woman whose car is stolen by a troubled boy caught up in the downfalls of life. M. Ward provided a good amount of the film's soundtrack, including his songs "Vincent O'Brien" and "Fuel for Fire" along with many others.

She & Him's debut album, Volume 1, came out in March 2008 and proved to be a big hit among indie and folk music lovers everywhere, with heart-filling, rich songs like "You Really Got a Hold on Me" in which Zooey sings "I wanna leave you, don't wanna stay here. I don't wanna spend another day here. Oh-woah-woah-woah, you treat me badly. I love you madly. You really got a hold on me."

Finally, Ward and Deschanel are indulging their audiences and releasing their second full-length album titled Volume 2, with songs such as "In the Sun" which features indie band 'Tilly and the Wall' and "Gonna Get Along Without You Now", which is a Skeeter Davis cover. Davis is a well-known country singer from the '60s and she's also famous for being one of the first women to make it big in country music as a soloist.

Volume 2 is scheduled to be released on March 23 of this year. She & Him have posted tour dates on their website (linked at the top of this post). They are scheduled to appear and perform at Coachella Music Festival April 16-18 in Indio, CA outside of Los Angeles. I'm thrilled to announce I will be seeing them there!


New White Stripes Documentary to Premiere at SXSW '10

Jack and Meg have done it again - Color me impressed..."blue orchid" impressed to be exact.

Yuppie, alt/blues-rock band duo, The White Stripes are releasing a documentary titled Under Great White Northern Lights which was filmed during their 2007 tour through Canada. The film's world premiere took place in Toronto back in September of 2009.

Under Great White Northern Lights is scheduled to make its U.S. premiere at the South By Southwest Film Festival which takes place March 12-20.

The CD and DVD of the documentary will be released on March 16 as a box set.