I am a apple whore!

by on July 15, 2007 @ 1:41 pm

I now know the love of a PDA. It is almost like the soft touch of a woman that I had to pay $650 for. Yes, I have purchased the new apple iPhone. It is now my duty to give my pros and cons to you, the loyal BAMF army. After over two weeks of use, I think I made a good buy and here is why:

1. The Internet and mail options work just as they would on your Mac or PC. Though the Edge network takes a while to load, when it is using a wifi hotspot it loads pretty fast. I am also typing this post with it.

2. It is a iPod. I would compare it to a Nano that plays video. Granted the space is a little bit small, but it does work well for travel and curing small bits of boredom. I have the small season of Firefly and about 8 albums on it and I still have four gigs to work with.

3. The touch screen works just as well as you’ve seen in the commercials. You open up a web site and can pinch the screen to zoom in and out. Going through the contacts on your phone is as easy as a flick of your finger. The keypad takes a bit to get use to, but once you do get it, it is easy.

4. The small features surprise you. Having Google maps as already saved me a bunch of grief and heartache. The You-tube feature is neat, but not to useful. The camera takes great pictures and it is fun to set up themes for your contact list. It also has iCal to use as a calendar, which works as well as any other program. Then you have little things, like weather, stocks, calculator and time. All the buttons are little Apple widgets, and they are easy to use.

Now it is time for my issues with it.

1. When you send out a text message, it can only be sent to one person at a time. So no more blanket text messages of my ass to my friends at the end of the night. I know a few people who are disappointed about that. It also lacks a IM program, but I’m sure that can be fixed with a update.

2. No games as of yet. I know most people don’t care to much about that, but I miss my Bejeweled. It would just kill time, and sometimes I need that. There are rumors that Nintendo is going to make games for it, and that could make up for my pain.

3. No flash plugins! I don’t mind You-tube, but I love all internet videos. I can’t watch them from my phone and that is not cool. Again, I believe that can be fixed with a update.

4. Small crashes and little bugs. It being a first gen, I expected this. Sometimes I will be online and Safari will crash. It’s a little pain in the grand scale of the phone. Also, when I get a call while I’m on the phone, sometimes I will lose both calls if I try to answer. A problem that can be fixed with updates.

5. No Ring-tones. I too cant stand hearing “This is Why I’m Hot” everytime a phone rings, but I do like having one personalized tone for myself. I have heard that iTunes will soon have a button to convert songs to ring-tones, but it will cost just as much as buying a song. I liked having the ability to make my own ring-tones on my RAZR. It sucks that Apple is blocking creativity.

If I was to give it a grade right now, it would be a B+ with room to improve. I’m sure the great debate’s will now rage, but I’m happy with my product.


Any phone that gives me Pie on the go is good.

CD Review: the Outline – “You Smash it, We’ll Build Around It”

by on July 28, 2006 @ 10:27 am

The Outline‘s debut release on Fearless Records, You Smash It, We’ll Build Around It, is this pleasant little combination of influences. The Outline sounds a lot like Depeche Mode, although not nearly as much as She Wants Revenge (the only band sounding more like Depeche Mode than She Wants Revenge is Depeche Mode, and only then by a small margin).

There’s also some serious Incubus worship going on, at least in the album’s production. This album sounds HUGE. As in, the Outline sounds more tailored to playing big stadium shows, as opposed to the club tour they’ve got going on later this summer. The album’s third track, “Death to Our Enemies (We’ll Make ‘Em Sorry)” features a Propellerheads-style bassline, and wickedly cool theremin to sound like a sci-fi action thriller’s theme music. You wanna dance and run away from the monsters all at the same time.

You Smash It, We’ll Build Around It manages to throw in diverse influences like the theremin on “Death To Our Enemies”, as well as salsa piano on “Perfect For the Plain” without sounding like it’s this tosspot of confused sounds. There’s a taste of the Streets on the closing track, “Broadway and Hurst”, but it’s funnier, more profane, and cooler than anything Mike Skinner has ever done.

The Outline is one of the few bands in recent memory to mix diverse elements with rock and not sound like they’re trying for flavor of the week. Sadly, this means they’ll probably get looked over in the grand scheme of things. Let’s hope you don’t make that mistake, and take the time to become familiar with ’em.

Check out tracks on their MySpace page.

CD Review: Kaddisfly – “Buy Our Intention; We’ll Buy You A Unicorn”

by on February 28, 2005 @ 11:08 am

When a press release says you’ll like a band if you like a laundry list of styles, that says to me one of two things: either the group is in fact quite ecelectic, or they just threw everything at the wall and hoped it would stick.

Kaddisfly falls somewhere in the middle. They seem to be grasping at straws at the opening of Buy Our Intention; We’ll Buy You A Unicorn, but slowly and surely, the album’s diverse mixture of styles begin to come together. The opening five tracks or so come awfully close to aping A Perfect Circle, but by the time “Let Weight Be Measured By Merit” kicks in, Kaddisfly is standing strong on both feet.

I never thought a group could actually pull together jazz and hardcore, but this works. Sure, bands have worked in jazz drumming (Refused, anyone?) by the score. But never has jazz guitar noodling and hardcore riffs flowed into one another. And this fucking works. I’ll admit, it took me about ten listens before the album clicked with me. Once it took hold, tho’… man… this works.

To be honest, this is NOT for everyone. Someone expecting something like Thrice (this is Hopeless, after all) is going to be sorely disappointed. But if you put Buy Our Intention into your cd player with an open mind and open ears, you’re going to be in for a treat. It’s punk, but it’s not three chords and a sneer. More like bebop with a smile.

Hopeless Records

CD Review: Armor For Sleep – “What To Do When You Are Dead”

by on February 25, 2005 @ 3:48 pm

Armor For Sleep’s sophomore album, What To Do When You Are Dead, picks up right where their debut ended. It’s a really warm-sounding record, as was Dream to Make Believe.

Armor For Sleep has this amazing ability to take what is by now average and somehow manage to turn it into gold. A lot of this has to do with that aforementioned warmth. The band makes records that are the musical equivalent of laying underneath a blanket while on your couch. It’s a very cozy, relaxed sort of feeling.

There are screams, to be sure, but they come off as more cathartic, rather than angry. Armor For Sleep may play a variation on post-hardcore screamy rock, but it’s a variation that’s all their own. There’s some serious melody in their songs, but they seem to be comfortable with it, rather than struggling to “stay hard” like so many other groups in their genre.

I’m also impressed with the little booklet that came with the cd. It’s not much bigger than a credit card, but is this nifty little booklet about preparing for the afterlife that is a nice takeoff of that manual from Beetlejuice. It fits perfectly with What To Do When You Are Dead‘s themes of life, death, and what lies beyond. It’s a minor thing, but shows a commitment to a totality of vision that so many other bands lack.

Equal Vision Records
Armor For Sleep

CD Review: Various Artists – “Atticus… dragging the lake III”

by on February 7, 2005 @ 5:34 pm

Well, another year, another Atticus compilation. The clothing company owned by members of blink-182 is noted for not doing much more than putting out this annual comp and a bunch of t-shirts with the word “Atticus” on them. There’s usually a picture of a bird, too (ooh- Atticus Finch. How clever).

Anyhow, the comps usually collect an unreleased blink-182 track, some of the current bands on the SideOne Dummy roster, a selection of what the trend of the moment is (pop-punk on the first, screamo/hardcore for the second, and indie/emo for this new one) and a smattering of straight punk bands for cred.

They’re not neccesarily the best way to get new music you’ve never heard before. A lot of the tracks on …dragging the lake III are either off of already-released or soon-to-be-released records. The Street Dogs song is off their upcoming Back to the World, the Death Cab For Cutie track is from last year’s Transatlaticism, and the MxPx song is from their recently released dvd B-Movie, among others.

The Atticus series has a good bunch of tunes, which are great for the Hot Topic crowd, but may be a bit boring for those already “in the scene.” Still, they’re a great deal, as you can usually pick them up for as cheap as five bucks at places like the aforementioned Hot Topic, as well as Best Buy. Maybe not something you’d be itching to buy if you’ve already “discovered” the bands involved, but it makes a nice ready-made mix cd for road trips.

SideOne Dummy Records
Atticus Clothing

CD Review: A Change of Pace – “An Offer You Can’t Refuse”

by on January 31, 2005 @ 11:20 am

I’m awfully happy that A Change of Pace is still in high school. I’m also happy that they’re from a small town like Peoria, AZ. This means that they have the potential to expand their musical borders, which are pretty small and confining at the moment.

This isn’t to say that A Change of Pace doesn’t have something to offer, as they do. The band is signed and is still in high school, which is pretty impressive considering they can actually play their instruments and write their own songs. Getting signed to a record deal while still in high school seemed to be the exclusive realm of jailbait girls for a good long while there.

Yes, the band has talent. Sadly, it’s talent that is both stuck in a rut and unfocused. I’m not sure how a band can manage to constrain themselves and yet be scattershot about the whole thing. The way it breaks down is this: A Change of Pace can’t decide whether they want to be a Further Seems Forever / Jimmy Eat World kind of poppy emo band or whether they want to be a Thrice / Thursday kind of screamy emo band. So they combine elements of both, without really commiting to one style or another.

Now, while they skew to the pop side (for the sake of radio play, one would assume), the forays into screamo seem a bit forced. Then, when one gets used to the screaming, the pop side seems pretty forced and out of place. They haven’t reached a combinant level that’s to their abilities yet. A Change of Pace needs to decide whether they want to be screamy and a bit pop, or poppy and a little bit screamy. Once they have that small decision out of the way, the band’s going to be set, and ready to go places.

You can download the leadoff single, “Loose Lips Sink Ships” from the band’s website and see what I mean. It’s a musically strong tune and is only lacking focus. A Change of Pace has the potential to break big in the next year, if they can figure out who they want their audience to be.

Immortal Records
A Change of Pace

CD Review: KIll Your Idols – “From Companionship to Competition”

by on January 6, 2005 @ 7:58 am

Lots of hardcore coming across my desk here at the MoFo. I suppose I should be happy I’m getting the heavy shit I complain about never receiving, rather than the pop-punk with screams they call hardcore nowadays.

Yeah… well… Kill Your Idols’ new release isn’t really all that spectacular, either. It’s the other side of the coin from the samey-sounding screamo acts. Of course, it has a great Pist cover (“Still Pist”). Plus, the last track, “Looking Back,” grabbed me by the ears and finally made me pay some real attention to From Companionship to Competition. “Still Pist” is pretty true to the original, and “Looking Back” has the sort of hardcore hook I haven’t experienced since Kid Dynamite broke up.

Those two songs, however, were the last two tracks. The preceeding thirteen weren’t enough to drag my attention away from whatever I was doing the times I listened to the disc. And that’s a damn shame, too. Seriously- when I listen to cds for review, I play them at work, while I’m making dinner, while I’m reading, in my headphones… I give every album a nice, well-rounded test.

With Kill Your Idols, they couldn’t grab me until the very end. Unfortunately, by that point, it was too little, too late.

SideOne Dummy
Kill Your Idols

CD Review: 7 Seconds – “Take It Back, Take It On, Take It Over”

by on @ 7:39 am

Ah, 7 Seconds. You know- they’ve been around for 25 years. Yep… 25 years. That’s the same age as me. They started at roughly the same time as I did. No lie. And you want to know another little bit of information about me and 7 Seconds?

Every album since The Crew has bored me to death.

This one is no exception. It’s not that the album sucks, it’s just that Kevin Seconds and Steve Youth seem to have a formula that worked so well for them back in ’84 that they just can’t seem to let it go. Which is a shame, because their live album, Scream Real Loud is a fantastic piece of work that shows that even though a punk band’s been together for 20 years plus, they can still rock out with the youngest of them.

However, just because you can rock like you did when you were 20 doesn’t necessarily mean you have to follow the same exact song structure you did when you were 20. If the band could branch out a little… just a little, they’d have something would would maintain my attention past the duration of the disc.

Take It Back, Take It On, Take It Over isn’t a bad album, it just isn’t anything 7 Seconds hasn’t done over and over again. They do it well, it just doesn’t grab me the same way it did the first time.

SideOne Dummy
7 Seconds

DVD Review: MxPx – “B-Movie”

by on November 15, 2004 @ 12:04 pm

MxPx has been a band for ten years now. Damn, it seems just the other day that I’d heard “Chick Magnet” for the first time. Anyhow, these pop-punkers have been on Tooth & Nail, A&M, and now make their SideOne Dummy debut with this DVD and acoustic EP combo.

The EP features four new songs and a really lovely reworking of “Invitation to Understanding” off 1998’s Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo. The reworked track actually fair better than the new songs, simply because of its familiarity. The new tunes are good, but lack energy, most likely because they were arranged to be played acoustically.

Now, then… the DVD. B-Movie is the sort of DVD I usually avoid purchasing. There’s just something about combining live footage with interview type stuff that’s never really been able to draw me in, no matter how well it’s done or how much I like the band. And while I’ve liked MxPx for years now, I’ve never really been a huge fan.

The movie isn’t bad, it’s just that it doesn’t really feature enough of any one thing to get me going. There’s no full live show, there’s no music videos, and it’s all pretty much slice-of-life stuff about the band interspersed with live footage. The audio quality of the live footage is fantastic, and the footage would be great if they’d cut back on the jumpy quick edits.

For fans of the band, I’m sure this all borders on crack, as B-Movie is loaded with pictures, interviews, and stuff. I guess what bothers me most about the disc is that it seems to be all extras. There’s nothing that really makes me want to buy it. Personally, I’m happiest when bands put out a live show, or a collection of music videos. All the stuff that’s on MxPx’s DVD is material I consider to be “bonus content” on a regular release.

SideOne Dummy Records

Live Review: Big D & the Kids Table 11.08.04

by on November 9, 2004 @ 2:47 pm

“Thank you for listening to the muzak Big D & the Kids Table.”
-Dave McWane

So, here’s a bit of advice for show promoters: do not book shows outdoors, near a river, in Kansas, in November. Also, please have the common decency to not charge eight fucking dollars for a one-band show under the aforementioned circumstances. That being said, seeing Big D & the Kids Table at the Gaslight Tavern here in Lawrence last night was a really nice start-of-the-week treat. There’s something about being at a show where’s there’s less than 20 people to make it feel really special. The fact that the heaters didn’t work and that the Free State Brewing Co. Ad Astra Ale is plenty strong also led to me feeling “special.”

Anyhow, Big D made the best of the night and played a shortened set with plenty of energy and… well… beer. Still, the band managed to put on an energetic show, although they didn’t move much due to the Gaslight’s tiny stage, as well as the more-than-usual amaount of clothing everyone was wearing. The waiting for the show to start was almost as much fun as the set itself. I hung around the merch table, talking with merchman extraodinaire, Michael J. If you get the chance to see Big D, seek the man out and chat him up, as he’s really easy to talk to, and has hella good stories to tell. He’ll also sell ya Big D’s merch (I got myself a swank new beanie for ten bucks).

Like I said, it was nice to get to see these guys live, especially since they’ve put out an EP and a full-length in the four years since I’ve seen them. The old songs sound better, and the new stuff is amazing live. The set was about half audience-requested tunes, too. I’m none too fond of their newly released How It Goes, but live, the tracks sound fucking amazing. “We All Have to Burn Something” is a fantastic spoken word rant that was probably the highlight of the set for me, mainly because my call for “51 Gardner” was shouted down nearly unanimously by the band. Dammit.

the setlist:
Little Bitch
Evil Girl Angry Girl
You Lost, You’re Crazy
Are You Just Scared?
We All Have To Burn Something
Find Out
New England
She Won’t Ever Figure It Out