Friday, October 8, 2010

What is "Epic"?

11:28 AM
me: there are lesbians everywhere

but not the good kind
11:29 AM
crusty old lesbians from the 70s
11:30 AM
Paul: where
11:32 AM
me: in my building

on my floor
11:33 AM
how was the rest of jury dutty

11:34 AM
Paul: i got let out early

me: nice
19 minutes
11:54 AM
me: whats the plan for tonight

what time should we get to hanks

Paul: ehhhh christ

figure it out later

me: like 9ish
11:55 AM
when does the fun go on

Paul: like 11
11:58 AM
me: can I just show up at 11
11:59 AM
or 10.55

ive got video games to play

Paul: i know you do
25 minutes
12:24 PM
Paul: oh man so i never listened to semi precious weapons until i heard this song on radio last night

dont get mad at me cause i look better in your party dress
12:25 PM
folllowed by interview where they are now going on tour with gaga


bullshit music
12:28 PM
me: but you liked tha tik tok song
12:32 PM
Paul: i dont like it

i think she should be put down
12:33 PM
i like to do my stupid dance to it thogh

my stupid dance is timeless and can not be held accountable for the bad music that it comes out to

me: ahh

of couse


cant type today, got up too early
12:34 PM
are semi precious weapons gay

they look like a really bad version of the scissor sisters doing a really bad version of manhattan indie rock
12:39 PM
Paul: its really bad

me: lady gaga should write a couple of decent songs for them too
12:40 PM
Paul: ugh

i forgot how much you love over privaliged nyu kids in the theater relm
12:41 PM
me: the way you and your gay roommates revere madonna is the way this generation reveres lady gaga
12:42 PM
its not about being an nyu theatre student, its that she writes epic fuckin' songs that slay every gay disco on the planet

and I gotta respect that
12:43 PM
I'd think you would too
12:47 PM
Paul: epic?
12:48 PM
poker face is now epic



me: ummm... yes and yes

I would say songs that sit at number 1 for weeks on end would be considered epic

especially in this era
12:50 PM
you havent partied with the kids in a while, its ok... you dont have to like it, but give credit where credit is due
12:52 PM
Paul: ehhhhh

i do

and i dont think that is it

is she a good performer

12:53 PM
me: actually, I would disagree there

Paul: songs are not her being good

its producers and beats

and she says the same shitty words over and over

i cant believe you would say epic
12:54 PM
woudl you call it phenominal
12:55 PM
me: yes I would

poker face was in the top 40 for 83 weeks
12:56 PM
almost a year and a half

how can you say that isn't an epic song

what would you define as an "epic song"

Paul: just because people that rock out withthat stars of jersey shore do shots to it makes it epic?

i would say some pavement songs are epic and they were never #1

me: pavement songs are not epic

Paul: just because all these idiots like its epic
12:58 PM
me: you should ask dugger if he likes lady gaga

I think he'd say yes

Paul: why does that matter
12:59 PM
me: well, dugger's not one of those "idiots", right

Paul: ok good for him he also listened to stairway to heave 5 times in a row


me: ok, so something is only epic if paul sweedlund likes it and says so

is that what youre saying

Paul: i dont live or die by the gays musical tastes
1:00 PM
no but what your saying is because every greased up guido in a club likes it its epic

me: yes, those people like it, but theyre not the only ones

Paul: are the killers epic
1:01 PM
me: theyve written some epic songs, yes

Paul: so slick produced regurgitated crap is now epic

me: no

you act like slick production hasn't been around for at least 30 years

Paul: if you had never met annie would your answers be the same


me: yes

Paul: NO!

you would rip on the killers and conway all day long and you know it
1:02 PM
me: ive Dj'd enough parties and karaoke nights to know better

Paul: theyt are good they are whats out now and its popular but to put them up as the new saints of music is stupid

gaga and killers will not stand test of time
1:03 PM
me: my personal opinion on the killers music might have changed, but not the idea that they have written epic songs

ok maybe our definitions of whats epic is what is off here
1:04 PM
is "don't stop believing" an epic song

to you

Paul: ugh i guess so then in that case you are correct
1:05 PM
me: ok, it's an epic song because why... it's insanely popular, you can play it almost anywhere and a large percentage of people will react positively to it

Paul: i was focused on epic as being a great arrangment with a song that builds and then releases and makes you feel things

i dont think any one feels poker face

me: thats absolutely wrong

Paul: is dogs epic?
1:06 PM
20 minutes long

not a hit

me: epically long, yes

Paul: but id say it sure as fuck is epic

so your saying dogs is epic/


me: not in the definition of what im trying to argue here

Paul: right
1:07 PM
well that was the definition i was arguing

what your saying is more of a cultural event

me: something that defines the era, things that are insanely popular and cross over into many groups of people and tastes
1:08 PM
such songs are rare

the killers and lady gaga have both written them

they will stand the test of time

no doubt in my mind

Paul: but is epic the right word

me: yes
1:09 PM
Paul: very imposing or impressive; surpassing the ordinary

me: yes

how many artists come to connect with so many people, like, a miniscule amount
1:10 PM
and people act like its just "slick production"... I know you're smart enough to realize how many other people are trying to do the same exact thing
1:11 PM
lady gaga has sold out every arena on the planet multiple times over in the last few years... and it's not because she wears goofy outfits and is some sort of "performance artist"
1:12 PM
its because she's written not one, but several songs that resonate so hard with so many people
1:13 PM
songs that hold up to repeated listenings, over and over and over

not to you or me, but there were lots of old folks saying the same thing about the beatles way back when
1:14 PM
im making an observational evaluation of what is "epic"... not my own dumb personal taste

Friday, April 23, 2010

Current Favorite Song - April 23rd 2010

Like the celebrated music critic Lester Bangs once said: it's not nostalgia, it's taste. Besides, how can I be nostalgic for something that came out when I was three years old? Occasionally, I will get into some new music. More often, though, I find myself digging through the treasures of the past. No one ever clued me in to the Human League, mostly because I don't hang out with people who were of age and grooving to this shit in 1981 - but their album Dare is fantastic. You already know the Human League from their amazing single "Don't You Want Me" - which for some insanely bizarre or genius reason is the LAST track on the album. But the opening track, "The Things That Dreams Are Made Of" is the one I keep going back to. Notably, the staunchly anti-new wave Bangs was said to have died while listening to this album.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Give it to me one time nowwwwowowowowwwww (Product Endorsements #2)

If you're in the market for a nice, sweet-sounding, portable set of over-the-ear headphones for under $50, I've already done the research for you. It essentially comes down to two models: The Sennheiser PX100, and the Koss PortaPro. You can easily snag either one for around $30. Both fold up into something about the size of a pair of folded sunglasses. I decided to stop by J&R Music World to make my final decision, so I could test the headphones myself, and maybe some other headphones from their massive headphone wall as seen in their somewhat humorous commercial:

Or so I thought. That actual headphone wall does not exist. I don't know where it is, but it's not at the J&R Music World on Park Row in New York City. The actual headphone wall is about a third of that size. And the sample music coming from the headphones is definitely not heavy metal (it was more of a classical/world music bent).

They did, however, have the Koss PortaPros on the headphone wall (all the way at the bottom, in the corner) among the otherwise $200+ headphones (if you buy headphones that cost more than that, we can't be friends). The PX100s weren't there. Not only that, they didn't even have PX100's in stock (they did have the slightly more expensive PX200's, which feature more bass response). But I really liked the way the PortaPros sounded (they actually sounded better than half of the expensive headphones on the wall), so I was sold. Then I noticed the "25th Anniversary edition" PortaPros on sale for exactly the same price! During my course of research on the subject, I had learned that the PortaPros were first introduced in 1984 (they sure look like it - see pic below) and have not changed in any way. The 25th Anniversary edition is a slightly modernized version.

Why mess with perfection? One of the few knocks against the PortaPros was the flimsy cable. The 25th Anniversary edition has a cloth-wrapped cable, addressing the primary flaw fans have wanted addressed over the years. Additionally, the steel headband is a sleek black color, and the outer earpieces are a dark grey color, as opposed to the blue/teal 80's garishness of the originals. It all comes in a sleek box with a commemorative coin(?!), leather travel bag, and a booklet on the history of Koss. Normally, the 25th Anniversary edition sells for about $50, but J&R had them for $30. Additionally, I've heard Best Buy sells the 25th Anniv. model, but without the packaging, for the same price.

The final selling point of the PortaPros is this: LIFETIME WARRANTY.

You've just bought the last pair of portable headphones you will ever need in your lifetime.

These are easily the best sounding portable headphones I've ever had in my life. The best way I can describe it is "3-D". It doesn't feel or sound like you're listening to portable headphones, it sounds like there's a stereo system in your head - especially when you're rocking some tricked-out studio production like Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Welcome to the Pleasuredome":

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fonts I hate

In another life, I was a graphic designer. Probably not a very good one, maybe I made some shitty local concert posters and designed logos for area businesses. But I do have an inner voice that likes to criticize certain design aesthetics. One thing that drives me nuts is the use of shitty fonts, most notably Papyrus and Comic Sans. A quick Google search reveals I am not alone:

Big Bad Book Blog: Fonts that make you look lame

Wall Street Journal: Typeface inspired by comic books has become a font of ill will

Papyrus Watch - a blog devoted to documenting and exposing the overuse of the shitty Papyrus font

Ban Comic Sans - the same thing, except for Comic Sans

Is it weird that a font can make me angry?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

On being "punk rock"...

What's less "punk rock"?

- The Stooges playing at Carnegie Hall
- The crowd at Carnegie Hall not catching Iggy Pop after he stage dives
- Stage diving (played out)
- Selling your song about heroin to a luxury cruise line for use in a commercial
- Appearing in a commercial for car insurance?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Milky's Official Nacho Ratings #2

This past Friday's happy hour pub crawl concluded at the charming Perch Cafe on 5th Ave. in Brooklyn. After ingesting some absolutely delicious fries with chipotle mayo dipping sauce and equally satisfying buffalo wings at Dram Shop, I was a bit hesitant to continue chomping and drinking away the evening. However, among their fine selection of coffee and espresso, Perch also offers a PBR + whiskey shot combo for $4, which obviously necessitates an accompaniment of nachos. The vibe here was decidedly organic/vegetarian in nature, so I wasn't expecting anything too heavy-duty.

Location: Perch Cafe, Brooklyn
Price: $8

Chips: 4/5
Basic, but tasty blue corn chips.

Cheese: 2/5
The cheddar cheese was almost non-existent. What little cheddar there was tasted like a low-fat variety, but was still pretty good.

Toppings: 4/5
Heaping portions of guacamole, salsa, sour cream, black beans, and corn. The corn was sweet and delicious - a nice touch and something you don't find on many nacho platters.

Presentation: 4/5
Served in a deep bowl to keep things nice and tidy. Nothing was so watery as to sog up the chips.

Value: 3/5
At $8, about average for nachos on an appetizer menu. The portion size was on the small side, however.

Milky's Official Nacho Rating: B+

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Top of the Charts

One of my favorite websites is - you install a small program on your computer and it keeps track of everything you play in iTunes, and you go to the website to check out your complete listening history in chart form or otherwise. You can do the same of all your friends also on, then bust on them when it shows 24 plays last week for Christopher Cross' "Sailing".
The only weird thing is my "Top Tracks" section, which for some reason doesn't actually contain my all-time top-played tracks (according to the official iTunes count). Anyway, this is what I've been digging the past couple weeks:

Buck Owens - A country legend (I've been getting into all the country legends over the last few years) who pioneered the "Bakersfield Sound". Also one of the first country acts to incorporate elements of rock n' roll with traditional honky tonk, Owens was more famously remembered by some as a cast member of the popular 70's television show "Hee Haw". Here's Buck doing a guest spot on the Dukes of Hazzard television program:

The Who - In the weeks leading up to their Super Bowl performance, I heard a lot about the Who, one of my all time favorite bands, which was getting me fired up for some of their back catalog. They also had a Who channel on Sirius satellite radio, which I listened to a lot at work. I found their Super Bowl performance to be absolutely dreadful, and I still don't understand why they continue to tour and how they justify charging their fans hundreds of dollars for tickets to a show that is only one half of actual Who members (not to mention the fact that Daltrey can't hit half of the original notes he sang, and Pete barely plays any lead guitar). Still, with so many great songs and albums, it's easy to get lost in a marathon Who listening session. Here's one of their finer pop moments:

Moistboyz - I was listening to this before I went out one night last weekend. This shit will get you fired up. Dean from Ween's side project is a psychedelic-metal fusion that is one of the hardest, rawest bands ever. Criminally overlooked, a mention on this blog will surely propel them to the superstardom they deserve.

The Nerves, "Hanging on the Telephone" - Blondie's cover is the more well-known version, but the original is probably greater for it's pop simplicity. My band is trying to do our own version of this classic, but as you may or may not know, pop songs are more complex and difficult to play than they sound, which is what makes them great.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Things I miss/don't miss about New Jersey

I've lived in Brooklyn now for about three months. It's not the first time I've lived outside New Jersey (I lived in California from 2002-2003), but there are a few things I will probably always miss or not miss about it.

Miss: The Newark Star-Ledger. I love reading newspapers, and this is my newspaper of choice. It strikes the perfect balance between price and quality. It did not take me an entire day to read, but contained all the pertinent local, national, world, entertainment and sports news. Of course, there's the New York Times, which is good, but a bit long-winded, and usually contains sections I care nothing about (most of the Arts and Living stuff is terribly high-brow and boring), the sports section is usually lacking (too many puff pieces), and the daily price is $2 (the Star-Ledger is $0.75). There's also the Post and Daily News (at $0.50 daily), who have a couple positive traits (decent sports and local news coverage), but are generally only a couple steps above the National Enquirer.

Miss: Wawa. The greatest convenience store ever. Good coffee, great sandwiches, great prices, top-notch selection of your standard convenience store products.

Don't Miss: Having to drive everywhere. Kind of goes without saying, but I'm within a five minute walk of: 300 bars, grocery stores, 24-hour delis, pizza, great restaurants of every cuisine imaginable (there's an Australian bar/restaurant on my corner, an Ethiopian joint on the opposite corner, etc.), my band's practice space, thrift stores, coffee shops, hell, there's a Guitar Center and a Target just down the street (although it might be the crappiest Target I've ever been to, it's still Target).

Miss: Grocery store prices. I did brace myself for this, but I'm still not used to it.

Don't miss: Insects.

Miss: Nature.

Don't miss: Gas/tolls.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Milky Manchester's Guide to Nachos

One of my favorite culinary delights are nachos. The basic premise, tortilla chips and cheese, lends itself to an almost infinite amount of combination with various ingredients of Mexican cuisine and otherwise. What I enjoy even more is critiquing the abysmal excuse for nachos many restaurants and eateries try to present me. So it was with great delight when last week I partook of an almost near-perfect plate of nachos. This got me to thinking, what makes a great nacho?

1. Chips. The foundation - this is crucial but often overlooked. The chips must be crispy and warm, a little salty but not overly so. They must be sturdy, able to support the weight of many toppings, and they must not sog easily.

2. Cheese. Most places strike out on nachos by using the generic, chemical-style nacho cheese. I have nothing wrong with this, in fact, I do enjoy it from time to time. But it's something you expect from $3 nachos at 7-11 or Taco Bell and is inexcusable at any sit-down restaurant. All it takes is a proper amount of Monterey Jack or a mild cheddar, and anything more exotic than that is a definite bonus. Of course, there must be enough cheese to go around, but not too much cheese that the nachos are bogged down by it.

3. Quality toppings. Here's where things get tricky: some places try to cram too much onto nachos, others get too skimpy. My preference is for one type of meat, usually chicken, ground beef or steak make for the best nachos. Then you need one, maybe two other layers of warm toppings. Black beans are good, but can end up sogging many of your nacho chips. Refried beans are also good, provided they are properly placed and not just a crushing pile in the middle of your nachos. Chili also makes an excellent topping. Then there's the stuff that is/should be a basic requirement of all nachos: sour cream and guacamole. On the side, preferably. Lettuce and tomatoes also help, and maybe a little salsa or taco sauce, but just a little, again - soggy chips = bad nachos. It is also my experience that 99% of nachos with scallions/green onions on top are quality nachos. More optional ingredients include green/red peppers, jalapenos, and black olives.

4. Presentation. The hardest part - how do you arrange everything just so? Making sure that almost every chip has some sort of nacho goodness? There is no easy way to do this, but some people just have the magic touch.

5. Value. Easy enough - how much bang are you getting for your nacho buck?

A+ = Possibly the greatest nachos ever
A- = Almost perfection
B = Pretty good, missing a key component or two
C = Needs work
D = Barely qualify as nachos... missing most components of nacho-ness

Presenting, Milky Manchester's first ever Official Nacho Rating!

Location: The Central Bar, Union Square, New York City
Menu Name: "Central Bar Nachos"
Options: Chicken or Steak (I chose steak)
Price: $10

Chips: 5/5
Cheese: 4/5
Toppings: 4/5
Presentation: 4/5
Value: 4/5
Milky's Official Nacho Rating: A-

Toppings: steak, black beans, guacamole, sour cream, scallions, tomato
The steak topping was excellent, nice size hunks of steak and plenty to go around. Fresh guacamole for extra points. A few chips were soggy from the black bean juice, probably one of the only factors keeping these nachos from an A+ rating. A perfect distribution of cheese. Crispy, delicious chips. While $10 is a little steep, it is NYC and the plate was big, easily enough for 3 people.

While doing a little research for this article, I came across a blog devoted to rating Nachos. YES!

Yummy Nachos Blog

Monday, January 4, 2010

Top 10 Moments of the 00's

10 through 2: irrelevant


Killing time with classic websites #1

Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music

For a short while back in the 00's, I was the electronic music director at 90.3 FM the Core, my college radio station which I definitely spent way more time at AFTER college (mostly because it was a lot of fun, and because I eventually ended up working back at the same college for a few years). Technically, I was "RPM Director", "RPM" being the College Music Journal's (CMJ) term for electronic music (?).

Anyway, I had to review a lot of music, most of which I was not familiar with. I would constantly have to refer to this slightly out-of-date website (dig the sweet circa-2002 flash intro!) which does an excellent job breaking down genres of electronic music. Since there's a lot of crap out there in electronic music land, even those who have minimal knowledge of electronic music will find Ishkur's reviews entertaining, as he holds nothing back in his critique of each genre - which is very pleasing to those of us who have no use for Happy Hardcore and NRG (the sub-genres most people would associate with the term "techno music", i.e. the terrible club music that you'd hear in terrible clubs.) The kicker is in the layout - it's all mapped out in a nice circular timeline, with genres extending outward, connecting the dots between then and now. A quick click on the genre and you have the info you need, complete with several audio samples that play instantly. Those who do have an appreciation for musical history will find this to be highly informative and a great primer on all types of electronic music and it's (fairly) rich history.