Archive for the Music Category

Fond Memories

Posted in Me, Music, Yeshiva on June 1, 2008 by frumpunk

Check out a yeshiva memories post from Mike in Midwood.

Mine wasn’t that bad (I’m talking about my yeshiva high school here) but in one classroom the ceiling tiles always sagged because the pipes above leaked and it would build up until once a year the whole ceiling would collapse and we’d spend a gemora shiur with brooms cleaning. This went on for two years before they actually fixed the pipes. I guess it was cheaper just to replace the tiles and let them collect the water for a year.

Also our milk was infamous. One year the purim play had this bit which I always thought was great:

*Principal is on a game show*

Host: So Rabbi, for your final question to win the million dollars… “How long does milk take to spoil?”

Rabbi: “Hey, that’s a trick question. Milk never spoils. I once had some milk that was twenty years old! It was a little crunchy, but still good.”

Our school got all the food from the food bank. Every box of cereal was carefully opened and checked, because more often than not there were insects inside the bag. I don’t know how they got in there, I thought they’re all airtight? Most kids would just buy their own cereal. Breakfast fun also involved the occasional cockroach when someone at a table would see it scurry under and yell, causing everyone to jump up on the bench. After all, who wants a roach on their shoes?

On a different note, I feel stupid everytime I get an album that came out a few years ago that I didn’t bother to get until now. Jeremy Enigk’s second solo album, ‘World Waits’ is fantastic. Can’t wait for his third one which should be out this year. I’m listening to The Fire Thefts self titled right now. I love his solo stuff, but really wish they’d get back together for another band album. I need my SDRE fixes.

I’m starting a habit of uploading a song whenever I mention music I’m enjoying, seeing as most people will have never heard of these bands. This is ‘It’s Over’ by The Fire Theft. Just click the link to go to a page to stream the song.

It’s Over – The Fire Theft

Ouch.

Posted in Music on May 25, 2008 by frumpunk

Weezer just released the video for ‘Pork & Beans’. They’ve managed to drudge up every youtube celebrity and ancient meme from the past few years to star in it in what I can only assume is some bid for new relevancy. Everything from ‘all your base are belong to us‘ to ‘Chocolate Rain‘. Only the Diet Coke and Mentos guys are cool enough to actually get this kind of recognition. The stuff takes talent. Remember what I said in OMIGOSH? Yeah, looks like Weezer is officially dead. I was literally cringing while watching it. I’m just gonna hold on to the Blue Album and Pinkerton, occasionally play Green and Maldroit, and pretend they broke up after those and never actually sunk to this level. Maybe if I upload a video of me sobbing videogame catchphrases in an ironic tshirt while pretending to swing a lightsaber, I can be in the next single?

A Punk Primer

Posted in Music on May 21, 2008 by frumpunk

I got an email from Frum Librarian asking for advice on getting into punk. I’ve decided to make it a post as I feel this kind of growth is important for our community. What menahel could muster up the energy to reject someone from his school when he’s just been grooving to Less Than Jake, or getting upset over the increasing instrusions in private life that the government has given itself the power to do and Bad Religion just made you aware of it? (You’ll notice that LTJ isn’t on the list. That’s because I focused on recent albums and I just didn’t like ‘In With The Out Crowd’ and I’m saving ‘Losing Streak’ for a later stage. You’ll also notice that was a run-on sentence. I’m not perfect.)

Just to be clear, this is my list of punk for people to start with. For one, I only included mainstream bands. Reason for this is that they can afford to have good recordings. Nothing turns people off punk like the bad recording of early punk. If all you’ve heard all your life is top fourty hits with gleaming, soapy clean production then ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ is a bit jarring to hear. I’ve learned that from experience. Secondly I wanted recent stuff from bands still around and touring. There’s nothing worse than getting into an album to find out the band has been broken up for years. This kind of ruins the community aspect, not to mention being able to see a show. Also she gave me a list of stuff she likes which is all the mainstream stuff from the 90’s like Green Day, Blink 182 and funnily enough; AFI.

Here’s my message back to her:

Hey, sorry it took me so long. First of all instead of downloading each song you can probably find them and just stream them using Seeqpod. (http://www.seeqpod.com/)

So what you have there is the typical 90’s pop-punk list with the exception of AFI who used to be hardcore then went emo with Sing the Sorrow. I’ll do a few steps. First of all you want some mainstream sounding stuff with decent production as that’s what you’re used to. Lack of production can be a turn-off for people getting into punk. All early punk had lo-fi production that makes it hard for people to get into it.

Step one is recent punk with good production from mainstream bands:

Bad Religion: The Empire Strikes First

My absolute favorite hardcore album in years. It’s a better listen if you like politics and/or are a little left leaning. Anyways the songs are solid and the harmonies really elevate it from the pack.

Songs to download:

Los Angeles is Burning, Atheist Peace, Gods Love, Live Again (The Fall of Man).

Bad Religion: The Process of Belief

Another BR album. They’re my favorite band so that’s to be expected. This was their great comeback after a lackluster few albums.

Songs to download:

Sorrow, The Defence, Supersonic, Kyoto Now!

Bouncing Souls: The Gold Record

This is a lot more mature than their earlier stuff, with a good sound and decent songs.

Songs to download:

The Gold Song, Letter From Iraq, Lean on Sheena, Better Things.

Descendents: Cool To Be You

So you like blink-182? The Descendents wrote the rulebook that blink made succesful. Every pop-punk band listened to “Milo Goes To College” a hundred times before starting their own bands. This is their 2004 album. Again, picked for the production values so it’s not a hard listen.

Songs to download:

Nothing With You, ‘Merican, Cool To Be You, One More Day, Anchor Grill.

NOFX: They’ve Actually Gotten Worse Live!

If the Descendents are the grandaddies of pop-punk (and the Ramones are the godfather) then NOFX is the immature uncle. This is a recent live album but I picked it because it’s a good way to hear new and old stuff on one album and it’s also really funny.

Songs to download:

What’s The Matter With Parents Today?, The Longest Line, Stickin’ In My Eye, Murder The Government.

Rancid: Indestructible

If you’re getting into Rancid you should start with “And Out Come The Wolves” but this is a great album as well.

Songs to download:

Back Up Against the Wall, Fall Back Down, Memphis.

I’d like this list to be longer but that’s a good start for a night of downloading. Problem is I haven’t been looking for many newer bands. Everything I’ve listened to in the last few weeks has been from the 80’s or early 90’s. Some bands I’m saving for the second part which is older stuff from the 90’s leading a bit more into the hardcore end of things. I’m posting this on the blog though, so you’ll probably get some good advice there from stacy and others. That’s a good five bands to start with.

Heard the one about the omer?

Posted in Music with tags , on May 5, 2008 by frumpunk

My family has almost no minhagim due to my parents being the first to become frum in about four generations, so what we do keep is mostly taken from the person who was mekarev them. I kinda lucked out, as he kept three hours after meat (me and the other guy who held three hours in Yeshiva would torture everyone else by celebrating the end of night sefer with a tub of Ben & Jerrys Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Very cruel in retrospect.) and was otherwise decently lenient, or at least mainstream, on most things. I.E. Opening bottles on Shabbos. For some reason I also have a double daled on my teffilin. I still have no idea why.

Anyways, for the seasonal things we never had a real answer as to what we held, in this case, listening to recorded music on sefirah. My dad who loves his seventies music does listen to his iPod, while my mother who’s always been the more “religious” won’t. I used to bounce back and forth on this issue for a bit usually not listening, because that’s what most people did. A couple summers ago I resolved not to listen to any music. I also resolved to make the whole omer with a brocha. What a miserable failure that was. I’ve still never managed it. It’s just too strict, forget and you’re done. Problem is omer falls out during finals season, so lots of late nights means I may not get a maariv minyan.

That summer started off as the longest summer of my life. I was driving a lot and no music while driving is a killer, and Rush Limbaugh, as hilarious as he is, just can’t fill that void. Until I discovered comedy albums. I borrowed a bunch that summer and still have most of them ripped onto my Zune to this day. So here’s my list of the best comedy to make your omer go faster.

Dennis Miller  – The Off-White Album

It’s old, from 1988, but Dennis has a great style that makes it timeless. His flow is fantastic and what I love about it is his vocabulary; “Gregarious, Bouillabaisse” he’s not afraid to alienate the crowd, word-wise.

Sample: “Got up early this morning. Had breakfast at the International House of Pancakes. Yeah, soon as you walk into the place there’s that distinct worldwide feel. I was baffled by the complex international menu, so I just had the flapjack du jour. My syrup steward helped me with the selection. I chose a very dry maple, it was busy but never precocious.”

It’s very old though. Jokes about the Gabor sisters, the kids from “Fame”… I don’t get it.

Robin Williams – Live At The Met

Most people love his far more recent “Live on Broadway” but this classic from the 80’s is where it’s at.

Sure, you’ve got the dated jokes about Reagan, but I like it for the historical view. Apparently Reagan was viewed the same way Bush is today. There’s enough jokes about him being a puppet on strings to drive the point home. This is Robin in classic ADHD mode. It’s like Mork is talking for 50 minutes. Yes, I think he was never better than as Mork. Mrs Doubtfire gives it a run for the money though.

Sample: “I like beer commercials. Manly men, doing manly things. You’ve just killed a small helpless animal! It’s time for a light beer. Why don’t they make realistic beer commercials? It’s 4am and you’ve just pissed on a dumpster. It’s Miller Time!

And his long bit about alcohol and drugs is simply fantastic!

Disclaimer: Don’t listen with the parents or kids. He curses a lot.

Mitch Hedburg – Strategic Grill Locations

Mitch was the king of one liner jokes. There’s no rants or stories here. Just one ridiculous line after the other with no continuity. This is his first CD, and it shows. His flow is not smooth and polished, but it works for him, makes the show more intimate somehow, like he’s just talking off the cuff as opposed to the smooth rote of some shows. He runs out of material towards the end though, the last few minutes are just him rambling and repeating some of the best jokes.

Sample: “I haven’t slept for ten days… because that would be too long.”; “My apartment is infested with Koala Bears. It’s the cutest infestation ever! Way better than cockroaches! When I turn on the light, a bunch of Koala Bears scatter.”

Disclaimer: He also swears alot.

Mitch Hedburg – Mitch All Together

Mitch was way more polished and confident here. The jokes are better and flow throughout. RIP man.

Sample: “I like re-fried beans. That’s why I want to try fried beans. Maybe they’re just as good and we’re wasting time.”; “I asked the receptionist at the front desk for her number and she gave it to me! It’s “0”. I called her from here and some other woman answered! I said you sound older.“; “I saw this wino eating grapes. I said, dude, you have to wait.”

Disclaimer: Same as before.

Jim Gaffigan – Beyond The Pale

Jim has a unique style that centers around him talking as though he’s an audience member watching his show and making observations on himself. It’s all good, except for his massive bit on Hot Pockets which goes on waaaay too long. And to add insult, he does the exact same thing on his other CD, which makes you feel ripped off. I don’t like paying for the same jokes, especially if they weren’t that funny the first time around.

Still, I recommend this one. It’s very good the first time you hear it, but unlike Mitch Hedburg it doesn’t manage to be timeless. Most of his jokes are about food and being fat and pale.

Sample: “We’re a nation that loves our food. We’re never satisfied when it comes to food. You know what would be good on this burger? A ham sandwich! But instead of a bun we’ll use two doughnuts! That way we can have it for breakfast! Look out McGriddle, here comes the doughnut-ham-hamburger! You guys laugh, but you know there’s someone at Dunkin Donuts going: that’s not a bad idea! And we could have a diet-ham-hamburger. For the variety.”

Brian Regan – Live From Pleasure Island

I have this recording from somewhere but I don’t think it’s an official CD. Brian centers on faux-pas on society and his childhood as a dumb kid. I listen to this several times a year. It’s always good. He does have an official CD which I plan on getting. Maybe even his DVD.

Sample: “The spelling bee. That’s where it all went wrong for me. There’s a great idea for kids. Hey kids, up against the wall, its time for public humiliation in front of your friends. Spell a word wrong and sit down in front of everyone. That’s great for little kids egos. Wow, I wasn’t even close. I was using numbers and stuff.

You have to get this for the spelling bit alone. Since it’s a bootleg I’ll upload it if anyone wants.

Woody Allen – The Nightclub Years

Woody is probably my all time favorite comedian and his stand up is no less brilliant than his books and films.

His stuff is mostly long stories and therefore I can’t provide a sample without running through much of the skit. Trust me though, it’s excellent.

FP Out.

On the road

Posted in Me, Music with tags , on April 11, 2008 by frumpunk

I love an open road. A road is a physical image of unexplored possibilities and all that could be. Its a sign that you could leave at anytime and start again somewhere new. A road leads anywhere but here, and that’s a comforting thought.

Driving, especially at night is a cathartic experience for me. Emotionally its a way to be alone and also feel like you could leave whats troubling you at any time. Being alone in a nice car is a feast for the emotions. You’re moving somewhere and comfortably. Add a nice sound system with some soothing tunes and I never want to leave. At least until the sun comes up and the road turns into a hellhole of commuters.

I’ve lived in three countries on three continents (and several states within America) growing up so moving is a natural state for me. I can’t even keep still when standing. In high school they mocked the little dance I did with my feet while davening, but I can’t keep still and I don’t have ADHD.

Life should not be spent with your feet firmly on the ground. Your feet should never be firmly on the ground, physically or otherwise. If you can’t be on journeys in your mind then what do you live for? If the notion of unexplored places doesn’t incite you to move then you’re dead in some way. I’ll daydream, because if I can’t be physically moving then I’ll do it anyway I can. You can have your sports, I’ll have my possibilities.

When life gets too mundane in the details, take a drive on an open road at night. On the road, distance is subjective and that’s the only objective thing about it.

Ivy – Edge Of The Ocean

Ivy – Feel So Free

Getting home with the downies.

Posted in Music, Rants with tags on April 10, 2008 by frumpunk

I don’t like rap. I’ve tried to like it, but the lack of instruments and the typical lyrical themes just turn me off. When it came out and was cool, I listened to Eminems ‘Marshall Mathers LP’ all the way through. When you’re a 14 year old Jewish kid at summer camp you feel like a badass quoting it, but I grew out of that fast. When I was at the stage where I didn’t want to listen to non-Jewish music but still wanted good music I listened to a lot of Black Hattitude. I can probably still rap several of their songs all the way through. Its almost embarrassing.

On a social scale, I feel rap is the anti-thesis of old black music. Blues I can get down with. I got nothing, and they’re trying to take it away from me. Guys with names like Muddy and Buddy. Rap is pimps and hos and “look what I gots”. Its like along with emancipation on a social scale the art of having nothing has been replaced with the art of trying to look like you have everything.

The only thing worse than regular rap is Jewish rap. Shlock Rock… please go back to rewriting U2 and Billy Joel. Seriously, for the sake of everything thats decent. (“Hey you, I’m a Jew and I think it’s cool. Yeah I eat kosher meat, ’cause I ain’t no fool.”)

I tested out the headline on my brother who only got one of the jokes in the headline. If you get both, please tell me so I don’t feel like my humor goes over peoples head.

Have another nargilah.

Posted in Funny?, Music with tags on April 7, 2008 by frumpunk

I attended my first Bat Mitzvah tonight. It was one of those incredibly wealthy and incredibly secular type of families. The older brothers wore grey suits with trendy spiked hair. What’s wrong with people like that? Spiked hair with a suit at a formal function is not a good idea, no matter what those ads in GQ look like.

Anyways, the bat mitzvah girl gave a speech that honestly made me cringe. It just felt to wrong to hear her say brochos, and translate the prayers so she was saying how all Israel looks to Hashem for salvation every day and we only hope for you… They don’t even keep kosher, this was all so wrong. In between her speeches a Sephardi rabbi got up and sang various shabbos songs for some reason. Ashes Chayil, Doror Yikra… I don’t know why. After the speeches came the real bat mitzvah; the dancing! They had a black DJ, a really cool guy called Big Al. He had a real “soul brother” voice, deep and slow. He had obviously done his fair share of Jewish events before, he knew what to say. He played a decent selection, but it was all a bit disconcerting to me to see 12 year old girls dancing while “Smack That” plays. (Sample lyric: “Smack that, get on the floor/Smack that, give me some more/Smack that, ’till you get sore) While I imagine smacking that can be quite the thrill, I’d prefer not to have 12 year olds involved. He was decent though, also playing Scissor Sisters, Michael Jackson and ending with Frank Sinatra. Sadly, it also involved four hours of Take That and Girls Aloud.

Now, onto Hava Nagilah. THEY LOVE IT. Hava Nagilah was sang to various tunes, including Ani Maamin and Yidden. Yes, they made it fit. The Hava Nagilahs ran rampant over melodies and tunes, caring not what they bashed through on their way to more renditions of Hava Nagilah. Simen Tov was also popular, though less so than Hava Nagilah.

Adding to the entertainment, the lucky girl goes to a non-Jewish high school, so most of her friends weren’t even Jewish. I still got my fill of fun though, looking over the guest list at names like “Charlotte Feldman”, “Tiffany Shwartz” and “Crucifix Finkelstein”.

Check out the video I shot of possibly the best moment: The Isley Brothers version of “Twist and Shout”.

(Note to self, edit later to remove the rambling, make post funnier. Do both before posting.)