Lock Down this Rock!! – 02 – Pujol/United States of Being

I like music. I have a band. I’m gonna tell you all about it. 

 What I look for in rock: guitars, melody, guitars, energy, guitars, and guitars.

Pujol, “United States of Being”

I’m going to die at any moment. I ain’t got time to mess around.

That’s what it feels like to be 41. And it’s why music is such a part of my life again. Looking over the years, and sampling many different ideas, I find myself coming back to what has brought me the most joy in life. That’s what getting a prescription to statins will do to you. I’m buying Doctor Who actions figures too, if you were wondering.

And why wait to review this new Pujol album? True, I’ve only listened to it once. On the bus. On the way in to work. Stogy critics would deny themselves the pleasure of writing about a piece of music until they’ve had ample chance to soak in all nuance, and ponder greatly as to it’s place and meaning in the Universe. And then pat themselves on the back. Maybe smoke a pipe. Screw that. This pushes the Pavlovian happy rock button at the base of my neo-cortex. I’m gonna talk about it.

It’s interesting how the right amount of guitar, rock and pop instantly grabs me. A golden ratio, if you will. The United States of Being has songs that don’t screw around. Upbeat, direct and to the point, melody, clever turns of phrase, and a touch of psychedelia.

I know jack and shit about this band. I bought this solely because I heard a track on WFMU. And I’m okay with that. It’s the Innerweb 2.0, right?

Check them out!

Postscript, two weeks later: E and a G too, E and a G, Y.

Post-postscript, a few minutes later: Fine, okay, I did some research. Pujol refers to Daniel Pujol. He’s hedging his musical bets by pursuing a graduate degree in Global Affairs. Smart man.

Lock Down This Rock!! – 01 – Ceremony/Zoo

Hey everyone, it’s the debut of my new music review column!

Yes, yes, I know. It’s the same title I used for my Classic Hawaii 5-0 review column! I have a theory that it’s clever.

Here’s the tagline!:

I like music. I have a band. I’m gonna tell you all about it. 

 What I look for in rock: guitars, melody, guitars, energy, guitars, and guitars.

Here’s the review!:

Ceremony, “Zoo”

The last time I tried my hand at music criticism, I was dead broke and my career was in the shitter. Thankless does not begin to explain the experience. You get a stack of bands you have no interest in that you must write about, get paid at rates that Charles Dickens would have found appalling, and make so little that the tax damage at the end of the year actually may cost you more than if you wiled the days away eating chips and salsa and watching Columbo. Music (and movie) criticism was adding insult to injury.

So why would I want to even consider that horror show again?

Well, I like music.

Let me tell you about Ceremony.

I have a theory about punk rock. Actually, I might have a few. Anyway, there’s a big family tree, and modern bands descended from different branches. I had this thought when first listening to Zoo: “Man, I really like bands from the Wire arm of the Punk Family Tree, way better than the Ramones branch.”

You get loud, you get the herky jerky, you get the thoughtful fury. What’s not to like?

Getting back to Zoo: I like the tightly honed sound. Was surprised in a few spots, which is rare these days. In an era where many popular bands drink sleepy-time tea before practice, I appreciate their energy.

Songwriting is good, but a bit one dimensional. Or one worded. Listen – you’ll see what I mean.

All in all, a solid double. Exciting, but you wish that they’d got under the ball a bit and sent it out of the park.

Check ’em out!