Thursday, December 28, 2006

Now Hiring Writers

Headless Ponch is beginning to find its strengths and weaknesses. We're trying to relocate the concept of a blog with things like Headless Ponch Bullshit and interviews. Lots of blogs don't feature audio. Most of the time it's straight up text. We believe that audio is more appealing to a reader and is an easier instrument to voice your opinion with.

We do still need writers though. Matt and I can't carry out the idea of a blog being more of a website with just two people. WE NEED HELP. We try to update everyday, but we can't promise that.

Do I want to write for Headless Ponch? I mean it really is just a blog thats 'editor in-chief' is 14, it grabs in a minimal amount of hits, and I won't be earning any reward of currency.

Circle all of the above.

But the objective of Headless Ponch is not giving a fuck. Who cares if I'm 14, who cares if I'm not getting paid. I just like what I do. I like writing about music. Matt likes writing about video games.

If you'd like to write for Headless Ponch about anything -- music, video games, zoo keeping, grafitti, hair styling -- whatever you like, send a submission to Joe Lazar ( In the submission, state what you'd like to write about. I will get back to you in no less than 48 hours, with details on how to impress us.

Chicago Gamer 001

Man my head feels groggy after that all day playathon. It's made worse that I have been doing this consistently for the past couple days. Now my whole body is in quack. Go to sleep at three, wake up at one. Not good, not good at all.

But this is the heroic task I must endure to reach my goal. Seeing that I'm home and living in an abundance of free time I had to do something. That something is video games. I don't have a PS2 or a Xbox 360. So I must spend this time wisely and beat a lot of games I might have missed out on. This being Viva Pinata, Okami, and Final Fantasy XII.

But there are a fair share of roadblocks for sure. Take for example this morning. I woke up, yawned, scratched my chest, and proceeding to go downstairs to make myself some yummy waffles. Vrooooom!!! Oh shit my mom is vacuuming!!

Lesson number one of the Lazar family household. When you hear cleaning products being used; run and run real fast. If you so happen to get caught in the web of Windex and towel paper you might as well pitch a tent because you are going to be there for a good while. I always tell my friends to gallop out and do not look back. All they heard were the screams of torture.

Knowing this all to well I jump back into bed to pretend like I am sleeping. Mom falls for it and proceeds to go on by. Now just a quick Solid Snake move down the stairs, grab the waffles, and into the shadows of the basement. Hah no one saw me, haha!! No one can beat the master of stealth.

"Hi Matt"

Shit my little sister is down here. I know what she wants, she wants to play on the DS. This would be fine, but last time I gave it to her she lost it, lied about it, and took me days to find the damn thing again.

"Can I play the racing game?"

Say no Matt, say no.

"Umm sure."

You idiot. Why do I always have to be the nice guy? One day I would love to be an asshole. Just be mortal enemies with someone. Like if I saw him on the street we would immediately have Samus Aran vs. Ridley moment. Two warriors, one result, some one getting their ass kicked. . .

That sounded lame, but hey welcome to Matt Lazar's brain. The problem is that I'm just too damn nice. Maybe I should steal baby animals and hold them in prison like Dr. Robotnick. That's bound to piss of someone. Nah I will just be the same vanilla nice me.

So I hand her the DS praying to the high lord above I get it back. My main concern is with Viva Pinata though. This damn little game has taken my hours. It is funny because I don't want to play it, but I feel like I have to. Let me explain. The game never stops. There is always something popping up: watering the trees, stopping pinata wars, buying houses, or trying to mate the damn things. I find myself with no break to leave. I must keep going.

It's a hard thing to explain, but it also helps that the pinatas themselves are irresistible. Squazziles, Sherbets, and Hortaschios are the tightest bunch on the planet. Oh god, I must avoid this talk. I'm worried that I might be in a conversation with a girl and say, "Yeah I don't like when friends fight, like once my friend Pluckers, a Quackberry, got into a fight with a Badgesicle called Salsa. I had to wack Salsa in the head and put them in their corners." *Girl walks slowly at first before running like an Olympic athlete*

If only they saw the game though. Man if girls knew I played this game they would think I'm sensitive and cute and probably gay, but hopefully just sensitive and cute.

Fuck it, I got some Raisants to sell, Sour Crawls to battle, and chocolate coins to get.

Chicago Gamer Entry 001 COMPLETE

Headless Ponch Bullshit 001

Headless Ponch's giant staff consisting of only Matt Lazar and Joe Lazar team up for the first edition of Headless Ponch Bullshit. HPBullshit is the podcast of Ponch.

The boys talk about Elite Beat Agents, Gears of War, Viva Pinata, Albums of the year, and (really) new Arcade Fire music.

Headless Ponch Bullshit 001
Length: 51:39

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Merge Records Coughs Up New Arcade Fire

Mystery continues to loom over Arcade Fire and their upcomning album Neon Bible. Merge Records asked a human being to do a simple task -- upload "Intervention" , the band's new single, onto iTunes as a charity single benefitting Partners In Health. This person (someone find his name so we can go Bartman on his ass in an opposite manner) uploaded the wrong track AND decided to drop it two days earlier.

Win Butler's direct quote from on the leak:

"Intervention" was supposed to be uploaded to iTunes as a charity single benefitting Partners In Health on the 28th of December, but someone at Merge uploaded the wrong song 2 days too early ... The song that people have downloaded from the US side of iTunes is called "Black Wave/Bad Vibrations," and it is the next track on the record after "Intervention." I guess it is sort of charming that we can send the wrong song to the whole world with a click of a mouse...oh well. The real "Intervention" will be up soon, and there will be a paypal link up on for those who have downloaded the songs without paying but still want to give some money to

So how is the song? Go to Stereogum's post, and scroll threw the comments. I think it's the 13th comment that has a link.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Chicago Gamer Entry 000

I'm twenty, a Depaul student, poor, and an avid obsessive gamer who has spent more time playing Marios then talk to girls. It's a sad fate that I hold. More recent sadness has afflicted my brother and I on where to take the blog. We both agree that there should be a videogame aspect to it, the problem being what. I could review games and talk about news, but how do I compete with the big sites in that arena. I have no cash nor do I have the resources to output even three reviews a month. Poop on that.

No I needed something unique and personal. A star in a cloudy night so to speak. After many sleepless nights (well that was because of game marathoning), I devised a plan to right a journal. Before you say 'orginal idea there Matty Boy' there is a spin to it. A simple concept of one man's life and the videogames that he loves intersecting, appearing, and manifesting themselves all around.

Still not convinced. Yeah well either am I, but I thought what the hell lets see where I can take this. I will write an entry ever week, probably ever Sunday. There I will recap the events that enfolded, the games that I played, and the problems/joys/misadventures they catapulted me into. Hopefully my brain, long turned to apple sauce mush from countless zombie like days watching 'Coach' reruns, can crank out wit, charm, and some informative nature of the gamer.

This is not really the first entry. It's more a less a prologue. Just a hint for what is to come....

Warning to family/friends/lovers/strangers you will probably appear in this blog.

Under Review: Sondre Lerche // Phantom Punch

Sondre Lerche // Phantom Punch // Februrary 6, 2007 (Astralwerks)

6.5 out of 10

In 2000, he couldn't release his debut album Faces Down yet because of academic requirements. Sondre Lerche (Pronounced San-Dre-Ler-Ke) was still a young man. He went on to release two albums after his debut. Both being top sellers at Starbucks and played to an extensive count at Barnes & Noble.

Sondre is 24 now. He's a man. His music shows it. Where his first three albums were melodic with lots of acoustic and minimal, Phantom Punch, which I believe is named after Muhammed Ali's famous picture of him standing over a layed out Sonny Liston, is an attempt at a rock album. The Swedish-quality melodies are still present, but a newfound talent has entered the scene. Lerche is now delivering bombastic choruses with a wall of electric guitar and splashy drums. The Arctic Monkeys would be an obvious comparison (The Tape, Face The Blood).

Energetic songs like "The Tape" and "Face The Blood" do put Sondre in victory lane. Also, opener "Airport Taxi Reception" is what Sondre does best. It makes you wish a foriegn woman was by your side, because if you have this playing you got her in the bag. Sondre also plays retro Phoenix great in "Say It All".

The same obstacle seems to drag down Lerche time after time though. His music is good, but it's too nice and sweet. He doesn't stretch his ability too often. I'm not begging for Kid A, just something new. Well, some might say the rock inside Sondre is new. For him yes, but I've been hearing this 'new sound' from other bands for the past 5 years.

1. Airport Taxi Reception
2. The Tape
3. Say It All
4. Phantom Punch
5. Tragic Mirror
6. Face The Blood
7. John, Let Me Go
8. Well Well Well
9. After All
1o. She's Fantastic
11. Happy Birthday Girl

Interview: Luke Smith

Video game editor Matt Lazar discusses video games with news editor, 1UP Yours voice, and 1UP show regular Luke Smith. We also reveal Luke's album of the year.
"Luke Smith Interview"

-While we're at it, here's the final podcast of 1UP Yours this year with Luke Smith, John Davison, Garnet Lee, Shane Bettenhausen, and unsung hero Skip.

-Also, here's the final 1UP show of the fourth season.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Best Best Of List of 2006

Poplicks' Junichi compiled a large list of the Best Quotes of 2006. To name a few:

"Are you going to ask that question with shades on?"- President Bush to
legally blind reporter Peter Wallsten.

"He raped 10 women. I never expected it from him. He surprised all of us.
We all envy him."- Russian President Vladimir Putin, referring to rape
allegations against Israeli President Moshe Kasav, during an appearance with
Israeli Foreign Minister Ehud Olmert in which a microphone was inadvertently left on.

Read entire list here.

HHTV: A Hip Hop Revolution

I sometimes watch MTV or BET just to feel hip or see if Ghostface is every going to catch a break, but I'm never satisfied with their musical choices. I'm just never going to feel the new Lil [fill in letter or name] with his new down south shit beats. It hurts my head (Sorry for the old man talk) and doesn't ever go anywhere. Plus, every dude sounds the same. There's that commercialization block that just shuts the door on creativity forcing artists with nothing to do but pop out garbage like "Shoulder Lean".

Enter Hip Hope Television. HHTV is an idea proposed and confirmed by a Queens College graduating student by the name of Ganiu "Scrills" Ladejobi. He like many others is frustrated that commercial hip hop is beginning to get stale and the business men/record labels are just into hiring someone with a look and is 'into the classics' for viewers on MTV or BET to say that Joebob Jenkins is for real. Then when "Drop That" stacks up the paper, the record label runs off forgetting the artist and hopes to keep putting out the most formulatic bozo tracks that without a doubt will get at least a #8 spot on 106 & Park but this time with the 'most hyped MC in the streets' Lil LJ.

HHTV is going to be the first online hip hop TV network. Starting on February 16, 2007 you can access HHTV which I suppose will be streaming the live shows (A staggering number of 20 shows per day) and you can then look back at the back catalog as the HHTV library begins to broaden.

Ganiu says to buckle your seat belts "because our revolution will definitely be televised.” Now don't sell out on us Scrills.

For questions/comments/suggestions on HHTV email Ganiu.

Source: Hip Hop Press

SNL "Dick In A Box"

SNL "Dick In A Box" Justin Timberlake

Anybody know how to embed YouTube videos on Blogger?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Ponch Power Album: Kelis // Tasty

The Neptunes strike again with Kelis' third and best album Tasty. Tasty is loaded with sex and soul. Obviously sex-driven tracks like "Milkshake" and "In Public" make your palms sweaty, but tracks like "Sugar Honey" make your heart warm up like club when "Milkshake" is let out of the speakers. Kelis has such a unique and cool style that sets her apart from any other female act of recent memory.

1) Intro
2) Trick Me
3) Milkshake
4) Keep It Down
5) In Public (Feat. Nas)
6) Flashback
7) Protect My Heart
8) Millionaire (Feat. Andre 3000)
9) Glow
10) Sugar Honey
11) Attention
12) Rolling Through The Hood
13) Stick Up
14) Marathon

Monday, December 18, 2006

Best Albums of 2006

1. Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury (Zomba/Re-Up/Star-Trak)
The most generic style of wordplay in hip-hop that pollutes most of the music sounds so fresh on Hell Hath No Fury. Pusha T and Malice talk about the aftershock's about pushing drugs on the street. In "Dirty Money" they spit about showering their stripper bitches and college hoes with furs and jewelery. Then "Ride Around Shining" has the boys saying 'Float around in the greatest of Porsches / But like a Chuck wagon cause I’m on twelve horses / And the three behind mine / They be the clique / So much ice in they Rollies / They shit don’t tick man." The Neptunes (Although Chad Hugo isn't in the credits) give up the meanest beats in their stash for Hell Hath. "Ride Around Shining" is extremely minimal with the crunching bass and drums and the tingling piano swirling around like a magic wand. The production is ice cold.
"Ride Around Shining"

2. Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings The Flood (Anti)
Let me tell you what you need to know. The best voice in music is presented on this album. The hottest and funniest girl in music makes the most subtly epic album of the year.
"John Saw That Number"

3. Boris - Pink (Southern Lord)
All the metal heads will flip the switch about Mastodon, but Boris made the most energized album of the year. The Japanese threesome turn the amps to 11 on Pink and perfectly mix blistering metal with a drop and stir of shoegaze to appeal to a casual listener.
"The Woman On The Screen"

4. Spank Rock - YoYoYoYoYo (Big Dada)
The digital claps and bass slaps brought to the table by producer XXXChange perfectly compliment Naeem Juwan aka MC Spank Rock. Naeem focuses almost all of his time praising booty and wanting more booty. Album highlight "Sweet Talk" starts up with Spank Rock saying 'Tap dat ass, tap dat ass' before later evolving into the craziest soul breakdown reminiscent of Diana Ross. From asses to Diana Ross, this is the most fun album of the year.
"Sweet Talk"

5. Rhymefest - Blue Collar (Allido/J Records)
Some of the most intriguing stories or views are told by Rhymefest. On "Bullet" he discusses how young black males are forced or tricked into joining the army with specific details that bring the picture alive like 'He's in the mission where bullets flyin' and missin him / Wishin' he was a kid again with his family in Michigan' . Then on "Sister" he tells the tale of a woman who is addicted to drugs and brings down other people's lives with 'Fest commentating with 'He asked me why my momma love drugs more than me / I couldn't answer/ I sat back and peered in the sky / I thought it was rainin, but damn, there was tears in my eyes'. Wit and confidence is exemplified to a peak on Blue Collar.

6. I'm From Barcelona - Let Me Introduce My Friends (EMI [US Releaes Coming in 2007])
One summer, Emanuel Lundgren invited all his friends over to record music. The final project is Let Me Introduce My Friends. This vibrant album is loaded with kazoos, horns, and anthems. Lots of anthems.
"We're From Barcelona"

7. The Game - Doctor's Advocate (Geffen)
After being trampled with disses from G-Unit and losing Dr. Dre for his sophomore album, The Game had a lot to prove with only himself to depend on. The Game's flow has now transformed into a badass West-Side swaggering messiah. Ignore the name drops, and bump this shit.
"It's Okay (One Blood)"
8. Bob Dylan - Modern Times (Columbia)
Dylan's still whooping everyone's ass.
"Thunder On The Mountain"

9. Phoenix - It's Never Been Like That (Astralwerks/EMI)
Phoenix' first two albums were disco-rock. They were trying to be fun, but the sound grew old, and was frustrating when you heard the potential in songs like "Too Young". They get a little rough around the edges for It's Never Been Like That and go into a more Strokes like direction delivering nice formulatic pop bundled up in a concise package.
"Long Distance Call"

10. Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time (Sub Pop)
Everything All The Time is all the indie rock sounds molded into one album. A very sparse and densely produced album with echoing vocals, and slow drawling apreggios.
"Weed Party"

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Best Videogames of the Year 2006

1. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Nintendo) – Zelda continues its reputation as ‘the Beatles’ of the videogame industry. The most satisfying part of the game was its impeccable pacing; hour one to hour fifty was packed with timeless moments and solid ever engaging game play.
2. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Bethesda Software) – Bethesda Software’s mega RPG is the most time consuming title of the year. The main quest will take you twenty-five hours to beat, but loads of side quests and in-depth customization make it damn hard to put down.
3. Gears of War (Epic) – Yes the graphics are unbelievable. Yes the cover-to-cover game play amplifies the action. And yes this is the best reason to own an Xbox 360. Microsoft now has another shooter to go along with the Chief.

Viva Piñata (Rare) - Remember Rare, the guys who made Goldeneye. After years of sucktackular titles, they got their groove back with this weird garden sim. The objective is to create a piñata town, but the social experiments will keep it in your imagination longer than you ever imagined.
5. Company of Heroes (Relic) – RTS genre got a huge boon with Relic’s latest masterpiece. It does not do anything too revolutionary, but what it does do: intense action, visual effects, and level design; it does very well. The best PC game of the year.
6. Elite Beat Agents (iNis) – Nintendo DS gets yet another quirky out of nowhere hit with this male cheerleading rhythm action game. It triumphs with its collection of pop music’s guiltiest pleasures, easy to learn game play, and a sense of bizarre fun that most developers don’t have the balls to pull off.
7. Okami (Clover Studios) – Clover has gone the way of the dinosaurs. As the dinosaurs left behind its remains to be studied let us hope that developers do the same with the company’s remarkable adventure title. Peerless in its design, art, and unique game mechanics no game matched it with its bold personality. (See Review)
8. Drill Dozer (Game Freak) – GBA has passed the torch to the DS as the dominant portable platform. That does not mean though that the system can’t get some killer games like Game Freak's, makers of Pokemon, ambition little platformer. The drilling mechanic offers little depth at first sight, hours later you find yourself creatively using it in ways you never imagined. Game design at its finest.
Ghost Recon Advance War Fighter (Ubi Soft) – The first must have title for the 360 sported some spiffy graphics that begged – no – demanded you to get an HDTV. To go along with the graphics Ubi Soft designed a well rounded squad based shooter that perfected the over the shoulder camera view.
10. Kingdom Hearts II (Square Enix) – Better than Final Fantasy XII and improved over the original, KHII showed off Square Enix’s best talents: robust production values, emotional packed storytelling, and a knack to create a world that you just want to explore every corner of.

~Matt Lazar

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Neon Bible

Arcade Fire's new album is supposedly going to be titled Neon Bible a reference to John Kennedy Toole (Author of Confederacy of Dunces) first novel. They've begun a magical phone line where you can hear a song called "Intervention". Some say the song is a song they peformed on their tour last year, but never fully produced, while others say it's a new song. Hear for yourself.


1. Grab your phone
2. Dial 1-866-Neonbible [If in the UK add a 00]
3. A voicemal will be heard.
4. When the voice says to dial '7777'. Do it.
5. Dial 7777.
6. Listen to the song.

Neon Bible Site

It's a really cool idea Arcade Fire are doing. Wonder if they did a weird thing like Zoo TV?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ponch Power Album: Diverse // One A.M.

Diverse (Born Kenny Jenkins) is a MC out of Chicago, who's debut album (and only official album) One A.M. is a force of confidence and cool. The supporting cast is one that any backpacker would cry over. Production coming from RJD2, Madlib, Prefuse 73, Overflo, and K. Kruz. While guest slots took by Vast Aire, Lyrics Born, and Jean Grae. There are lots of little guitar licks, jazz loops with sampled but live sounding drums that make you feel like the coolest cat in the hood. One A.M is a mere 41 minutes. When this album is toast, you just start from the beginning all over again.

1) Certified (Produced By RJD2)
2) Uprock (Produced By RJD2)
3) Big Game ft. Vast Aire (Produced By RJD2)
4) Ain't Right (Produced By Madlib)
5) Jus Biz (Produced By Prefuse 73)
6) Blindman (Produced By K. Kruz)
7) Explosive ft. Lyrics Born (Produced By RJD2)
8) Under The Hammer ft. Jean Grae (Produced By RJD2)
9) 747 (Flyin) (Produced By Overflo)
10) Interlude (Amberglis) (Produced By Prefuse 73)
11) Leaving (Produced By Prefuse 73)
12) In Accordance (Recorded live in collaboration with Jeff Parker of Tortoise and Ray Mazurek and Ted Sirota of Rebel Souls)

*The title of Diverse' in work sophomore effort is 'Round About. The production to be done by Magnif. Most likely other producers will join the wagon too.

Bonus Track: "Build" (Japanese Exclusive Bonus Track)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ponch Power Album: Seam // The Problem With Me

Seam were (Sooyoung Park actually played some shows in Chicago recently by himself) a Chicago band in the 90s. Vocalist/Guitarist Sooyoung Park delivers some of the most emotionally powerful songs of any time period on The Problem With Me. Almost every song builds up into eventual epicness. There are definitely some serious air guitar moments on this one. But the guitars are so melodic, but not only the guitars, bassist Lexi Mitchell anchors every song with that trademark 90s bass sound. Imagine the overwhelming bass of a Nirvana song much happier and warm.

1) Rafael
2) Bunch
3) Road To Madrid
4) Stage 2000
5) Sweet Pea
6) Dust and Turpentine
7) Something's Burning
8) The Wild Cat
9) Autopilot

Bonus Fact: Headless Ponch editor Matt considers Seam the best high school band he's ever heard that isn't actually in high school.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Timbaland & M.I.A. In The Studio

M.I.A. and Timbaland's on and off studio relationship is back on, as two videos of the two in the studio together leaked onto the internet. M.I.A. tries to impress Timbaland with her new beats, but Timbaland just tells her "You dont have what I have. I hate to bust your little bubble. I got stuff". Then M.I.A. starts falling in love with Timbaland as he unleashes his stuff. Looks like Timbaland has his new puppet to mess with.

Watch Video Part 1

Watch Video Part 2

Friday, December 8, 2006

Okami Review

The Long Awaited 'Zelda' for PlayStation Is A Triumphant of Imagination

System: PlayStation 2 Developer: Clover Studios Publisher: Capcom

Okami stands as a beacon of light to all the cookie cutter clones, yearly sequels, and drab run-of-the-mill software that populates gaming shelves. That reason alone warrants the game a look. The game centers around Amaterasu, a wolf sun god, and his traveling wee sprite friend Issun as they try to unearth 13 gods to destroy the evil force plaguing the world. Sounds generic, but the minute the game starts up you realize it's far from that.

The first thing you notice is the beautiful vibrant graphics straight out of the wood block paintings of Japan. They give the game buoyancy and personality rarely experienced in games. I stopped countless times spinning the camera around soaking in the marvelous sights. And there is a lot to see. The game marches to its finale at 40 hours, complete with numerous dungeons, bosses, puzzles, and locales to visit.

The biggest core element of the game is the celestial brush. By a simple tap of the R1 button, the brush comes down giving the player the ability to draw on the environment. You can create bombs, reconstruct bridges, slash enemies, and even slow down time all by a quick stroke. It's easy, quick, and well implemented into the game. I could use some more abstract puzzles using the brush, but that is nit-picking.

The real problems of the game are the text and difficulty. Every ten minutes I found myself talking to someone choking the pacing of the game. It's made worse from the amount of text Okami throws at you. There is so much that players take breaks in between them, hinting that even the developers knew there was a lot. Plus there is no speed text option to blaze through the stuff that are boring. Difficulty hurts the game in a too generous fashion. Battling enemies sport you cash to buy better weapons, power ups, and potions to heal yourself. But the game is littered with treasures to dig up that it makes you Bill Gates in no time. I did not even bother fighting enemies. You upgrade your health, ink, and wallet size by doing the residents favors earning you praise. There is so much praise to go around that my health and ink sizes were more than enough to tackle the epic bosses.

But as Amaterasu brings life to the poisoned lands, vanquishing it, so does this game with its problems. A special rare game that relies more on its artistic imagination than commercial convention.


Thursday, December 7, 2006

Arcade Fire Returning To The Universe

Arcade Fire are leaving their mysterious recording studio (cave? church? heaven?) and are going to play a slew of shows in London in the beginning of 2K7.

The band are said to release the follow up to Funeral in the spring of 2007. Pants are currently around the ankles.

Ponch Power Album: João Gilberto // Chega de Saudade

João Gilberto is the godfather and master deliver of bossa nova. His 1959 debut album Chega de Saudade is considered the launch point for the Brazilian percussion-melodic samba genre.

Gilberto does not use his guitar for bringing Zeus like power. He uses it in an angelic soft bop to the already beautiful vacation music. This music should be going through Hugh Hefner and James Bond's minds at all time.

If you want to sit back and relax and 'wait til the time is right' flip the switch with this must have.

1) Chega de Saudade
2) Lobo Bobo
3) Brigas, Nunca Mais
4) Hô-Ba-La-La
5) Saudade Fez Um Samba
6) Maria Ninguem
7) Desafinado
8) Rosa Morena
9) Morena Boca de Ouro
10) Bim Bom
11) Aos Pés da Cruz
12) É Luxo Só

Bonus Fact: Chega de Saudade was made an inaugural member of the Latin Grammy Hall of Fame.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Ponch Power Album: Exploding Hearts // Guitar Romantic

The Exploding Hearts are the first ones to enter the Ponch Power Album collection. I'll design posts around classic albums, all deserving the title of Ponch Power Album (PPA).

The Exploding Hearts are a pop-punk band out of Portland. Their debut (and only complete studio) album Guitar Romantic is a blitz of frenzied (whole album is 27:45 minutes) punk anthems. They are the most attractive punk band to a casual eye. The tunes throw a nuclear bomb on your head, and have a big league party inside.

Unfavorably, three of the members, bassist Matt "Lock" Fitzgerald, drummer Jeremy "Kid Killer" Gage and vocalist/guitarist Adam "Baby" Cox died in a disastrous car accident. The band were coming home from a San Francisco show on July 20, 2003 and their van angled off the road killing the three, but leaving one lone member, guitarist Terry Six, alive.

The tragic event came at an untimely time as well. The Hearts were picking up steam as they were ready to sign with Lookout! Records. Magazines, music labels, and the music stratosphere were all just becoming familiar with The Exploding Hearts.

Terry Six continued the legacy by releasing Shattered in 2006. Shattered is a collection of rare singles, early demos, and unreleased versions of Guitar Romantic tracks.

The death of The Exploding Hearts shattered the hearts of their followers, who knew that only more classic material could of been produced by the band. The Hearts are far and away the best punk group since the prime punk era of the late 70s. Just take the advice that Adam Cox lends you in "Modern Kicks". 'Hell is breaking loose, and I don't mind'. Rock on.

1) Modern Kicks
2) I'm A Pretender
3) Thorns In Roses
4) You're Black and Blue
5) Sleeping Aides and Razorblades
6) Rumours In Town
7) Throwaway Style
8) Boulevard Trash
9) Jailbird
10) Still Crazy

Satan Said Dance

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah posted two new songs on their site from their upcoming album Some Loud Thunder. And also posted another new song "Satan Said Dance" on their myspace.

"Satan Said Dance" starts up like the bastard cousin of "The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth" with a drum machine like beat. But with out of tune electronic blurbs beeping in and out. A much darker side of CYHSY that we haven't seen yet. In the chorus when people cheer "said dance!" it sounds straight out of Elite Beat Agents.

"Love Song No.7" and "Underwater (You and Me)" are the two tunes posted on the site. "Love Song No. 7" is a slow crawler with a main piano measure spookingly strolling around. Singer Alec Ounsworth sings 'Saved from town, saved from now', before later going into a disoriented chant of 'ooos' and 'ahhhs'.

"Underwater" is the closest thing to the debut. It's the most friendly out of the dark bunch. Hawaiian guitar strokes follow Ounsworth around for a minor anthem.

Some Loud Thunder will be released on January 30th, but you can pick up a digital copy of it on the 16th by buying it at Insound. You will also receive a real life copy soon after the purchase. And if you buy directly from CYHSY you get an exclusive t-shirt.

1) Some Loud Thunder
2) Emily Jean Stock
3) Mama, Won’t You Keep Them Castles in the Air and Burning?
4) Love Song No. 7
5) Satan Said Dance
6) Upon Encountering the Crippled Elephant
7) Goodbye to Mother and the Cove
8) Arm and Hammer
9) Yankee Go Home
10) Underwater (You and Me)
11) Five Easy Pieces

Monday, December 4, 2006

The April Skies // Three Minute Singles

The April Skies
Three Minute Singles (EP)


First off, the cover of this four-track EP is a sense of cool. Pictures of singles from profound artists including The Jesus And Mary Chain, Bruce Springsteen, and Lou Reed. The name The April Skies derives from a Jesus And Mary Chain song. So The April Skies would get a check from NME and Pitchfork so far.

The Swedish lads and damsel (Ragnhild Hogstad Jordahl on drums) do some justice on their debut work. Half justice I should say. "Three Minute Singles" begins the album with a pop flare, mixing extreme 60s pop with a touch of the end of an 80s movie. 'A 7 inch vinyl, taught us more than you'll ever know' preaches vocalist Alexander Unhjem. "Rise & Rise Again" follows with more blistering pop. And I swear I hear "You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC in the chorus.

Then the album drops in quality. "Not Your Baby" finds the Skies trying to do some deep-thinking music, concidentally at the end of the album. Seriously, where is this rule about having to end on a slow note? A potentially good chorus is just too messy with vocals and harmonicas getting sprayed all over the place, an attempt to rise the spirit. If they kept the chorus more bare, it wouldn't of had a much better result. "Not Your Baby" is the normal long ending too, clocking in at 4:09, which might not seem long, but it's a minute longer than any other song on the EP. Where is that rule too? Slow + Long + Last Track doesn't equal epic and masterful. Maybe bands want to give me some time to straighten up my album collection and make some room for their jewel case to fit in.

Three Minute Singles shows that The April Skies are on when they're on. Two power house pop songs are enough to lift up the two mediocre draggers at the bottom of the set. The Skies could continue using their idea of a collage on album covers for their greatest hits. Collage all the good singles they had, but don't ever mention the fillers again. Foo Fighters: you have competition.

1) Three Minute Singles
2) Rise & Rise Again
3) Heaven Knows It's Not Too Bad
4) Not Your Baby

The April Skies official site