Category Archives: bands

Opportunity Lost

Fallen Angel

Yeah so I haven’t posted anything here in a while, but I had to take this chance to vent, especially with Pax outta here.  Despite being a fan of both wrestling AND the Insane Clown Posse (yeah, I rule, what of it?), I managed to miss this.  The worst part is, I was actually on vacation when it happened.  Further proof that I suck at life.  Thanks for not taking me Father Scott…now I missed the sex in the air…

Nothing says hardcore like BOUNCY BOXING~!


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Perry Amnesia: Friday Random Filler

Perry Ellis

I forgot my iPod today, so, sadly, I can’t contribute to the Friday Random 10.

Buck up and try to remember the good times.

In consolation, here’s some filler of a goofy Canadian dancing goofily to one of the best songs ever. Enjoy:

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Perry Compilationaria: The Official Pax Arcana 2008 Best Albums List

Perry Ellis

It would be hard for any trio of virile, dashing and hip young men such as Pax, the Padre and Perry to be less alike. For example, Father Scott is a bearded clamdigger from the back woods of Maine (which is technically Canada), Pax is a 7’10” albino Viking and I most closely resemble Brad Pitt in every particular.

But one thing we all share (besides being sheer catnip to the ladies, as Mrs. Arcana, Mrs. Ellis and A Playah to be Named Later can attest) is a true passion for music of all stripes and genres.

Witness our trio of “Top 10 Albums of 2008″ posts, which saw entries ranging from Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III to some unpronounceable release by Icelandic juggernauts Sigur Ros. We’re so catholic in our tastes that two of our “Top 10” lists didn’t even have 10 entries!

So, in the interest of clarity and coherence (and because none of the five companies I need to speak with to write the feature that was due last week are calling me back so I have nothing better to do), I took the liberty of creating an ingeniously complex algorithm to determine the consensus picks for this year in music.


Conor Oberst, “Conor Oberst”

Pax and Father Scott both put this on their lists; though I considered it, and gave it another listen just this morning, ultimately I decided it was meh. Therefore I arbitrarily decree it lands at the bottom of our list.

She & Him, “Volume One”

Even though the Padre was the only one to list this as a fave, I’ve given it a once-over or three since publishing my picks and really, really like it. Sorry for the oversight, Zooey! Tell Frannie I said, “Hey.”

Dr. Dog, “Fate”

I’ve never even heard of this. Is it good?

The Gaslight Anthem, “The ’59 Sound”

Pax and I both liked this, though I’m pretty sure any indie band from Jersey would have made his list, regardless of the merits. It’s pretty good, even if New Jersey resembles a lunar landscape most of the time but especially in the early a.m. hours.

Lil’ Wayne, “Tha Carter III”

I have never heard a single note from this outside of the approximately 30 seconds of video I watched on one of the other guys’ posts, and therefore am unqualified to render judgment. But those two loved it, so here it is.

Frightened Rabbit, “The Midnight Organ Fight”

Color me utterly mystified that this stellar album isn’t taking the nation by storm and topping every list everywhere. It’s awesome. Buy it.

Bon Iver, “For Emma, Forever Ago”

This is the only record all three of us put on our lists, so it’s the clear champion. Even though it’s not as good as “Organ Fight.” Still, though, it is truly excellent. Buy it.


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Perry Bandwagonitis: Top 10 Songs of 2008

Perry Ellis

O.K., I’m a big fat sellout loser: Top 10 lists are stupid and here’s mine. Sosumi. I’ll be over there at the bar with Scott Weiland.

1 – “Constructive Summer,” The Hold Steady
2 – “Head Rolls Off,” Frightened Rabbit*
3 – “The Twist,” Frightened Rabbit*
4 – “Lump Sum,” Bon Iver*
5 – “Re: Stacks,” Bon Iver*
6 – “Magazines,” The Hold Steady”
7 – “The Silence Between Us,” Bob Mould
8 – “Living Well is the Best Revenge,” R.E.M.
9 – “Great Expectations,” The Gaslight Anthem
10 – “Cobwebs,” Ryan Adams & the Cardinals

* These are just about interchangeable, which is a great example of why Top 10 lists are so stupid. Can’t wait for next year!


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Top 10 albums of 2008: Perry Ellis edition

Perry Ellis

Top 10 lists are tricky for me, because I’m old, woefully out of touch and can usually count the number of new albums I like, let alone hear, on one hand. If it weren’t for Pax tipping me off to three of my picks this year this list would be just ludicrously short.

But quality over quantity, right?.

Also, “Top 10” lists are ginormously dorky.

That said, here’s mine. It doesn’t have 10 albums and the rankings don’t mean squat. Except I really liked the first few one hell of a lot, probably more than the others.

1 – The Midnight Organ Fight, Frightened Rabbit

I am forever indebted to Pax Arcana for saving me from those bloodthirsty zombie macaws deep in the Brazilian jungle. That man knows how to handle a blowgun, let me tell you.

I’m also in his debt for hepping me to this poppy, angsty jewel from some seriously disturbed Scots brothers and associated hangers-on. It didn’t take long for me to develop a truly problematic addiction. These are some fabulous, fabulous tunes. RIYL your pop served with healthy sides of jilted bitterness and acoustic goodness. “Head Rolls Off,” “Twist,” “Old Old Fashioned” and “Modern Leper” are standouts.

We played this album a lot after the kid was born. Along with Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago.

2 – For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver

Mournful, angsty acoustic goodness from a mildly bothered Wisconsinite. Spare and haunting. Weird that two albums heavily featuring acoustic stylings are my two favorites. I am getting soft in my dotage.

I find myself going back to two songs again and again: “Re: Stacks” and “Lump Sum.” That’s some good shit right there.

Stick with this video. The camera operator evidently caps the lens to better enjoy the sound, but goes back to the visuals later:

3 – Stay Positive, The Hold Steady

Our reader will find it unsurprising that I had this as my Number One Pick for a long time this year (Here’s my first draft of this review in its entirety: “Well, duh.”)

Serving the opening track, “Constructive Summer,” to me is like dishing a fastball low and outside to David Ortiz. Couldn’t be more through my wheelhouse. As Dr. Dan the Birdman* put it, “It sounds like a cross between Hüsker Dü and the Replacements.” In fact, lead singer Craig Finn has cited the Hüsker classic “Celebrated Summer” as an inspiration for this song. This is one of my all-time favorite songs.

Money lyric: “Our psalms are sing-along songs.”

Besides “Constructive Summer,” I also really like “Yeah Sapphire,” “Lord I’m Discouraged” and “Magazines” one whole hell of a lot.

The Pride of the Bushwood Country Club evinced disappointment about this record, but I really dug it. Then again, my proclivities in this area are notorious around these parts, my Holdsteadyarewayoverratedygdala never having been removed.

* The Birdman and I saw the “Rock & Roll Means Well” tour when it rolled through the Orpheum and it was awesome. The show was a double bill between THS and DBT. Both bands arrived loaded for bear and proceeded to rock the acoustically-challenged Orpheum. DBT “opened,” forever endeared by passing a bottle of bourbon amongst themselves and belting out some of the finest honky-tonk raunch this side of the Taunton River. Their songs are so much better live than the records might lead you to believe; I like their records, but they really put on a killer live show.

The Hold Steady came out after a brief pause (time enough for the good doctor to replace the beer I ditched after he swore we couldn’t bring in to our seats) and detonated an atom bomb for about an hour and a half.

They were joined by various DBTers for some encore action. Really one of the most enjoyable shows I’ve ever taken in. And it never hurts to sit in the fifth row (from the front this time).

4 – District Line, Bob Mould

An admixture of some trademark guitar work and his more recent forays into electronica, some tracks work better than others. But I’d rather have the experiments, even the less successful ones, than tired retreads. That’s how you get songs like this:

Pax put it best: “I’m glad to see he still has some fucking fire in his belly, even if he covers it with all kinds of thoughts and stuff.” A decent album by Bob Mould is really, really good. Really, really good Mould is superlative. And the songs always seem to improve with repeated listenings.

Money songs: “The Silence Between Us,” “Very Temporary,” “Who Needs to Dream.”

5 – The ’59 Sound, The Gaslight Anthem

Like Frightened Rabbit and Bon Iver, this came into my playlist after a tipoff from Pax. It’s like a blend of Drive-by Truckers and the rockier songs by Whiskeytown. I like it but I don’t love it; it isn;t aging as well as my first four picks.

I like “Old White Lincoln,” “Great Expectations” and the title song.

6 – Accelerate, R.E.M.

I used to have a serious R.E.M. habit. It was a real problem; for a few adolescent years I listened to them almost exclusively. It was sad.

But some of their earliest albums are just amazing. One of the things I always appreciated about them is their willingness to experiment and put out an album that’s a radical departure from how they’re “supposed” to sound (a proclivity they share with Bob Mould).

This album isn’t exactly that (they mined some of this ground with Monster) but it’s pretty good. I was particularly taken with “Living Well is the Best Revenge.”

7 – Cardinology, Ryan Adams & the Cardinals

It burns me to put this so low on the list, because I think Ryan Adams has written some of the all-time great songs, but it’s just such a spotty effort.

A few gems here, interspersed with some truly craptastic ass-hattery (“Fix It,” “Natural Ghost” or “Magick*” anyone?).

I hate to add fuel to the Interhose geeks’ conventional wisdom on the guy (I actually think the majority of his records are pretty consistent), but this is really a semi-baked effort. It’s like eating a fatty, gristly steak that’s cooked absolutely perfectly. There are two or three really delicious bites of pure meaty goodness and the rest is infarction-inducing rubbery fat and that annoying cartilage that gets stuck between your teeth.

Given the quality of last year’s Easy Tiger, and the speed with which he evidently churns out tunes, couldn’t Adams have had a bit of patience and combined the best elements of each? It could have been a serious classic. I mean, who wouldn’t wait an extra six months or so for that? I just don’t get it.

And by the hair of the beards of the Aesir, ditch the Jerry Garcia wannabe lead guitarist. Seriously. Stop it. Now. He’s killing you. What’s with the bad Grateful Dead schtick? “Sink Ships” is a particularly egregious example of this. I blame that tour with Phil Lesh.

I really like “Cobwebs,” though. And “Go Easy” is OK.

*The Padre, Pax and I got a sneak preview of this a few months back, ably recapped by the Padre here. At the time I kind of liked it, but it only took one or two replays for it to become revolting. It just sounds like a crappy retread of already-crappy 70s music to me. That’s why the gods made WROR, not Ryan Adams.


Filed under bands, Husker Du, The Hold Steady, videos

Monday Filler: Old Man Winter

Perry Ellis

It’s getting to be that time of year again, when it gets dark at about noon and the New England winter prepares to annoy with almost-but-not-quite snowy weather and Father Scott sits alone in a dark, cold room with nothing but his extensive collection of Jeff Tweedy figurines and a congealing pot of macaroni and cheese for company.

Winter rulz!

Yep, that’s right, onset of the slushfest and the end of the year can only mean one thing around here—it’ll soon be time for a series of tedious “Best of 20092008″ lists! Yay!!

Without giving too much away, I think it’s safe to say that a certain Scottish duo will do very well this year (hint: it’s not Big Country).

That said, I’ll offer our readers a titillating tidbit: Neither this band…

…nor this guy…

…take the top spot on the “Perry Ellis All-Time (for 20092008) Greatest Bestest Most Favoritest Albums of All Time (during 20092008).”

Holy crap! It’s an upset! But you have to stay tuned, devoted Arcanauts, for the full list, when all will be revealed!


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Jeff Tweedy stole Neil Young’s hair

Perry Ellis

Here’s a video of some of the members of Wilco (including Father Scott BFF Jeff Tweedy) at a benefit for the Official Candidate of Pax Arcana, Soupy Sales Barack Obama.

It’s decent, kind of interesting, but the takeaway for me is, “What the hell is with Tweedy’s hair?” I mean, the guy can probably afford to hit the barber, no? Or at least a comb?

Whatever. At least he shaved that mustache.

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