October 31, 2005


I have a new internet thing that I really like. Thanks to this Pitchfork article, I have begun working my way through the archives of the web comic Questionable Content. Basically, it's the story of an indie rock romance1. It's filled with little inside jokes that fans of indie rock will get, but it's also just plain funny so that regular audiences will enjoy it too. The whole archive is free, as are the new strips, so there really isn't any reason why you shouldn't check it out. I would suggest that you do start at the beginning though, as there seems to be a lot of ongoing storylines. Just last night, I began at the start and read through number 120, and I must say it's highly enjoyable. Not only is it edgier than syndicated columns, it seems tailored to things I like; namely indie rock, romance, sarcasm, and robots. So if you like any, or all four, of those things do as Bubz from Homestarrunner says and checkitoutcheckitoutcheckitout.

  1. My favorite kind!

October 28, 2005

New York Cares

From C at Scatter O' Light:

"trey over at the blowtorch has just posted a song he recorded as codename:Luxury. it's called the name of this song is talking heads, and the boy indeed has a bit of a manic david byrne vibe thing working. i must warn you that we are pretty sure trey is from the chicago area, but we suggest you listen to this track and maybe you too might learn to hate chicago a little less."

So I guess that means I'm obviously on my way to international stardom. So if you were wise, you'd go download the song.

I do feel I should mention that Chicago does not suck. And that rather, it is pretty sweet. But it will never be as indie as Plano.

October 27, 2005

GO SOX!!!!

I can't believe it, the White Sox JUST WON THE WORLD SERIES!!!!! I am so ecstatic!! After 88 years, we, as the city of Chicago, can celebrate!

You see, I'm from Chicago. Where the World Champion White Sox are from!!! Well not really, I'm from Lemont, which is a suburb. But it's close!!!

I'm so excited I can hardly type. I've been a Sox fan for basically my whole life. I guess not actually a Sox fan per se, but a city of Chicago fan and why shouldn't I celebrate??!!? Sure I cheered for the Cubs in their magical 2003 season (I still can't believe Bartman messed it up for us), but the Sox are from Chicago and so are the Cubs. And since I live kind of close to Chicago, I cheer for both!! Pretty much I just watch the playoffs, and if either Chicago team is in it I root for them. Except last year, when neither Chicago team made it. Don't worry though, I found someone to root for. The Boston Red Sox, baby! They won the World Series after 86 long, strenuous years on us fans. But I could not believe how happy I was for them. I even bought a hat!!

But you know what I'm going to do with that hat?? NO, I'm not going to burn it! Are you crazy? It's an official New Era that I bought from Lids. I spent like 25 bucks on it so I'll just put it in my closet. And replacing it on my head? That's right, my new hat.

The World Champion Chicago White Sox hat!!!!

I already have the one from just getting to the World Series, but you know I'm going to the mall tomorrow to by the new one!! I'm just such a big Chicago fan that I couldn't not buy it.

I mean this is easily the happiest I've been for a sports team since the Patriots won the Super Bowl in January. 3 Super Bowls in 4 years, they're a virtual dynasty how could you not root for them?

Then again my Bears are looking good right now too. First place in the NFC North!!!

--A Loyal Chicago Fan

October 26, 2005

I'm Kind of Tired

I'm tired. From not sleeping a lot. From sleeping too much. From doing med school and graduate school applications and writing personal statements. From writing excellent, dance-y rock songs about a special boo. Just a little sleepy. I believe I'll have a nap later.

As for tonight, after class I plan to begin the recording of a new song that definitely has the word "pirate" in the lyrics. Hopefully it'll be good.

But here are 2 stories I was suprised, but not surprised to see on the front page of ESPN.com:

I would seem like these are two pretty big stories in the realm of sports. On one hand, you have a coach who is saying things that got people fired in the 1970s when a little bigotry was viewed as "from a different time;" and on the other hand you have a reigning MVP, the top of her sport coming out. But today, as me and my dad listened to talk radio, for at least 2 hours they only talked about how the White Sox seemed to be "magic." You might think that two stories which could affect the sporting culture would at least warrant mention on a sports program, but then you'd be wrong. To be fair, we didn't listen to the whole program, but we listened to parts over 2 hours and they only talked about the World Series. Yes, being near Chicago means that the Sox probably winning the World Series is a justifiably huge deal, but they should at least mention these two stories. Oh sports radio, you're so silly sometimes.

October 24, 2005

codename:Luxury - "The Name of This Song is Talking Heads"

If you want to listen to a song I made go here. It is named "The Name of This Song is Talking Heads" for a reason. A reason that should be quite apparent as you listen to it. But if somehow you don't understand, I am trying to acknowledge the fact that it is a total Talking Heads ripoff1.

  1. Also ripped off: Wolf Parade, Bloc Party, and Interpol

October 22, 2005

4 Word Reviews

I have been listening to a lot of new music lately, but I haven't written about it recently. This may be because I am lazy with updates or something. But in an unabashed ripoff of Coolfer.com here are some four word reviews of what I've been listening to:

  • Devendra Banhart - Cripple Crow - really good, new folk
  • Bell Orchestre - Recording a Tape the Colour of Light - sleepy, dreamy instrumental soundscapes
  • the Strokes - "15 Minutes of Pain" - worst of the leaks
  • Iron and Wine/Calexico - In His Reins EP - if country music rocked
  • Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - "Satan Said Dance," "You and Me Watson," "Cigarettes,'' "Graceful Retreat" - new songs, not bad
  • codename : Luxury - "The Name of This Song is Talking Heads" - I made this song

So that's what been in the rotation for Tots the Pod as of late. I also actually bought the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah album from my local independent record store. It sounds really good compared to some of the mp3s I had, and it comes with lyrics which are a great deal of help as any one who has listened to CYHSY can attest to. Enjoy.

October 18, 2005

2 Quick Things

  1. I have offically began work in earnest on Rock-n-Roll American, the debut LP from codename:Luxury. It will be released on my record label, Karl Varvan Records. I hope to have it finished and ready for distribution by my birthday (February 19).
  2. Tommy Poro and I are batting around the idea of starting a magazine. This magazine would be a music and culture magazine with an emphasis on the Chicago scene. If you would like to be involved in anyway with this magazine let me know. Whether it be writing, reviewing, illustrations, financial or technical advising, or anything else of creative capacity your help would be greatly appreciated. Of course, you need not be from Chicago (I'm not) -- or even Illinois, thanks to the Internet -- to be a part of it.

October 14, 2005

Selling Out

Selling out is, has been, and will always be a huge bone of contention in the music world. In general, artists are considered to have "sold out" when they lend their song to a commercial product for advertising (and assumed monetary compensation).

In the past, I have, like most people, viewed selling out negatively. But recently, I have become pretty much ok with it. This article just about captures my thoughts on the subject. It describes the three different situations that are typically associated with selling out. The first being the most common, that an artist's song is used for advertising and commercial gain. It's interesting that this is becoming more prevalent in the indie society (i.e. M.I.A.'s 'Galang' in a Honda Civic commercial). This is of virtually no concern to me anymore. I do not necessarily like that songs that I like are becoming more widespread, but I figure, it's not that bad that more people are exposed to really good music. The second part of this scenario is that the artist is receiving some sum of money for their work. I don't mind this too much, as it allows me to not feel bad about pirating their music. And really, what is the difference between that and Dali being commissioned for his paintings?

The part of selling out that I do have a problem with is when a musician severely changes their aesthetic to sell more records. The above article says that they should not be blamed for having more expansive budgets and thus better production values. But I disagree with this. An example is Wolf Parade who had a greatly increased budget for the recording of their debut LP Apologies to the Queen Mary. Their first EP's were very messy, but the cleaned up sound of the LP does not strip away anything from the band's music. But often times, a band will completely alter their sound in order to be more radio-friendly. And this is of more concern to me than leasing a song to a commercial.

I think the reason that people (myself included) have a hard time with hearing their favorite artists giving away songs is that they hold these songs close to them. The increased exposure that commercial success brings steals the sense of exclusivity away that the listener had previously enjoyed. It is unavoidable that artists will want to make money from their work, and this is both justifiable and advantageous. If they did not receive some sort of compensation, the artist would not be able to devote themselves to exploring their craft. Therefore, when an artist can be freed to pursue what they want, the listener will benefit.

In summary, I do not necessarily like that a band will give its songs away, but since it happens, I can be ok with it. And as long as a musician maintains their own creative control, (and not that of record company suits who encourage more accessible music) the process of signing to a major label is also not that troubling. In reality, many independent labels are just subsidiaries of major labels anyways. Nonetheless, a band like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah shows that you don't need any label to be a success. But regardless, the thing that musicians need to do is to focus solely on making quality music, and not simply "making it." If they do that, then good things will happen.

October 12, 2005

The School System Has Failed Us

I just think that I need to point out that roughly 90% of my acquaintances misspell the various forms of your (you're) and their (there, they're). Nonetheless, this is why my friends are the best.

October 8, 2005


I just lost someone very close to me and thought I was losing somebody else very close to me. I'm very sad, but things won't happen like the last time.

And today, I helped save a woman's life. For the first time, I did CPR and it worked.

October 3, 2005

Groundbreaking News!!

R. Kelly's "Trapped in a Closet" music video series will be released on DVD November 1st. There will be additional 'chapters,' deleted scenes, and best of all, a running commentary from the man himself.

This Beard's for You

I'm just going to come out and say it.

I like beards.

Though I have never truly tried one out, I think that goatees look pretty dumb on me. But since it is widely known that I have exquisite facial hair, something had to be done. Ergo, a beard. It has now been roughly 4 weeks since I last shaved my face, and the only thing that has prevented a forest fire upon it was a necessary trim.

It may be preposterous to be proclaiming the greatness of beards at such a young age, especially when compared to the wealth of great beards to be found on the old men of the world. In fact, if one were looking for the prime example of a beard they would surely not look to the relatively youthful. I estimate the ratio of bearded men is roughly 10:1, old men to young. Nonetheless, I feel that those of us with the ability to grow effective beards while young, should1. Furthermore, you only need look as far as many of the greatest men in the history of the world to see some beards. Abraham Lincoln, bearded. John Lennon and Paul McCartney2, sported beards at one time or another. And of course, Jesus was likely bearded. Needless to say, that's a pretty prestigious list based solely on facial hair growth.

As for my personal reasons for keeping my beard, I've gotten mostly positive reviews. Plus I like it a lot. It has been called sweet, awesome, and sexy. And if you're looking for compliments you can't really do better than those three. So that being said, the beard is sticking around for a little while.

  1. Of my friends, I assume the following can grow substantial beards: Joe Reischl, Pat Murphy, Bryan Acevedo.
  2. George Harrison and Ringo Starr also had beards periodically, but they don't have as much cultural significance as the big two.