Archive for January, 2014

Well, I’m not.

January 30, 2014

From the letters to the editor in the San Antonio Express-News today:

I was very surprised the Express-News would take a stand against the people of San Antonio.

What’s so surprising about that? It ought to be obvious that the SAEN editorial board is packed with progressives — or at least Democratic Party apparatchiks. They’ve been loyal water-carriers for some time for whatever hair-brained schemes the city and county politicians want to throw away money on, whether it be Julian Castro’s Pre-K initiative or Nelson Wolff’s downtown streetcars. We don’t have a real newspaper, at least not when it comes to watching out for the people of San Antonio. We have a Party propaganda rag.

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Food for thought…

January 29, 2014

…in the comments at Saving Country Music:

George Jones died last year and there hasn’t been a country tribute album made for him. Motley Crue announced their last tour and on the same day it was announced that there is a country tribute album being made for them. Something is very wrong here.

Can’t say as I disagree with that, but then on the other hand, the whole Motley Crue tribute is oddly fitting, since so much of modern country is so evocative of the worst of the ’80s glam metal. So it could be said this is a symptom as opposed to the actual disease.

But it’s worth asking whether a mainstream George Jones tribute album would even be remotely credible anymore, as opposed to coming off as a contrived, half-assed effort. After all, it’s not as if anyone having success in mainstream country anymore was even a Jones fan to any significant degree, let alone appreciated his place in country music. Not that I would ever actually defend what Scott Borchetta and company are doing here — I think it’s going to be a cluster-copulation of epic proportions — but surely I am not the only one who would cringe at the likes of Florida-Georgia Line or Brantley Gilbert singing “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes”…

Monday music musings, 27.01.14

January 27, 2014

Lots of good stuff here (via), but I’ll be damned if Mike Ethan Messick didn’t nail the ever-loving shit out of the whole bro-country farce:

It’s a cliché all its own now to complain about songs about trucks, tailgates, country girls, pasture parties, etc. But at least to these ears they’re almost impossible to compliment and tiresome to criticize. And this is coming from someone who actually likes trucks, beer, fishing, etc., in real life. I’m just tired of hearing it unconvincingly celebrated in songs with million-dollar production and 10-cent rhymes.

Not much else to add to that, is there?

And I was going to say, what the hell is the deal with this Alan Scherstuhl hack? Deerhunter? Cauc-pop?

“English, hipster. Do you speak it?”

But then Google shows Mr. Scherstuhl to be the film editor at the Village Voice, which arguably explains everything about that

And you all know how I feel about awards shows in general, but hey, two Grammys for Kacey Musgraves but none for Taylor Swift? Way to go, NARAS!

On that note, so to speak, some people just can’t help themselves, and it’s almost embarrassing to watch. Every time Musgraves is mentioned in pretty much any context, they’re all like, “ZOMG teh gheyzzz!!!!1111eleventy!” I mean, really?

Huh, I never thought about that.

January 26, 2014

First up, a bit of context, from Saving Country Music:

On Friday, Jan. 24th, Aaron Lewis was playing a show at the Thirsty Cowboy in Medina, Ohio, and during his set he decided to take the recent #1 song “Redneck Crazy” by Tyler Farr to task. The controversial tune portrays a jilted male stalking his ex-girlfriend, including driving up onto her lawn and throwing beer cans at her…

“I fucking hate this song,” Aaron Lewis told the Thirsty Cowboy crowd. “I just always thought the message of this song was pretty fucked up. But obviously, a lot of people related to it ’cause it went to #1, go figure.”

And in the comments, after a fair bit of the commenters lambasting Lewis for what was perceived to be his own subpar music to date:

I have to listen to people pretend that Brad Paisley is a good artist because of a few songs, while completely ignoring the fact that he’s shitting in the stream with his damn novelty songs, because he “respects” the history of music.

I have to listen to people pretend that Keith Urban is a real artist and not just a pretty boy who sings crap like “Little Bit of Everything” and the same damn love song over and over again – because he is one of many people who can play a guitar.

If those things are true, then people can ignore one terrible song that Aaron Lewis did when he speaks the truth about a song that is basically an abusive partner’s theme music.

Never thought about it like that, but it really was spot-on, I think. When you take all the above-mentioned artists’ collective sins against country music and compare them, Aaron Lewis comes out WAY ahead of both Urban and Paisley.

And that’s really sad, considering Lewis’ musical background. I would surely not proclaim him to be some sort of savior of country music, but I do think Lewis is making an honest effort to be true to the genre — even with his missteps — and I respect that a lot. God knows that’s more than can be said of both Keith Urban and Brad Paisley as of late. I have yet to check out his album in its entirety, but I do like what I’ve heard from it, even if that was just one song. And I’d surely be willing to give him more of a chance than Paisley or Urban, to say nothing of the purveyors of all this sexist frat-boy bullshit. I realize it’s not a “one or the other” choice, but I am interested to see where he goes.

Oh, and somebody needs to record this right the hell now:

ZOMG. Yes. They ran this.

January 25, 2014

…Or, Quote of the day, from the LTE in today’s Houston Chronicle:

ChronLTE250113What? Oh, come on, you know you’d never have believed that without photographic proof!

 

In-N-Out in San Antonio?

January 23, 2014

Maybe

It appears In-N-Out Burger finally has selected the site for its first restaurant in San Antonio.

While T.G.I. Friday’s currently sits at the corner of Loop 410 and McCullough Avenue, a shell corporation tied to In-N-Out purchased the site across from North Star Mall less than three months ago.

You might be thinking, “Whee, another California burger joint.” I was a bit cynical myself too, as I remember people making a big deal out of Carl’s Jr. here and there and being a bit underwhelmed when we finally went. Not that it was bad, just overrated. As far as In-N-Out goes, though, I remember right after they opened in Dallas reading a story about California transplants crying with happiness at the news and thinking, “It may be good, but surely it can’t be THAT good…”

I’d definitely be willing to try it, though — especially for the animal-style fries.

Yeah, people in hell want ice water too.

January 22, 2014

From the Associated Press, via the San Antonio Express-News:

 Mexican national’s lawyers want execution halted

Mexican officials are incensed because Texas has opposed legal efforts and spurned diplomatic pressure to spare a prisoner who was in the U.S. without legal permission when he was condemned for fatally shooting a Houston police officer two decades ago….

Secretary of State John Kerry previously asked Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to delay Tamayo’s punishment, saying it “could impact the way American citizens are treated in other countries.” The State Department repeated that stance Tuesday.

Uh-huh. State was saying the same thing five years ago, when another Mexican national, Jose Medellin, was executed for the brutal 1993 gang rape and murder of two teenage girls. Same when another Mexican national, Humberto Leal, was executed for the rape and murder of a San Antonio teenager.

But beyond whether the State Department is correct, it’s worth noting — once again — that, as Rick Perry spokesperson Robert Black said as Jose Medellin’s case was was being argued, “…these individuals are on death row for killing our citizens.” Perhaps Mexico should embark on some sort of PSA campaign:

“No ir al extranjero y matar a la gente, especialmente en Texas. Probablemente no vamos a ser capaces de conseguir que fuera.”

or,

“Don’t go abroad and kill people, especially in Texas. We’re probably not going to be able to get you off.”

So, what’s wrong with this country?

January 22, 2014

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with this country: People who try to make a country singer from small-town East Texas into some sort of liberal savior because her big hit talks about weed and gay people in less than thoroughly damning terms. It’s absolutely the most idiotic music-related thing I’ve ever seen — even worse than the whole Dixie Chicks row. I would say this sort of thing makes me ashamed to call myself a conservative, but then I remembered that I really don’t call myself that so much as a libertarian anymore.

I mean, really. As the old saying goes, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar…

Monday musical observations, 20.01.14

January 20, 2014

(This post is mostly brought to you by the musical selections at Grady’s BBQ at 281 & Nakoma on mine & Sabra’s lunch date yesterday…)

No offense to you fans, but I just don’t understand the appeal of Keith Urban. It’s as if he has absolutely no sense of musical identity at all. He claims all these different influences, but in the end it’s just some mishmash of only God knows what, sort of like the musical equivalent of mystery meat casserole or AeroDillo’s “coffee, chocolate chips, potato crisps, and baked bean slurry.” I am reminded of what Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks said after they were asked to do a pop remix of the title track to Wide Open Spaces:

“We like those other artists, and we’re fans of that other music, but we don’t want anyone thinking we’re trying to not be country….We’re trying to bring country back to country.”

Keith Urban, on the other hand, sounds like he just doesn’t give a shit, like he just calls his own music “country” for the sake of musical expediency. And whatever talent he allegedly possesses is completely marginalized by that.

Speaking of the Chicks, we also heard “There’s Your Trouble,” the first No. 1 hit from their major-label debut, 1998’s Wide Open Spaces. I remember…I remember I actually bought that cd the day it came out (January 27, 1998) on the strength of the album’s first single, “I Can Love You Better.” That song barely made the top-10, and I think the album debuted somewhere in the lower part of the top 20 on Billboard‘s country albums chart. I never would have thought that within six months they’d be the hottest thing in country music. And I still think it’s a shame that Natalie shot off her mouth on that London stage. Not sure how I feel about the remark here about the “high quality of early-2000s country,” but I think there’s a lot of truth to the rest of this observation:

The real effect of their commercial demise wasn’t the open wound they left in country music but its inability to properly heal. The Dixie Chicks took the high quality of early-2000s country down with them, and the state of country radio has never recovered, more and more a parody of its former self each and every bygone year. They took with them the challenge to be great, to sing intelligent songs, and fill your records with the lyrics of strong insightful songwriters. Think about it. Had the Chicks proceeded as normal, without alienating most Americans, we’d likely been spared such dreck as “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Come Off,” “Dirt Road Anthem,” “Truck Yeah,” and “Cruise.”

Oh, and speaking of “Cruise”…

After I mentioned Chase Rice’s “Ready Set Roll” day before yesterday, I had to hear for myself just how bad that song was. Yeah. It was that bad, with the lyrics laid on top of some sort of hip-hop/electronica rhythm and what I would guess was — yet again — the producers auto-tuning the shit out of his voice. Fuck even being country, that “song” sucks as music, period. Who’s gonna fill their shoes, indeed…

But hey, he looks teh s3xxay in that leather jacket and backwards ball cap, and as we all know that’s the most important thing, right?

Well, duh.

January 19, 2014

…or, Yay, consistency!

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that bloggers and the public have the same First Amendment protections as journalists when sued for defamation: If the issue is of public concern, plaintiffs have to prove negligence to win damages.

Of course bloggers and the public have First Amendment protections for such — or at least they damned well should. If they didn’t we might as well not even have the part of the First Amendment that pertains to speech. We rightly talk about how ridiculous the interpretation of the Second Amendment is that says that amendment protects the right of the states to have their respective National Guard units; well, it is every bit as ridiculous and dangerous to say that the First Amendment only protects “official” media sources — perhaps even more so.

Why is that, you ask? Well, just ask yourself — who gets to define who is or is not an “official” media source?

A consortium of Old Media sources like CBS and the New York Times? Oh hai, conflict of interest!

The government? I have one word for you: Pravda. Another word: Izvestia. (Look it up, kiddies.)

No. No, no, no. The court absolutely made the right call. Let us all hope the higher courts do the same if it goes that far.