Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Slight Hiatus (probably)

If you've already heard the last show of the year, you heard me say that we're going on a brief hiatus. We're off the two holiday weekends, which is nothing stark, but we may be off for a few more weekends after that. Upcoming playoffs may have something to do with it but more immediate is that Sonic Parthenon Headquarters is moving.

Brooklyn is still home to Elwood's franchise but we've decided it's time to leave the confines of southern Brooklyn. The perfume is getting to be too much. Too much house music. It may be a seamless move and we'll pick right up where we left off or we may be out of commission for awhile as the boys in IT figure out how to rejigger the radio tower in more northern climes.

But there may be a prize for your patience: The show may come back in a new format - LIVE. ON TAPE. We'll see. Stay tuned.

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 33: “Pennypacker’s Top 25 Songs of 2011”

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 33: “Pennypacker’s Top 25 Songs of 2011”


Intro “Countdown” by the Black Keys

Set 1 25. “Eating Paper” by David Bazan
24. “King of Diamonds” by Motopony
23. “Ten-Twenty-Ten” by Generationals
22. “Pineapple Girl” by Mister Heavenly
21. “Down by the Water” by the Decemberists

Set 2
20. “My Mistakes” by Eleanor Friedburger
19. “Through the Floor” by Crystal Stilts
18. “Just Saying” by the Hold Steady
17. “Highway Down” by I See Hawks in L.A.
16. “I Don’t Care” by TV Girl

Set 3
“Another Girl, Another Planet” by the Replacements
“New Pleasure” by Richard Hell & the Voidoids
“Where Was My Brain?” by Ted Leo & the Pharmacists

Set 4
15. “Money and Run” UNKLE featuring Nick Cave
14. “These Times” by Stag
13. “Guilty Girls” by Buffalo Tom
12. “Little White Doves” by Dirty Vegas
11. “Romance” by Wild Flag

Set 5
“Bad as Me” by Tom Waits
“Woe is Me…I am Ruined” by the Lonely Forest
“Just a Creep” by Dum Dum Girls
“Philadelphia (the City of Brotherly Love)” by We Are Augustines

Set 6
10. “Blue Door” by Two Habors
9. “Dressed Sharply by An Horse
8. “Caffeinated Consciousness” by TV on the Radio
7. “Boeing 737” by the Low Anthem
6. “Record Store” by Gold Bears

Set 7 5. “Mine Smell Like Honey” by R.E.M.
4. “These Days” by Sea Monsters
3. “Jericho” by Jamaica
2. “Under Cover of Darkness” by the Strokes

1. “Belong” by the Pains of Being Pure at Heart

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The Sonic Parthenon Year in Music: 2011 (or Part 2 in an On-going Joke of How Elwood Is No Longer With It)

2011 marked something of a notable change in the music mission of this blog. By the end of last year, I assessed the change was already a done deal but there was a chance to make things the way they used to be. It was clear however in 2011 that the relevant scenesterism perused by Elwood D Pennypacker was a bell graph. So in 2011, it was decided that generally speaking, Sonic Parthenon could not actively, constantly, look forward. It was now time to look back.

A mere 13 concert reviews in 2011 reveals part of the story (and a telling word from an old SP friend points out that old man Elwood started referring to 'concerts' instead of 'shows'). And of the 13, only a couple could be considered a trending, "the place the tastemakers are at tonight" style of show (such as the Joy Formidable and Lonely Forest). The others either spoke to my ongoing love affairs (the Dirtbombs, the National, the Thermals), making rites of passage (Lyle Lovett & John Hiatt, the Blasters), or celebrations of recent appreciations (Deniz Tek and Ivan Julian, Tommy Stinson, Ted Leo).
The bigger story in 2011 was of course the birth of the Sonic Parthenon Show. Yours truly refocused his energies, cast himself in the Orson Welles vein as your "obedient servant", and joined up with the online forces of Thor Radio in order to share audibly with the world what music has meant to him over the last 30 years. A lot of episodes have devoted time to new songs, much of which was noted in the playlists (Editor's Truthful Note: I forgot to put R.E.M. in the Playlist for Early 2011 and grandfathered them into it now. Maybe this is why they broke up a couple of months ago - lack of recognition). But the general schematic for each episode so far has been a review and revue of all things Elwood Rock n Roll. And annoying impersonations of old stars of the Yiddish theater.
Some have said it may be time for Elwood to hang up the rock n roll mantle and give up all pre-tense of having a relevant blog (many read the tea leaves in the official demise of the White Stripes at the beginning of the year). That apart from the show and the occasional nostalgia concert, it's all over, happenin'-wise. As Grampa Simpson once said, "I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems weird and scary to me, and it'll happen to you, too".
Now may be the time to focus on being a "foodie". Indeed, the treat of many Sonic Parthenon Shows so far as been the accompanying show meal, usually involving rocambole garlic, purple cauliflower, and some apricot-infused chorizo. We'll see where 2012 leads us. This indeed may be the future.
But you never know. Some young buck may be working his way up in the ranks of rock n roll, dazzling the hipster crowds, making them shut up, put away the cell phones, and tone down their style of dress. A prospect hell bent on shaking things up, making it all about the music again, and not economy-defying lushing-about. In fact, Elwood thinks he has seen the future and is fully prepared to write in 2012 about the leader of this vanguard that will make rock n roll (and this blog) relevant again. This brash rook is named Tom Waits. And I think you're going to hear a lot from him real soon.

The Playlists

The Shows (or Concerts if you prefer)

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

The National @ Beacon Theater (Or Part 1in an On-going Joke of How Elwood Is No Longer With It)

The National; So Percussion
@ Beacon Theater
New York, NY - December 14, 2011

Sure I could write about how the National have AMPED up. How they are more of a full-on rock band than ever before without actually changing their songs or their sound. How they are now halfway to being a rock spectacle like their old forerunners the Arcade Fire. How Padma and Doveman weren't there but the horn section is a permanent component of the band. How Berninger was as playfully fun as he's ever been (A Dessner mess-up to the opening of "Fake Empire" prompted a faux "WHAT THE FUCK!" that I found endlessly hilarious for reasons I am still unclear on). And how they do not forget their Fine Arts-y affiliations (witness the Steve Reich-playing Blue Man Group/Stomp for the Caviar set opener called So Percussion).
But nah. Let's talk about me! It's the Internet, you know.

It wasn't that long ago that seeing the National was regular "Pennypacker-on-the-town" business. I was the first person through the door at Terminal 5 when they christened it. I was at the great BAM shows. Etc. Etc. The National were (and still are) part of my elite favorites that I go to on a regular listening basis when nothing else will suffice (you know the crew - the Hold Steady, Metric, and my beloved misfit Dirtbombs). But that's just it. The National were (are) part of the last wave of bands-of-the-moment that I attached myself to. I've been musically stuck in 2007, 2008 for all these years. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have been great. Grinderman/Nick Cave and Tom Waits have been the most exciting musical stories to me of late. See my upcoming Year in Review for more on the few new bands and much older bands that Pennypacker has been listening to.

I spent more time listening to the Replacements this year than any other band.
This is why this blog is no longer relevant.

But that's OK.

I didn't mean for this to happen. I meant to stay hip and cutting edge for a long time. I've already blamed myself and others (bad concert audiences, the Chillwave scene) for this as being a problem. But maybe it isn't a problem. Maybe it's perfectly reasonable stasis. There is nothing wrong with a band like the National being part of the apex, the climax, the ne plus ultra, of a music-learning life. Especially if part of the change is life around you.

The National, maybe more than any other band in the Pennypacker Trust, provide a soundtrack. Matt Berninger's seemingly non-sensical but probing lyrics have the right kind of mature ambiguity to narrate that time you went to a party and felt out of place (or worse, went to a party and felt completely IN place!), the time you went to buy a dryer with your girlfriend's mother, the time you told your friend about having this exact kind of pretentious meta-conversation with yourself and share it on an obscure slice of the Internet. And of course the soundtrack for when they don't have Ewephoria cheese at Fairway and you belt out a Berninger-style "WHAT THE FUCK!".
So this review should not serve as a final goodbye letter to Pennypacker the Schmuck Who Likes Rock n Roll. But it looks like it is the final goodbye to Pennypacker the Schmuck Who Thinks He Can Tell You Which Band to See Right Now. You're on your own. Good luck.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Sonic Parthenon Playlist: Autumn and Late 2011

Our final reflection of 2011 demonstrates again the bevy of singles that dominates the Pennypacker experience in music but behold! At the end! A rather large number of albums - and I mean albums - that stood out. So while the "Album is Dead" theory took a blow this Fall, it is more likely the case that this was merely an anomaly. And unlike all the other changes in the Sonic Parthenon universe, the theory is reflective of a greater change in music overall, and not merely the ongoing devolution of a pseudo-scenester turned homebody preservationist.

There'll be more to come on the above theories as conclude the year.

Tori Amos - "Job's Coffin" (featuring Natashya Hawley)
Asa - "Why Can't We"
Braid - "The Right Time"
Jimmy Cliff - "Ship is Sailing"
Fool's Gold - "Wild Window"
Gross Relations - "When You Go Down"
John Wesley Harding - "There's a Starbucks Where the Starbucks Used to Be"
Hillbilly Casino - "The Doctor"
Ivy - "Fascinated"
Japandroids - "Younger Us"
The Jim Jones Review - "Elemental"
Matt Latterell - "Hostage"
Little Dragon - "Ritual Union"
Rene Lopez - "Shing-a-ling is What I Bring"
Los Campesinos! - "By Your Hand"
M83 - "Midnight City"
Mariachi el Bronx - "Revolution Girls"
Mates of State - "Palomino"
Spectrals - "Big Baby"
Two Harbors - "Blue Door"
Youth Lagoon - "Montana

Black Keys - El Camino
Dum Dum Girls - Only in Dreams
Flogging Molly - Speed of Darkness
Tom Waits - Bad As Me
We Are Augustines - Rise Ye Sunken Ships
Wild Flag - Wild Flag

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 32: “A Pennypacker Festivus…or…Why We Should Celebrate the Winter Harvest and the Revolution of the Earth Around th

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 32: “A Pennypacker Festivus…or…Why We Should Celebrate the Winter Harvest and the Revolution of the Earth Around the Sun”


“Rock and Roll Christmas” by George Thorogood & the Destroyers

Set 1
“Fuck Christmas” by Fear
“The Christmas Song” by the Raveonettes
“The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole
“Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)” by the Ramones
“Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)” by the Darkness

Set 2
“Santa’s on His Way” by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys
“Must Be Santa” by Bob Dylan
“Dear Santa” by Amy Gore
“Santa Claus” by Thee Headcoatees
“Father Christmas” by the Kinks

Set 3
“Christmas with the Devil” by Spinal Tap
“Mistress for Christmas” by AC/DC
“Fruitcake” by the Superions
“O Tannenbaum” by Vincent Guaraldi

Set 4
“Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis” by Tom Waits
“Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl
“Annunciation Day/Born on Christmas Day” by Ted Leo & the Pharmacists
“I Wish It Was Christmas Today” by Julian Casablancas

Set 5
“Christmas All Over” by Tom Petty
“Merry Christmas Baby” by Elvis Presley
“Christmas Wrapping” by the Waitresses
“Everything is One Big Christmas Tree” by the Magnetic Fields
“The Blizzard” by Camera Obscura

Set 6
“Candy Cane Children” by the White Stripes
“Tell the Lord (What Santa’s Done)” by Goober & the Peas
“Don’t Forget to Feed the Reindeer” by the Come Ons
“My Last Christmas” by the Dirtbombs

Set 7
“Future is in the Future” by Electric Six
“2012” by Box Elders
“2012 Blues” by Thomas Function
“New Year’s Eve” by Tom Waits

“Auld Lang Syne” by Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin

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