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Alexandra Lawn of Ra Ra Riot [photogenic.]

(via Soundcheck Magazine, © Randy Cremean)

Just wait until you see her move on stage … hot damn!

I saw Ra Ra Riot back in February of 2009 … they were my first show in Seattle as a resident of this fair city. Scotty and I were looking at t-shirts … well, he was looking at t-shirts, I was busy looking at the girl selling the shirts. She was already intimidating enough, so it was game off, but once I found out she was the cellist in the band, it was game over … needless to say, I don’t think I said a word to her, before or after the show. Still, their live show is fantastic … as evidenced by the videos below … one is from the in-store they played at Easy Street Records in Queen Anne at the beginning of last month, which two thirds of us at Roused attended. The second was also recorded in Seattle, and is just a favorite song of mine …

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Out with the Old (Shit), In with the New (Awesome Shit)

I used to love Weezer … they were my favorite band from about 1995 up until 2002 … after that point, I was just deluding myself into thinking that they were still great, and would return to the brilliance of the Blue Album and Pinkerton … I thought that maybe Rivers just had to get some more generic shit out of his system before going back to honest, strong songwriting. He seemed genuinely hurt by the initial critical and commercial reception of Pinkerton, and from that point forward decided to go the “Eff you” route of songcrafting … generic lyrics, uninspired composition (using the song’s melody for every guitar solo??? in the eternal words of GOB Bluth, “C’mon!!!”), safe 4 chord power pop … it’s as if he was saying,

“I am way better than this, and I showed it on the first two records, but you bitches didn’t appreciate it … I poured myself into Pinkerton, and you hated it! and because that record had so much of me in it, by hating it and rejecting it, you have hated and rejected me. Don’t expect to see that Rivers again. I’m gonna write watered down lyrics that make no sense, I’m gonna make sure I flash some of my former brilliance, but that’s just to tease you mofos … sure the amps are still gonna go to 11, but don’t expect anything new and original to come forth.”

It is sad as shit … the last album I actually purchased was “Make Believe” … I can’t say that I’ve listened to the whole CD. I guess Weezer has released two albums since … The Red Album and Raditude … haven’t heard them … couldn’t bring myself to listen to see how far they’ve fallen … so what was it that compelled me to listen to a stream of their newest (and as of now, unreleased) record? Curiosity, I suppose. I don’t know … like a car accident you can’t seem to look away from, I found myself rubbernecking … looking back to see what has become of these four gentlemen from Weezer. Maybe I am just waiting for them to return to form … holding out hope that an album to rival Pinkerton’s rawness and beauty will be made again … After listening to all 10 tracks off the new album “Hurley” on their myspace, it is now safe to call off the search and rescue party, not because we’ve found survivors in the wreckage, but because there are no survivors. Weezer is officially dead to me. In case you want to hear for yourself: go here

But if you’re looking for something way more awesome [and this is the New (Awesome Shit)] …

Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino, is the shit. If you’ve been around, you know that we here at Roused feel this way about him. Whether he’s doing stand-up, acting on “Community”, writing for “30 Rock”, or being a supremely talented MC, he is awesome. He self-released an album earlier this year, “Culdesac”, and he’s been playing a few shows, and filming the new season of “Community”, and he came to Bumbershoot to perform stand-up … but even with all of this, he’s still finding time to make amazing hip hop … See?

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inception, haters, and why i can't take it any more.

“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

Contrarians of earth: Please, for the love of all that is holy, stop writing about Inception.

This happens every time people start going apeshit about something. Suddenly, haters sprout up like weeds bashing it, griping about how overrated it is, writing long diatribes about how much they hate it. People, like myself, rave about how much they love Inception and then other people actually spend time writing about how no one anywhere should ever love it, under any circumstances.

Stop wasting everyone’s time, especially your own. Instead, use all that energy and passion raving about something that’s better, something you feel is more worthwhile.

First, to the general problems I have with hating on movies to begin with.

Movies are an art form, a creative medium, and watching a movie is a subjective experience. We can pretend all we want that our claims about the movies we love and the movies we hate are objective facts, but it just isn’t true. The mood we are in, the people we are with, the audience at the theater for that particular showing, some random chemicals firing in our head, all sorts of crazy subconscious shit bubbling up unbeknownst to us… there are an endless number of factors influencing how we feel about a film (or about anything for that matter).

So, why does it make you so angry that you want to prove to the people who love something that they are deluded and weak-minded? It’s insane. What bothers you so much about people who love Slumdog Millionaire, or Juno, or Crash?

The most common argument I’ve seen is that the contrarians are film advocates, that they are just steamed that subpar films are getting attention over great films. Bullshit. If that was the case, why are you wasting more ink on the film you hate, thus giving it more attention?!? Sure, make snarky comments with your friends, make fun of it in passing while you are writing about something else, but how much energy do you really want to expend trying to rain on someone else’s parade? Why would you want to rain on someone else’s parade to begin with? They are having a fucking parade, be happy for them!

Instead of whining and complaining, make a commitment that every time you see a [insert movie you hate here] article, you are going to write about Kurosawa and Wenders, or rave about Korean cinema, or try to get everyone to watch your favorite unrecognized movie. That, my friends, is advocacy. Negativity and criticism advocates nothing but negativity and criticism.

Also, why does it seem that everything written whining about a movie being generic and derivative is written so… well, generically and derivatively. You are going to complain about a movie being uninspired drivel by writing your own uninspired drivel? Come, again. (That’s what she said.)

Now, on to my problems with people complaining about Inception specifically. The complaints about Inception are particularly baffling. Sure, there are some people who hate it, but most of the people debating it are debating whether or not is a masterpiece, or just really good.


To quote Eli Cash, “Why would a reviewer make the point of saying someone’s not a genius? Do you especially think I’m not a genius?”

I’m pretty smart, and unquestionably passionate about the things I love. I could come up with a bunch of pretty solid arguments and big words to prove Inception was brilliant, then you could use similarly solid arguments and big words to prove it wasn’t. The question is, why? We both like it, why are we going to argue about just how much one should really like it? Talk about minutia. It’s the epitome of insipid. Let’s just get it out of the way now, if you want to spend time trying to convince me Inception wasn’t great, I’m not interested.

However, to briefly rave about the film a bit more, it is brilliant storytelling. Without spoiling it with specifics, there is a particular moment in the film where a large number of people at our screening made audible noises. Not out of fear, or disgust, but because they were so engaged in the story. Nolan told a heady, complicated story, and still had a cinema full of Americans involuntarily making noises because they were not only following along, but were on the edge of their proverbial seat (actually, my friend Austin sat in front of me, and there were times he was on the edge of his literal seat). I thought that maybe this phenomenon was unique to my viewing, or to my city, but as it would turn out, Warner Bros. has been pulling down video from the internet where viewers were using cell phones to document theaters full of people making noise at the exact same moment all across the country. To quote our vice president, that’s a big fucking deal.

Okay, back to my diatribe. I guess the thing that bothers me so much about this is how much energy people put into being negative. It’s really easy to hate on stuff, it’s lazy. Our culture actually says you are smart because you can critically tear something apart. That’s just not true. Tearing something apart is simple. Building something up is hard. You actually put yourself on the line when you praise something, that’s scary. Throwing temper tantrums because all the other kids like stuff that you don’t like is, well, you know.

I have tons more to say about this, but I’m going to stop for now. Suffice it to say that I implore you to put something positive into the world instead of being so negative.

Learn to advocate the things you love with more passion than you bitch about the things you hate.

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scott pilgrim. [graphic content.]

If you know me at all, you are probably aware that I love the English language enough that I never, ever use instant message speak. No ‘ty,’ ‘rotf,’ or ‘ttyl.’ You’ll never get even the occasional ‘lol’ or ‘brb.’ That is why what is about to happen is a big deal. And it is all because of Scott Pilgrim.

The in-game nerdspeak, the ‘pwned’ sort, just comes bubbling up at the sheer awesomeness Bryan Lee O’Malley has unleashed on the world.

Let’s pretend you can ask me what I’ve thought of the Scott Pilgrim series so far.

“Hey, Scott. How’s Scott Pilgrim so far?”

[*Head glowing from awesomeness*] OMGWTFBBQLASERS!!!

Scott Pilgrim is amazing! No, seriously. Listen. Well, read. IT. IS. AMAZING.


The word ‘original’ has been around for a long time. As have the words ‘awesome, ‘hilarious,’ and ‘magicawonderfulnerdtastic.’ Okay, so I made the last word up, but if it was a word, it would apply to what I am saying. We have been using those words all this time without realizing that they were invented just so that someday there would be the proper adjectives to describe the Scott Pilgrim books.

They are so fucking good. My whole life has simply been biding time, waiting until the day when I finally read about the adventures of Mr. Pilgrim.

I know what you are thinking. “Hey Scott, c’mon. You use hyperbole all the time. They can’t really be that good.”

To that I can only respond with: Shut the hell up, dude. If you ever open your stupid, blasphemous face and talk about Scott Pilgrim that way again, I will come to your house and crack an egg of knowledge all over you.

Seriously. It’s like O’Malley took all the awesome, lame, wonderful parts of the average nerd’s brain, influenced by the fact that we are the first generation to grow up completely immersed in video games, and he created a world out of it. A world where things actually happen the way I pretend they happen in my mind.

If you ever wanted to Level Up for doing the right thing, or have a weapon that offers +2 against Vegans, or get EXP points for going to work, then this is the series of indie comics for you.

These books are absurd in the best way possible, surreal and delightful. There isn’t really a way to describe how different they are from any other graphic novel or comic book I’ve ever read. Sooo good.

I already couldn’t wait for the movie to come out this August. Now I think I might have to get a doctor to place me in a controlled coma to get me from now to Inception, and then from that until Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

I’m already mentally preparing for a trip to Toronto to make a (please forgive the pun) pilgrimage.

That glowing review, and so far I’ve only even read Vol. 1-4. I had no freaking idea that Volume 6: Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour wasn’t out  as a graphic novel yet. It doesn’t come out until JULY?!?!?!?!? Terrible. My heart aches for it. What was that I was saying about a coma? I need to check with my local hospital about that.

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"Sometimes the Spanish teenagers frighten me a little bit …"

This is the kind of art I would like to be a part of …

La Blogotheque is a French based music video/blog project of independent film maker Vincent Moon. He records bands on the streets of Paris, in cafes, in moving vehicles, in people’s living rooms. There are similar things out there, but I knew of Mr. Moon’s work first. These performances are called Take Away Shows or Les Concerts à Emporter. It is really awesome. Really awesome guerrilla-style art. The Shins, Andrew Bird, St. Vincent, Beirut, Of Montreal, Sufjan Stevens (covering the Innocence Mission!), Bon Iver, Arcade Fire, Sigur Ros, Phoenix, Essie Jain, Cold War Kids, My Brightest Diamond, Islands, Grizzly Bear, Vampire Weekend, Okkervil River, Menomena, and Jens Lekman are some of the artists featured. Read that list again. Read it again, and get going. Most, if not all of the videos can be found on youtube. Go. Now.

La Blogotheque

La Blogotheque’s Youtube Channel

If you’ve stuck around, shame on you … but here are three of my favorites:

I can’t imagine how cool it would be if I was walking down the street and heard one of my favorite bands playing a song, turning a corner, and seeing one of my favorite bands performing on the street. How awesome would that be?

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My Talented Friends: Claire Anthony [The Band Wagon]

“If Rosie Thomas, Yann Tiersen, Jars of Clay, Eisley, Sia, Damien Rice, Ray LaMontagne, Iron & Wine, Bon Iver, Nick Drake, The Weepies, Beirut, and Nickel Creek were drawn with a 256 Crayola pack on a huge coloring book and then melted down and mixed with the first flowers of spring, the early morning dew on a hot summer’s day, straw plucked from an old scarecrow, and clouds culled from a winter sky, then baked into a giant man-shaped flan that accidentally burned in the oven and could not be eaten by people so was driven to a park where it was scattered in front of a bramble bush and a flock of birds came down and ate it and started singing, then that song might sound like Claire Anthony.” –– DTA
Claire Anthony

Look out the window at dusk in the dead of winter. Trees, long stripped of their colorful plumage, are stark and black against the blue of the darkening sky. All alone. Their branches reach for the stars, reaching for their small ancient light. The wood is dry and cracked from the harsh elements of a cold winter. Winds from every direction have seemingly battered the life out of the mangled organism. A branch or two is felled with every gust of wind, which are then covered over with the freshly fallen snow, and forgotten. Snow and ice coat the trunk and remaining branches like a well-worn fitted suit. The tree shakes in the blustery winds of arctic origin (where there are no trees, for good reason), like chattering teeth, the branches rattle together. The tree turns its attention anxiously to the east. Waiting with great anticipation as it shivers through the night. The night is cold. The sun breaks over the horizon and wraps it’s warm, yellow arms of light and heat around the cold, covered wood. The suit of frozen precipitation is melted; stripped away like a robe dropped to the floor. Branches, previously weighed down under the cover of snow and darkness, readjust & reach for the sky once again, like a good stretch after a long nap. Light gives heat gives life, yet light is born out of darkness.

Claire Anthony – Red Bird


I’ve known Claire Anthony for nearly ten years. Ever since I’ve known her, she has continually left me in awe, and even intimidated with her depth and incredible talent. There is a quality to her performance style that is hard to pinpoint. It is something that cannot be learned or taught. It is not something one can emulate. It is a quality that is inborn. There is a vocal quality that gently, yet firmly grabs your attention. It beats back at distraction like the deluge beats back conflagration, and guides your focus. Even with everything else fallen away, the honesty is disarming. Despite any nerves that may be present, the performance is still as if we have joined Claire in her bedroom at 3am, listening in as she sings and plucks her way through songs freshly copied from the tablet of her heart. I’ve found it is rare that a performer can combine talent with this honesty and vocal expressiveness. You believe every word because every word feels true, because every word is true. But I am biased, I suppose …

Claire and her Taylor

It will be hard for me to not have this last paragraph sound exactly like Gina’s

Her lyrics are steeped in poetic imagery and her voice conveys emotion where mere words fall short … just reread the first paragraph of this post … the scene I described is what her music is. Her songs wrap their long, loving arms around you and warm you back to life. Visit her myspace. Listen to the songs I’ve linked here, and the ones there. If you’re in Western Washington, go to one of her gigs. You will be in awe too. Listen:

Claire Anthony – Untitled

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Eat Your Heart Out, Mariah Carey

I probably should not be the one pointing to this, but since W has seldomly been seen, I will excitedly and emphatically point (and link) to this gem:

We could definitely devote more posts to his related links, but, just check them out after watching. This guy is too talented to go undiscovered for this long.

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yeasayer – odd blood. [the band wagon.]

/you’re stuck in my mind/all the time/

I discovered Yeasayer completely by accident. It was all thanks to Donald Glover, aka, Childish Gambino. He used two of their songs on his mixtapes, which led Brian and me to starting doing some digging on eMusic. The result is that it goes down as just another reason for me to thank the heavens that Glover decided to show the world how great he is at everything.

My first experience of them without the amazing emcee stylings of Childish Gambino was their Feb. 9th release, Odd Blood. The CD is fantastic! For me, it’s this year’s version of 2007’s Boxer, and by that I mean that it’s the CD I listen to for the 50th time and I still find myself pausing from whatever I am doing and thinking, “These guys are fucking amazing!.”

/don’t give up on me/and i won’t give up on you/

I’m not sure what their genre should be called. Genres usually suck, it’s better to just have fun with the whole concept instead. Thus, the best I’ve come up with so far is neo80sdarkwavesynthpopawesomemusicyoucandanceto. Apparently they themselves have called it “Middle Eastern-psych-snap-gospel.”

Yeasayer hearkens back to those days when you didn’t necessarily have to share your angst and heartbreak by whining about it to slow, sad songs. The best of the 80s (we are all aware of all the bad, but forget that there was some pretty good shit too) was often when you could be dark or sad or even apocalyptic, but show it by creating music you could dance your pants off to.

/hold me like you used to/control me like you used to/

Want evidence? Watch this music video, which in the world of Scott fits the following equation: frowning + watching this video = metaphysical impossibility. Or, to simplify that a bit, watching this video ≠ frowning. This is true thanks to a delicious cocktail of awesome and 80s childhood nostalgia.

Just about every day I fall in love with another track on this album. From the ups of ‘Mondegreen’ to the more melancholy but no less percussive or synthtastic ‘Madder Red’ and/or ‘I Remember.’

Obviously, Yeasayer won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if Yeasayer is tea then you can call me a tea-partier… wait, on second thought, don’t do that. Maybe Yeasayer isn’t your particular brand of whiskey, but if Yeasayer is whiskey, call me an 1800’s drunk in the wild west.

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john wesley nelsonsonton: an extraordinary life.

It seems to me that it is a good idea to introduce each of our primary contributors here with a bit of a biography. However, it would be terribly boring to allow each of us to introduce ourselves. Instead, each of us will introduce one of the other writers here at RtM however we see fit.

Thus, I bring you the story of John Wesley Nelsonsonton, aka, Waldo Nelsonsonton, who, to my knowledge, will go by Wes or Wesle (no ‘y’ because he isn’t actually a man) here on RtM. For legal reasons, I should point out that this biography has been published before on a previous blog. However, there have been updates from recent events.

John Wesley Nelsonsonton was born in 1983 on a warm September morning in the dance hall of a socialist commune, just outside of Lincoln, Nebraska. The fact that he was named for the English preacher and religious reformer was actually a drug induced accident. His parents, in an acid induced haze, had actually intended to name him after another famous John. Rather than the founder of Methodism, they meant for his name to honor a comedic actor best known for his role on ‘Three’s Company,’ an American sitcom famous for it’s physical humor and sexual innuendo. Thus it can be argued that in light of the wishes of his parents, we might more accurately refer to our subject as John Ritter Nelsonsonton.

John’s parents would pay for their unfortunate drug habit in that their son more closely resembled his given name than his intended name. He was known around the commune much more for his religious devotion and uncanny ability to create small cells of believers who methodically went about their spiritual observance, than for his comic timing. Being atheists, with an abiding love of broad humor, this disappointed them terribly.

Excelling in school in all subjects but Math, he would have graduated at the head of his class. I say ‘would have‘ because the school at the commune didn’t give out letter grades, but instead gave out colors to correspond to the mood of their students. Being terribly frustrated at the absurdity of such a system, John was frequently evaluated with the color black and dropped out of school at the age of 16.

After dropping out, John held his head high. He moved to the nearby kingdom of Hyrule, where he saved Zelda, the princess of the realm, who had recently been kidnapped. The rescue led to a torrid love affair between the two, ultimately resulting in a tumultuous celebrity marriage that ended after only 4 months. During the divorce, John successfully sued for half the kingdom of Hyrule, only to lose it a year later after being indicted for tax fraud.

Having learned his lesson about trying to cheat your government, John decided it was high time he went to college. It was then, during his freshman year, that he would receive the nickname ‘Waldo’ that we all know him by now. The nickname was given to him by friends, this due to a combination of his fondness for horizontally striped red and white shirts, and his proclivity and adept ability to blend in to large crowds in order to avoid unwanted attention. As you all know, the nickname stuck.

It was soon after he’d adopted this new nickname that I came upon Waldo. The two of us became fast friends, only to have a bitter falling out my senior year (his junior year) due to an argument about the fairness of pudding being segregated based on color, or flavor. The two of us didn’t talk for three and a half years until 2006, when Waldo approached me with a challenge to a blogging battle of wits. I believe that both of us hoped, deep down inside, that while being brought on by our intense competitive natures, this challenge would reopen the lines of communication and thus resurrect our friendship.

In a way this did turn out to be the case, as a result of some bad translation software, our blogging challenge led to a misunderstanding in which the North Korean government thought Waldo and I were speaking ill of their “great” leader, thus they sent super-assassins to kill us. Obviously, super-assassins are nothing to be trifled with, and it was necessary for Wesle and I do join forces. We fought, sliced, punched, chopped, spooned, and outwitted our way through a series of terrible battles with said assassins until we were finally safe again. Wait, did I say ‘spooned’? Ha, no, that obviously isn’t true. I am totally straight. I meant doomed, like, we doomed our enemies. Yes, that works.

Anyway, we emerged from our battle with the North Koreans sharing the brotherhood that can only come from spilling the blood of common enemies together. We have been reconciled, and as it would turn out, things have gone so well that we came up with this little project here at Roused to Mediocrity.

Anyway, back to his life story. After graduating from college with a degree in Quantum Physics (and a minor in Marine Biology), Waldo moved to California where he lives to this day.  He’s written a number of books, including Love the Waldo Way: How to Get Any Girl to Fall in Love With You In Four Hours, Personal Finance and You: How Illegal Pirating is Actually the Best Way To Have All You Want and Still Invest in Your Future, and Fallen From Grace: My Story of Sinking From Hero of Hyrule to World Class Laughingstock and How to Stop it From Happening to You!

He currently lives in Sacramento, California, with his second wife, Margaret, and their two children Mario and Lopez.

*If you have any questions about the life of John Wesley [Waldo] Ritter Nelsonsonton, please feel free to contact me or buy my book on Amazon, published by TotallyReal Books – In The Shadow of Greatness: The Real Story of My Doomed Friendship With Waldo Nelsonsonton Because I Was Simply Far Too Awesome.

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scott pilgrim vs. the world. [trailer park.]

Alright folks, here we go. It is time to inflict our mediocrity on the world. That means it is also time to enjoy the trailer for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Granted, you have all seen this trailer before, I have even posted it on a blog before… yet, the desire is to kick this blog project off in style, and what better way to do that than with a movie that just may be the greatest gift the world has ever received. Yes, I am kicking the blog off with an awesome trailer and a big dose of hyperbole.


“Let the great experiment begin!”

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