Makeup For The Silence

The digital home of music writer Jesse Richman

Makeup For The Silence

Tag: american football

My Top 10 Albums of 2016

(feat. track – Dinosaur Pile-Up – “Bad Penny” [spotify] from Eleven Eleven)

[Posted 1/3/18] So… I was going through the blog to make some updates and found my 2016 “Best Of The Rest” lost in a draft. Of course, I never did get around to doing write-ups of my top albums for 2016 – or even posting them on the main blog! – much less posting what didn’t quite make it. (The list is, and will remain, over at the Top Tens page.)

Still, this blog feels incomplete without the list living here, even sans commentary, so I’m popping in to retroactively post it, along with the Best Of The Rest list I had written up at the time.

So without further ado…


10. Myrone – Drift Stage Vol. 1 [spotify]

9. Let’s Eat Grandma – I, Gemini [spotify]

8. 18th and Addison – Makeshift Monster [spotify]

7. Boys Night Out – Black Dogs EP [spotify]

6. Cash Cash – Blood, Sweat & Three Years [spotify]

5. Garbage – Strange Little Birds [spotify]

4. The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It [spotify]

3. Kitten – Heaven Or Somewhere In Between EP [spotify]

2. David Bowie – Blackstar [spotify]

1. Kanye West – The Life of Pablo [spotify]



American Football – American Football [spotify]

Bon Iver – 22, A Million [spotify]

Brand New – 3 Demos, Reworked [spotify]

Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book [spotify]

Dinosaur Pile-Up – Eleven Eleven [spotify]

The Downtown Fiction – Alligator Tears [spotify]

Frank Ocean – Blond(e) [spotify]

From Indian Lakes – Everything Feels Better Now [spotify]

The Hotelier – Goodness [spotify]

Jeff Rosenstock – Worry [spotify]

John K. Samson – Winter Wheat [spotify]

k.flay – Crush Me [spotify]

King Neptune – A Place To Rest My Head [spotify]

Lights – Midnight Machines [spotify]

Look Park – Look Park [spotify]

The Monkees – Good Times! [spotify]

Moose Blood – Blush [spotify]

Pity Sex – White Hot Moon [spotify]

Suede – Night Thoughts [spotify]

Tancred – Out Of The Garden [spotify]

Now Playing: Tears For Fears – “Mad World”

now playing: Tears For Fears – Tears Roll Down [spotify] – Mad World [spotify]

None of that Gary Jules shit dammit! I need to figure out how to listen to music at work (other than my discman). Shap convinced me to check out Launchcast, but I can’t seem to get it to play here, I’m guessing due to firewall issues (which has also had AIM out of commission here for the last week – anyone wanna tell me how to set up a proxy server? 😉 I’ve still managed to go through and rate like 500 artists. I’ll check it when I get home, now that my internet connection is back up. (Of course I still need a monitor…)

Kurt Cobain vs. Mr. Rogers – who is the cooler dead guy in a cardigan? Respond below with your vote!

Last nite was IN-FUCKING-SANE! The Che Cafe is a student run all-ages concert venue / vegan co-op / leftist gathering point at UCSD. The main room is basically a small old wooden shed that fitst maybe 150 packed to the gills. It’s the kind of place Great White fans go to die. And for last night’s show it was absolutely perfect.

The openers (“The See-Throughs” or something of that sort) were just a couple college kids who couldn’t play their instruments, and they knew it. They were so brutally awful that I enjoyed it. I had a good time witnessing the disaster. But I WILL punch anyone who bought the 7″.

The 2nd act, the Tall Ships, sounded like American Football meets Incubus to me. Good, but intensely generic indie rock.

I’d never heard Mile Marker before, but they were solid. I dunno how to describe them; kinda screamy overwrought indie crap with a two dirty guitar guys and a gothy keyboard chick who alternate turns yelling into the mic. But good.

If you want my feelings on the Blood Brothers, check my review from when I saw them last month. This time, they were even better, and the crowd was just unreal. Played a couple tracks off of Burn Piano Island, Burn (which just needs to hurry up and come out so I can actually pay for it), did their cover of Under Pressure again, lots of March On Electric Children stuff. The pit was totally East-coast (brutal without being asshole-ish) people were hanging from the rafters, I sweated out ten pounds and caught someone’s skull on the bridge of my nose, leaving me out on my feet for a few seconds. I haven’t left a show feeling that exhilerated since, well, I guess the last Blood Brothers show I saw. But this was better really, them being the headliners and all.

The crowd was Scene as hell, but there were still some cool people to be chatted up. Despite the massive hipster quotient, it was still a very cool vibe. There’s a bunch more shows coming there soon (Atom and his Package, Engine Down, Pretty Girls Make Graves w/ The Locust) so I’m sure I’ll be getting back there real soon.


Henry Rollins spoken word tonite. I’ve got one of his SW CDs but this will be my first time seeing it in person, I’m looking forward to it.


originally posted 2/27/03

Rhett Miller Live Reviews

Old 97’s – Wreck Your Life [spotify] – Doreen [spotify]

Double dose of Rhett *swoon* last night. First, he played an in-store at the Borders downtown. Let me say I have NEVER seen so many people in the store before; I didn’t count but I would guess around 150 people came out to see him play a short acoustic set. The set was taped for rebroadcast by both local TV and 102.1FM (which I might just have to start listening to).

They had Rhett hooked up to a shitty two-speaker PA system, with his guitar lined directly into the PA, so the sound itself was pretty sorry, especially because the system couldn’t handle his voice whenever he got loud. But hey, for an impromptu setup in the middle of a bookstore I suppose it’s not so bad.

For his part, Rhett was spot-on. He opened with a bang-up run through Our Love, then said he felt like playing an Old 97s song and went into Rollerskate Skinny. He chatted with a radio DJ for a few, then played Come Around, after which he commented that because he was playing in just another hour and a half that night, he was gonna have to cut it short and do just one more song. Someone asked for Nervous Heart; he replied that he’d love to play it, but the rules of set-list-design require that he close with a rocker 🙂 I’m not sure what he was prepping to play, because he clearly had a song in mind, but at just the right moment someone shouted “DOREEN!” Rhett paused for a second, cracked a smile, and just tore into a blistering rendition, no doubt confusing 2/3 of the people there to see him. It was beautiful!

After Doreen, he unplugged, and as he was about to leave the stage was told he had time for one more, so he honored the woman’s previous request and played Nervous Heart, then went to go sign autographs.

I didn’t write down the setlist for the 4th and B performance; it was pretty heavy on stuff from The Instigator, with the only real surprise being Curtain Calls. He played about 45 minutes. After maybe 15 he had completely soaked through his clothes, and spent the final half-hour dripping from his hair and his guitar all over the stage. The sound was much much better, Neil Finn’s audience seemed largely unfamiliar with Rhett but very polite and attentive (aside from a small contingent of maybe five of us at the front of the stage singing along to every word), and he managed to make it through a full set only breaking one guitar string. Obviously it couldn’t compare to his intimate Largo performance the other week, but there’s something cool about seeing a guy and his guitar command all the attention alone on a huge stage in a 1000 person venue, there’s something tremendously compelling about his performance.

I didn’t stick around for Neil Finn.

Also a ton of shows I want to go to next week (Glassjaw/Sparta/Hot Water Music, Interpol, Har Mar Superstar, and Cat Power are all playing that week) so we’ll see what happens.

The Raveonettes debut album (maybe an EP? what does 8 tracks count as?) is recorded entirely in B-Flat Minor. It’s a really cool experiment, in that even though the songs have entirely different tempos and structures, the key makes them all fit together into a kind of cohesive piece. Definitely worth checking out. (Plus, any band who names themselves after a Buddy Holly track is cool in my book). I picked it up on a Tower run […] the other day, where I spent WAY too much money (got the Jeff Buckley Grace Singles collection, as well as filling out my Mike Kinsella collection with the American Football disc and Owen’s No Good For No One Now). Music = good. Music = life.

originally written 2/11/03

Noise Rachet / My Chemical Romance Live Review

now playing: American Football – American Football [spotify] – Stay Home [spotify]

Death Cab for Cutie’s “The Photo Album” is fantastic make-out music.


Last nite’s concert was fucking weird. The crowd was absolutely stone dead for My Chemical Romance, Minus the Bear and Piebald. Like, nobody was even bopping their heads. Then Noise Ratchet came on and everything just went fucking insane – the entire audience was singing along to every word, to the point that during half their songs the singer would just stop singing at random times and let the crowd carry it. I’d never heard them, and while they were pretty standard heavy emo stuff (think Juliana Theory) they were VERY tight, and their drummer was a fucking monster on the kit.

Piebald, on the other hand, were kind of a disappointment. I think part of it is that their new material, while more “mature” or some shit, just isn’t as GOOD as their old stuff, and it really showed live. Too low-energy, and with no crowd to feed off of, it just didn’t work so well.

Minus the Bear were fan-fucking-tastic. Indie rock with a lead guitarist who taps on most of their tracks. VERY cool, I bought a t-shirt and am gonna go DL some of their studio stuff right now. I was highly impressed, they’re definitely someone I’d want to check out again.

My Chemical Romance – Chris called them “very East Coast” and I’m inclined to agree. A little too much of the NYC, I’m-trying-to-be-hard thing. Decent music, though the mix was terrible. but I wasn’t particularly impressed. Perhaps I just need to see em on their own turf.

Hot Hot Heat and Cursive are both playing shows in San Diego Saturday nite[.]


originally posted 1/31/03

Owen – “Poor Souls”

Owen – Poor Souls

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of finally seeing Mike Kinsella (who records and performs under the moniker “Owen”) live.  I’ve been a fan for nearly 10 years, but between his less-than-frequent touring over the years and some poor timing on my part on a few occasions, I’d never managed to catch him in concert.  It was an excellent show – his songs translated surprisingly well to the club atmosphere and I hadn’t really realized what an exceptional guitar player he is – but what caught me off guard was how, as soon as he started playing, I was taken back to Fall of 2002.

I moved from Boston to San Diego in October of 2002.  It was an exciting time, an adventure, but it was also a really lonely time at first.  When I moved, I didn’t know a soul on the west coast, and without a job I found myself with a lot of time on my hands and no money to spend, which meant a lot of days hanging round my apartment, bored, watching TV and eating cheap spaghetti.  Not a bad life really, but sometimes the claustrophobia would start to get to me.  One escape was to take long drives through the hills up towards Encinitas or out through east county at night, through the foggy haze that often rolls in from the Pacific and settles on San Diego when it cools off late in the evening.

This was before I had any kind of mp3 player, so I kept a handful of CDs in my car to listen to on those drives.  Over time, there were a few that I kept coming back to, that fit the mood of those quiet cool hazy lonely nights just perfectly.  (One that springs to mind that I’ll probably write about some other time is Death Cab For Cutie’s “The Photo Album”). Primary among them, though, were Owen’s first two albums, especially the then-brand-new No Good For No One Now.

I guess you could lump Owen into the “folk singer” category broadly, but there’s something very singular about his style, though it wouldn’t sound out of place among David Bazan and Elliot Smith and Vic Chesnutt in their airier, softer moments. Frequently whisper-quiet, with a dark sensibility and biting wit, lyrics held aloft by tightly crafted fingerpicking, and only the occasional nod to traditional pop song structures, Owen’s music still somehow remains accessible, always more heart-project than art-project. It’s a sound that’s a product of equal parts love and compulsion.

In my mind, No Good For No One Now is still damned near a perfect album, though I need to be in a very particular headspace to really lose myself in it (one that, perhaps, it’s best I don’t find myself in so often anymore).  Though circumstances have indelibly tied to a certain time in my life, there’s a timeless quality to the music, perhaps because it’s so hard to anchor in any particular movement or trend.

I hope it’s there for you if you need it someday like it was for me.

Death Cab For Cutie – “Styrofoam Plates”

Death Cab For Cutie – Styrofoam Plates

Death Cab For Cutie’s “The Photo Album” was a constant companion of my car stereo for a good 6 months when I moved to San Diego in late 2002.  It was that period when I had first arrived, didn’t know anyone, had not found a job or started dating my ex-wife yet, those would happen a few months later.  That whole period is kind of colored in The Photo Album, American Football’s s/t, and Owen’s “No Good For No One Now”.  Memories of foggy late night drives through the hills and canyons around the city.    Drives through unfamiliar roads, often while winding down from a long night at the poker table, or else just because I’d been inside all day and had nothing much better to do.  Lonely times.  Nervous times.  Lovely times.

It’s a great album all the way through, really one of those albums that’s best when listened to in full.  It’s not a concept album or anything like that, but it just has a perfect ebb and flow to it.  That said, if there’s one track I can listen to out of context, listen to anytime really, this is the one.  Probably my favorite Death Cab song, period.  It’s so visceral and evocative, pointed and poignant, it manages to paint the picture without being willfully obscure.  And with Thanksgiving just past, it feels appropriate.

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