Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2011 WINTER CONCERT WRAP-UP: Streetlight Manifesto




Felipe M

We love Streetlight Manifesto around these parts.  So when we found out that they would be coming to Durty Nellie's in Palatine, Pathological Hate was all too eager to see them live again.

February 15, 2011: Durty Nellie's, Palatine, IL-- This was the first time I've ever been to Nellie's, much less for a show at this venue.  It is definitely an impressive establishment as there's a bar and grill walled off from the stage area.  Overseeing both sections of this facility is a second floor that provides a good view of the action below--unfortunately the good view is only supplied for a few people as views gets pretty obstructed rather quickly as people try to muscle their way into the best view possible without spilling theirs or anybody else's drink.  Really the only perk to staying on the 2nd floor is that it plays as the designated drinking area as alcoholic beverages are not allowed in the mosh pit area.  Yeah, I couldn't believe it either!  

Nevertheless, the best feature of Nellie's is that it has two impressively sized telescreens which display the show for those people who don't want to get too close to the action.  It is pretty unique for a small venue like Nellie's to have such a feature as it adds to the show's experience.

The second floor is where we watched Terrible Things' full setlist.  Terrible Things is a group compiled from ex-members of Coheed and Cambria and Hot Rod Circuit.  However, the reason why you would know this band is because it's fronted by ex-Taking Back Sunday member, Fred Mascherino.  Admittedly, I recognized Mascherino, but just wasn't sure where I have seen him before.  Weeks after the show is when I realized who he was.  Nevertheless, the band's sound seemed to be "out-dated" and the energy was just lacking, as the songs were very uninteresting.  However, there was a small fan base that was digging the set so all was not totally lost.

If Terrible Things was a necessary evil to endure that night, then Streetlight Manifesto was ready to send us to hell.  Just like at the show at The Metro in July (of 2010), the mosh pit area was hot!  We're in the middle of winter, but the mosh pit was scorching and humid like a tropical jungle.  The crowd was simply amazing as they knew almost every word to every song and never stopped moving.  No band can constantly keep the crowd moving like Streetlight Manifesto.  I myself had to take a long water break midway through the show as the heat was unforgiving.

As far as the band goes, they are simply marvelous.  The band's setlist was similar to the one in July, 2010, with a few additions here and there, most noticeably  their cover of NOFX's "Linoleum" and a personal favorite of mine, "Failing, Flailing".  Just like the show in July, they synthesized "Point/Counterpoint" with "Keasbey Nights"--that never gets old!  They finished their set with what's quickly becoming my favorite song all time from the band, "Somewhere in the Between."  The encore featured "Linoleum" and just like in July, ended with "The Big Sleep." 

It was a cold, drizzly, winter's day in the Chicagoland area, and it was about two weeks after the biggest snowstorm in Chicago, but the hottest place to be in mid-February of 2011 was at Durty Nellie's as Streetlight Manifesto put out another bombastic show for a terrific crowd.

Make sure to check out last year's 1st Quarter Concert Wrap-Up.

Streetlight Manifesto has also recorded their version of Bad Religion's "Skyscraper."  Be sure to check out our countdown of the 50 GREATEST BAD RELIGION SONGS EVER.

Find out what Devon was also doing during the month of February as he covered the 2011 Chicago Auto Show.

Monday, October 17, 2011

TEN YEARS IN THE MAKING: Thursday Performs FULL COLLAPSE!



Felipe M.


If you don't know about Thursday and their album Full Collapse, then what are you waiting for?  It wasn't a very popular mainstream album and it did not make a dent in the charts back in 2001 (reaching #178 on the Billboard charts), but the imprint that it has left in the world of music is very prevalent, as it has become a fan favorite in the punk/hardcore/underground scene and has influenced many bands that followed its release.  It is truly a landmark of a gem in independent music.  

So earlier this year, Thursday had announced that they would be touring in support of Underoath where they would play Full Collapse IN ITS ENTIRETY!  I so happened to be there on February 9, 2011 at the House of Blues, Chicago, Illinois.

These old songs are still amazing and they have not aged a bit.  They're as cutting edge as anything that's being released by other bands today.  Thursday playing them live just justifies and confirms that belief.  Another thing that stuck out as these memorable songs were being played live is the fact that, as intense as these songs are, they make you move.  I'm not much of a dancer, but something in these songs just made me want to dance and as I was looking at the crowd, I wasn't alone in this thinking.  I mean, even the song "Concealer," which starts out as a simple head-bobbing tune, eventually becomes a song that you want to dance to.  

The crowd was pretty tamed, but that's at any Thursday show.  Thursday is the only hardcore act where the entire crowd is mesmerized by the band's lead singer (in this case, Geoff Rickly) as there are no cirlce pits, no moshing, and no need for elbows to be up at all times.  It is truly a sight to behold as the entire crowd is usually looking at the stage in awe.  

The band finished their set with a new song from their new album No Devolucion, "Turnpike Divides."  The song was so good, that I had made up my mind that I would go ahead and buy the album on its release date without listening to the other tracks (very rarely do I buy an album without listening to a few tracks first).  

This album will always have a special place for me and I was glad that Thursday decided to pay homage to it.  Outside of the very popular "Understanding in a Car Crash," the other songs are not played very regularly as they should be.  But "Autobiography of a Nation" ("WRITE THESE WORDS BACK DOWN!"), "Cross Out the Eyes," and "Paris in Flames" never gets old ; Hearing songs "A Hole in the World," "I Am the Killer," "Standing on the Edge of Summer," "Wind-Up," and "How Long Is the Night" for the first time live was definitely a treat.  

I wish more bands had the ability to play the 10 year anniversary of any albums.  Albums released in 2001 that I wish would be played live in their entirety are as follows:




To read the 50 GREATEST BAD RELIGION SONGS OF ALL TIME from the very beginning, click here.


Feel free to listen to the greatest NEW YEAR'S EVE song of all time, Thursday's "Jet Black New Year."

Also, check out Devon's interpretation of Thursday's "Autumn Leaves Revisited," along with other Song Facts

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Devon test drives a Mazda family car




When the Mazda 6 was first introduced, it was seen as the sports sedan among family cars. It was stylish, sporty and still had the ability of carrying a small family and their luggage. The new Mazda 6 is bigger, roomier and more practical than the previous generation. Does this mean the Mazda 6 has finally grown up?

Likes: More fun to drive than rivals, roomy interior with a massive boot, large equipment level and sporty exterior looks.

Dislikes: Not as sporty as previous form, some interior trim bits feel cheap, no more wagon option.

Performance: There are two engines available for the Mazda 6. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 170hp, and a 3.7-liter six-cylinder with 272hp. Pick of the bunch is the base four-cylinder engine. It's fuel efficient and is very flexible. The six-cylinder is smooth, but commands a premium price.

Ride & Handling: The Mazda 6 has grown a few inches in length, but the sporty nature is still there. The 6 grips really well, and the steering is light yet precise. The ride isn't as comfortable as you might expect, but it's far from uncomfortable.

Refinement: The 6 is a relaxed quiet cruiser. Refinement isn't class-leading, but it's far from cheap. You'll notice a bit of wind noise around the door mirrors, and there's some road noise over rough surfaces. The engines are both very smooth.

Behind the wheel: The 6's cabin feels sporty thanks to the circular air vents and splashes of metallic trim. The dash is user-friendly, although the heater controls are separated from the panel that display their settings. Forward visibility is good, and both the driver seat and steering wheel adjust for reach and height.

Space & Practicality: Front passengers will find the 6 is quite massive. Rear passengers will also feel the same way. There's plenty of head and leg room to go round. The boot also offers tons of space, and the rear seat folds down flat to offer even more space.

Equipment: The base trim comes well equipped. You'll get central locking, air-con, cruise control and traction control. Top of the range trims offer xenon headlamps, back-up camera, dual-zone climate control and blind spot monitoring system.

Buying & Owning: The 6 is priced well among its rivals. You get plenty of kit for the money, and your fuel bill will be low if you stick with the four-cylinder engine. Resale value is strong, and discounts is offered but not anything fantastic.

Quality & reliability: The interior feels like a mixed bag, some plastics look stylish and hardwearing. In some areas though, the plastics feel cheap to the touch. Reliability shouldn't be a worry, as Mazda's reliability record is spotless and the 6 has been rated high in its class.

Safety & Security: Six-airbags, traction control, and anti-lock brakes are all standard across the range. Deadlocks, engine immobiliser and a top-notch alarm make life difficult for thieves.

The Mazda 6 feels like a family car. The sporty dynamics are still there, but the appeal is more grown up. This isn't a bad thing however, the 6 has to compete with the likings of Honda and Toyota. Both offer cars that are popular in the the mid-sized family sedan segment. However, if you want a splash of sportiness, refinement and a more engaging drive. The Mazda 6 is the perfect car for you. It's low base price, large kit level and roomy interior volume makes it a car well worth every cent.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Devon drives the Outlander Sport




Likes: Low running costs, roomy interior, priced well among rivals, stylish and practical.

Dislikes: CVT brings the buzz out of the engine, needs more power, not as sporty to drive as a Nissan Juke.

Compact crossovers are becoming all the rage. They're the same size as compact hatchbacks, but sit higher off the ground. The raised driving height allows for better vision all-round, and the compact size means they're urban friendly. Mitsubishi decided to jump into the game with the Outlander Sport. It's smaller and just as practical as the larger Outlander, but the price is cheaper. Will this be enough to lure buyers to the brand?

Performance: There's only one engine available with the Outlander-Sport. That's a 2-liter four-cylinder with 148hp. Performance is decent around town, but you'll struggle with it on the motorway. The CVT transmission feels like its robbing the engine of its revs. You'll have to work the engine hard to really get the most of it. Fuel economy however is suprisingly good.

Ride & Handling: The Outlander Sport isn't as sporty as the name suggest. There's a fair bit of body lean in corners. However, if you value comfort over ultimate control, the Outlander Sport is the perfect car for you. The supple suspension and big balloon tires does an effective job at absorbing most ruts and bumps.

Refinement: The CVT transmission really does bring the buzz out of the engine. It's far from intrusive, but can make long journeys tiresome. There's very little wind and road noise. On the motorway however, some wind and road noise will sneak into the cabin.

Behind the wheel: It's easy to find a comfortable driving position. THe steering adjust for reach and height, allowing all to get comfortable. The cabin plastics aren't classy, but the whole design and layout of the dashboard is attractive and user friendly. All-round visibility is good thanks to an elevated driving position.

Space & Practicality: The Outlander Sport offers decent space four five passengers. The boot space is decent, and can be increased thanks to split folding rear seats. There are some practical features too, such as hidden storage under the boot floor. The seats fold flat with no need to move the seat base first.

Equipment: All Outlander Sports come well equipped. The base trim comes with seven airbags, active stability control, Fuse hands-free Link System with USB port. Top of the range offers all-wheel-drive, keyless start and climate control.

Buying & Owning: The Outlander Sport undercuts its main rivals. However, the Nissan Juke offers more horespower for the same price. Resale value should be average, and trying to get an Outlander Sport with a discount shouldn't be hard to comeby. Running costs will be low thanks to decent fuel economy.

Quality & reliability: Some of the plastics in the Outlander Sport don't look flashy, but they feel well put together and long lasting. The mechanicals have been tested and tried, and there should be very little worry about reliability. Mitsubishi has a top-notch record in that department.

Safety & Security: All versions come with anti-whiplash head restraints, seven airbags,  brake assist and stability control standard. An alarm system, engine immobiliser and deadlocks are standard across the range to keep theft at bay.

The Outlander Sport isn't as bold as the Nissan Juke, and isn't as fun to drive as a Mini Countryman. You may find there really is no point to the Outlander Sport, but you'll be surprised when you see all that the Outlander Sport has to offer that the others don't. It's affordable, cheap to run, and is far roomier than the Juke and Countryman combined. The top of the range trim adds all-wheel-drive at a cheap price. It's not the most stylish of the bunch, but it sure does offer great value for the money and is versatile enough for small families. If you need a no-nonsense compact crossover, with plenty of space and kit for the money. Look no further.

Devon M 

Devon drives a Saab with crossover styling


Likes: Comfortable front seats, stylish inside out, roomy and well insulated interior, strong turbo engines, decent fuel economy, very well equipped.


Dislikes: Expensive, needs a more powerful engine to cope with added weight, buying one seems rather risky.

Truck based 4x4s are being replaced by car-based 4x4s and crossovers. The Saab 9-3X is basically a 9-3 sports combi with a raised driving height. It's stylish, and offers more all-round versatility with a splash of off-road capability. But will this be enough to pull buyers from the much cheaper Subaru Outback?

Performance: There's only one engine available for the 9-3X, its the same engine used in the 9-3 range. A 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 210hp. It offers decent pace and is very flexible. Fuel economy is decent too, but a more powerful engine is desired to cope with the extra weight.

Ride & Handling: The ride comfort is good considering the higher driving position. Only the worst of potholes upsets the ride. The 9-3X feels more refined on the motorway than the standard 9-3. It's not a great handler, and the steering is rather numb. There's little confidence and will discourage drivers to push on through bends.

Refinement: The 9-3X is generally a quiet car, you can hear noise from the turbo engine. However, the noise is far from invasive. Saab has done an excellent job of insulating the cabin from road noise, although you can feel the suspension crash on the hardest of bumps, you'll never hear it. There's barely any wind noise either. The gearchanges are smooth, and the switchgear feel durable.

Behind the wheel: The 9-3X shares the same interior decor as the standard 9-3. The dashboard has a simple logical design, with many controls within easy reach of the driver's seat. Night Panel keeps eye strain to a minimal in night driving, and the front seats are the most comfortable in its class.

Space & Practicality: There's plenty of room in the front, and plenty of adjustments to get comfortable. Rear passengers have plenty of room, but shoulder room is tight for three passengers. The transmission tunnel intrudes into space too. The boot isn't as large as an Outback, but there's plenty of space to spare. The seats fold 60/40 for extra space.

Equipment: The 9-3X comes well equipped for the money. You get climate control, steering mounted audio controls, rain sensors and alloy wheels. All-wheel-drive is standard, as well as roof rails and a raised driving height.

Buying & Owning: The 9-3X isn't cheap to buy. Prices are higher than that of the Outback. But the 9-3X has more style and substance than the Outback. It's distinctly designed, and offers plenty of kit for the money. Resale vaule isn't its strongest point, and buying a 9-3X right now seems rather risky. With Saab being in the turmoil of problems its in right now. The fate of the company is still unknown.

Quality & Reliability: The cabin feels well put together. There's an attractive dashboard, but durability is a question. The standard 9-3 doesn't enjoy the best reliability record, and the 9-3X shares much of its mechanicals with the standard 9-3.

Safety & Security: Saab is known for safety and security. Top notch anti-theft alarm, engine immobiliser and deadlocks are all standard. ESP, side curtain airbags and ISOFIX child seat mountings all come standard as well.

The 9-3X isn't the cheapest alternate to the Outback, but you do get a nicely appointed interior and many luxury features standard. The all-wheel-drive doesn't have a low-range, so off-road abilities are limited. Fuel economy is decent, and the turbo engine provides flexible driving performance. For the price, there are rivals that offer the same for less cash. However, the Saab has a charm that no other rival can offer. Distinctly designed and comfortable long journey vehicle. If you're willing to dish out the cash, the 9-3X is well worth a look.

Devon M 



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Devon flies the streets in a Saab 9-5



Likes: Swedish style inside out, roomy well laid out interior, you'll stand out from the crowd, smooth turbo engines.

Dislikes: May induce sticker shock, some wind and road noise on the motorway, head restraints pushed a bit too far forward.

Saab has been in dire times. With a transition of ownership and many financial problems almost leading to the company's death. But somehow the brand manages to stay alive. The 9-5 is one of the newest Saabs to show the future of the brand, and the direction of the company's styling. Jumping right into the competition with the BMW 5-series and Audi A6. Will Saab be able to keep up?

Performance: There are two engines available for the Saab 9-5. A 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 220hp, and a 2.8-liter turbocharged six-cylinder with 300hp. Pick of the bunch is the 2-liter turbo engine. It's the most engaging to drive, offers decent fuel economy and makes the most sense financially. The six-cylinder offers good pace, but comes at a price that's a little too expensive for some tastes.

Ride & Handling: The 9-5 handles and drives well. The base suspension feels rather softly sprung, so there's a bit of bodyroll. The sport suspension handles well, but the ride comfort is overly firm. The steering doesn't offer as much feel as you'd expect, but its far from disappointing. There's a three-mode electronic suspension system as an option.

Refinement: Wind and road noise is well supressed in town. On the highway, there's a bit of wind and road noise that enters the cabin. This is far from intrusive, and you'll enjoy the 9-5 on long distance driving. Especially on curves with the sports suspension.

Behind the wheel: Saab's interior is designed around the driver. The controls are within easy reach of the finger. Some controls are poorly marked, and are blocked by the gearlever on automatic models. The seats are comfortable, but the head restraints are pushed to far forward. This leaves your neck in a uncomfortable angle.

Space & Practicality: The longer wheelbase means more rear seat comfort than the pervious generation. The cabin is truly enormous, entry into through the rear passenger door is rather low. You'll have to stoop your head down to avoid banging it on the door frame. Rear passenger space is excellent, the the boot is massive. The rear seats fold down to increase space.

Equipment: The base 9-5 comes well equipped. Night panel, electric driver's seat, rain sensors and auto-dimming interior mirror is standard. The six-cylinders offer all-wheel-drive, and the top of the range offers a bodykit with Xenon headlamps and leather sport seats.

Buying & Owning: With Saab's near death in 2010, buying a new Saab seems rather risky. Resale value isn't as strong as its rivals, and finding one won't be easy as Saab isn't currently building any vehicles. But when production restarts, you'll find that Saab's long list of standard equipment is well worth the asking price.

Quality & Reliability: The 9-5 feels well put together. Many materials used feel classy, although some plastics feel hard to the touch. Everything feels quirky like all Saabs should feel. Reliability of the 9-5 has always been higher than the 9-3. So we expect reliability to be about average on the 9-5.

Safety & Security: If there's two things you'll never have to worry about with a Saab, that's safety and security. Side curtain airbags, stability control and anti-whiplash head restraints comes standard across the range. Security provisions include top-notch alarm and immobiliser.

Most people who buy Saab are those who want to stand out against German Rivals. It's distinctly styled, and priced well below that of BMW and Audi. You maybe a little disappointed with this irration of the 9-5. It's not as sporty as the previous form, and the sports suspension has a firm ride. But the 9-5 continues to provide that smile on owners faces that no other brand can provide. It's no wonder owners stay loyal to the brand, and why Saab will continue to be around for generations to come.

Devon M 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

50 GREATEST BAD RELIGION SONGS EVER: Part III


Felipe M. 

Moving along with the list:



#40.  "Cease"-- THE GRAY RACE (1996): First time I heard this song, it was on the live DVD LIVE AT THE PALLADIUM where lead singer Greg Graffin sings a solo version on piano.  The same version could be heard on Graffin's 1997 solo album American Lesion.  The argument could be made that Greg's version might be better than the band's electric version.  

This is yet another song that plays with the theme of inevitable mortality of mankind.  

Quote--"What pretension, everlasting peace--everything must cease."

#39.  "Doin' Time"-- HOW COULD HELL BE ANY WORSE? (1981): Final song of the original release of their first full length album.  Even as young adults, Bad Religion had their ideals intact.  Just like "Cease," this song also mocks the idea of man's notion of a higher purpose in tangible life and questions the idea of eternal life.

The real treat of this early 1980s hardcore song is near the end where the bass and guitar solo mesh perfectly with each other and takes the listener to some gritty, underground that brings you chills.  All of this climaxes with Greg's voice as he screams "Salvation!"

Quote--"Don't tell me what's wrong or right!  You're losing sight.  You're just going to die anyway!"

#38.  "All There Is"--THE EMPIRE STRIKES FIRST (2004): One of the more popular songs on college radio when the album was released, this song brings back good memories.  This song is also played live on LIVE AT THE PALLADIUM and sometimes makes its way on to current live sets.

The song is more question than answers as the song, once again, questions religion and divinity as the end all reason for existence as Graffin is constantly asking "can that be all there is?"  

Quote--"The walking wounded in a pageant of contenders who balance on a rail of pain for just a pail of rain."

#37.  "Suffer"--SUFFER (1988): This song is still played live as fans go crazy when the introduction is played.  

The song is a cry for the power elite of society to look at the suffering they have produced to the rest of "the masses of humanity."  No matter what time period in man's history, this song is appropriate how so many people work for the right of a few to remain part of the dominant population.  

For prime examples on how this song is appropriate to current events, click here.  For a song that explores the same subject matter, listen to Thrice's "Cold Cash and Colder Hearts" which is a first person perspective on how the power elite look at 90% of the Earth's human population.  Thrice's "Don't Tell and We Won't Ask" from the same album, THE ARTIST IN THE AMBULANCE, finishes that album with the same plea to the power elite to open up their eyes and see how their actions to get richer affects the rest of the world in a negative way.  Thrice and many bands just like them further prove the massive influence that Bad Religion has had on the current punk/hardcore scene.

Quote--"This deformed society is part of the design.  It'll never go away, it's in the cards that way..."

#36.  "Dearly Beloved"--NEW MAPS OF HELL (2007): This is a difficult song to pinpoint its meaning as it could be decipher in so many ways.  However, at its broadest and most vague, perhaps the song is about turning your back on conformity and the resulting consequences it bestows on the individual who wants to follow their own path, such as ridicule and isolation. 

Quote--"Dearly Beloved, make no mistake, despite our traits I've seldom seen.  I can't relate to you."


About Me:

Current Favorite Show: Catching up on BREAKING BAD.  It's been awhile since a drama could move me like this.  Regretfully, I wish I could catch up on THE WIRE.
Currently Listening To: CRACK THE SKYE by Mastodon.  I didn't really like it. Strange since I recently enjoyed listening to Coheed and Cambria.
Currently Watching: Rockies vs Cardinals--Hoping Fernando Salas gets a chance for the save and get me the 10 points I need to win my fantasy game this week.
Currently Finished Reading: THE POSTMAN by David Brin.  Cool story about survival in a post-apocalyptic world, but could be very preachy at times. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Is Image Everything? Felipe's Music Manifesto


Felipe M.




I just finished reading David Konow's Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal.  Admittedly a bit dated, it was published in 2002 right as Metallica were about ready to hit rock bottom in their careers.  Nevertheless, it was a very interesting read as every chapter reads more like mini-biographies of not only famous heavy metal acts, but hard rock acts as well such as Led Zeppelin and Kiss--think That Metal Show in book form.  


When reading non-fiction works about the genre, I can't help but to get very excited when the works starts memorializing the "Thrash Metal" movement--usually sandwiched between chapters that speak of bands that wear face paint and make up (i.e. Alice Cooper and the aforementioned Kiss), to bands that insist on wearing as much leather as possible on and off stage (i.e. Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, etc.), before them and bands that cared more about their hair than their own music (or their own well-being, such as Motley Crue, Poison, etc.) after them.  Clearly, I have not hidden the fact that my musical tastes are rooted in punk rock and all of its genres and sub-genres so I can appreciate the existence of bands that developed their imagery based on the ideal to do away with glamour, theatrics, and visible imagery in metal music.  In its place were bands that wore black t-shirts (more often with other bands' logos), black jeans, and black shoes/boots with Anthrax even paving the way to wear shorts on stage.  Also missing from this movement was well-groomed, overly cared for, and chemically enhanced hair as grizzled beards and frizzled and scuzzy hair took over.



I will not be here telling whoever is reading this that they should only listen to this band and not the other band.  You can make that decision for yourself.  Instead, I will share with you the music code that I follow when listening to new bands and I like to think that it is solely based on music and not any other crappy image or gimmick the artist is trying to sell to me.  So without further ado...



FELIPE'S SIMPLE RULES ON PUNK AND METAL
  • Rule #1: If you have to wear a mask, excessive make up, or face paint, I don't want anything to do with you or your band.  Kiss, Slipknot, Marilyn Manson--you might garner lot of fans and sell many records, but I want nothing to do with any of you!  Something about covering your face makes it seem to me that you're trying too hard on displaying an image or working too hard on theatrics to worry about your music.  Also makes me wonder what the hell it is you are hiding (not in a cool, mysterious way either).  You can tell me all the reasons why Manson is one of the most artistic people in the world and how Slipknot are uber-talented; I will continue to avoid them like the plague.  

  • Rule #2: Let me preface by saying that I'm a guy who refuses to shave on a daily basis and I only wash my clothes if their longstanding odor isn't too offensive to me.  I also don't care if my haircut is not "punk enough" or if I'm wearing enough black clothes from Hot Topic so the whole world knows I'm expressing myself by letting people know I listen to Punk Rock and Metal music.  Nor do I worry that my lack of tats and piercings make me any less punk or metal.  If I find that a band seems to go out of their way to work a bit too hard on their image, then i-Tuned them off.  Bands like Anti-Flag and AFI come to mind, especially when they signed their first major label deals.  Travis Barker is another guy who went from being a punk rock drummer to being a drummer who has a punk image to go with his "punk attitude."  So to summarize, even if your band is not wearing makeup or funny-looking masks, any attempt to "dress up" is also grounds for dismissal.



When I go to a concert, I don't want to have to wait for a band to come on stage because they don't look "punk or metal enough" to get on stage yet.  Or maybe their "guyliner" isn't quite dark and guy enough yet, but a few coats promises to do the trick.  Or if their Liberty Spikes looks too punk, but not faux enough.  Nope, that just won't do!  Don't get me wrong, I do tolerate and even enjoy music by Anti-Flag, AFI, Green Day, and Blink-182.  But when I see these bands work so hard for their "look" they just simply come off as clowns.   

Yes, the quality of music is always first, but there are plenty of bands out there who don't go out of their way to create that "punk" or "metal" image.  Basically bands who "look like me" always get preferential treatment on my music rotation.  I'm talking about bands like Bad Religion, A Wilhelm Scream, Darkest Hour, The Lawrence Arms, etc.  When I see Hatebreed on stage and you have Jamey Jasta wearing a baseball hat, another band's t-shirt, shorts, and regular boots, I can appreciate that--the dude has nothing to hide and doesn't need much to get on stage, but a mic and his voice.  When i see Darkest Hour lead singer John Henry refuse to take his glasses off for a band photo, I say to myself, "Hey, I wear glasses and this guy looks like a total nerd like I do and we both like our music loud, aggressive, but with substance."  Best of all, we don't go out of our way to look like some sort of circus freak show.  When I see Bad Religion's lead singer, Greg Graffin's clothes and I can't recognize the brand names that he's wearing, I can relate because I sometimes have a hard time figuring out what brand of clothing I'm wearing (that's why I have a girlfriend so I don't have to worry about trivial stuff like that).

Probably the best personification of my decree to decide which bands will be given my valuable attention is the band Against Me!  These guys simply go on stage wearing all black--no corporate sponsored t-shirts, not even band t-shirts.  It's the coolest thing ever to see a band just go on stage and it's just four guys against the world as they put it all on black.  Their "image" is the epitome of what punk rock should be and it's more in spirit of what the genre is all about than any other fashionably conscious, popular faux punk rawk band out there.  

I can't help but think that both the punk and metal scenes are not and should not be about creating an image to appease a mainstream audience who probably does not care about the music as much as they care about the image that is being sold to them.  It's like the band Against Me! sing in their song "Reinventing Axl Rose":

We want a band
That plays loud and hard every night


A simple way to judge a band.  Very hard to quantify such a quality in today's world where attention spans keep getting shorter and shorter and style constantly trumps substance.  Worse, originality in music is pushed to the side for the chance of success by transforming into one of many copy-cat molds.  Because of this brave new world we live in, a lot of these bands have to find themselves a niche in the scene just to get our attention and avoid being accused of being a copy-cat band.  Hell, Kiss have been triumphant since the 1970s with the simple maxim that having a gimmick was better than being good, but unknown musicians who were dirt poor.

I also understand that many of these bands want to make a living out of their passion and not live dirt poor for the rest of their lives.  But for every band that has a gimmick to survive the music business, there has to be a lot more bands that are surviving who--you know?--work really hard at honing their skills in order to make great, memorable music and are making a comfortable living doing so.  At any rate, I'll continue to root for bands who classify with the latter and hoping for nothing but the worst for the bands that can be classified in the former.  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Psychedelic Rock



"Are You Experienced" The question "Are you experienced" was commonly interpreted as Hendrix asking if you have experienced drugs. He said that this song was not necessarily about drugs, but about being at peace with yourself. Guitar, bass and drums were all played backward as part of the effects. The part at the beginning may have been ahead of its time, as it sounded a lot like the record scratching Hip-Hop DJs began using years later.



"2000 light years from home" Space exploration was big at the time, and was probably an influence on this. Pink Floyd was making music with a similar sound. The psychedelic sound reflected the times. It was the summer of love (1967). Mick Jagger got the idea for this while in jail on drug charges.



Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote this about Pleasant Valley Way in West Orange, New Jersey, where they lived at the time. The Monkees fourth single, it is an ode to the simple life in happy suburbia. While studio musicians were brought in to play on many songs for The Monkees, the band did play on this one - for the most part. Peter Tork played piano and Mike Nesmith played the famous opening guitar riff. Chip Douglas, a former member of The Turtles who produced the Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd album, played bass and came up with the guitar part, which was based on The Beatles "I Want to Tell You." He taught it to Nesmith, who overdubbed it twice. You can see him play the line during a close-up for the "video.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

50 GREATEST BAD RELIGION SONGS EVER: Part II

Felipe M.




We move on to songs 41-45 on our countdown of the top 50 Bad Religion songs of all time.  Let's keep this party going:


#45. "Supersonic"--THE PROCESS OF BELIEF (2002): This song just explodes right off the bat and never lets up.  The music definitely fits the title of this song.  And so do the lyrics if you take them literally, basically is a snapshot of modern society and the need to keep up the fast pace that is demanded of us.  When future societies look back at the early 21st century, they can look to this song for clues as to what it must have been like to live during this time.  


Despite the convenient things that this modern world has given us, very few are actually happy.  If that isn't the damndest paradox...


Quote--"What's time but a thing to kill or keep or buy or lose or live in?"


#44. "God's Love"--THE EMPIRE STRIKES FIRST (2004): First of all, the first time I saw this band live was on DVD, LIVE AT THE PALLADIUM as they were on the heels of releasing this album so naturally most of the songs that were played in that DVD were from EMPIRE.  So I might be a bit biased when I mention a lot of songs from this album.  But also keep in mind that this was released four years after releasing their last CD for major label Atlantic Records.  If PROCESS was a vehicle to foreshadow the direction this band would take for the rest of the band's existence theretofore, then EMPIRE is the album, through culminations in the band's sound and vocals, that would cement the band's status in the punk rock world as the premiere band in the genre.  Every song is simply awesome and every track is very distinct.  


But back to the song, I've always considered "God's Love" to be a satirical outlook on the idea of God and the hypocrisy that "His" followers live justifying all the doctrine-bending that they do to accomplish most of their goals.  While some of "His" followers flourish, many other followers live through endless suffering of, to quote a song from another of my favorite bands, Between the Buried and Me, "Disease, Injury, Madness."  Of course, the punchline to all of this is that all the suffering is just a way that God shows his love. 


QUOTE--"Where is the love?  In a careless creation, when there's no 'above.'"


#43. "The Devil in Stitches"--THE DISSENT OF MAN (2010): I've heard mixed reviews and interpretations about this album, but regardless of others' opinions this is one of the band's best work.  It's a mid-temp, melodic sound track that fully takes advantage of Greg's vocals and the lyrics will have you using your powers of deduction trying to figure out the meaning of this song.  


Brett Gurewitz gets the writing credit on this one, not surprising as his songs tend to be more personal and less political adding a dynamic to the band's work.  Unfortunately, this song has proven to be very perplexing as there is no real explanation and it might be chalked up to something personal that happened to the songwriter.  However, the fact that "White Devil" is mentioned leads to believe that the general consensus that this is a love song might be correct, but seeing that "White Devil" is a play about adultery also opens the door to many possibilities.  


Perhaps it's a love song about a couple meeting for the first time and falling in love, but the catch is that the woman is married (perhaps to a preacher?) and the rest of the song explains the two trying to get together and overcoming that marriage barrier.  If anybody else can give a better explanation, please feel free to express yourself.  


Quote--"Angels fall down without warning [with] cherry lipstick on their teeth and all dangerous curves."


#42. "Let Them Eat War"--THE EMPIRE STRIKES FIRST (2004): First time I heard this song was on the DVD LIVE AT THE PALLADIUM with the rap part being sung live by Tim McIlrath from Rise Against, which I thought was the coolest thing because that band was one of my favorites at that time.  Later I found out that Sage Francis is the one doing the rap part on the studio version, which makes it that much cooler.


So many meanings, but where to start?  One of the times where the band is very overt with their lyrics.  An anti-war song, it is a great point to start when having to figure out how the Military-Industrial Complex work.  There are private businesses whose success depends on wars.  There's a government that overspends for defense contracts, creates military conflicts with the rest of the world, and that government has a growing population of poor people with no real job opportunities to speak of.  How to solve all these issues?  Let's have a war!  


Quote--As the Government and Power Elite, "We've got to kill 'em and eat 'em before they reach for their checks"


#41. "Fuck Armageddon... This is Hell"--HOW COULD HELL BE ANY WORSE (1981)--This song is still played live and usually fans get really excited when listening to the intro.  


Self-explanatory song about minimizing the afterlife and the idea of going to hell for being a "bad" person on Earth.  The song explains the "countries [that] manufacture bombs and guns" and the "smog [that] is ruining my lungs" for the sake of "helping everyone" is the real hell--a hellish society that encourages us to kill our fellow man, that justifies destroying our world, and to  minimize the use of free will and to conform to mainstream religious doctrine.


Quote--"In the end the good will go to heaven up above, the bad will perish in the depths of hell.  [However], how can hell be any worse when life alone is such a curse?"


For Part III of this countdown, click here....  

50 GREATEST BAD RELIGION SONGS EVER: Part I



Felipe M.




Finally, Part I has arrived!  We countdown the best Bad Religion songs ever and let you know the album and year it was released and a short comment as to why it made the list.  Without further ado:



#50. "Delirium of Disorder"-SUFFER (1988): Suffer is one of my favorite albums ever and I can still listen to it from beginning to end without hesitation.  However, for a while, the one song that I hated was this one because of the introduction as someone with a robotic, Satanic voice would very suddenly say the phrase "DELIRIUM OF DISORDER."  That used to scare me every single time the first several times I would listen to this album.  Eventually it won me over because it is a typical fast-paced Bad Religion song that blasts into your ears.  

As with a lot of Bad Religion songs, if your vocabulary is limited, you will have to bust out the dictionary to look up words.  This song in particular, as with a lot of Bad Religion songs, mocks the idea of people thinking that they have a significant reason for existing besides mere survival.  

Quote--"Chaos is the score upon which reality is written." 

#49. "Them and Us"--THE GRAY RACE (1996): Song was part of the soundtrack for the video game Crazy Taxi and helped a lot of people become Bad Religion fans undoubtedly.  

The song deals with race (appropriately enough for an album called The Gray Race) and how foolish it is to divide people into groups and categories because in the end we are all the same.  However, the song does acknowledge that humans, through psychological and social structures, cannot help but to create these differences--differences that are so rigid, which ultimately leads to this "Them and Us" mentality.

Quote--"Hate is a simple manifestation of the deep-seated, self-directed frustration.  All it does is promote fear and consternation."

#48. "It Must Look Pretty Appealing"--NO CONTROL (1989):  This album was the first Bad Religion CD I ever bought and pretty much was the gateway for the rest of the band's work.  

This song in particular focuses on the theme of introspection, almost encouraging an individual to question their comfortable, but routine, day-to-day life.  Greg Graffin's voice almost dares the listener to change their boring life, but he ridicules and teases the listener throughout the song, knowing very well that the individual will continue to lead a dull existence in reverie.


Quote--"You're too scared of other people not like you"


#47. "Anesthesia"--AGAINST THE GRAIN (1990): Many fans have stated that the first verse of this song was about the Charles Manson murders and it might be, as Bad Religion is known to find witty ways to reference events.  The lyrics and the fact that Brett Gurewitz wrote the song, might be autobiographical in nature as Mr. Brett has had problems with drugs and the song is littered with vague drug references, especially heroin.  A good example of how the band uses double meanings in their lyrics. 


Quote--"I've been hanging out here, for eleven long years, like a church mouse wondering where the cat has gone."


#46. "Bored and Extremely Dangerous"--THE PROCESS OF BELIEF (2002): I always thought that this track was in some way connected to the song "Broken" in that same album.  Where "Broken" ends in an optimistic note for a couple of teens, the perceived young person (or persons) in "Bored" is not so lucky and is constantly crying for help, compassion, and understanding.  The individual in the song will even resort to violence (whether harming themselves, others, or both) if not given the proper attention they so desperately need.  


The alarm clock and telephone ringing in the middle of the song is creepy as if to say "time's up"---appropriate for an isolated teen in high school who loathes having to go to class to be judged, persecuted, and bullied or the adult who lives a meaningless life and does his real living in his dreams every night only to be interrupted by the daily grind that is his day-to-day life.


Ironically, as the song ends and Greg Graffin cries for someone to "Listen to me," one will notice that the vocals go from being plea-like to hopeful, suggesting optimism for those that need such charity.


Quote--"Yeah, sure I might do harm and bear my right to arm."


Part II is available, here.....

Sunday, July 3, 2011

PREVIEW TO THE 50 GREATEST BAD RELIGION SONGS OF ALL TIME




Felipe M.


Last year, the band Bad Religion celebrated 30 years of existence and to start celebrating the next 30 years of the punk rock legendary band, we will be listing THE TOP 50 GREATEST BAD RELIGION SONGS OF ALL TIME.  


The band's entire discography is well represented and it includes tracks from the following albums:

  • How Could Hell Be Any Worse?--3 Songs
  • Back to the Known--1 Song
  • Suffer--4 Songs
  • No Control--4 Songs
  • Against the Grain--3 Songs
  • Generator--5 Songs
  • Recipe for Hate--5 Songs
  • Stranger Than Fiction--4 Songs
  • The Gray Race--2 Songs
  • The Process of Belief--3 Songs
  • The Empire Strikes First--7 Songs
  • New Maps of Hell--4 Songs
  • The Dissent of Men--5 Songs
It was not easy narrowing down 30 years of punk rock music to a list of 50, but it certainly was worth the effort.  Here is a list of some notable songs that just missed the cut.  

51.  "Change of Ideas"--This song kicks off the album No Control and without a doubt, it's one of the few times the band is being overt with their lyrics as they do indeed cry out for a "change of ideas!"  Just missed the cut!

54.  "God Song"--Like a lot of Bad Religion songs, they deal a lot with the idea of a God.  Some have described it as an atheist anthem.  Some of the best lyrics you'll find from this band and one of the more melodic songs as well.

58.  "No Control"--From the album No Control, once again, no double or hidden meanings and the witty lyrics can be take at face value: even though some people believe that they have the right to take control of the world, they, like the rest of us, are not immortal and one day they will be gone from this Earth and will have to relinquish the perceived control that they thought they had anyway.  This is a fan favorite and the song is still played at their live shows.  

64.  "Ad Hominem"--Like many of the songs that missed the cut, this song, at one point was in the top 50, but was eventually dropped for other songs that proved to be "better."  This track, from the newest album The Dissent of Men, was named after the logical fallacy where one's character is attacked in order to invalidate their argument.  Near the end, the song challenges people to "divide your beliefs and ideas...from the people that you don't like."  Yet another song that cries for more cooperation among people from different backgrounds and ideals.

66.  "We're Only Gonna Die"--Still a staple at their shows, this is one, if not the, simplest songs to understand from Bad Religion.  Similar theme to the song "No Control" that was already mentioned, "...Gonna Die" plays along with the fact that even though we as humans think we're higher beings, we're no different than any other species on this Earth and we all soon dissolve and decay from this planet.  This track also has the same lyrics repeating, which is a common songwriting technique, but in this track it plays the role of a big giant cycle: "early man walked away, as modern man took control."  Control became such a mandatory and primary ideal that in order to keep it "modern man" had to start killing his own kind, his own species just to keep said control.  In the end, "modern man" will just die and then the cycle is repeated with the next verse--or next generation.  The song ends with a haunting premonition, "we're only gonna die from our own arrogance."

Other songs that were left off the list are as follows: 
  • "Heroes and Martyrs"
  • "Modern Man"
  • "Social Suicide"
  • "21st Century (Digital Boy"
  • "Come Join Us"
  • "Recipe for Hate"
  • "Marked"
  • "Kyoto Now!"
  • "Big Bang"
  • "Punk Rock Song"
  • "Land of Competition"
  • "Unacceptable"
A lot of popular songs that the band still plays live on a regular basis were left off and should make every Bad Religion fan wonder what actually made it to the list.  Stay tuned and find out.....


2011 NBA DRAFT REVIEW: Part V-SECOND ROUND OR SECOND RATE?

Felipe M




Before we take a look at the first fifteen 2nd round picks, we look back at the last few drafts to see how those draft classes have produced gems in the very treacherous 2nd Round of the NBA DRAFT:



  • 2010: Out of 30 players selected, I do not see one player who is in an NBA roster.  I don't even see one player that might have played a minute last season!
  • 2009: At least five 2nd rounders can say that they are on an NBA team with the best of the bunch being DeJuan Blair and Marcus Thornton.  Blair averages about 21 minutes/game, while Thornton has been successful with limited time as a feature player, he is already playing for his second team and the latest club, the Sacramento Kings, seem to have a short leash on him with the drafting of Jimmer Fredette.  
  • 2008: At least 7 players are still with an NBA team, but a lot of these players are solid, but unspectacular, with guard Goran Dragic possessing the most upside of this class.  
  • 2007: A lot of players should be seasoned by now.  Assuming the players selected were mostly freshmen and had decided to stay in college, a lot of these players would be finishing their rookie seasons in the NBA or be 5th year seniors in college.  Still, I count 5 players still with NBA clubs and clearly the best player, a foreign player, is Marc Gasol with the best American player drafted in Ramon Sessions who is already playing for his 3rd NBA team and has only averaged 25 mins/game. 
The point is that very few 2nd round picks make a big impact in the NBA and most of the players end up being role players at best.  So fast-forward to the present-- many NBA fans have been anticipating Tyler Honeycutt's long-term potential as many had predicted for the UCLA standout to be selected in the 1st round.  Based on recent history, Honeycutt has a steep uphill climb ahead of him as the 2nd round has not developed talent that can produce like a 1st round pick.  And now picks 31-45:

31.  Bojan Bogdanovic from Croatia is a 6'7" player who has potential to be an impressive offensive player in the NBA though lack of size is a concern according to the ESPN panel.

32.  Justin Harper, out of Richmond, as stated in another article will probably be the next Ryan Anderson for the Magic--a player with a nice mid-range game who is also a defensive liability.  

33.  Kyle Singler from Duke is finally picked and according to former Duke player, Jay Bilas, "he's a complete player" and only needs to work on his "shooting rate."  Jay Bias (sic) was certainly on his game on NBA Draft night.  Singler will be lucky if he comes close to being the next Josh McRoberts, but does remind me a bit of Mike Dunleavy Jr.  Regardless, Duke players, more often than not, always struggle to transition from the college to the NBA game and Singler will not be an exception to that rule.

34.  Shelvin Mack from Butler who Jay Bias (sic) described as simply "a winner" was supposed to go the Wizards.  If that's the case, he will be logging a lot of bench time.  Mack plays fearless, but at times looked overmatched against better teams with better athletic players.

35.  Tyler Honeycutt (UCLA) was finally picked.  A disappointing night, his NBA future looks bleak.  If he does go down into NBA oblivion, he will go down with a fight as he definitely has the tools to be known commodity.  Is a great passer despite proving to be too sloppy with the ball in college.  A very good athlete, he needs to hit the gym and get stronger.  

36.  Jordan Williams from Maryland is 6'9" and 245 lbs so he's a big guy and was an established rebounder in college.  However, despite his size, he struggles on offense, especially against bigger and taller players.  Worse, Jay Bias (sic) compared him to Michael Sweetney.  Yikes!

37.  Trey Thompkins out of Georgia has similar size as Williams, but actually has a more polished offensive game as he's comfortable in the post and as a spot-up shooter.  However, he's not very athletic and he's another player who NBA scouts grew highly concerned over his conditioning.  It's only the rest of your life you have to worry about, so why work on your conditioning, right?

38.  Chandler Parsons from Florida is the SEC player of the year.  The 6'9" forward loves to shoot the rock, but has been known to be physically and mentally weak.  Usually players with that profile get eaten up in the NBA.  Best of luck!

39.  Jeremy Tyler was a highly regarded high school player that told the NCAA to go fly a kite and went overseas (most recently in Tokyo) as he took the Brandon Jennings paradigm into making it in the NBA.  At 6'10", 262 lbs., he definitely has the size to be a successful big man.  However, ESPN foreign expert, Fran Fraschilla did state that his "skill level is low."  On the bright side, he was coached by former NBA coach, Bob Hill.  So, yeah!

40.  Jon Leuer out of Wisconsin was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks so he doesn't have to travel far to be with his NBA team.  Like many big men coming out of this draft, NBA teams are looking for centers who can stretch the floor with their ability to shoot.  As the scouting report was given on draft night, Leuer reminded me more and more of former NBA big man, Matt Bullard.  Hooray?

41.  Darius Morris (Michigan)--hey, a Laker sighting!  A point guard with size, Morris does not have a good 3-point shot, but has good "court-vision."  I predict that Morris, if he makes the team, will see very few minutes on the court.

42.  Davis Bertans out of Latvia was convinced to enter the NBA draft as it was reported that the San Antonio Spurs all, but guaranteed that he would be selected by the club.  Fran Fraschilla says that Bertans is a "great shooter," but also stated that it would be at least 2 years before he makes it with his NBA team.  

43.  Malcolm Lee (UCLA) goes to the Bulls; another athletic guard who is already considered a good defender, but needs to continue to work on his shot.  

44.  Charles Jenkins out of Hofstra finally gets selected as it was predicted that he had a chance to sneak into the first round.  A combo/hybrid point/shooting guard, he will go to a team that already has two polished players like that in the Golden St. Warriors.  I predict a lot of sporadic time in his future.  

45.  The last player that will be covered is Josh Harrellson from Kentucky going to the Knicks who is a Brad Miller-type of player who can dish and shoot the ball and at 6'10", 275 lbs, perhaps even clog the middle for the Knicks.  Jay Bias (sic) was not too thrilled with this pick as his analysis included a joke about Harrellson bringing back into fashion the jean shorts look.  That's why Bilas gets paid the bick bucks.  

And so concludes our coverage of the NBA Draft.  ESPN made it seem that a lot of these players were NBA ready, but a lot of these players have low potential and are, for the most part, one-dimensional as many NBA teams were looking for athletic swing-men who showed that they could play good defense, especially at the perimeter, where premiere players like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade make a living shredding defenses apart.  Already looking forward to the 2012 draft and hoping that the NBA lockout gets resolved quickly.  
      








Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2011 NBA DRAFT REVIEW: Part IV-The Trades



Felipe M.




With so many trades happening in the 2011 NBA Draft, it's probably a good idea to add some perspective to these deals.  The first trade dealt with three Western Conference teams: the Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers, and Denver Nuggets.  Here's how it breaks down:

  • Blazers receive Raymond Felton
  • Nuggets receive Andre Miller and Jordan Hamilton
  • Mavericks receive Rudy Fernandez
The Portland Trail Blazers looked like an old team for most of last season as they must figure that they need a guard who can run the court better and be successful doing so as Ray Felton was in New York and in Denver.  I don't know why teams find holes in Felton's game as he's been fairly productive everywhere he's played.  Whatever the case may be, he is quickly becoming the reincarnation of Chauncey Billups.  Let's hope for his sake that he wins a ring soon.  It won't be easy with Nolan Smith breathing on his shoulder, but I think the two complement each other fairly well.  As mentioned in a previous article, Jordan Hamilton in Denver is a potential nightmare for defenses.  However, with shaky defensive play and questions about his conditioning lingering, it's tough to see him beating out other veteran perimeter players in Denver.  

Rudy Fernandez joining the Mavericks is almost too perfect.  Fernandez was part of a logjam of wing players in Portland, but he should easily revitalize an aging Dallas team who would welcome his athleticism.

Andre Miller goes from leading the point for a group of veterans to playing that same role for a younger team.  Miller should flourish with the change in scenery, however, I'm not sure how he will handle Ty Lawson creeping up his shoulder if the Nuggets offense proves too inept with him running the point.

The second trade is as follows:

  • Charlotte Bobcats receive Bismack Biyombo and Corey Maggette
  • Milwaukee Bucks receive Tobias Harris, Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston, and Beno Udrih
  • Sacramento Kings receive Jimmer Fredette and John Salmons
Where to start?  Well, in Charlotte, Michael Jordan is on a mission to drive that franchise to the ground, one player at a time.  The Bobcats acquired Corey Maggette--for some reason unbeknownst to me.  Probably to be the first scoring option off the bench.  At least Jordan was able to pick Biyombo Thabeet.

The Bucks rid themselves of the oft-injured John Salmons only to replace him with the oft-injured, but more explosive, Stephen Jackson.  Certainly an upgrade, but I can't wait for the first time that I hear Jackson and coach Scott Skiles butting heads.  Beno Udrih should play the same role that he played in Sacramento: a player that can come off the bench as a backup point guard or as a combo guard playing alongside Brandon Jennings.  Statistically it worked when he played alongside Tyreke Evans.  Not sure how Shaun Livingston will fit with this team except to play in matchups that take full of advantage of his height.  Offensively, this makes the Milwaukee Bucks a more potent lineup.


The Kings got John Salmons back, but with a crowded frontcourt and an emphasis on speed in the backcourt, his days are pretty much numbered in Sacramento.  He can play shooting guard, but the Kings enjoyed having both Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans play together and it looks like that Jimmer Fredette will be the first player coming off the bench to spell one of the guards.  At forward, he has players in Omri Casspi, Tyler Honeycutt, Francisco Garcia, and Donte Green to worry about.  


The third trade is as follows:



  • Houston Rockets receive Jonny Flynn, Donatas Motiejunas, and Chandler Parsons
  • Minnesota Timberwolves receive Brad Miller 
  • Chicago Bulls receive Nikola Mirotic
With Ricky Rubio making his way to Minnesota, Jonny Flynn becomes expendable.  Unfortunately for him, the Rockets have a crowded backcourt so it looks like he'll be playing very sparingly. 

The T'Wolves acquired Brad Miller to remind Kevin Love what he would look like by the time he's 40 years-old.

And the Chicago Bulls pick an undersized European player that needs to develop his game overseas and add more muscle to his physique.  

The next trade is truly heartbreaking for both teams involved:
  • Indiana Pacers receive George Hill
  • San Antonio Spurs receive Kawhi Leonard and Davis Bertans
When it was announced that the Indiana Pacers would be getting a high energy player who has a lot of heart and is passionate about playing defense and rebounding you couldn't help, but feel good about the eventual turnaround for this team.  Unfortunately, it was a set up to acquire yet another point guard in George Hill.  The Pacers have been plagued at the PG position and it's Hill's turn to try his luck.    

The Spurs, on the other hand, showed their willingness to continue on their winning ways by trading away a player who is highly regarded within the Spurs' organization like Hill for the chance to be more athletic in the perimeter, especially on defense.  Also, the Spurs acquired Davis Bertans as it was rumored that the Spurs all but guaranteed Bertans that he would be drafted by the club.  San Antonio is looking pretty good in this draft as they were able to get the players that they clearly were targeting.  Too bad it was at the cost of trading away George Hill.

We already mentioned the trade involving the Boston Celtics and New Jersey Nets involving JaJuan Johnson and MarShon Brooks.  To summarize:
  • JaJuan Johnson is a defensive force who will play for a team that loves to play defense.
  • MarShon Brooks has some offensive skill, but has suspect defense going to a team that also has some offensive skill and a suspect defense.  
The Knicks would eventually acquire Josh Harrellson as they add depth and size to their Center position.  More on him in our 2nd round coverage.

Norris Cole of Cleveland St. gets traded to the Miami Heat and is almost guaranteed a roster spot just for his low salary alone.  The T'Wolves acquired foreign player Bojan Bogdanovic.  More on him in our 2nd round coverage. 

Finally, the Magic receive Justin Harper from the Cleveland Cavaliers for two future second round picks.  Harper will do his best to become the next Ryan Anderson.

The first fifteen 2nd Round selections are good to go!