Tuesday, June 10, 2008


So apparently FATA called it quits today. Was it an omen of things to come that I had listed one of their albums as one of my top 5 most influential??

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


I'm going to preface my TOP 5 MOST INFLUENTIAL ALBUMS OF ALL TIME list by saying that the choices of these albums were based on the following criteria: These albums shaped the way I listen to music today and the different genres that I listen to. A lot of them were stepping stones for me in these different genres. And I am able to put these albuma on and listen to them from start to finish and am not tempted to skip any of the songs whatsoever. These are the albums that made Dan who he is today in somewhat chronological order:


This was the first CD ever in my possession, during the Christmas when I got a stereo with a CD player from Santa. It was also the first real rock album I owned, as I progressed from New Kids on the Block, to Vanilla Ice & MC Hammer, to Soul Asylum & the Hooters, to finally Weezer, the Offspring, and Green Day... Wow what a ride so far.


Aside from Blink 182 and Fenix Tx, this was the first pop-punk band that I really got into, during my high school years and they continue to hold the distinction of being my favorite band of all time. Finally, I was moving away from listening to music that was only being played on the radio.


When I first started working at CVS during my junior year of high school, my boy Clavin began exposing me to new bands like Alkaline Trio and Saves the Day. This album definitely put me on the path to where I am now musically.


I still remember randomly coming upon this album at Best Buy after hearing about them on some message board. I bought it on a whim without having even heard any of their songs and they immediately became one of my favorite bands. They never put out an album that I didn't like and the band members' side projects like Reggie & the Full Effect and the New Amsterdams also became some of my favorites.


FATA was the first of what would be many bands I listened to from the metalcore / hardcore genre. It boggled my mind that they could from melodic singing to straight up screaming and angst. Mad props to TJ and Tristan for introducing me to this genre of music...


On Thursday, May 1st, Marty and I attended the Bamboozle Roadshow featuring Saves the Day, Armor for Sleep, and Set Your Goals at the TLA. Luckily there were no Flyers games to contend with so we didn't have to worry about watching any games before / during the show. Quick preface, we missed the first two opening bands (don't remember who they were) in favor of having more time to get to the venue and to also grab a beer at Mako's Bar, across from the TLA.

We arrived at the TLA just in time for the start of Set Your Goals set. I've been a passive fan of SYG, mainly because a lot of their songs are pretty short along the lines of traditional punk. I hadn't taken the time to see the dynamics of the band beforehand and was really surprised to find that they employed two lead singers, one tall, overweight guy and the other a short, skinny guy. So automatically, that catches more of my attention than the actual music so I was distracted by that for most of their set. Aside from the makeup of the band, their set was pretty solid and there was a bit of circle pit going on in the center of the floor as would be expected with their brand of music.

Next came Armor for Sleep's set, which we took in from the bar area, on the side of the TLA. One uncomfortable note about the bar area is that it's small and they pack the people into this little area. And also, the waitress walking around the bar area decided not to wear deodorant this night and she was continuously walking around with her arm up holding the tray, thus putting her armpit area right at face height for me. So I was getting some pretty clear whiffs of her every time she walked by... pretty gross. Aside from resonating B.O. smell, Armor for Sleep put on a typical set with a brand of music that has you tapping your toes and nodding your head a little bit, but nothing else. Don't get me wrong, I love Armor for Sleep's music, but their music is more of a background sounds kind of music, not necessarily the best to see live. This was probably about the 5th or 6th time I've seen them so I would know. And they didn't help their cause by getting into the music a little too much on stage and asking for circle pits during songs which they falsely identified as heavier songs. But musically, they're right on par with their albums.

Finally, it was time for Saves the Day to hit the stage. I had only ever seen them one other time, during my Freshman year of college when they were on tour with Dashboard Confessional. I had shunned the band for a little while after they released the album, "In Reverie" which had taken the band in a completely different direction from what they originally were. But they've made a comeback as of late (in mind), releasing two great albums, "Sound the Alarm" and "Under the Boards" and adding two members of Glassjaw to play bass and the drums. So I was pretty psyched to see them again. after a bit of a hiatus from the band.

Chris Conley entered the stage and immediately made the announcement that usually their setlist would consist of them playing a song they want, then playing a song requested by the audience, but on this night, they were only going to play songs requested by the audience. I had seen MXPX do this one previous time, but they wanted people to write down requests on pieces of paper and throw them on stage (which isn't the best idea), but Chris was just going to take requests from what he heard from the people up front. So the show, ended up being a good mix of mostly older songs from "Can't Slow Down", "Stay What You Are" and "Through Being Cool", probably one of my Top 5 Albums of All Time. (Actually, you know what, for my next posting, I am indeed going to post my Top 5 Albums of All Time... more on that later). They also played some songs from their latest album, but only seemed to play the filler songs of the album, not the songs that I considered to be the best off that album. So that was a bit disappointing. But they ended up playing close to two hours altogether and you could see towards the end of the show that a lot of the crowd was starting to get a little anzy for the show to be over. And in fact, there were a good amount of people that just left early because it was a marathon of a set. I spent the whole night hoping that they would play "Rocks Tonic Juice Magic", my favorite song off "Through Being Cool" and they ended up closing with it, which was pretty awesome! For the most part, the crowd seemed pretty satisfied, except for the fact that they didn't play "All-Star Me", which was routinely chanted for by the crowd, but fell upon deaf ears in regards to being played.

All in all, it was a pretty awesome show. I got to hear basically every Saves the Day song I would ever want to hear played live. And additionally Saves the Day was selling accoustic albums of their best songs which could only be picked up at their shows. I ended buying two of the three albums. Why I didn't fork over the extra five bucks to get the third album boggles my mind. So I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't pick up the third album but the two that I do have are pretty amazing...

Monday, April 28, 2008

NFL Draft Analysis for my teams: Miami Dolphins & Philadelphia Eagles

I'm a faithful observer of the NFL draft each and every year because it's an exciting time of year when your team is primed to improve the team and look to the future. This year certainly brought some excitement with the Miami Dolphins holding the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and the Eagles possessing 11 picks overall and a promise to Donovan McNabb to bring in some playmakers, whether it'd be through the draft or a trade.

The Dolphins took some of the excitement out of who they were going to draft with the first pick a week ahead of time by inking Jake Long, Offensive Tackle out of Michigan. I found this to be a pretty solid pick. Long is projected to be the cornerstone of the Dolphins OL for years to come and he should provide adequate protection for both the QB of the future and Ronnie Brown, our stud running back. With their next pick, the first pick of the second round, the Dolphins selected the heir apparent to Jason Taylor, Defensive End Phillip Merling out of Clemson. So with their first two picks, the Dolphins addressed both lines and now it was time to pick up a possible QB of the future with their next pick. Quick little story. I was keeping an eye on the NFL draft on TV during commercial breaks of the Flyers playoff game and I'm pretty sure it was bugging the hell out of Coz because I kept getting caught up in the draft and I kept forgetting to change back to the game (we even missed the Flyers second goal). But anyway, as the Dolphins' third pick approached, I was becoming extremely excited because both Brian Brohm (Louisville) and Chad Henne (Michigan) were both still on the boards and the teams who had yet to pick weren't in need of a possible franchise QB. Then came the bombshell - the Green Bay Packers, the pick right before the Dolphins, selected Brian Brohm. So now we were down to one decent available QB and the Dolphins were on the clock. So they had to select Chad Henne. Luckily, ESPN had a camera at the Henne residence, so before any pick was made, they had a shot of Chad getting on the phone with the Dolphins when they make the obligatory, "We're going to draft you" phone call. Finally, the pick was officially made and I began to celebrate while Dusty and Coz who were watching the Flyers game with me at the time just shook their heads. I even went for a high five from Coz and was immediately shut down and told to put the Flyers game back on.

So now the Dolphins have a franchise Offensive Tackle, possible franchise Defensive End, and hopefully the QB of the future in Chad Henne, who should compete and eventually overtake John Beck to become the Dolphins #1 QB. I think we're going to be talking playoffs in about two years - you heard it here first!!

As for the Eagles, they continued their trend of trading out of the first round to avoid having to pay first round money to their draft picks. I can see their logic in that from the position that they've been drafting at, the quality of players is significantly lower and so far they've been able to find the players they were predicted to draft by the "experts" in the second round. And it worked out that way again this year when they drafted Defensive Tackle Trevor Laws out of Notre Dame and Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson out of California in the second round. Jackson was the Eagles' projected first round pick in a good amount of mock drafts so for them to be able to draft in the second round and save some money on that pick, mad props for that. But had that backfired, they would have had egg on their face.

The Eagles were also unable to draft unhappy Cornerback Lito Sheppard leaving a crowded defensive backfield. In addition to not being able to trade Lito, they couldn't pull the trigger on a trade for an elite Wide Receiver to add to Donovan McNabb's weapons. Now obviously, I would have loved to see the Eagles bring in a bonafide Number One Wide Receiver, but I think their offense can still be high powered with what they've already got. If McNabb and Westbrook continue to be healthy and LJ Smith returns to 2006 form, this offense can be pretty formidable. I'll go out on a limb and say Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown are above average WRs and if Jackson can open up the field a little bit with his speed, or if Jason Avant and / or Hank Baskett continue to progress, then they've got some pretty good WRs. But it's definitely a big IF.

We'll see as the offseason progresses. Training camp in less than 3 months...

Thursday, April 24, 2008


For two days this week, I was an inhabitant of Fishtown as I took in two shows, two days in a row at Johnny Brenda's bar. It was my first experience at Johnny Brenda's and I've had some likes and dislikes about the bar. As a concert venue, it doesn't get any more intimate than their second floor stage. There's also a balcony area that hangs above the stage and has its own separate bar so no matter where you are in the place, beer is always in reach. And Johnny Brenda's prides itself in providing beer from local breweries so you're able to sample different beers at a reasonable price as opposed to being overcharged for the same old shit. One of the major flaws of Johnny Brenda's, especially with the hockey playoffs upon us, was the fact that there was not one single TV in the place. Apparently trendy hipsters don't watch TV.

Enter Murph's Bar, conveniently located across the street from Johnny Brenda's. From having spent two nights there drinking with the regulars, Murph's Bar is now one of my top 5 bar experiences of all time - but that can be attributed to an emotional night of watching Game 7 in which the Flyers scored the game winning goal in overtime. Here's a rundown of my two nights at Johnny Brenda's / Murph's Bar.

On Tuesday night, Marty and I embarked on a night of some upbeat indie dance-type music provided by the british band, FOALS. Unfortunately for us, the Flyers decided to choke in Game 6 of their playoff series with Washington, forcing a Game 7 on the night we were seeing FOALS. So we decided we'd head up early to the show, watch the Flyers game and then seemless transition from the bar area to the stage area for the show. But, since Johnny Brenda's is too trendy for TVs, we decided to take our business elsewhere until the Flyers game / the show started. So we headed across the street to Murph's Bar which Marty was originally afraid to go into because he thought we get some trouble from the locals for not being from Fishtown, but it was the total opposite. They welcomed us with arms wide open, in a sense, allowing us to partaking in the excitement of Flyers playoff hockey. And an added bonus was that during Flyers game, Balantine Pale Ales were only a dollar a piece. So we were getting to watch the Flyers game with a festive crowd, and were able to get sloshed for an extremely reasonable price. But as the Flyers game wore on and showtime quickly approached, it became apparent that we may be faced with the decision of either missing some of the show or the end of the Flyers game. Fortunately for us, the start of the show was delayed and we were able to watch the whole game, even as it went into overtime. As the Flyers scored the game winning goal, we celebrated with our festive crowd, high fives all around and now we were superhyped to see FOALS.

At Johnny Brenda's, I started off the night by giving the doorman trouble for not having any TVs in the bar, pronouncing that they had lost our business earlier because of it. We then hit up the bar and grabbed a couple of Yards Philly Pale Ales which were very good and we set up shop in front of the stages for FOALS to come out. I'd estimate the crowd at maybe about 50 people tops so it was quite the intimate show. FOALS put on an amazing show, with everyone in the crowd seemingly getting into the music as they played the majority of their recently released album, Antidotes. Funny side note of the night, Marty managed to offended some hot blonde chick with a half sleeve on her forearm at the show by making fun of the opening band, Ghosts, who weren't very good... But all in all it was a pretty amazing show and I'll definitely see them again whenever they come back to town.

The second night of my doubleheader brought a change in the lineup of who was going to the show. Marty texted me early in the day to inform me that he couldn't go because he had a sore throat and a fever. Bummer. So the quest was on to find someone to take his ticket and apparently Wednesdays are the absolute worst day to find someone last minute to go the show. In a last act of desperation, I offered the ticket to Coz, who has never been one for going to shows, but still enjoys a night out at the bar. And it was also an opportunity to celebrate, in a sense, Coz's new job that he had gotten the other day. So Coz and I embarked on a night of good indie music from one of my favorite bands, Via Audio and Someone Still Loves you Boris Yeltsin. We got up to Johnny Brenda's at 8:30, only to find that Via Audio wasn't hitting the stage until 10:30. So now we had two hours on our hands to kill and still no TVs in Johnny Brenda's. So it was off to Murph's Bar once again to drink some more Ballantine Ales and take in the Phillies game.

We headed over to Johnny Brenda's around 10 to get some more Yards Philly Pale Ales and to set up shop front and center of the stage. On my way in, I picked up the new SSLYBY album which I was able to find anywhere around me. New music to listen to...check. We caught the last two songs from the opening band, whose name has slipped my mind and then it was time for Via Audio to set up their gear. And then Jessica, the lead singer of Via Audio entered the bar and entranced by her beauty and stage pressence. Quick backstory, the last time Via Audio was in town, Marty and I went up to see them at the NorthStar Bar and Jess pointed us out in the crowd as one of the few people that knew their songs and had been singing along. So after that set, we were able to hang out with her a little bit and we were both smitten with her personality and indie girl good looks. So back to Via Audio's set at Johnny Brenda's. They played yet another amazing show, intermixing their classics and even playing what I deemed to be a couple of new songs. And once again I was singing along to all their songs, seemingly the only one in the crowd doing so. So after their set, Coz and I were just hanging out and Jess B-lined right for me, proclaiming, "Hey, you know our songs." And so I got into a quick conversation with her about how I love their music and had met her previously at their last show in Philly. She was extremely appreciative and thankful that I was a fan and had come out to the show and that just enhanced my ongoing crush on her...

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin closed out the night and they put on a pretty good show. I had only been exposed to their music through their myspace because I couldn't find their album anywhere, but I was still able to get into the music nonetheless. The highlight of their performance had to be when they brought everyone from Via Audio on stage to join them for a cover of Nirvana's Heart Shaped Box... pretty awesome.

So my two nights spent down in Fishtown at Johnny Brenda's / Murph's Bar involved a lot of drinking and a lot of great music... can't wait to go back again

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

With the first pick in this year's NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select...

Jake Long - Offensive Tackle out of Michigan!!

As a Dolphins fan, I'm pretty psyched and committed to this pick. They've got him signed to a deal already so there won't be any notions of holding out so he'll be with the team from the start. And the Dolphins will be able to draft a possible franchise QB early in the second round or trade up into the late first round to take Chad Henne or Brian Brohm...

Prospect Park Celebrity Gossip...

This just in from the AP wire aka the gossip my Moms brings home from school board meetings:

An indie-drama movie, "Happy Tears" is going to be filmed at a house right down the street from my house starring Demi Moore, Parker Posey, and Rip Torn! Not really sure when it'll be going down but apparently filming is starting at some point next month.

No word yet on whether A) I'll be having a guest role in the movie or B) Parker Posey will be staying at my house when she's in town...