Music, Art & Life

Icky Thump- Reviewed July 4, 2007

Filed under: music,white stripes — ivynoelle @ 6:03 am

The White Stripes made my summer 10,000 times better by releasing their sixth studio album, Icky Thump. Due to some real crappy…crap…I couldn’t get my hands on a copy until two weeks after its release, so I’m sorry if this review is a little stagnant. I’m like that guy who JUST saw Borat for the first time and is going around saying “what is up, vanilla face!?” to his obviously unamused coworkers. Or that person who still wears Napoleon Dynamite shoelaces from the Hot Topic.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Let me begin my review by stating that I really, strongly, disliked Get Behind Me Satan (the ‘Stripes 5th release, if you’re not in the know); I thought it was pretentious, draggy, and completely lacked any energy (wow, those words do NOT make it sound like a White Stripes album), so my expectations for Icky Thump were somewhere along the lines of, “MAN, THIS IS GOING TO SUCK.” This feeling was reaffirmed when I heard the eponymous single after it was leaked on the internet. The pseudo-rapped lyrics, the awful electronic-y synth break, the…ZZ Top quality that the song possesses made me feel like I was completely right in my convictions that The White Stripes had made a permanent home in the land of suck. But I was determined to get the album and give it a fair shot anyway.

Icky Thump cover

And I’m so glad I did. This album completely saves the White Stripes! Its still got its draggy moments (“300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues”, “A Martyr For My Love For You”), and I have to admit, I couldn’t even listen to the songs that featured bagpipes (I Just hate bagpipes, though, that’s nothing the White Stripes did wrong), but the album is mostly composed of good, rocking songs. Now, it must be said that my favorite White Stripes album is their first one, the most bare bones minimalist guitar-and-drums-only of their releases, so the slicker, studio-produced feeling of their later albums, especially the last two, hasn’t really been all that pleasing to me, but that being said, I still really enjoyed a lot of the songs on this album. “Little Cream Soda” is great, even though it does lack any sort of flow lyrically. With “Rag and Bone”, Jack White continues to prove my theory that he has completely lost his mind, and “I’m Slowly Turning Into You” is one hell of a catchy song. “Effect and Cause” is fun, and reminds me strongly of the ‘Stripes Dolly Parton cover “Rated X”, while “You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told)” is essentially a Brendan Benson song (maybe a little too much Raconteurs?), but I like Brendan Benson, so that’s cool by me.

But the best song on the album is, by far, “CONQUEST”. It’s a cover of an early 50’s song, which was only done once before the White Stripes decided to cover it. This song is fantastic, more fun than anything I’ve heard recently. Don’t buy the album for this song, but love the hell out of it once you get it.

All in all, I give Icky Thump a 7/10.



Filed under: ben gibbard,death cab for cutie,music,shows — ivynoelle @ 9:23 pm

(FYI: the Fillmore is what was once known as the TLA)

(PS- forgive the crappy pictures, I only had my cellphone)

Let me start with this: Ben Gibbard is my god. My idol. I love him; if he came to my door and said “COME IVY, I SHALL WHISK YOU AWAY ON MY MAGIC CARPET TO MY MAGICAL KINGDOM, FROM WHENCE WE SHALL NEVER RETURN!”, I would totally go. In a heartbeat. So when I heard he was coming to Philadelphia, I ordered tickets the minute they went on sale (and unlike The White Stripes, I actually got them…grrrrr…). Two months later, the night was finally here!

I arrive at the Fillmore ten minutes after the doors open, and there’s already a fair amount of people inside. Dan and I manage to squeeze ourselves in on the left-hand side, one person away from the stage, with a perfect view of the microphone. Brilliant!

The opening acts were Jonathan Rice and David Bazan (of Pedro the Lion fame). I had never heard Rice’s name before, but I dig Pedro the Lion, so I figured it’d be all good. I was wrong, unfortunately.

I’m not sure if Jonathan Rice was drunk or if he’s actually mentally retarded in some way. His songs were just as nonsensical as the ramblings that went on between them. He had shoulder length greasy hair, disturbingly tight pants, and breathed through his mouth. From a musical standpoint, he was nothing special; wordy songs about nothing/girls sung falsetto over a folky strum that never changed from song to song. He also made the goofiest faces I have ever seen (worse than John Mayer!), so I couldn’t really watch him, since I was giggling and, being so close to the stage, I was afraid he would see me.

Jonathan Rice

Jonathan Rice

David Bazan I liked for the first two songs and then was instantly done. Every single one of his songs sounded exactly alike, and his lyrics were boring, or at their worst, actually gross (there was one line where he referenced “curly hair and folds of skin”….ewwww). He was intensely boring to watch, with no real stage presence to speak of. Just as I thought he was wrapping up, a stagehand informed him that he still had forty-five minutes to kill. By that point, I was so impatient for Ben Gibbard to come on that I just couldn’t watch him anymore and fiddled around with my cellphone while he was wrapping up his set.

David Bazan

David Bazan

Then, the moment came. Ben Gibbard walked out on stage, launched into a tune by Donovan, which smoothly turned into “Brand New Colony” (a particular favorite of mine). He went on to play mostly acoustic versions of Death Cab songs, including a beautiful and rather intense piano version of “Soul Meets Body”, and a song from the upcoming Death Cab release (rumors say early ’08) entitled “Casino Blues”. Highlights for me included “Why You’d Want To Live Here”, “The Sound of Settling”, and “A Lack of Color” (which he played for the encore).



He also played one song from his split EP with Andrew Kenny (“You Remind Me of Home”), and a couple of Postal Service songs (“Such Great Heights”, “We Will Become Silhouettes”). “We Will Become Silhouettes” was probably my favorite song he played all night, he gave it a new life that the album version was definitely lacking. One of the best parts of the night were the songs he chose to cover. He performed a song by The Mountain Goats, as well as Nirvana’s “All Apologies” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” (that was a lot of fun). He wrapped the whole evening up by playing “I Will Follow You Into the Dark”, and I was quickly hustled out by the TLA’s staff, so it was readily apparent that he was not coming out to sign any autographs.

Oh well, I saw him, and that’s enough for me.

ben again!

Come back soon, Mr. Gibbard.



SO UNFAIR. May 6, 2007

Filed under: shows,white stripes — ivynoelle @ 4:52 am

So, I was recently informed that THE WHITE STRIPES were coming to the Grand Opera House in Wilmington, DE (I live about 30 minutes outside of the city). Needless to say, I was stoked: not only are the White Stripes tied in the much-coveted “Ivy’s Favorite Band” spot, but they were coming to WILMINGTON, the freaking city I grew up in! No one ever comes to Wilmington! What the hell!

So, I find out that tickets go on sale Saturday May 5th at 10 am. No problem, right? Okay, little problem- you can only get them by going to or calling the Opera House’s box office. That’s right, NO online ticket sales WHATSOEVER. Still, I thought to myself, that shouldn’t be too hard, I’ll just start calling a little early.

So I call. and call. and call. The number was busy from 9:50 am to 11:05 am, when I finally got through only to have a man curtly tell me that the show was…


Okay, now I say “what the fuck” a lot, but seriously WHAT THE FUCK. They had only TWO phone lines you could call to get these tickets. TWO! For a fucking White Stripes show! Were they not expecting much in the way of interest or something?!

I’m sorry, I just find it a little unfair that in spite of me calling literally NON-STOP from ten minutes before they even went on sale, I still couldn’t get a ticket.

In short, the Grand Opera House is now re-named the Grand LAMEASS.


I love YouTube March 22, 2007

Filed under: music — ivynoelle @ 3:57 am

For the following reasons:

(PS- That second video is from the same tour I saw Death Cab on. They didn’t play no damn Devo in Philly, that’s for sure!)


What the hell happened to The Killers? March 5, 2007

Filed under: music,the killers — ivynoelle @ 4:01 pm

I used to be pretty obsessed with The Killers about two years ago. Not only was I totally in love with Brandon Flowers (For example, this was a pretty common scene: Picture me standing in the music section of a Target. Across the aisle in the television section, a Killers video begins to play. Me: “OH MY GOD BRANDON FLOWERS!”. I would then run over to the TVs and press my face against the screen going “AUGH MARRY ME”. Yeah, I suck.), but I also liked their polished, new-wavey sound, and their slightly-creepy lyrics. It was all sex and murder and glitter and I totally dug it. In spite of my friends’ exasperation with my Killers obsession, I listened to them pretty much all the time. “Mr. Brightside” was the soundtrack to my life for about three months straight.

When I heard they were releasing a new album, I did a little mini-freakout thing. About a year after hearing the news, us members of The Killers fan mailing list got to hear a little clip of what was to be their new single, “When You Were Young”. Eagerly, I waited for the quicktime file to load, practically salivating with excitement. But when the music began to play, I panicked. Surely this was some mistake! What was this quasi-classic-rock blaring from my speakers? And what had happened to Brandon Flowers slick, lovely voice (which I often proclaimed that I wanted to “totally make out with”)? What is this wavering, strained, high-pitched girly-man doing acting like my one true love?

It was then that I saw the pictures. Apparently, The Killers had pulled a Jack White on me and were going to start dressing like they had recently escaped from a psych ward. Worst of all was THE MUSTACHE. What the hell is with the mustache!?



This newfound insanity has completely destroyed my love for The Killers. I was doing my best to avoid watching anything associated with them (to avoid certain heartbreak), but the other night when suffering from one of my trademark bouts of insomnia, I saw their newest video for “Read My Mind”. This video has pretty much sealed the deal for me, that’s right, you heard it here first:


The video takes place in Tokyo, following this new “JAPAN IS WEIRD!” trend that you see in videos and movies these days. Yeah, yeah, Japan is a strange place. I studied Japanese for seven years, and I learned this firsthand from a Japanese friend. It’s a bizarre place, we get it. Sofia Coppola pounded it into our soft heads with Lost In Translation. I would totally write this video off as just lame, trend-following crap, except that because it’s The Killers, and because The Killers have lost their minds, this one has the added bonus of a few completely insane elements, such as the huge green monster that the drummer seems to be creepily attached to, the fact that Brandon Flowers is dressed like Colonel Sanders, and the part where the (stubbly, manly) guitarist is dressed like a Geisha (complete with wig).

Oh god, I can’t write about this anymore. It’s killing me (no pun intended). Watch the damn video and see for yourself.



Is it okay to be a little in love with Jack White? March 3, 2007

Filed under: music,white stripes — ivynoelle @ 7:26 am

Let’s face it, the man is a guitar god, there’s no denying that. But there’s something else that makes Jack White so attractive, and I just can’t put my finger on it.

No one is just okay with our dear Mr. Gillis, you either love him or you hate him. My boyfriend, for instance, is totally in love with the man and would probably murder a baby for a chance to meet him, whereas another one of my friends hates him and will begin to fuss if he even hears the first three seconds of a White Stripes song.

So here’s my question: What is it about Jack White that makes him so fascinating?

Theory #1: Stage Presence

Look at that ugly guitar.

Anyone who has seen the White Stripes will tell you that Jack White has amazing stage presence. My mother was actually friends with the White Stripes before they made it big, and she claimed from the first time she saw him perform that he was one of the most enigmatic musicians she had ever seen (since I was about 12 at the time, I didn’t really appreciate this). I actually had the pleasure of seeing him in concert this past November (Raconteurs/Bob Dylan. Oh yeah.), and I finally saw what she was talking about. In spite of the huge girly crush I have on Brendan Benson, I couldn’t take my eyes off Jack. He completely stole the show from the rest of the group. It was like he pouring his soul out onstage; it was all guts and raw emotion and I was completely entranced. This may have been when I fell a little in love with him.

Theory #2: Appearance

Jack White is no different from any number of popular musicians, he likes to change his look. But here’s the kicker, at least in my book, IT IS COMPLETELY RANDOM. One day he’ll look like Michael Jackson, the next a delta bluesman, and the next time you see him he might be wearing a bunny suit for all you know. For example:

awwwwww EEEE

Cute / Horrifying

I think it’s this total fucking randomness that makes people want to pay attention to him. Is he gonna look normal today? Will he be dressed like a matador? Will he have shaved his head?! It’s anyone’s guess!


Theory #3: He’s Totally Insane


This kind of ties in with my last theory, but that doesn’t make it any less true. For chrissake, the man is using a MARIMBA in most of his recordings today. He beat the bejeezus out of that dude from the Von Bondies, and he got married at the merging of three rivers in Brazil (I kid you not). He’s completely off his rocker and he’d probably punch you soon as look at ya. But there’s nothing Americans (nay, humans in general!) love more than an amusingly insane person.


So there you go. I love Jack White.


Listen To These: Hand Springs (White Stripes), Level (Raconteurs), Death Letter (White Stripes)