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03/05/12 12:09pm

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It was midway through their song “Mutt-Feast” that Diarrhea Planet frontman Jordan Smith popped a string. Awful timing, too, because it was right before this crucial breakdown where everyone in the band drops out so Smith can rip off a few crunchy, palm-muted riffs. The energy was there, the power stance in full effect, but with a string flopping around it wasn’t the prettiest sounding thing—but when that part ended the entire group launched into a symphony of fret tapping glory, much to the delight of the handful of fans of the excellent up-and-coming Nashville group in attendance.

“Can I get one of the guitars off the wall?” he joked afterwards, looking at the myriad autographed axes that dot the walls at Asbury Park’s legendary Stone Pony. As a Gibson SG was fetched to replace Smith’s Squire Jaguar, guitarist Emmet Miller plucked that opening line to Hot Chocolate’s “I Believe In Miracles” and the next thing you know the rest of the band—guitarist, Brent Toler, bassist Mike Boyle, and drummer Evan Bird, who usually handles the fourth guitar, but was subbing in for an absent, and much missed, Casey Weissbuch—jumped in, turning that cheese-tastic late night lovers anthem into a bona fide metal vamp complete with dueling guitars soaring in harmonic splendor.

It was a wonderful celebration of the power and versatility of the six string, and especially fitting for the occasion. Last night’s show at the Stone Pony marked the kick off of a quick string of East Coast dates featuring three of the exciting rock bands out there: Diarrhea Planet, Screaming Females, and Titus Andronicus. While the Planet’s profile is still low, that unbridled love of rock of all sorts is exactly the kind of stuff they specialize in. They released their debut LP, Loose Jewels, on Infinity Cat last year, they’ve got another in the works, and they’ll be on the opposite side of an upcoming split 7” with Titus. Their contribution, “Babyhead,” was one of many fine tuned pop songs complete with scorching fret work the band played last night, along with “Your Head,” “Fauser,” and “Warm Ridin’.” All of which were accompanied by shredtacular acrobatics, and we’re not talking your dad’s bland back-to-back, or down-on-both-knees type stuff—we’re talking Emmett, right leg firmly atop the PA in front of him, brandishing his axe in a display of rock supremacy, with Jordan sneaking in between his legs playing an equally tasty solo. It was enough to leave any fan’s neck aching, and plenty to convert some new fans, including the eight-year-old who snapped a pic of Emmett wielding his instrument aloft as the band closed their set with the epic “Ghost With A Boner.”

Of course we can’t get this far without saying that last night was just as much about the guitar as it was about the state of New Jersey, with two of the Garden State’s best bands currently in operation playing on hallowed ground. Titus frontman Patrick Stickles answered questions about his favorite Jersey spots (diner: Empress Diner in Fair Lawn; record store: Vintage Vinyl in Fords) while he fixed his own popped string, and the crowd erupted in cheers—and one solid “Jersey, baby!”—after Screaming Females frontwoman Marissa Paternoster dropped the band’s hometown of New Brunswick.

But those cheers were nothing compared to what Screaming Females elicited from the crowd after a set filled with plenty of gems from Castle Talk and Power Move, along with a few new one’s from their upcoming record, Ugly. I’ll admit that this was my first time seeing Screaming Females live, and my god are they just a band that demands every iota of your attention. They had the audience bopping about during cuts like “I Don’t Mind It” and “A New Kid” but the cocktail of Jarrett Dougherty’s pounding drums, a rubbery bass line from King Mike, and one of Paternoster’s (thankfully) many head spinning guitar solos, was enough to leave your jaw unhinged. Not that the crowd just stood there and gaped, though I kinda did: The fullness of their live sound never wavers, impressive especially when you take into account the fact that (a) there’s just three of them, (b) they’re all relentlessly tearing it up on stage, and (c) Paternoster’s got like five different guitar parts or something to hit you with, and she never misses a note.

One of Screaming Females’ other undeniable assets is, of course, Paternoster’s bone chilling voice—it’s affecting on record, for sure, but live it just overwhelms. The control she wields over her pipes is stunning, so much so that she’s able to harmonize with whatever she’s playing on guitar, as she did on stellar new track “Red Hand.” Often the end of each line dissolves into this beautiful oblong bellow that sounds like it could just engulf you entirely; and it did during “Foul Mouth,” and then out of nowhere she unleashes this shrill scream that knocks you on your feet followed by another guitar attack that keeps you there.

Crowd completely jazzed, it was time for semi-hometown heroes Titus Andronicus, who started not with “A More Perfect Union” or “Titus Andronicus” (though both were played, and both were awesome), but Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town.” It was absolutely awesome, and actually set an interesting tone for the rest of the set. As Titus—in a new incarnation that’s just six days old—ran through their set, I couldn’t help but feel that they were becoming, well, a more fun-loving band. Not that they didn’t always enjoy what they were doing, but if you kick off a show with a rousing rendition of freaking “The Boys Are Back in Town”—which features some of the most smile-inducing guitar work ever—even the clenched-fist cry of “And I’m sorry dad no / I’m not making this up!” on “The Battle of Hampton Roads” is gonna sound just a tad more upbeat.

This is exactly the tone that Titus hit on several of the new tracks they played last night. There was “In A Big City,” with a sweat drenched Stickles running around playing stadium-status licks, and the up-tempo punk swinger “Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape With the Flood of Detritus” (which will appear on that split 7”), with its gleeful choruses of “built to last, built to last, built to last!” and then “thrown away, thrown away, thrown away!” that everyone was already singing along with. Most impressive was this 9 minute (give or take) monster with a title that went unspoken that featured multiple parts sections that flow seamlessly into each other, big solos, an awesome false ending, even more big solos, and classic Stickles piss-and-moan vocals with his mouth smushed up against the microphone. Yet there was this openness to it, a palpable joy as if the band has discovered the best way to make sense of the existential abyss that constantly surrounds them is not to embrace the benign indifference of the world, but the sheer, undeniable, indescribable, majestic power of rock and roll. And you better believe it’s always been that way, the band seemed to suggest as “Titus Andronicus Forever,” morphed, with barely a note changed, into a Back to The Future-inspired blues jam session with nods to “Travelin’ Man” and “Good Golly Miss Molly” that left the audience twisting the night away. There are few things in this world more powerful than a great guitar solo that just tears through your ear drums, runs circles around your brain, and then plummets into your gut, reminding you of all that’s good and great about the world and people around you.

Photo by Matthew Ismael Ruiz

12/08/09 4:57pm

Daniel Powter

So yesterday, Billboard.com did me a huge favor when it posted its list of the top one-hit wonders of the 2000s, because not only am I a sucker for best of lists—especially those that encompass entire decades—but as far as I’m concerned, there is nothing better than one-hit wonders. They are the bedrock of the pop music world, giving us something that at first feels so fleeting, but actually sticks with us forever and ever. Case in point: Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day,” the top song on Billboard’s list. Remember that shit? It was terrible, but you still managed to hear it twenty times a day; and now three years later when you think you’ve forgotten all about it, you just need to see the title and all of a sudden you’re filled with that sometimes nauseating sensation of: “Oh God, remember when that came out?”

The rest of the list is like one awesome trip down the musty annals of pop culture: There’s Crazy Town’s “Butterfly,” Macy Gray’s “I Try,” D4L’s “Laffy Taffy,” Eiffel 65’s “Blue (Da Ba Dee),” J-Kwon’s “Tipsy,” and one of my personal favorites, Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!),” which I think advocates larceny as a means of revenge. Awesome. Oh! And remember Jibbs’ “Chain Hang Low”? And Rich Boy’s “Throw Some D’s”? Those songs were great! Seriously though, you’re welcome.

I highly recommend checking out the entire list, but for all the classics on there, there were certainly a few songs missing. So, Billboard, allow me to pick up where you left off with some old favorites.

“Absolutely (Story Of A Girl)” — Nine Days — Oh man, this has to be one of the first CD’s I ever bought. That and I think Smash Mouth.

“The Middle” — Jimmy Eat World — I still listen to this song… because it’s still really, really good.

“All The Things She Said” — t.A.T.u — I remember coming home from school one day and seeing two Russian girls making out on TRL. And that song was really catchy too.

“Stacy’s Mom” — Fountains of Wayne — I forgot how many apt phallic and sexual metaphors/images are in this video; also the nod to Fast Times At Ridgemont High is great.

“Pop, Lock & Drop It” — Huey — The crunk/snap-rap underground. Sorta, not really.

12/04/09 5:20pm

R. Kelly

R. Kelly never struck me as a man of many words. Aside from the wonderfully imaginative cluster-fuck that was “Trapped In The Closet,” Kellz seemed to have a sort of one track mind: Bumpin’ and grindin’, because there certainly ain’t nothin’ wrong with a little of that. Today, however, R. Kelly released a video responding to the Trey Songz diss track “D.O.K. (Death of Kellz),” which came out sometime back in the summer. Always the gentleman, the black and white video features Kellz in what I’m guessing is a wine cellar or personal office with a whole lot of exposed brick and some chic French posters, waxing philosophical on all things hater related.

His logic boils down to something like this: Don’t tell me that I’m doing something wrong with my music because I’ve been in this business a whole lot longer than you and I’ve sold like a bajillion records and am incredibly famous. At the end he does start to sound like a cranky old man as he bemoans the lack of respect from younger artists. But he ends with some sweet metaphors, respectfully, yet assertively, brushing Songz (whom he never mentions by name) off to the side—”Elephants don’t swat flies.” Point: R. Kelly. Check it out after the jump.

11/25/09 4:00am

I don’t get Lady Gaga. I think she’s absolutely fascinating—in neither a good nor a bad way—but I couldn’t tell you exactly why. In about a year and a half, she’s managed to pretty much skip pop-diva status and allowed herself to exist as a transcendent po-mo-pop-musician/fashionista/artist/being/whatever else you want to call her. And this is all pretty polarizing: Either you see a legitimate artist who’s created a niche for herself, intelligent, creative, complicated enough to spit in the face of the Britneys and Christinas. Or you call bullshit and see a pseudo-intellectual, egomaniacal sorry excuse for a 21st- century Madonna. Or you see both.

That same sort of conflict and uncertainty is present on The Fame Monster, her follow-up EP to platinum selling debut The Fame. Initially, The Fame Monster was supposed to be a bonus disc to accompany a reissue of The Fame, but Gaga insisted that the eight new tracks were conceptually and artistically and musically their own beast, and deserved to stand alone as an EP. Or something like that.

Written and recorded in the immediate aftermath of Gaga’s worldwide success, The Fame Monster deals with the darker side of celebrity so glorified (albeit maybe a bit tongue-in-cheekily) on her debut. The first single, “Bad Romance,” revels in the nightmare it tries to create with Hitchcock references and somber vocals. But the song lacks cohesion: First it sounds like a Cher song, then there’s the sneering faux-European accented verse, the power disco chorus, and finally the bland spoken-word bridge. Similarly, “Monster” and “Alejandro” deal with the darker side of sex and love, and while both are half-decent club/pop songs in their own right—and much more well-organized than “Bad Romance”—they don’t seem like complete thoughts. Or not complete enough to warrant a separate release, anyway.

But despite what Gaga’s said about the more serious content of Monster, she never completely escapes the vapid, sex-obsessed songs that made her famous. “So Happy I Could Die” trudges along under a monotonous pulsing bass drum and heavily reverbed vocals about how great it is to be famous and enjoy fine wine in clubs; and “Telephone” is just as weak lyrically, and features Beyonce, whose thirty-second vocal spot pretty much outshines any of Gaga’s own singing.

Most aggravating, though, is “Dance In The Dark.Monster The song attempts to veer towards the seamier side again, but not before Gaga decides to name-drop everyone from Liberace to Stanley Kubrick in a bridge that’s an absolute rip-off of the end of Madonna’s “Vogue.” But Gaga’s assertion at the beginning of the song that she’s a “free bitch” reveals an overt hypocrisy in her music. Lady Gaga has every right to embrace the “free bitch” thing and do whatever she wants with whomever she wants; but these themes, these monsters she wants to confront on Monster are a direct result of how she consciously chooses to live. And then these ideas are manifested in a genre of music whose sound—either intentionally or not—further glorifies this lifestyle. And, you know, maybe Lady Gaga’s completely aware of this; or maybe she wants you to at least think she’s completely aware of all this. Either way, that doesn’t make The Fame Monster any better of a pop record.

11/24/09 4:32pm

So earlier today I found out that 50 Cent wasn’t going to be able to release his new line of condoms because they completely failed basic condom inspection, or something along those lines. And obviously I was really excited to write some snarky blog post about it because it perfectly coincided with the release of his new album, which pretty much flopped, big time. But the whole condom thing happened last week, so no dice.

Instead, here’s this video of Jimmy Fallon as Neil Young covering the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song. And it’s actually really good. Say what you will about Fallon’s inability to keep a straight face and his actual comedic talent—but the guy can do some really spot on impressions.

11/18/09 9:03am

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Hey everyone, the music industry’s savior has arrived! No its not a ban on file sharing, or a decent subscription service, or a genuine attempt to get past all that soreness from when the RIAA decided to go crazy and sue everyone when Napster came out, thus cementing itself as just another mass corporation more concerned with its profits than the product it produces… Actually, it’s Oprah!

Yesterday, Variety posted an article on the pretty significant impact Winfrey has on the music industry. Basically it boils down to this: If Oprah can convince a whole bunch of people to spend their summer reading three Faulkner novels like she did back in 2005, she can help Michael Buble sell 132,000 albums in three days like he did in October. Hell, Warner Brothers actually pushed up the release date of Buble’s album to correspond with his appearance on Oprah. And if propelling Michael Buble to number one on the Billboard charts wasn’t enough to convince you, sales for Whitney Houston’s comeback album “I Look To You” jumped 77% after she was on the show, and Filipina pop singer Charice sold 60,000 singles after an appearance in September. I mean for the love of God, Journey was on her show in October, and their latest album—which (a) has been out for a year already and (b), holy shit, did you know Journey released a new album?—moved 10,000 copies the following week. In fact, according to Billboard’s “Maximum Exposure,” Oprah is now the second best way an artist can get their music out to the public, the first being an Apple commercial.

I’m sure there are plenty of reasons for this. The obvious one being that Oprah’s viewers will pretty much do anything she tells them. But here’s the other thing, all of the artists that have benefited from the coveted “Oprah Effect” are, well, relatively tame, and sure as hell aren’t going to offend anyone anytime soon (unless Whitney Houston goes crazy again). Look, Ellen DeGeneres can have T-Pain and Snoop Dogg on as many times as she wants, and yeah it’s really great TV when Ellen and T-Pain sing together with auto-tune mics, and it’s even better when you get to watch an audience full of middle-aged white women dancing to a song whose uncensored title is “Sexual Eruption”—but let’s be honest, they aren’t really going to go out and buy a Snoop Dogg record. Maybe some will, but those numbers aren’t going to touch what Oprah can do. I don’t doubt that Oprah actually likes these artists, but she also knows that her audience will like them too, and not just for the fifteen minutes they’re on the air.

Also, another theory: Oprah’s target audience probably doesn’t know how download music illegally.

10/20/09 5:02pm

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A few months back in our Best of NYC issue we warned informed you about a new beverage from the Coca-Cola Company called Vio. Touted as a“vibrancy” drink with a hint of skim milk, a few of us at the L (ok, maybe just me and co-intern Kate) could not wait to get our hands on this carbonated milk concoction. We devised an intricate taste test in which we would sample the four different flavors of Vio both by itself and then with other products you might usually put milk in such as cereal and coffee, and then maybe make ourselves a few afternoon White Russians.

Unfortunately, neither of us were ever able to find any Vio, despite the fact that New York was one of the first testing grounds for the drink. But today, as I was walking down West 4th St. to the F train, I ran into a group of hip, young, twenty-somethings handing out free bottles of Vio. I’ve never experienced divine intervention before, but this was damn near close. I managed to get my hands on two of the four flavors—Peach Mango and Tropical Colada—and so without further delay, I present to you a long awaited and well thought out review of Americas #1 carbonated milk based beverage.

Appearance—The Bottle
First off, Vio is hip. Really, really hip. The bottles all have the same cool, po-mo, minimalist-but-there’s-so-much-more-going-on-here design, but with different colors corresponding to each flavor. Emblazoned on a white background, the Peach Mango color scheme is soft and sweet, with plenty of soothing oranges and purples and pinks, while the Tropical Colada is cool and refreshing with blues and greens and even some yellow. Each bottle also contains Vio’s mission statement in what I’m guessing is free verse poetry form:

Give your mind and body a fresh sensation
The world’s first vibrancy drink
Delicious effervescent fruit flavor
Antioxidant vitamin C and 15% of your daily calcium
No artificial flavors or preservatives
100% different!
Full of vibrancy — no shaking required

Also, did I mention that the “i” in Vio is upside-down!!! How edgy is that??

Appearance—The Drink Itself
Peach Mango: Well it sure as hell looks milky. A little too milky. When I tilt the cup a wall of bubbles forms the side, which is incredibly disconcerting and a little disgusting. It’s a sickly pale orange and looks incredibly heavy.
Tropical Colada: Straight up looks like milk, but in the worst ways possible. Like old milk right before it congeals. Again, the bubbles kind of freak me out.

Smell
Peach Mango: It’s not as terrible as I thought it might be, but that doesn’t mean it smells like roses. It’s sort of like melted ice cream, and carries heavy aromas of processed fruit-based flavors.
Tropical Colada: This smells awful. Straight up awful. That’s probably because I hate coconut. Kate says it smells like there’s non-alcoholic rum in it, and it’s almost overpoweringly sweet.

Taste—In Mouth
Peach Mango: Good god this stuff is way too creamy. It tastes nothing like peach or mango, and the combination of the milky and fizzy textures is just way too weird. My mouth kind of feels violated.
Tropical Colada: It’s pretty much just as bad, but this time a whole lot sweeter, like someone dumped thirty packets of Splenda into the bottle before it was sealed up. It kind of tastes like a Piña Colada, only a whole lot worse. And it’s more like a manufactured Piña Colada flavor—absolutely nothing natural about it.

Aftertaste
Peach Mango: Oh boy does this stuff refuse to go away. It’s like there was really shitty party in my mouth and everyone is refusing to leave. It just lingers and once the bubbles are gone you’re left with uncomfortable sense of, “what the fuck just happened?” and “am I ever going to be able to taste anything else again?”
Tropical Colada: Unlike the Peach Mango, the carbonation hangs in there for just a little longer, leaving not only a milk-heavy aftertaste, but a disturbing tingling sensation on your tongue as well. Plus there’s also the same psychological aftertaste that you’re never going to be able to escape from this drink. Ever.

Well there you have it. Vio: Kind of sucks…a lot. Now if you’ll excuse me, my stomach feels weird and I’m really starting to wish I had brought some gum with me today—actually a toothbrush and some mouthwash would’ve been better.

10/19/09 9:51am

Super Monday

Let the countdown begin! There are only 35 days left until Super Monday! Last week, Universal Music Group revealed their plan to release not one, not two, but six new albums from some of the biggest names in music on Monday, November 23rd. If, like me, you were worried that Thanksgiving was going to be ruined because those bastards at NBC weren’t gonna let those fun, music-loving kids from Glee sing in the parade, don’t fret because now you’ll be able to download—I mean buy—new albums from 50 Cent, Lady Gaga, Jay Sean, Birdman, Timbaland, and Rihanna! Clearly, Universal is going right for the jugular with this plan of attack, taking full advantage of the post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy. Could this be the industry-saving event labels have been looking for? Probably not. Nevertheless, here’s a quick guide to help you decide which of these albums to get.

1.) Rihanna – TBD—Thank. God. No singles from Rihanna’s currently untitled fourth album have been released, but she was the best part of Jay-Z’s “Run This Town” and in general she’s absolutely incredible, so odds are this is probably gonna be a pretty solid pop record.

2.) Timbaland – Shock Value 2—Hold up a second. There was a Shock Value 1? Ugh, Timbaland should stop rapping and focus on getting Justin Timberlake to record a new album.

3.) Jay Sean – All Or Nothing—Apparently this guy is some hot shit. His song “Down” knocked the Black Eyed Peas “I Gotta A Feeling” from the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 after it was at #1 for like 20 years or something. Anyway, “Down” is nothing special, but Lil Wayne’s verse is solid (obviously); and I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that the rest of the album will sound like a combination of an Usher and Chris Brown record. Which means it’s gonna sell really, really well.

Birdmann Pricele$$

4.) Birdman – Pricele$$—According to the track list on Wikipedia, Lil Wayne will be on 8 of the 18 tracks on this album. That’s about 45% of the entire record. I’m guessing all these guest spots is just a way of getting people excited about his most-likely awful rock album, which is supposedly coming out in December (possibly along with The Carter IV too!!!). As for Pricele$$, I dunno, probably nothing special. None of the singles are as good as “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy,” which doesn’t bode too well for the rest of the record.

5.) Lady Gaga – The Fame: Monster—Oh boy, another re-issue. Isn’t that just another way for artists to sneak singles onto an already finished piece of work in an effort to keep the album afloat? I mean that’s exactly what Lady Gaga thinks they are. Still, Lady Gaga will re-release her debut album with eight additional tracks, which begs the question, why didn’t she just write like four more tracks and put out a new album? Or at least call this an EP? Hell, she even says that “it’s a new album’s worth of material.” Well, that’s it. I’m officially giving up on trying to figure out what the fuck is going on in Lady Gaga’s head.

50 Cent Before I Self-Destruct

6.) 50 Cent – Before I Self Destruct—Well that War Angel mixtape kinda sucked; and last time I checked, didn’t 50 promise he was going to stop making records if Kanye’s Graduation out-sold Curtis? So much for that. Also, fun fact: Did you know there have been four singles released for this album so far starting last October? Me neither. There’s probably a reason for that.

So there you go—six albums to choose from and only one of them will probably be any good. But what I’m really hoping for is that Universal pulls out all the stops and just promotes the hell out of this thing. My suggestion: Pit artist against artist. What better way to build hype than for Universal to start a false rumor that Birdman said he’s going to eat Timbaland’s face. And then Timbaland confronts Birdman and they get into this huge fist fight. And then 50 Cent shows up and is all like, “Hey guys, remember when I got shot nine times?” But no one will care. Now that’d be awesome.

10/06/09 4:56pm

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More big news in the hip-hop world today (Free Method Man!!): Public Enemy is recording their thirteenth album. Or, they want to, anyway, and they’d like you to pay for—er, I mean fund, it! Teaming up with the website SellaBand.com, Chuck D, Flava Flav, Terminator X, and the Bomb Squad are asking fans to help them raise $250,000 for what I assume covers all recording costs, expenses, and solid gold clock-necklaces. With a donation of $25 you get both an exclusive version of the new album plus a portion of the albums actual profits. It’s kind of like that micro-loan site Kiva, but instead of giving your money to impoverished workers in third-world countries, it goes to this guy so he can make an album that probably won’t be nearly as good as this one.

Still, the idea of SellaBand.com is pretty neat—it’s like the “pay-what-you-want” method, but you get that warm fuzzy feeling of knowing that your money is actually helping in the recording process. And this model perfect sense for a group like Public Enemy that has a pretty nasty history of getting fucked over by record labels. The real question, though, is whether or not the model will work for emerging artists. While SellaBand.com does offer you the chance to preview artists before donating (obviously), people are certainly going to be more willing to donate (and donate more) to established acts like PE than some kid from Ohio with a guitar and a pirated copy of Pro Tools. But if this actually works, then you certainly won’t hear me complaining: Any successful alternative to record labels is fine by me. That said, I should probably get out my debit card and make a donation; but I’m kind of strapped for cash right now and $25 can go a pretty long way at Trader Joe’s. Although if I can get a guarantee on a second collaboration with Anthrax, I might be a bit more inclined to shell out some cash.

10/02/09 3:33pm

Boy, I’d really like to pick Jack White’s brain. Having watched the Dead Weather’s new video for “I Cut Like A Buffalo” six times now, which is probably four more times than necessary, I still have no idea what the hell is going on. But I didn’t understand Crime and Punishment either, and that didn’t stop me from writing a ten page paper on it in twelfth grade. So here’s what I’ve been able to figure out so far:

1.) Allison Mosshart might be a really good belly dancer—I don’t think it’s her, but if it is…well, job well done, Allison. Job well done.
2.) Jack White hates the media and/or men in bowler hats.
3.) Anyone know who the guy with the sweet beard is at 3:10? Is he even in the Dead Weather? How long does it take to grow a beard like that? And what kind of beard-grooming techniques do you think he uses?
4.) The term “Cut like a buffalo has 2 definitions on Urban Dictionary: a.) To be thick-skinned. Difficult to upset, hurt, or insult. Tough. b.) making a female bleed while engaging in sexual intercourse. I think the song is referring to the first definition…
5.) PETA’s going to be pretty upset if that’s an actual buffalo head.
6.) Jack White kind of looks like Kenny G.
7.) Weird for the sake of being weird can still be somewhat entertaining—good one, Jack.
8.) The White Stripes really need to record a new album.