Monthly Archives: March 2013

Riffhard World Cup: Rage Against the Phish?

So we’re moving on the 90s. Who moves on and who doesn’t? Who Riffed Hardest during the Clinton Administration? For a summary of the rules, click here.

The 90s Group

Round 1.

Come As You Are vs. Killing in the Name of

Results: A tough call here. Come As You Are is a great riff that’s simple, catchy and full of ennui. Killing in the Name of is all anger, bombast and radical politics. I’m giving Nirvana the win, but only because I want them to lose later.

Chalk Dust Torture vs. Enter Sandman

Results: Chalk dust Torture is the best guitar song you’ve never heard because you probably don’t like Phish. I get that. Phish is easy to hate–the fans are annoying and their albums are generally terrible. But, Metallica fans are worse. And Enter Sandman is the kind of thing dudes with long hair who work in Sam Ash play on weird looking guitars. Chalkdust wins. Easy.

Round 2

Killing in the Name of vs. Chalk Dust Torture

Results: This would be a tie, but Chalkdust wins because their cover of Killing in the Name of is real awesome.

Come As You Are vs. Enter Sandman

Results: I only included Enter Sandman so I could make sure it loses. God I hate Metallica.

Round 3

Chalk Dust Torture vs. Come As You Are

Results: A listless draw as both sides play not to lose. The crowd whistles at the refs and then Phish covers Smells Like Teen Spirit and everyone is damn confused.

Killing in the Name of vs. Enter Sandman

Results: A little revenge for everyone’s favorite marketable radicals. Tom Morello rules.

Who’s In?

Chalk Dust Torture and Come As You Are


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Riffhard World Cup: KEEF Can’t Get No Satisfaction

Sorry for the delay. I have been plagued by a little bout of Chiang Kai-Shek’s revenge. Now that we’re good it’s time to start separating the wheat from the chaff. So who’s gonna advance from the Keith Richards Group? For a summary of the rules, click here.

Keith Richards Group

Rd. 1

Satisfaction vs. Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Results: In a shocker, Jumpin’ Jack Flash steals a tie. Why? Because it’s the drums that make satisfaction great. 1 point each.

Happy vs. Honky Tonk Woman

Results: Happy wins, pretty easily. Keith’s all about riffs in Open G on a 5 string guitar, that’s his singular sound and Happy is Keith’s song. Gritty, druggy and strangely uplifting.

Rd. 2

Jumpin’ Jack Flash vs. Happy

Results: Happy wins. Happy rules.

Honky Tonk Woman vs. Satisfaction

Results: Satisfaction squeaks out a victory.

Rd. 3

Happy vs. Satisfaction

Results: Just like Sumo Wrestling, Happy lets Satisfaction win so it makes through to the round of 16. Cheating bastards.

Honky Tonk Woman vs. Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Results: A listless, lifeless draw. Being born in a crossfire hurricane isn’t much of a help, apparently. Gin soaked bar-room queens are also crying.

Who Advances?



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The Riffhard World Cup: Who’s In?

Without further ado, here are the qualifiers for the Riffhard World Cup. For a summary of the rules click here.

Keith Richards Group

– Jumpin’ Jack Flash

– Satisfaction

– Happy

– Honky Tonk Woman

the 90s Group

– Come As You Are (Nirvana)

– Killing in the Name of (Rage Against the Machine)

– Chalkdust Torture (Phish)

– Enter Sandman (Metallica)

The Hendrix Group

– 3rd Stone From the Sun

– Purple Haze

– Machine Gun

– If 6 Were 9

the 80s Group

– Sharp Dressed Man (ZZ Top)

– Texas Flood (SRV)

– 1999 (Prince)

– Crosseyed & Painless (Talking Heads)

the Led Zeppelin Group

– Good Times, Bad Times

– Immigrant Song

– The Crunge

– Dazed & Confused

the Funky Soul Group

– Sex Machine (James Brown)

– Soul Man (Sam & Dave)

– Just Kissed My Baby (the Meters)

– Beat It (MJ)

the 1960s Group

– Day Tripper (the Beatles)

– Sunshine of Your Love (Cream)

– Tired of Waiting for You (the Kinks)

– My Generation (the Who)

the 1970s Group

– Cocaine (Eric Clapton)

– Midnight Rider (the Allman Brothers)

– Sultans of Swing (Dire Straits)

– Everybody Knows this is Nowhere (Neil Young)

Surprises? Songs I totally screwed over? Let me know what you think in the comments. Keef and the 90s start pool play on Friday. Who’ll get their satisfaction?



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Introducing the Riffhard World Cup

What’s the best guitar riff ever? NotThereBeijing wants to settle the debate by using science. And Brackets. And Bias. So without further ado, welcome to the Riffhard World Cup.

The rules are simple. We’ll be following the World Cup format and breaking down the field into 8 groups. The groups are:

  1. Keith Richards
  2. Hendrix
  3. the 1970s
  4. the 1980s
  5. the 1960s
  6. Zeppelin
  7. Funk/Soul
  8. the 1990s

Just like the World Cup, each group will have 4 competitors battling in a round-robin format: 3 pts for a win and 1 pt for a draw. The top 2 jams from each group will advance to the knockout rounds.

As we speak, a crack selection committee (read: me) is busy deciding who’s got the goods to battle for the Riffhard World Cup.

If there’s a certain jam you want to see make it to the dance, y’all better get vocal in the comments section. The field will be announced on Monday, March 18th.


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From Frankenstein to a Chimera

When a band starts, it’s a lot like Frankenstein. Different inspirations are sewed together and the messy seams are visible. Hopefully, as a band progresses, it becomes more like a Chimera: a mythical beast where the seams have blended into a totally new monster.

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The Not There Shopping List




Cooking Oil


Ikea Swedish Meatballs


Ice Cream



WTF is left to eat/drink?

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Mumford & Sons And the Fight Against Something Different

The most popular band in the Anglo-American Empire (at least according to album sales) is a warmed over folk rock act from Britain. They’re essentially a walking and (barely) playing stereotype of the “the country bumpkin” musician: like they’re a family dude and they have beards. Authenticity. Heartfelt pitter-patter. Mid-tempo. Rinse and repeat.

I call bullshit. Not just bullshit on Mumford & Sons and their lame refashioning of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band or whoever they’re brazenly re-heating in the studio. I call bullshit on the state of music. Is it impossible to do something new? To do something different? Have we reached some kind of atrocious tipping point where the only possibilities are limp impersonations of music that already happened? Is pop a vampire gorging itself on it’s own blood?

I understand that all music is based on precedents, but the point is to do something new, not just recycle and re-sell the past.

It’s not surprising Mumford & Sons are popular, but it is surprising that anyone besides soccer moms and neutered, aging hippies likes them.

As listeners we deserve better than this. We deserve people pushing boundaries and defying conventions. If re-heating the past is the best we can do, hell if this what the people want, why not just stop creating music and let tech take over. At this point, we’re probably better off inviting the holograms in and just having Woody Guthrie throw a good ole’ anti-fascist hoedown. It would be more authentic.


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