Every day between Christmas and New Year’s Day, Cory Alan and Mr. Furious are posting to the MFR [blog], publishing year-end thoughts and post that slipped out of the regular rotation. Mr. Furious Records – Giving You Music.

Hear Cory Alan and echoes in concert tonight at the Zoo Bar in Lincoln, NE, 9:30 pm – $5?

Seeing friends, meeting D-Rockets, and hearing The Return are all equally valid reasons for a trip to Lincoln, NE.

The Return are masterful onstage, ripping through their punk-tinged pop songs but stretching out the reggae jams and improvisitory building/releasing between studio cuts. I would dance, I would listen, my jaw would hit the floor, and time didn’t mean a thing.

Danger Danger Silent Stranger is a record you don’t have to trust me on; you can listen to the whole thing at Then you will probably love it. The songs have in common: killer melodies (straight for the jugular), island-level rhythmic push (thanks Mike & everybody), and a clean, punchy mix that shows off The Return’s off-the-charts musicality. They diverge in influence (from reggae to punk, ska, The Police, and Cream) and subject matter (love, war, apartment living, pandas). It is beautiful, and the band wants you to hear it for free – !!!111

Enough Return for me? Of course not – as the band swung back towards sunny CA, they visited Leavenworth KS (a full hour of suburbia from Raytown… grr); Nick and I tripped to the GroundWorks, a youth-oriented “coffeehouse” (read; an empty room with a stage, some XBoxes, and weird fruity energy drinks). About twelve kids were there for the opening band, two high school kids with acoustic guitars doing obscene punk covers – quite charming. Derek was fragging kids left and right in Halo2; I sat down next to him and we talked before The Return hit the stage.

The band played well and included two new songs, one of which was a reggae jam written days earlier on tour in Iowa. The other was really intense technically, with about a thousand different parts, yet it rocked bodies. Seeing The Return a second time made me say to myself, “I better find a different way to be awesome, because I’ll never be that good at guitar / jam like that / write those songs.”

It’s strange how really good bands make me want to simultaneously quit music and make more + better. Frustration and inspiration at once. On the other hand, I saw Psychadelic Furs open for Death Cab for Cutie a couple weeks ago; they were so bad, I couldn’t help but think “I’m already this good!”