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February 10, 2006

Yellowcard - San Diego No More?

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If so, thank god. What a pox on a city's reputation. When a city has one band that is associated with it, and that is all that a lot of people probably know about the local music scene, I bet it is like being from Green Bay if you hate the Packers. You're sitting next to a stranger on a plane, he asks where you from, you reply Green Bay, and you see the gears turning in his head and countdown "3...2...1..." and right on cue he says "How 'bout those Packers!"

Well Yellowcard was no doubt not that engrained in San Diego's reputation. In fact, as I research it further, it appears that they were just more of a Southern California vagabond band. But just the fact that I thought they were a San Diego band is a bad thing. The point is, I decided to follow up the Friday Chart report to see where a San Diego associated band might make an appearance, and Yellowcard's "Lights and Sound" turned up at #40. In the description of the album though, it noted:

After two straight years touring in support of their 2003 Platinum-certified smash Ocean Avenue, Yellowcard primary songwriters Ryan Key and Pete Mosely moved to New York City to clear their heads and begin writing the songs which would constitute their new album, Lights and Sounds, which will be released on January 24, 2006.

To summarize, in contrast to the Padres signing Mike Piazza from the Mets a few weeks ago, New York's loss is San Diego's distinct gain.

EDIT: After a few days, I stumbled across a profile of Yellowcard in a magzine and realized that I had them confused them with Switchfoot. This is bad not only for both bands, but also for the people of San Diego as a whole

Tweedy 'n Spreckels

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Forget for a moment that the headline of this article sounds like a mischevious duo of Dennis The Menace types from a 1960s TV show. This is arguably the biggest San Diego concert of the weekend. Sure, the Stars concert at the Casbah is just as Sold Out, but lets wait until Stars has a critically acclaimed documentary featuring shots of them nervously vomiting outside the recording studio and nervously interacting with their fans backstage before we make any real judgments comparing the two. (Note: tickets seem to be fairly easily on craigslist, mostly for face value.)

If given the chance to see one show this weekend, I would probably pick the Stars concert. I prefer to listen to Wilco's CDs, but it just seems like the odds of being blown away, or at least hearing some divergence from the way the CD sounds could be higher at the Stars concert. Also, when in doubt between two shows, choose the louder. This review of Tweedy's performance in San Francisco on Wednesday, 2/8, casts no doubt on which show that will be:


Just a few nights earlier he had told off a chatty Portland audience, "Can you shut up for once in your f -- life?" And it seemed like the news had spread to San Francisco. No one said a word as the singer strummed through nearly a half-dozen hushed tunes before finally looking up: "I have a question for the bartenders." Uh-oh. "When we're getting rid of the beer bottles can we cradle them into the trash?" he said. "Ease them in as if they were your children and you were putting them to bed?"

For more on Tweedy, click below...

The North County times prints an AP interview with Tweedy to herald his arrival. It mentions his unique views on filesharing and copyright, but I think you will find that this interview in Wired explains his views in far more depth.

It is admirable that Tweedy is so outspoken on this subject, even appearing on panels with forward thinking Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, but it is hard for me to listen to his views without at some acknowledgment of how unique his perspective is. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot's buzz generating release on the internet after being shelved by Wilco's label is arguably the biggest success story of the filesharing era. It is a one in a million scenario whose only comparable scenario I can think of is Family Guy being resurrected from cancellation because of its DVD sales. Both of them came back from a major setbackeven stronger, with a slight grudge and a heck of a David vs Goliath story for the media. Thus, it seems that Tweedy advocating filesharing is similar to a lottery winner advocating the benefits of the lottery system. Not that I disagree with his points, or his advocacy that the system has to change to accomodate these new wrinkles in distribution. I just feel like Tweedy and Wilco have just the right level of fame where things like file sharing and rabid internet hype will help them more than most of the other artists out there.

Jeff Tweedy plays with Glenn Kotche (Wilco's drummer) at the Spreckels Theatre, Saturday February 11th at 8 PM.

Tweedy/Wilco Official Site: www.wilcoworld.net/

Friday Charts

I think that an interesting way to judge interest in music would be to view a list of the most seeded and requested albums. I'll be observing a popular file sharing site and reporting on what the most popular downloaded albums are, as well as some of the most popular requests for music that has yet to be released. This will be a good way to keep a pulse on how anticipated a record is among a music-loving & tech savvy audience, a method of tracking interest in an artist that is sure to be different from the Billboard charts.

Most Seeded Albums
(These are the albums that the most people are sharing, as good an indication of any of an albums popularity.)


1. Granddaddy - Just Like The Fambly Cat
2. Secret Machines - Ten Silver Drops
3. The Strokes - First Impressions of Earth
4. Calexico - Garden Ruin
5. Jack Johnson & Friends - Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies from the Film Curious George
6. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
7. Dilated Peoples - 20/20
8. Aceyalone and RJD2 - Magnificent City
9. The Appleseed Cast - Peregrine
10. The Concretes - In Color

Some interesting things to observe about this way of ranking an albums popularity. First of all, Albums that have just become available obviously have the most interest in them, and frequently will experience an initial surge in popularity because of the novelty of its availability. This is why it is surprising to see the Strokes album, available for over a month and a half holding its high ranking. The album is arguably the most mainstream rock on the list, which could explain its longevity. For me, the two surprises were the 9 and 10 slots, which both feature bands I am unfamiliar with and will have to investigate, although initialy looking into the bands, The Concretes may be more my cup of tea than the Appleseed Cast. The entire chart, which lacks any of the Top Selling albums as defined by Billboard, is a good barometer of what a specific subset of the internet is listening to right now.

Click for a rundown of some of the most anticipated albums which have not been released yet...

Most Requested Albums
(These are the albums or singles that the most people signed up to be notifed once they are available.)


1. Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
2. Tool - Teleincision
3. Tenacious D - The Pick of Destiny
4. Muse - Stars on Fire
5. Outkast - 10 The Hard Way

These charts appear to be more wild and unpredictable than the seeding chart, since many of these releases are speculative. Though the Flaming Lips new album is far and away the most anticipated, the Tool and Muse releases are both theoretical, and Google searches for both of them turn up numerous pages with rumor vs scam debates, faked images, and general uncertainty. (Other high ranking items on the request list also include Zack De La Rocha's long rumored "Solo Album", a Neutral Milk Hotel tape that may or may not exist and Dr. Dre's "Detox" album.) The Outkast album has also been renamed Idlewild, so the high interest in what was a working title many months ago indicate that this has been a high interest item for a long time. All in all, an interesting, if not entirely useful look at what a specific group of listeners can't wait to hear.

Don't Set Yourself On Fire Before Sunday

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Or you'll miss the performance by Stars at the Casbah. You may miss it anyways, because it is sold out. Maybe setting yourself on fire outside the Casbah would prove you enough of a fan to be let in that back door... I'm not the biggest fan of the record, although it seem like the kind of thing that the band could add in enough live flourishes that could make it borderline epic. The record did, however, garner rave reviews from sources as diverse as Rolling Stone and Pitchfork, which is a rarity that either speaks to their crossover appeal, or that they were picked as the bone Rolling Stone tossed to the more descriminating music fans for that quarter of 2005. A short profile in the UT and a longer one in the CityBeat preview the concert.

Stars play with The Elected, Sunday, February 12th at the Casbah.

Stars Official Site: www.arts-crafts.ca/stars/

February 09, 2006

Found While Reading The Below Review at Allmusic.com

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I doubt either my son or daughter is that stupid...

The Best Review You Will Read All Day

If you can gues the album being reviewed by gushing allmusic.com reviewer Jo-Ann Greene, you are a better man than I. Your only clue is that it was released in the late 80s. Here are some of the choicest quotes from the review:

One of the most exciting albums released during a decade of artifice and extravagance...

The most unique, and instantly identifiable, beat/riff combination of the decade.

Even the four tracks that didn't make the singles cut could have, if MCA had the audacity to keep releasing them.

Never has music's past, present, and future been more exceptionally combined.

Click below for the answer....

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That's right. It's the Fine Young Cannibals "The Raw and the Cooked," available in a bargain bin near you. Here's the link to the full review.

Local Band Takes Route Thru Kitchen to Success

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An ad for M-Theory Music, (one of San Diego's best independent record stores), advertises an in-store show on Saturday, 2/11 by local band Sirhan Sirhan as a performance by "San Diego's Newest Buzz!" Never one to miss out on the next big thing, I investigated the band...

You immediately realize that Sirhan Sirhan quickly have two things going for them. First of all, a great band name. One that is catchy, but offensive, but then again, probably not to a majority of the audience. Ol' Sirhan isn't exactly one of histories most famous assassins. Secondly, the EP they have released is called "A Swift Kick to the Sack" which demonstrates, once again, the universal appeal of crotch related pain.

As far as the music goes, it probably isn't up my alley. Angry, Metalcore Punk is how they describe it themselves. Seeing them in a live setting, though, could maybe even take the most hardened Kennedy family member and have them doling out swift kicks to the sack themselves by the end of the set. In addition to the M-Theory show, the band plays a FREE show at Scolari's Office on 2/17 and another FREE show at the Casbah on 2/21.

Visit the band's MySpace site at http://www.myspace.com/sirhansirhan to hear two songs and to preorder their new album, out 3/14/06.

Why This Crazy Guy Was A Big Deal

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Sly Stone performed at the Grammys last night, his first public appearance in a really long time. This reclusiveness prompts this AP reporter to refer to him as "The JD Salinger of Funk," which is most hopefully a new trend in nicknaming, (The Ayn Rand of the Hood, etc.) After reading the article, many may wonder why this guy performing was a big deal, since his performance at the Grammys was regarded as lukewarm. Well, evidently, the performance almost did not happen as close as the week of the event. This LA Times article details the rehearsal, which makes Sly Stone sound more like the ODB of Funk.

Click to read more and see several videos of Sly & The Family Stone performances from their peak:

Here are videos of Dance To The Music & Love City, both on the Ed Sullivan Show, and I Want To Take You Higher at an outdoor festival. Unfortunately, as good as the music is, all three videos are eclipsed by this post-performance interview on the Dick Cavett show. Reading that Dave Chappelle introduced the Grammy performance, it was difficult not to imagine Chappelle playing this drugged out Sly Stone character on his own show. Truly a sight to behold, reminscent of Crispin Glovers appearance on the early Letterman show.

February 08, 2006

Clap Your $$, Say Bling Bling

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As everyone knows, the Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah concert at the Casbah on March 22nd sold out almost instantly. I've been checking out the ticket prices on Craigs List, and find that there is pretty constant stream of ruthless profiteering going on. The current high is two tickets selling for $120 a piece, or four times the original face value. People seem to be willing to pay high prices though, with wanted ads up for $80 and $60 per pair. CityBeat reports on the unique situation this show has caused for the Casbah management, who actually cancelled a block of tickets bought by out of state scalpers.

Other Sold Out Casbah shows below:

Other sold out shows at the Casbah may prove more attainable. This one seller may be disappointed to see that his asking price of $100 for two tickets to Bob Mould and Curt Kirkwood on 2/9 is undercut by someone selling them for $15. Also, STARS, performing on Sunday 2/12 is Sold Out, but tickets are only being solicited, not sold on Craigslist.

Live Music Archive

One of the greatest tools available at anyones disposal on the internet, regardless of user level, is the Internet Archive's Live Music Archive. This contains tens of thousands of live concerts by bands both famous and almost famous. Just searching for "San Diego" reveals a diverse list including a two day Grateful Dead performance at the Sports Arena in 93, Jack Johnson performing at Street Scene 2004, and Tenacious D show from last year's ComiCon.

Quality can vary tremendously, but comments are usually present to indicate the good and the bad about each post. The concerts come in all different formats as well, and can be downloaded song by song or as a ZIP file of the whole show. I am still hoping that a recording of the My Morning Jacket concert at the House of Blues on 11/8/05 surfaces on the archive.org site or elsewhere.

Enjoying Your Downloaded Music More in San Diego

Or anywhere. There are a few things that you ought to know about music on their computer that seem to confuse or be unknown by a majority of people out there. These include how to get music off of an iPod and onto your computer, and how to actually make BitTorrent programs work. Below are my recomendations for both of these dilemmas

Getting music off of an iPod and onto a computer is a problem that many are convinced is unsolvable. It is indeed impossible to do using iTunes, but there are, of course, a myriad of solutions, many of which are free. Getting your music off of an iPod and onto a computer is a fast way to share music with friends and in many cases, the only backups of their music people have in case of a hard drive failure. I have found PodUtil to be a straightforward and intuitive way to transfer music from iPod to hard drie, and even straight to iTunes if you desire. The interface is not as nice and refined as iTunes, but anyone familiar with iTunes should be able to figure out how to work PodUtil

The other problem people seem to encounter frequently is getting BitTorrent clients, such as Azureus to work. I recomend visiting this site which has five tips for speeding up your torrent downloads. In particular, tip two, which involves instalilng a windows patch, helps immensely. Although it gives you a scary warning, it is perfectly safe and can greatly improve the number of connections you're able to make to a torrent, and thus your overall download speeds. Secondly, once all of these tips have been performed, it is important to have Port Forwarding on your router configured correctly. This used to be a problem that would confound even a knowledgable user, but website www.portforward.com has made it almost insultingly easy to do. You pick your router type, the program you are trying to configure (Not just BitTorrent clients, but games, communications software, etc) and it walks you through the process, literally gathering information about your system for you and directing you exactly what and where to type things in.

SD CityBeat's Local Music Issue

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The San Diego CityBeat is preparing to publish their Third Annual Local Music Issue on March 29th. They are soliciting demos in any form possible until the deadline of February 22nd. Last year I seem to recall that they promised to listen to everything that got sent their way, but I imagine that is a policy that can be quickly abandoned with any local art scene. Anyways, I couldn't find the information on the CityBeat's website, but below is a the information copied from the ad in the most recent issue:

ATTN LOCAL BANDS: If you've ever muttered to yourself, "Man, those twits should review my rekkid," here's yer chance. The Third Annual "Great CityBeat Demo Review Session is scheduled to be published March 29. Send us your music - CDRs, CDs, EPs, LPS, DVDs, tapes, whatever...CityBeat's music writers will review everything we humanly can. We don't Promise to do them all (but we'll do our damndest). We don't promise to be nice. But if you're the second coming of Gordon Lightfoot, we'd love to boast to our pals at parties that we discovered you first.

Submission Deadline: Feb 22nd
C/O Troy Johnson
Music Editor
3550 Camino del Rio N
Suite 207
San Diego, CA 92108

Mashup Mania

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Bootie is a San Francisco based collective of DJs who specialize in Mashups. They have released a Best of 2005 compilation that is available for download here. As with any of these Mashups, it works best when you're familiar with all of the source material, and some aren't exactly the most convincing partners, beat and speed-wise. But the compilation does include the work of DJ Earworm, whose "Nobody Takes Your Freedom For Granted" mashup of the Scissor Sisters, George Michael, Aretha Franklin and The Beatles is one of the top played tracks on my computer. The cd, which plays as one continuous mix, is available as a zip file, but it downloads by default as "BestofBootie.zip" which could be embarassing in many ways if downloaded and forgotten about.

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