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March 09, 2006

Friday Charts - 3/9/06

Out of town this weekend, so let's take a look at the charts on Thursday for a change. Not too much action this week, what's been popular in the past remains that way. With no glowing Pitchfork reviews to propel a certain album soaring, things are relatively calm. Let's take a look:

1. The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
2. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones
3. The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
4. Tapes 'n Tapes - The Loon
5. David Gilmour - On An Island
6. Ben Harper - Both Sides of the Gun
7. TV On The Radio - Unmastered version of Return to Cookie Mountain
8. The Strokes - First Impressions of Earth
9. Liar's - Drums Not Dead
10. Calexico - Garden Ruin

It's going to take something monumental, to dethrone the Flaming Lips. I don't even know if Chinese Democracy could do the trick. It's great that the group has such a devoted online following, but I am curious what the consensus will be regarding the album when it comes out in a few weeks. It looks like the band is getting geared up to tour, playing at the Langerado Music Festival in Florida this weekend. Also headlining that festival is Ben Harper, whose album Both Sides of the Gun is the only new addition to this weeks charts. I've never been a big fan, but I enjoy his work with the Blind Boys of Alabama. Check out the live show the two did together that Muzzle of Bees recently posted. The only other real item of note is that the TV On The Radio album that is in its reportedly "Unmastered" form is being shared more than the reported finished product, which has also leaked. Hopefully this does not result in two wildly different versions of the album, for dicks to insist that the one that was never released is far better than the one everyone else has heard.

Hope everyone has a good time this weekend at whatever concerts they're attending. I think that the most interesting stuff is actually early next week, with the weirdos in the Animal Collective at the Epicentre on Tuesday and Robert Walter's Super Heavy Organ bringing the funk back to the hometown on Thursday at Winston's.

Neil Young on the Daily Show - 3/9/06

Neil Young appeared on the Daily Show last night. I was surprised with how personable he was. For some reason, I just assumed that he would have a personality more similar to Dylan's, unreadable and strange. Chatting with John Stewart however, he seemed like a good guy to sit down and have a conversation with. They discuss his new concert movie, Neil Young Heart Of Gold, his song writing process, and Neil's dogs, which results in a funny ad lib on Young's part. I uploaded the video to YouTube for anyone who missed it to watch:

Official National High Five Day Concert - The Bo Dukes @ Blind Melons

The Bo Dukes

I'm pleased to announce that the Official West Coast Celebration of National High Five Day will take place at Blind Melon's in Pacific Beach on April 20th, 2006. The entertainment will be provided by The Bo Dukes, a rock trio that currently is garnering buzz and rave reviews for their performances all around Los Angeles. They are gracing San Diego with their presence for the first time in honor of National High Five Day, and we want everyone to come out, exchange some high fives, and rock with the band. It's guaranteed to be a good time. Expect to hear more details, including the possibility of another very special guest being added to the lineup, as the date approaches.

In the meantime, check out the Bo Dukes on myspace, where there are four songs to listen to, but unfortunately, no more pictures of the gentlemen in Olympic skiing outfits. Here's what respected music blog Muzzle of Bees had to say about the band.

PB Block Party - The Second Biggest Event during the Third Week in April

I've been trying to figure out what has been going on with the PB Block party for a while, and yesterday the U-T's music blog "Liner Notes" posted an tidy little summation. The Block Party has been reborn as the Street Fair, and is scheduled to take place on Saturday April 22nd. They are scaling down the number of entertainment acts in an effort to reduce the debauchery the event is known for, but groups still oppose the event. There is a petition available on line to email councilmen and other people, and I guess if you support the block party/street fair, whatever, you should sign it.

I personally hate a lot of the stuff that gives PB its negative rep, but don't mind the Block Party at all, especially since this year I have a parking space. I am hoping that changes such as a name change that the organizing body is putting forth are purely cosmetic, and that the event will still be as fun as previous years. It seems like a large part of the events success is due to the collective spirit of individuals having parties all around the neighborhood, not because of the actual entertainment or vendors. I usually spend about an hour on Garnet, navigating the crowds and expensive food trying to find the act I want to see before heading off to a variety of hospitable parties where the booze is free. Here's hoping that the trend of there being at least one act I'd like to see continuing, 2004 had Robert Bradley's Backwater Surprise, 2005 had Robert Walter's 20th Congress. If the naming convention continues, maybe Robert Randolph and the Family Band this year?

March 08, 2006

Sweet Tooth Used to Live In Ocean Beach. Sweet Tooth Currently Rocks.

Since putting out the call yesterday for some National High Five Day inspired music, I've been exposed to some good, bad and if you can imagine an ugly song, probably some of that two What is encouraging is that even on the first day I've stumbled across some stuff I really like, artists whom I would be proud to exchange a high five with.

sweet-tooth.jpg

Most notable is Sweet Tooth, who I found on myspace and who used to live in Ocean Beach. Currently rockin' in LA, their guitar driven music sound like a dirtier, harder edge version of the White Stripes or Black Keys fronted by a female singer, Heidi Faith, who can truly wail a la Cassandra, the girlfriend in Wayne's World (that's a compliment.) Any band who boasts a list of influences as diverse as My Morning Jacket, Link Wray, Ricky Gervais and the Traveling Wilburys is doing fine by me. Go listen to their songs Fool's Gold and Hey Hey C'mon on myspace, and stay tuned to San Diego Serenade for info on when they will return to play in San Diego.

March 07, 2006

Ten Memorable SNL Musical Moments

The Onion AV Club links to ten memorable Saturday Night Live musical performances. This is the kind of piece that the internet is designed for, and I checked out YouTube to see which of these performances were available. Sure enough, several were, Pearl Jam, Sinead O'Connor and Radiohead. Unfortunately, NBC has had them removed for copyright violations. Even a chance to see a short 30 second clip would be a welcome addition to this article.

GESmithTony2.jpg

My Saturday Night LIve history begins during the Adam Sandler, Mike Meyers years. My top musical memory is probably the Pearl Jam performance that The Onion mentions, where Kurt Cobain had recently died, and Eddie Vedder kept opening up his flannel shirt to show the audience the "K" that he had written over his heart. I of course emulated this on a shirt from the National Zoo, and for the rest of the shirts life, I had people asking me what "ZooK" meant. Other memorable performances for me include the time Snoop Dogg whipped out a string of condoms during Gin n' Juice, causing embarassment since I was watching it with my parents, and the time in college that a bunch of guys left a party early because Phish was on, and they had to watch it live. But probably the biggest SNL musical revelation was when I found out that bandleader GE Smith was a respected musical figure, who had played with luminaries such as Bob Dylan. I don't know if it was the ponytail, the facial expressions or the name, but I never had ol' GE pegged as much of an anybody. How wrong I was.

For those of you upset by YouTube not featuring these performances, here is Sinead O'Connor's performance at Bob Dylan's 30th anniversary concert where she is booed for what seems like an amazingly long time just a few weeks after her pope picture ripping up scandal, and the music video for the Replacement's "Bastards of Young" which deserves to be remade by someone cool at some point in time.

National High Five Day Soundtrack 2k6

high5.jpg

While a student at the University of Virginia, I founded a holiday called National High Five Day. National High Five Day falls on this April 20th, when will celebrate the fifth annual NH5D. The significance of it being the 'fifth' National High 'Five' Day has not been lost on us, and we'd really like to do something original, and hopefully spectacular to commemorate it.

And here it is: For the past four years, we've assembled a National High Five Day soundtrack to go along with the holiday. Just by looking at the list, you can get a good idea of what makes a good National High Five Day song: tunes that are joyous, anthemic, and sound really good playing loud while outside giving high fives. Notable past songs include John Lennon's "Instant Karma," Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising" and Neutral Milk Hotel's "Ghost." As great as it is to make a killer mix of great songs, this year I would like to switch things up. Instead of rehashing songs that we can all acknowledge are great High Five songs, we would like our fans to create the next generation of high five songs.

That's right. We're going for an original song dominated National High Five Day soundtrack this year. We hope that the month and a half you have leading up to the Third Thursday in April is enough time to properly record your opus. Remember, that the songs aren't necessarily about High Fives. If they are, that's great. But what is really more important is that your song's tone captures the spirit of the day. It's a pretty loose guideline, but if you look at the past mixes, they are reasonably eclectic, and the only real common denominator I can find is that joyous undertone that fits so well as a soundtrack to giving and receiving High Fives.

So get cracking! Forward this link to anyone you know who is a musician, or a fan of high fives, or hopefully both. Have them record an MP3 and email it to us or let us know about it. Got a long lost brother who happens to be Jeff Mangum? Hit him up for a favor! Those guys in My Morning Jacket used to live next door to you? Remind them who fed their cats while they were on the road! You happen to be Conor Oberst, Bruce Springsteen or John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats? Record a song for our holiday! This plea of course also applies to anyone who may be unknown, or looking for their big break. There's a ton of people out there who listen to our anual NH5D mixes. In fact, someone emailed me last week asking when the new one would be up, so he could start listening to psyche himself up for the holiday like he does with Christmas Carols. Your hit appearing on this years soundtrack could be the greatest thing you've ever done in your life!

I'll conclude by issuing this plea: think of the High Fives that are going unexchanged at this very moment. And then think of whether or not you have a song inside you that could inspire just one high five to be exchanged. Isn't it worth recording that song to make sure that that High Five isn't lost to the ages?

National High Five Day Homepage: www.nationalhighfiveday.com
While you're there, check out our recent report on the True Origin of the High Five

March 06, 2006

I Saw The Beach Boys on Home Improvement This Weekend and Other Disturbing News

full house forever.jpg

It's true. Whatever channel shows reruns of Home Improvement was on when I turned on my TV on Friday night, and Tim Allen was talking over the fence to the Beach Boys. Evidently one of them was related to his neighbor Wilson, or a similar preposterous occurrence. Tim was trying to get them to sing songs, but hiliariously kep asking for songs they didn't actually perform, like "Surf City" or "Little Old Lady from Pasadena." Finally, the Beach Boys did acapella renditions of Little Deuce Coupe and Surfer Girl.

Apparently this episode is called "The Karate Kid Returns." As any fan of other popular ABC sitcoms knows, the Beach Boys were also semi-regulars on Full House, appearing in three episodes: Captain Video: Part 1, Our Very First Telethon and Beach Boy BIngo. What many people may not know is that the spirit of the Beach Boys was present in several other Full House episodes. The song "Forever" which Jesse & The Rippers record a music video for and sings to Aunt Becky at their wedding, is actually a Beach Boys song from the early 70s. It was written by Dennis Wilson, Brian's brother, appeared on the 1970 album "Sunflower" and when you strip away the Full House association, it's really not that bad. In fact, it's quite easy to imagine a couple having it be "their song," only to have Full House come along and ruin it for them by forever associating it with John Stamos in the public's eye. To his credit, Stamos appears to be a genuine fan paying tribute to the song, since he has played drums for the group on tour off and on since Dennis Wilson's death.

Of course, many people consider this iteration of the Beach Boys to be a great insult to the legacy and memory of the group. One will notice an absence of Brian Wilson in most of these activities and instead a great deal of Mike Love. The short story behind this is that Love opposed the more creative direction that Wilson began to want to explore with albums such as Pet Sounds and Smile. He didn't to mess with the winning formula of songs about surfing, girls, cars and fun in the summertime, (often quite hot.) Brian Wilson then began to suffer all types of psychological problems and physical addictions, leaving Love free to fraternize with the Tanner family all he wanted.

Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson

As for Pet Sounds and Smile, I think that they more than live up to their reputation. Before Wilson released Smile, it was discussed in a manner of mystery and reverence that, with Wilson's official 2004 release, is now relegated to more esoteric corners of internet. One of the more interesting books about the "Lost album" era of Smilke was the book "Glimpses" by Lewis Shiner. It's a work of fiction about a man who suddenly is able to hear the great lost albums of Rock and Roll. It spends a bit too much time away from the music and focusing on the character's personal life, but the musical sections are very interesting. Probably the most interesting artifact of this era was the Project Smile CD. Pieced together by fans of the the unreleased Smile based on demos, rumors, books, and journals, the CD is an amazing tribute to the album, and a great example of the kind of devotion it inspired in people. It allows you to browse different versions of songs, assemble the album in an order and tracklisting of your choosing, and even browse different cover art and images from the Smile era. When I got the CD, the project was still operating on a mail order distribution system, but it appears that they've now got with the times and are offering the CD via bittorrent, which I've linked to here.

It's important not to let all of the hype regarding the genius of Brian Wilson, or the scorn regarding the direction Mike Love took the group in detract from the music. Smile and Pet Sounds are wonderful, but the early stuff about Cars and Chicks is about as close to perfect Pop music as you can get. I find that I'm able to appreciate both sides of the Beach Boys, as long as they are balanced. So after I saw them serenading Tim Allen this weekend, I was happy to find this posting of lost rehearsal sessions from 1967 on An Aquarium Drunkard, a great music blog. Hearing people record takes as good as the posted one of God Only Knows live in the studio is a revelatory experience for any music fan, and enough to make you forget all three Full House appearances.

And just becuase it's silly to pretend like all can be forgiven towards Mike Love, listen to the posted version of "Heroes and Villains" where Love trashes the song's performance on the charts during the intro. The man really just didn't get it...

Project Smile CD torrent file available here, and highly recommended.

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