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March 22, 2006

2 Songs On Repeat for the Next Five Days

Only In New York!

During one particularly boozed up car ride back from the the chaos of Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras to our hotel a few years ago, "Born to Run" happened to come up on random. Needless to say, mayhem ensued: "Born to Run" sounded like the greatest song anyone had ever heard, and my friend Dave proclaimed that we would listen to "Born to Run" on repeat for the entire 14 hour trip back to Virginia.

This was obviously an idiotic idea, but the thought of actually forcing a repeated soundtrack upon yourself during a trip is one I still like to joke about. So I present to you my theoretical 2 song soundtrack for my trip to New York this weekend, designed to play on repeat for maximum maddening effect:

1. Notorious BIG & Frank Sinatra - Juicy (New York, New York Remix)
2. Andrew WK - I Love NYC

Just imagining listening to that for the 700th time while sitting in crowded JFK airport waiting for the plane back to SD to board feeling as tired and as lousy as I know I will feel makes me shudder.

Since there won't be any updates until next week, here are a list of things that you may have missed if you just started reading this site recently. It's going on two months, so I figured a short recap may be in order:

-Some crazy Norwegian Neutral Milk Hotel fans met on the internet and recorded a collective cover album of In The Aeroplane Over The Sea.
-Holiday & The Adventure Pop Collective put on a really fun show and are at the Whistle Stop on Friday the 24th
-The greatest freestyle rap of all time
-I've interviewed The Bloody Hollies and the Electric Waste Band
-Jack White got irritated one day and it made me wonder if I was wrong for not loving all the music that everyone else appears to. My conclusion was that of course I am not.
-And lastly, the National High Five Day Soundtrack project

Thanks for reading!

March 21, 2006

The Vision Of A Dying World

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The Vision Of A Dying World

Back in like 8th grade, my mom was kind of fanatical about the music I was allowed to listen to. She attended meetings at my middle school put on by Tipper Gore's PMRC where they would show videos of Ice-T's "Cop Killa" and The Geto Boyz, and come home very distressed about what she had seen, as if purchasing those cd's were the next logical step for a young boy interested in Nirvana and Pearl Jam. I remember going through a friends packaging of "Vitalogy" and crossing out the profanity with a pen, then crossing out other random words to make it look like it was done that way on purpose. My mom even balked at Nirvana Unplugged because of the song title of "Jesus Doesn't Want Me For A Sunbeam." Little did she suspect that that song was not the upside down cross, goats head black metal anthem she no doubt envisioned, but a simple little ballad whose heaviest instrument was the accordion that even she could conceivably end up liking.

San Diego's own The Vision Of A Dying World work in the same manner: scary sounding band name that seems to not really apply to the music. And they've got an accordion. The Vision Of A Dying World performs acoustic songs that have been compared to the music of Iron and Wine, mainly because of the reserved vocals and accoustic nature of the music. I hear the comparison, but you have to imagine Iron and Wine with a banjo mixed with a few Sea Shanties, an sometimes prominent percussion section, plus the occasional kind of group vocals that you've heard before on the Grateful Dead's "Ripple" and of course the accordion.

The sum is, of course, much greater than its parts, so check out the posted MP3s here (my favorite is "Travis Wayne" which features the Grateful Dead "Ripple" effect), on the bands myspace site, and on purevolume, which I've never heard of but where you can download a few more MP3s. The band is currently playing a few shows up in Redlands but then heading back to San Diego, where you can catch them on April 6th at Dream Street in Ocean Beach. Many thanks to Troy Johnson from CityBeat for pointing out the band to me.

MP3s:
-Travis Wayne
-Barges
-Sisters

CD available for purchase at CDbaby.

Tom Waits' Stories


Downtown Train


House Where Nobody Lives

It says a lot about a performer when their stage banter can be just as entertaining as the songs they perform. Since anyone who may be interested in listening to Tom Waits' stage banter is undoubtedly already familiar with the man's entire catalogue, I thought I would just upload the stories he tells in between songs from his VH1 Storyteller's session. I have a DVD of selected portions of this performance as well, but had trouble getting the videos from DVD to computer, so you just get the above two.

The stories are at many times nonsensical, all are likely to be lies, and at time it seems like you could swap the stories between songs and still have them make just as much sense. Still, they are all vaugely hypnotic to listen to, and definitely confirm my suspicion that Waits would be the best guy to sidle up next to in an empty bar and have him tell you his life story, or, since that never happens, the world's best bad uncle, who your mom always worries about what he's talking to you about when he's down at your end of the table on Thanksgiving.

I supose if enough people want to listen to these, I could put up the songs too, but for now check out the stories. Highlights include "Hold On" where Waits provides legal counsel for an 8 year old boy, "Ol' 55" detailing his friend Larry Beezer's exploits driving backwards on the Pasadena freeway (I think everybody needs a friend named Larry Beezer. From now on all my stories about Greg Harrell-Edge will be about Larry Beezer), and "I Can't Wait To Get Off Work And See My Baby" which is about Napoleone's Pizza House in National City, and a legendary kitchen worker who I'd like to think actually existed.

1. Tango Til They're Sore Story
2. Hang Down Your Head Story
3. Ol' 55 Story
4. Strange Weather Story
5. Hold On Story
6. Picture In A Frame Story
7. I Can't Wait To Get Off Work Story
8. House Where Nobody Lives Story
9. Get Behind The Mule Story
10. Chocolate Jesus Story
11. What's He Building In There Story
12. A Little Rain Story
13. Downtown Train Story
14. Jesus Gonna Be Here Story
15. Jersey Girl Story

Live Band of Horses MP3s

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Here is a good quality recording of a concert that Band of Horses played earlier in the month at Neumo's in Seattle. I still stand by my assertation that these guys could put on a great show. Live I think that the singers voice sounds a bit like a mix between My Morning Jacket's Jim James mixed with the more nasal aspects of the Flaming Lips Wayne Coyne. That makes their choice of the cover song to include on this set, Otis Redding's "Chained and Bound" all the more interesting. Still, on the songs that build in epic fashion, the band has a great deal of energy. Even on the songs that keep quiet the whole time, like St. Augustine, seem to have the promise that they could break out into rockin' at any moment. When they don't, I'm not sure whether to be disappointed or not. Anyways, check out the live tracks and make up your own mind, then buy their record, "Everything All the Time"

1. Intro
2. Monsters
3. Snow Song
4. The Great Salt Lake
5. No One
6. Biding Time Is A) Boat Row
7. Wicked Gil
8. Our Swords
9. Part One
10. The Funeral (Cut Short)
11. Chained And Bound
12. Encore Break
13. St. Augustine
14. The Funeral

March 20, 2006

Band of Horses

Band of Horses
Band of Horses

The internet has definitely changed the way that I read reviews. In the past, it might be necessary to read the review to get a feel for whether you might like a band. Nowadays, if you hear buzz that a band might be up your alley, you can in all likelihood be listening to one of their songs within seconds, through official websites, MP3 blogs or other channels. The review in many cases serves as a simple stimulus, to provoke you to check something out, and then maybe a guide to peruse after you've obtained the music to see if what you think ends up being in line with the reviewer.

At least that's how I work. So when I see a stimulus as glaring as a coveted Pitchfork "Best New Music" review, and a summary of the review that wastes only six words before comparing the band to My Morning Jacket, I decide to check out the band: in this case the tempting musicians go by the name Band of Horses.

I definitely think that these guys could be for real. This music sounds great turned up loud, and many songs build towards awesome climaxes featuring crashing cymbals and kick ass guitar work. The My Morning Jacket comparison that drew me in initially is pretty accurate, definitely in terms of the singers voice. It is a high pitched spacey one, and sort of detached from the music going on around it. Definitely the kind of band where you are 80% certain that the live show would blow you away, as long as the focused on the rockin' portion of the album.

Band of horses - Everything All The Time

So check out the first two songs that caught my eye. Both of these songs contain the previously mentioned elements that make them awesome, and are featured on the bands CD Everything All The Time. "The Great Salt Lake" is absolutely worth a listen, and these two different versions of "The Funeral" make me realize that i would most likely not go very far as a record producer. Listen to the The Funeral - Demo Version, then the The Funeral - Album Version. Obviously the same song, but the album version much more epic and awesome. I would have been fine to leave the great demo version alone, pack up and save some dough on studio time. I, ladies and gentlemen, am an idiot.

One final note, that I debated including for a long time. I decided to go for it. I promise to you, the reader, that on this blog, you will never ever read a record review that includes the following string of words: "In the year between my father's diagnosis with cancer and his death...."

One Month Until National High Five Day

That's right. There is one month left until National High Five Day. That's one month left for your band to send us an MP3 to feature on our soundtrack, and one month left to make travel plans to either NYC or San Diego to see either of the two official concerts.

The Bo Dukes

In case you're the type who needs a bit of convincing before making huge travel trips to see a band you've never heard about play a concert in celebration of a holiday made up by a guy you've never met, I offer up the following excellent MP3s from The Bo Dukes, who will play at Blind Melon's in Pacific Beach in honor of the holiday.

1. Save The Day
2. Hash
3. Hey Carolyn
4. Take It As Sign

Phil Plays Bob

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There are several Dylan By Lesh compilations floating around the internet, mostly comprised of songs that Lesh has played on Phil and Friends tours over the past decade or so. The second time I ever saw Dylan was one summer in High School and Phil and Friends was the opening act. With this tour, around the summer of 2000, in mind, and the high number of Dylan covers that Lesh has played, it makes me kind of doubtful about what I read in this months Blender magazine:


"In February 1989, he again joined the Dead onstage in Inglewood, California, and was so enthused that the following day he called their office and asked to become a full-time band member. According to Bob Weir, most of the band was keen, but one member - probably bassist Phil Lesh - voted against Zimmy."

Far be it from me to demand exacting historical music details from a magazine published by the guy who make Maxim, but this seems unnecessarily vague. Dylan joining the dead will long be one of rock's greatest, "what if" moments, and until Dylan releases his own reverse tribute, we will have to settle for the legions of Dead playing Dylan material available. We have Dylan and the Dead live performances (more of which exist than just the official live album), the offical Dead compilation "Postcards of the Hanging", to the recently released Garcia Plays Dylan, and the previously mentioned Phil and Friends compliations.

The Phil and Friends discs contain about half and half Dylan covers and Dead/traditional songs. I've posted my favorite disc of Volume 2 of the compilation. These are songs that come from the late nineties period of Phil and Friends, (except for When I Paint My Masterpiece, which comes from '94s first ever Phil and Friends show.

Phil Lesh

1. When I Paint My Masterpiece
2. Queen Jane Approximately
3. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
4. All Along The Watchtower
5. The Weight
6. Heaven's Door
7. New Minglewood Blues
8. Mr. Tambourine Man
9. Friend Of The Devil
10. Alabama Getaway
11. West L.A. Fadeaway

Scotch Greens & The Wagon

Scotch Greens at the Liars Club
Scotch Greens at the Liars Club

The only way you could have not been excited by the performance by Scotch Greens at the Liars Club on Friday was if you didn't make it in the door. Due to a combination of the St. Patrick's day holiday and the bands performance, the line was out the door and was operating on a One In One Out policy. As a result, we ended up standing right by the band, who played for an hour in a half and mixed their rootsy punk stylings in with a few eclectic covers including The Pogues "If I Should Fall From Grace With God," Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" and Joe Strummer's "Silver and Gold." A highlight included when the singer stood on one of the Liar's Clubs ultra precarious barstools to play his guitar with a banjo, as demonstrated above. I don't think anyone could actually hear what that sounded like, but the effect was pretty cool nevertheless. The bands new CD "Professional" is out on April 4th.

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San Diego's Own "The Wagon"


I would heartily recommend checking the band out, but they're headed to Europe now, so that's not going to happen. Take a listen to an mp3 of their song Deaf Girlfriend instead. You also might try checking out the singer from Scotch Greens cousins' band, The Wagon as an alternative. I had the good fortune to stand next to him during the show, and hopefully he isn't offended by the way I identified him above, as I don't think I got his name. They're a San Diego band who's about to play a few more shows locally before heading out on a tour of their own throughout California. If you're more of a traditionalist who prefer your rock songs to have less banjo and more anthems about chicks and summertime, then take a listen. The Wagon plays its next show in SD on April 7th at the Whistle Stop and you can listen to a couple songs on their myspace site.

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