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April 29, 2006

Seeger Sessions Band Live In Asbury Park

seeger sessions band

We woke up this morning and snagged two tickets to the Springsteen Seeger Sessions show at the Greek in LA on June 6th. It's been said that the tickets for these concerts have been selling out so fast that they actually reverse the flow of time even without the aid of a flux capacitor, so I feel pretty lucky. I thought that the bootleg of the Jazz Fest show that the band plays tomorrow was going to be one hell of a sought after bootleg, and I still think it would be, but I didn't anticipate bootlegs from the Asbury Park "Rehearsal" shows turning up before it happend. Well they have, and in the spirit of having bought by far the most expensive concert ticket I ever have in my life, (expensive than even some airplane tickets now that I think about it), I want to share the MP3s from the concert the band played on April 26th.

The band sounds great, the arrangements are long and heavy on solo's, and it just reinforces the fact that this is going to be a tremendouse concert to attend. It looks like he's tossing some traditional songs that weren't on the album into the mix, as well as playing a few Bruce originals. Two of Nebraska's more upbeat songs, Johnny 99 and Open All Night are on both sets, as well as Cadillac Ranch, which is an awesome song. The songs sound radically different than you've ever heard them before, and it takes some getting used to, but in the long run I can definitely support the old timey style arrangements. Bonus points also go to the needlessy vulgar set closer, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeeze. Hearing Bruce swear like that is kind of like that movie where Julie Andrews went topless: out of character, but awesome.

Check it out for yourself:

1. Long Black Veil
2. O Mary Don't You Weep
3. John Henry
4. Johnny 99
5. Eyes On The Prize
6. Adam Raised A Cain
7. Old Dan Tucker
8. Cadillac Ranch
9. My Oklahoma Home
10. Mrs. McGrath
11. How Can A Man Stand Such Times
12. Jacob's Ladder
13. We Shall Overcome
14. Open All Night
15. Pay Me My Money Down
16. If I Should Fall Behind
17. Buffalo Gals
18. You Can Look (But You'd Better Not Touch)
19. Daring Young Man On The Flying Trapeeze

Friday Charts - 4/29/05

Links take you somewhere to sample or read about or both!

1. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewere
2. Tool - 10,000 Days
3. Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam
4. The Streets - The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living
5. Tool - 10,000 Days (Different Format)
6. Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
7. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Dani California (Single)
8. Taking Back Sunday - Louder Now
9. Built To Spill - You In Reverse
10. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones

Let's do some loose associations all the way through this weeks top ten list. We'll see if it results in anything readable.


Gnarls Barkley(1) is the side project of DJ Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo. Tool(2) singer Maynard Keenan was also involved in a side project called A Perfect Circle. His side project was more successful than one that Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam(3) formed with his wife called "Hovercraft." You don't really hear about actual hovercrafts too much anymore. Was there a definitive peak in the hovercraft's existence? I suppose that the purpose of a hovercraft was pretty much to be a boat and transport people over large areas of water. In fact you might say that a hovercraft is the hardest way to make an easy journey(4).

Von Bondies

That guy from The Streets pretty much seems like a Tool(5). With regard to tools, whatever happened to that guy that Jack White beat up from the Von Bondies? Do you think that when Jack White was forming his new band(6), he got drunk and loudly claimed that he was going to "Call up that guy from the Von Bondies whose ass I kicked and ask him to join the band" but then wussed out after dialing the first six numbers? If you looked at the Red Hot Chili Peppers'(7) career in terms of dialing someones phone number, I would say that they pretty much were going strong through the difficult "area code dialing" stretch, but then they just ended up blowing it and just hitting the # key by mistake over and over again.


If the Chili Peppers are the # key on your computer keyboard, I would say that Taking Back Sunday(8) would be the | key. I don't know what that symbol is, I never use it, but it definitely blows. Maybe the professor in the Da Vinci code could explain it to me, he was a professor of Symbology. Similarly, the main character in Kurt Vonnegut's "Jailbird" has a degree in Mixology. You would have to think that one of the first things they teach a mixologist would be ten easy tricks not to spill your drinks. It's as if a trained mixologist would be Built not To Spill(9). But if you don't spill your drinks, you'll probably get drunk, and getting drunk leaves you much more vulnerable to responding to loud chants of "Show Your Tits!" Unless you're in some crazy bar in the Land of the Dead where the drunken frat boys chant "Show Your Bones"(10) instead. People probably wouldn't worry about death so much if you just thought about it as a side project of living. Speaking of side projects we have Gnarls Barkley (1).

Wow, we just made a perfect circle.

April 28, 2006

Arcade Fire Live At The Casbah 1/17/05

coachella dvd

I watched the Coachella DVD that my parents were kind enough to send me for a birthday present last night. It's an interesting DVD. There are plenty of good artists, the Flaming Lips and Bright Eyes deliver notable performances, but on the whole it feels like a wierd movie whose existence I have trouble justifying. It is culled from multiple years at the festival, so it sort of waters down the "We were there!" appeal of single event concert movies. The artists are also incredibly diverse, meaning some of them are very bad, and with artists such as Radiohead lurking later in the movie, Bjork and Fisher Spooner probably didn't get my full attention (they were skipped within ten seconds.) I am even more surprised because this movie also had a theatrical release, which seems hubristic and arrogant or the producers. Coachella has just never seemed like that notable of an event. Looking at a festivals lineup should make you lament the fact that there's no way in hell you could justify traveling to Europe or Tennesee for it, not make you think, "Man, if someone gave me free tickets to that, I wonder what the traffic would be like up to Indio..." (seriously, for what? Tool? Depeche Mode? Matisyahu? Madonna? Common? James Blunt? Bloc Party? The only good thing about festivals this big is that the overlap would mean you would have to miss some of these acts. Only slightly worse is thinking that Street Scene pretty much can't possibly be as good as Coachella.)

But nevertheless, the DVD did have a cool purpose, and that was to re-spring the Arcade Fire on an unsuspecting me. Their sunset performance of "Rebellion (Lies)" was definitely one of the highlights, and it confirmed that the band has been the rarest kind of hype transcender, the kind where when you hear one of their songs out of the blue months after you stopped listening to them daily, you remember how good they sounded at the peak of your fan-ship and want to listen to them all over again. That's pretty much everything I want from a band: for them to be good enough to listen and love them until you can't take it anymore, and then you hear them for the first time in five months and start it all over again.

Arcade Fire at Coachella
The Arcade Fire at Coachella

The Arcade Fire played at the Casbah last January, and it was the kind of show where the tickets were 10 dollars, our friends in New York had seen them, and the hype was inescapable. I bought the tickets and sort of forgot about the commitment, and a few days before the concert I still hadn't given the record the proper pre show listens. Then, at some point in time, "Wake Up" played at just the right time, and I realized that this was absolutely going to be the show opener, and that there was no way the show wasn't going to be awesome. This was an accurate assesment, and as the band left the stage I found myself thinking that this was the rare kind of show where if they announced that they were going to play it all over again, from start to finish, I would probably have stayed. Then they played the encore and I seriously thought about changing my answer. After the ridiculously intense closer of Neighborhood #3 -> Rebellion (Lies), they encored with two songs that the singer's wife sung, or warbled, complete with interpretive dance antics out of an SNL sketch. I seriously didn't know if I could have taken the double dose of "Haiti" and "In The Back Seat" even for all the "Wake Up"'s in the world. But oh well. Here's the show, enjoy it, and think about how much awesomer it would have been to see them at the Casbah the next time they come to play like the UCSD arena or some other awful spacious venue.

1. Intro
2. Wake Up
3. Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
4. No Cars Go
5. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
6. Crown Of Love
7. Cars and Telephones
8. Born On A Train (Magnetic Fields Cover)
9. Une Annee Sans Lemiere
10. Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
11. Rebellion (Lies)
12. Encore Break
13. Haiti
14. In The Back Seat

And PS, if you know the girl in the front row of Coachella who sobbed like a baby in the video after Conor Oberst sang "Lua" please slap her for me.

I'm On MSNBC Tonight - UPDATE: No I'm not

UPDATE: They cancelled the segment. I'm not on anymore.
So I am going to be interviewed tonight on The Countdown with Keith Olberman on MSNBC tonight. It airs from 8-9 eastern, and I'm sure repeats at least once. I should be on about halfway through, around 8:30. This is of course, to talk about the RBI Baseball World Series Re-enactment video I made two weeks ago:


April 27, 2006

Thoughts on XM


I got carried away with the Dylan article, and wrote too much about XM, so I decided to make it a seperate entry.

XM, and satellite radio as a whole, still seems like the kind of thing that has not caught on yet, but it is indisputable that it is better than any radio you could possibly receive through your FM dial. It's like the difference between comparing a diamond engagement ring to one of those candy ring pops that you get out of a grocery store vending machine. Even with a large library of music at my disposal, sometimes it's nice to put on the radio and let yourself get truly surprised. If you spend a long time every day in your car, or have stretches where you have the chance to listen to music uninterrupted, XM (or Sirius, I on't really have a huge preference about either one, I just happen to have XM,) is absolutely the way to go.

When arguing against satellite radio, FM pretty much falls back on a few basic arguments:

1, That you don't get local DJ tastemaker personalities or concert information.
That's fine. The internet delivers specific, on demand access to information about local concerts. Getting concert updates three times daily at 12:40, 2:40 and 6:40 is probably the equivilent of checking your stock quotes in the morning paper. If you actually cared about either one, you'd probably go online for more updated info. And if you're emphasizing the on air blather over the music, that indicates something horrific about your priorities. However, if you're interested in which Tower Records parking lot "Bernie and The Badger" from the Morning Zoo are giving away t shirts in, perhaps you ought to tune in.

2, They play the "FM is free" card.
Some desperate stations have gone as far as to change their names to "FreeFM." The monthly fee for XM is undoubtedly the one thing that prevents people from signing up, but it seems like its value should be apparent to any music fan. For the cost of less than a CD a month, you get inventive programming, no commercials, dozens of listenable stations and cool stuff like the Dylan radio show. You could even look it as supporting XM as the way you'd buy a cd from an unknown band, or buy organic produce, or opt for the local mom and pop store instead of a chain. It may cost a bit extra, but if you consider your purchase as casting a vote for the way you think the world should be, or at least supporting things you like, it helps justify it a bit.


3, "XM is partially owned by Clear Channel."
The only person who was willing to reach this low was Halloran, the DJ at 94.9. He whipped out this doozy for me a year or two ago when we were debating the merits of his radio station. My response to this bold statement, which he didn't back up with numbers or specifics, is that people hate Clear Channel because they deliver an inferior product, recognized and loathed across the board for ruining a once proud format. It's not because of their size, or their profitability. It's because it blows. If Clear Channel was churning out XM stations, with no commercials and highly varied playlists, people would be naming their kids after them. If they happen to be part of a group of investors supporting a great product, is that enough to make you lower your standards to the point where you think "I can tolerate 94.9's lack of playlist diversity, commercials and obnoxious dudes on air, but at least Clear Channel tried to move in a good direction by giving them money."

Just some things to consider. I'd be curious to see if there are any other people out there who have one of the brands of satellite radio and how they finally pulled the trigger and made the switch.

April 26, 2006

They Asked My For Some Satellite Radio, And I Pulled Down My Pants


Bob Dylan's XM Satellite Radio show "Theme Time" premieres on May 3rd, but never fear if you don't have an XM radio, through the magic of the internet, you'll still probably be able to track it down somewhere. You'll definitely want to, I've heard it, and Dylan puts on quite an entertaining show. Attempting to emulate the kind of radio DJ he no doubt grew up listening to, Dylan puts on his best growl of a voice during his between song patter as he introduces the next song in the current weeks theme. "Dreams, Schemes and Themes," he says a couple times, with the kind of swagger that seems like it's taken a lifetime to perfect, but was more likely god given to the man from Day one.

The theme of the first show is "Weather," so Dylan plays a wide variety of artists and genres, all united by the thread of being weather related. And it's not some crazy poetic interpretation of them, like thinking that Smells Like Teen Spirit was about the Great San Francisco Earthquake. You get songs as diverse as "California Sun" by Joe Jones, "The Wind Cries Mary" by Jimi Hendrix, and "Come Rain, Come Shine" by Judy Garland. Dylan introduces each song differently, sometimes with a story, sometimes with an explanation, and sometimes just by reciting some of the lyrics. You'll find yourself leaning in closer and turning up the volume every time he comes back to speak, wondering what the man has up his sleeve next. In addition to his commentary, Dylan and the XM producers have assembled a library of authentic sounding musical and vocal buffers of various styles that help transition between songs. You know, the kind of radio jingles advertising the station or the show itself, that if you take a step back and imagine the people actually in the studio recording a jingle where they sing "Double You Kay, Bee Are!" you imagine how wierd it must be to have that be your job.

The Consolers: Much awesomer than they look

The Theme Time format for the show I think fits well with Dylan as a host. Despite his slick delivery, he sounds infinitely more comfortable introducing his favorite artists music than having to answer the same questions about himself that he's been forced to answer his entire life. He just finds the subject matter much more interesting. All of the musicians who influenced Dylan always seemed too foreign to me as I was trying to get into Dylan, and once I had finally wrapped my arms around the mans body of work, some of the crudely recorded older stuff that so greatly influenced him seemed even less accessible. Combine that with the fact that many of the artists Dylan dug are available on a variety of labels and in compilations of questionable quality, and it made it even tougher. Having the man literally walk you through some of his favorite tunes feels like a great way to discover some music that you may have heard of and thought you'd like, but weren't sure where to begin. Personally, I thought that the Calypso track "Jamaican Hurricane" he played was a heck of an introduction to that musical style, and the husband and wife duo The Consolers, who wail their way through an awesome version of "After The Clouds Roll Away," seem like they'd be definitely be worth checking out. All in all I highly recommend tuning in to or tracking down the broadcasts of Theme Time, which debuts with its "Weather" hour on May 3rd, and continues the next week with "Mother."

Obviously, this project has resulted in a good deal of hype, most of it abominable. Check out this article that was in the Washington Post that my mom was kind enough to scan and send my way. Professor David Gaines, from Southwestern University, seems like the type who would google himself regularly. If so, he'll probably be angry that I call his comments such as

"Dylan's trying to do some wierd blend of holy man on the FM radio...He's using the medium of subscription radio as his way of playing Musicoligy"

douchebaggery of the highest form. Like, seriously. Invite that guy over to my house next time we watch The Simpsons, he sounds like an enjoyable guy to have a conversation with. Then we have XM Chief Creative Officer Lee Abrams, who has been blogging (Parts One, Two and Three)about the experience of courting Dylan to do the show. He starts off by saying that the role of XM vs. regular radio is

"Just like the American GI's were the ones who liberated Europe in WW2"

and then moves on to less offensive fare, like comparing how he feels in the days before the shows launch to
"like the days before the moon launch must of felt to NASA."

Stuff like that makes me glad that the rest of you will be able to download this fantastic, interesting, enjoyable RADIO SHOW off of the internet hours after it's release. Enjoy it.

Street Scene 06 Pre Sale Tickets


The Street Scene is at Qualcomm Stadium's parking lot for the second year in a row. I didn't have too many objections to last year's concert being there, considering that the tradition of the Street Scene being, you know, on the streets, meant nothing to a non San Diego native. As long as the bands are of a certain quality, that's what makes the festival what it is.

Therein lies the interesting thing about the email I got today from the people at the Street Scene. They are offering discounted $60 tickets to the August 4th and 5th shindig ($67 with the service charge) today on their website for a limited time. The catch is that you don't know what bands are involved. Checking Pollstar hasn't revealed any secrets either. I remember missing this bonus presale last year, but didn't remember that the tickets I bought were more than 60 dollars. Strike while it's hot if you're down, or you can wait til you find out who is actually coming, to avoid the embarassment of possessing a 60 dollar ticket to a potential "Street Scene '06: Two Nights of Just Fergie."

If anyone who knows anything about line up rumors wants to tell me something to change my mind, that's always welcome as well.

April 25, 2006

Springsteen's Seeger Sessions Sertainly iS Stupendous

allen a dale

Bruce Springsteen's new album, "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions" is terrific. Take the drunken, jaunty Sherwood Forest style jams of the Merry Men in Disney's Animated Robin Hood, but with Bruce Springsteen singing instead of that rooster. That's exactly what a good portion of the album sounds like. Many different instruments shine, and each one brings a different kind of exultant joy to the mix. Washboards, accordian, horns, each sometimes called out by name by Bruce when it is thier turn. A Rolling Stone article talks about how long and how many takes each song took, but they did a damn good job of making it seem fresh and energetic as it did on the first take. The album is also balanced out by its fair share of downtempo, balad-esque songs, which makes sense, since a good deal of them originally were the protest songs made popular by Pete Seeger in the early 60s. However, it's hard to even hear the song about the Oklahoma man who loses his entire home without wanting to join in on the call and response "Blown aways" on the chorus. Even some of the slower songs have break outs of banjo or New Orleans funeral-style horn sections. It seems rather ironic that after years of championing the working man, hell, after recording a whole album named after Tom Joad, that Springsteen would let these songs come out in such a raucous, fun style, but it's to all of our benefit that he did. This album may not change the world, but it's really enjoyable to listen to.

I don't know much about Pete Seeger, and that may not change any time soon. The one story I am familiar with is that while Bob Dylan was plugging in and kicking ass at the Newport Folk Festival, Seeger decided this equated the sky falling, and took up the role of Chicken Little (but with an axe) and tried to cut cables backstage to halt the performance. That would be really awesome if it were attempting to halt some other kind of performance. A maniacal man of the people wielding a hatchet and risking electrocution to prevent the Sly Stone tribute at this year's Grammy's would have been pretty cool. Alas, he was instead attempting to interrupt one of the most acclaimed and legendary performances of rock history, and has likely been scorned by future generations because of it. Although, Chicken Little (with an axe) might prove to be a more profitable franchise for Disney.

bruce with guitar

The albums which spring readily to mind when trying to compare The Seeger Sessions to are Bob Dylan's mid 90's albums "Good As I Been To You" and "World Gone Wrong." Both of these albums contained traditional material, from various sources. Good As I Been To You even ends the Exact same way The Seeger Sessions did, with a cover of Froggie Went a'Courtin'. (The album shares another song with Dylan's first album, Springsteen calls it Eyes on the Prize, and Dylan called it Gospel Plow.) But where Dylan paid tribute to these influential songs with just his voice, guitar and harmonica, (with great results), Springsteen sounded like he wanted to make an album that every baby boomer who bought Born In The USA down to the jaded hipster who owns but doesn't listen to Nebraska could hopefully appreciate. This album has already been the soundtrack to several raucous evenings of outdoor fun since I discovered it, and I feel that the summer months will continue on with a most unlikely soundtrack: the songs of a 80 year old man sung by a 50 year old man, with his drunken crazy jug band in tow for good measure. Actually, that sounds pretty much exactly how a summer soundtrack should....

Buy the album at amazon.com where you can also watch a video of the band recording John Henry.

The hits just keep on coming! Listen to the whole album at AOL Music

Springsteen also discussed the album yesterday on Good Morning America, complete with performance footage. He says he has some Webb Pierce on his ipod. Anybody know who that is? He also performed "Oh Mary Don't You Weep" live today, watch the video here. It pretty much looks like the most fun concert of all time.

April 24, 2006

Join The Kite Flying Society


David Lizerbram sent me the above picture. It's of his bedroom. It's probably unnecessary to say that getting emailed a picture of some dude's bedroom doesn't happen that often, and I pretty much discourage the practice across the board. But this was a special case. David had noticed that Bruce Springsteen was included on the National High Five Day soundtrack CD, and expressed his happiness with that to me in an email. I wrote him back, telling a few Bruce Springsteen related stories of my own, (they involve The Rising, high volume, and the destruction of a friends property.) Then David sent me that picture.

There's a few key things that I like about it. One, it's pretty much the only thing on the wall. You can see a fair amount of wall on either side, and there's nary a "The Kiss" poster or a "Lifeguard May Be Used as a Flotation Device" in sight. So he's not a man to decorate his apartment, but he puts his sparing efforts to good use. Secondly is the speed with which he sent me the picture. It arrived in my email a mere 12 minutes after my Bruce Springsteen stories were sent. This means that he read my email, found his camera, snapped the pic, loaded it up, debated about whether to really send it to a stranger, and decided to go for it, all very quickly. Thirdly, I like the fact that David Lizerbram is the bassist for a sweet band from San Diego called the Kite Flying Society.

Kite Flying Society

Did you wonder where that was going? Well if you made it here, you'll be a better person for it. From the songs that I've heard, the Kite Flying Society makes music akin to those happy popsters in the Apples In Stereo. Lots of spacey background harmonies on the oohs and the aahs, some handclaps, and eclectic instrumentation that includes organ, guitar and a quite prominent glockenspiel. The songs are incredibly catchy, and stay soft without being wussy. Like, they have enough going on and are fun enough that you'd want to turn them up loud, but they would sound just as good through your headphones while you're walking around the zoo.

David was kind enough to send me two songs to let you all download. 6000 Shipwrecks has the best backgound harmonies and is the more uptempo of the two, plus it includes the rarely attempted background harmony solo, whereas Love & Seagulls is more of a slower, bouncier track with a melody very similar to Daydream Believer by the Monkees, but just enough to reel you in before switching it up on you.

I'm pretty sure the band is named after Max Fisher's sparsely attended club from Rushmore, and I think that the tone of the songs would be akin to the aural equivilent of Wes Anderson fare. Rushmore is my favorite movie and Anderson can do no wrong by me, so I think that this is one band that I'm going to recommend and keep an eye out, as they are currently recording their debut album. They are also playing a few shows at the Casbah, one on June 20th, and Ain't No Cure, a Cure covers benefit show on April 30th.

Check out their myspace page for two more streaming songs: http://www.myspace.com/KFSMusic

6000 Shipwrecks
Love & Seagulls

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