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June 03, 2006

Download Theme Time


Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour continues to be a weekly entertaining listen. Though the Baseball theme in week four was rather week, too many novelty songs, not enough Steve Goodman, it is always fun to see what he pulls out of his bag. Hearing what newer songs he chooses to play every week are interesting as well. They're pretty infrequent, since as Dylan said on the Coffee show "There are more old songs than new songs out there," but when he puts on a Blur tune, as he did this week with "Coffee & TV" you always have to wonder where he came across it. Next weeks theme is Jail, which should be interesting. My friend Andrew rightly wonders what's going to happen by the time the third season rolls around and Dylan is stuck with themes like "Corn," "Potatoes" and "Blue Jeans."

For those of you without XM, Patrick at White Man's Stew has set up a page with downloads of all five programs so far. They're available in MP3s of the whole show, or broken down into segments. Go check them out here.

June 01, 2006

Bob Dylan

So in addition to his XM radio gig, Bob Dylan has a new album coming out later this year. Those in the know (not me) get to listen to it early next week.

Living in an era where Bob Dylan has only released good albums, studio and Bootleg Series, makes you think about the Not So Long Ago Times (not as catchy an album title) when a new Dylan album was far from anticipated, but a potentially mock-worthy event. I'm glad to have missed that era. Starting to listen to Dylan in the late 90s is like starting to date a model a few years after she used to be really fat and have braces and skin problems: bask in the hotness, ignore all that old stuff and pray it never surfaces again.

Tom Waits used to (Sort of) Play at the Liars Club

It would be foolhardy to argue that there is a better bar in San Diego than the Liars Club. The food is delicious, the beer selection phenomenal, and the price is always right. In addition, the jukebox is packed with hits, and although there isn't enough rotation on it to suit me, there are always enough songs to fill your 7 songs for 2 dollars. If you ever hear a stretch where The Replacements "Alex Chilton", The Pixies "Holiday Song", the seven minute live Ramones medley from "Road To Ruin", and Scotch Greens "Deaf Girlfriend" are played, along with a selection from Exile on Main Street and Rain Dogs, you're probably in the bar at the same time as me.

The presence of Rain Dogs on the jukebox takes on added significance today, as the Liars Club points out in their weekly email that the bar used to be a coffeehouse called The Heritage, one of the first clubs where Tom got regular gigs bck in the early 70s. It's a tremendously fortunate coincidence that I'm sure I won't be able to shut up about the next time I hit up the Liars Club: my favorite musician used to hang out and perform in my favorite bar (before it was gutted and redesigned) and I just found out about it today.

There's a page with a ton of information and first hand accounts of what performing life was like at the Heritage, and what Mission Beach was like in general back in the early 70s, complete with photos. Some interesting excerpts:

"By 1970 Mission Beach was a "counter-culture" neighborhood, much like fabled Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco. Almost all the cottages were rented, most for very little money. Mission Boulevard became a haven for hippies, bikers, drug-addicts and other socially-disenfranchised young people. "
" I remember his interpretation of the Elvis Presley hit 'Are You Lonesome Tonight,' in which a vocal chorus hummed the melody while Presley delivered a spoken monologue. Showing stage gifts beyond his age, Tom cajoled the audience to provide the melody so that he could recite the monologue — not an easy task in the United States, where people are disinclined to sing in public, particularly when leaderless....He had too much charisma to ignore. People just about begged me to hire him, and when I did they readily paid admission to hear him and watch him perform."

The question now becomes where the next Waits is in San Diego, and what obscure beachfront coffeehouse he is playing in...

Check out http://www.keeslau.com/TomWaitsSupplement/Topography/heritage.htm for the full story

New Video

Remember how a few weeks ago I wrote about how we went to go see Grand Ole Party, but ended up leaving before the terrible sounding opening band played? Well this is the fruit of that (late) nights labors:

Even as the principal person pushing for this idea to be carried out, I really don't know what to say.

May 31, 2006

Some Songs

Why are you inside reading blogs? Enjoy the evenings with a mini soundtrack before the gloom returns!

-Little John and the Merry Men - The Phony King of England
-The greatest song from a Disney movie, period.

-Grateful Dead - Sugar Magnolia
-The longest version I have on my computer. Without the ending breakdown, this song is a shell of itself.

-The New Pornographers - The Bleeding Heart Show
-For when you get tired of Sing Me Spanish Techno (which is impossible)

-Bruce Springsteen - Bishop Danced
-An incredible one of a kind song. I'd be interested to know if anybody has covered it...

-Lee Michaels - Heighty Hi
-Upon recommendation from my dad

That was easy, and surprisingly fun. Let's hope it wasn't habit forming.

May 30, 2006

Free We Are Scientists Stuff + Beck Puppets

A few things before the good stuff:

1. Thom Yorke's solo album, The Eraser, which was only announced a few weeks ago, and quickly became the most exciting album to be released this summer, has leaked. For the fans who snap up Radiohead tickets in less than four minutes, a summer tour without a new album was a frustrating proposition, and a solo album seemed as good an alternative as possible. If you're interested in hearing what Thom-y sounds like on his own, check out the Hype Machine. Some Eraser can be heard there, as well as some interesting solo performances and covers.

2. As I mentioned before, the road from Seattle to San Diego happened to take me through Bend, Oregon this Saturday, where Beck happened to be playing. I think there is relatively zero chance that I would have gone to see Beck had he came thru San Diego, and I say that as a fan. Just seemed like it wouldn't have been a good concert to see at the inevitable larger venue he would have played here. Fortunately, we made the decision to go to the Bend concert, and from the opening notes of Devil's Haircut, we didn't regret it. Beck has a large amount of great songs that I've listened to so much over the years, that I've pretty much stopped listening to, and having them played for you live all at once was a great way to be reminded that you really like his stuff.

The addition of his PuppeTron entertainment system didn't hurt things either. Throughout the entire concert, a group of puppeteers mimicked the bands action onstage with lookalike puppets, which were then broadcast on the jumbotron instead of the band. This was, in a word, awesome. It was like taking the Flaming Lips Nun-Cam to a glorious new level. To cap it off, for the first encore, the puppets came onstage by themselves and performed a pre-recorded version of Loser.

3. Finally, I wrote a comic while at the University of Virginia. The UVA paper, the Cavalier Daily, had a substantial comics section, and I studied it as detailedly as I did the Washington Posts comics section while growing up. So it came as a huge shock to me when I started reading about a band named We Are Scientists. You see, to me "We Are Scientists" was nothing more than the most mediocre of mediocre comics that the Cav Daily had published during my tenure there as a student.

The wit of "We Are Scientists" the comic strip

Drawn by Nathan Altice, who I never met, We Are Scientists boldly foraged into the abominable copy-and-pasted characters method used by comics such as Red Meat and Get Your War On. It only ran for a semester and a half, before being replaced towards the end of the year. It was not missed.

We Are Scientists the band, on the other hand, has done quite well for itself. Fresh off playing the Indy Jam with the Flaming Lips last week, the band is bringing their Franz Ferdinand style rockin' to Soma on Friday with the Arctic Monkeys, who I've unfortunately not been able to learn to hate. To commemorate the concert, we have some We Are Scientists stuff to give away. Since the show is Sold Out (with tickets widely available for face value on Craigslist) maybe taking some of this stuff away can ease the pain:

-1 copy of their CD "With Love and Squalor"
-1 copy of their CD/DVD Dualdisc "The Great Escape"
-1 copy of their import single "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt"
& -1 copy of their import single "The Great Escape"

We Are Scientists The Band - Funnier than the comic strip

So here's what you have to do. Since We Are Scientists, no matter how kickin' the band is (and they're none too shabby in actuality), in my mind will always be associated with a mediocre comic, I'd like to hear what your "favorite" mediocre comic is. No obvious things like The Family Circus. That's just a terrible comic. What is your favorite mediocre comic, the one that you just can't possibly imagine how the author is cashing a paycheck for his efforts every other week? Leave it as a comment, and if I pick yours, you win one of the prize packs with all four of the above items. I have two to give away. Go nuts.

MP3s of the above artists:

Thom Yorke - True Love Waits
Beck - Do You Realize??
We Are Scientists - This Scene Is Dead

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