June 14, 2006

Blogger Poker Tournament

I came across this Blogger Poker Tournament today, a day before the registration ends (it ends Thursday, June 15th.) What better way to spend the peak hours of a San Diego Sunday afternoon than cooped up in doors, trying to win any number of prizes including a seat in the WSOP and a bunch of ipod nanos, by playing poker strictly against other bloggers.

Truly, I think that Poker Stars should require people to listen to a two song mix of Kenny Rogers "The Gambler" and OAR - "Crazy Game of Poker" throughout the entire tournament, and the last many to be able to endure it would win. In fact, screw the poker, just make that a challenge in itself. I was thinking about going through the various blogs I like to read and critiquing what I imagine their pokers skillz would be based on their music tastes, but that seems futile considering how well I expect to do here. I'm gonna consider anything less than the ipods that are prizes for spots 21-40 a failure. I'll let you know how it goes.

Texas Holdem Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 8496611

I'll also give you this nugget based on the songs I provided today. When discussing last week what the best concerts I've ever been to are, I wanted a chance to mention the worst I've ever been to. That would be the above mentioned OAR at the 9:30 club in DC, one summer during college. It was the kind of show where you waited forever for the band to come on in the DC summer heat, thereby draining the little momentum you had straight out of you. Then the singer turned out to look just like this guy that everyone hated in high school. On top of it, his girlfriend was evidently in the balcony that overlooked the stage, kind of like at 4th and B. He made multiple acknowledgments of this fact, including something that sounds way too made up when I think back on it but I swear it happened. During the part towards the end of the poker song he sings

"He looked kind of mad / and I, felt bad / because I took his money / last night, it's kind of funny / but now I'm just strugglin' / I need a honey"
The singer replaced "I need A honey" with "I need MY honey," as the band dramaticly cut out, the lights came on and he pointed emphaticly up towards the balcony like John Travolta on the Saturday Night Fever poster. Then the song resumed, and I stood their shocked, wondering how something so lame could have possibly happened. To this day, that moment of concert suckitude has never been topped.


June 07, 2006

Win Free Mountain Goats Tickets!

It's been a few days since I posted anything, but hopefully giving away free stuff will help atone for it. Let's get right down to the free stuff:

Back in the early days of music blogs, I somehow got wind of the site Largehearted Boy. This was while I was working at my first job out of college, which was boring and involved a lot of free time spent surfing the internet, and Largehearted Boy was the perfect site for that. Lots of links, very little bullshit to wade through, with his occasional personal opinion or commentary. One of these personal opinions was that he wanted the song "Golden Boy" by the Mountain Goats played at his funeral.


Peoples funeral songs always intrigue me. It will be interesting once my friends start dropping off to see who manages to actually instill in their loved ones a deep fear of the consequences should they fail to play their requested song, and who is all talk. But being interested in this stranger who I've never met funeral song, I downloaded it, listened to it and was blown away.


It sounds, in true Mountain Goats style, like it was recorded in one take, in his bedroom, on a tape recorder that may or not be your classic Fisher Price model (pictured above). It's full of advice and admonitions, sung so passionately that you can't help but look up where you can obtain some of these mythical Golden Boy Peanuts on the internet (I checked, they can be obtained.) A friend of mine had them when she went to Thailand. I think she said they were pretty good.

So that is the song that made me a Mountain Goats fan. I've since learned to love his other works, be it in the previously mentioned Fisher Price style, or his more recent works that utilize more instruments and higher production values. I've seen him in concert once before at the Casbah, and though he didn't play Golden Boy, it was fun just to be in the presence of the guy who wrote Golden Boy, if only for an hour.

The Mountain Goats are coming back to the Casbah on Thursday June 15th, and I would love to give you two free tickets. To sweeten the deal, I'd also like to send you two free CDs, by two of the best bands I've had the fortune to come across lately. Fifty On Their Heels is a punk band for people who don't like punk bands, and the Bo Dukes, though they don't have a guitarist, manage to bring both the funk and the pain at the same time.


So that's TWO free concert tickets for the Mountain Goats on June 15th, plus TWO free CDs from San Diego and LA's finest. And all you have to do is leave me a comment with the song YOU want played at your funeral. So get to it! (Make sure you leave an email address in your comment so I can contact you if I pick you.)

I will pick a winner on Monday morning. If you can't wait, you can buy tickets here.

MP3s in the meantime:

The Mountain Goats - Golden Boy
The Mountain Goats - Cut Your Hair (Pavement Cover)
The Bo Dukes - Save The Day
Fifty On Their Heels - Occupation

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

May 10, 2006

Free Tickets to The Rogers Sisters and I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness At The Casbah

"Don't miss this show - I'm not! Trust me!" So says the faceless, voiceless "Info" section of the Casbah's concert schedule regarding the May 18th lineup of I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness and The Rogers Sisters. It's an oddly compelling little endorsement/command, kind of like the order to "Enjoy" printed on cans of Coca-Cola. But this is one disembodied voice whose commands you might be interested in listening to, at least for now. If he starts encouraging mailman killings and stuff of that ilk, I suggest you go elsewhere for your "info."

Pitchfork was dead on about the marketability of this logo

Both of these bands have been getting some press lately. I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness isn't the kind of name you forget once you've heard it the first time, and though I hadn't heard about the Rogers Sisters until they bought an ad on the right side of this website, I think they've got a pretty cool sound. They've got a sort of Sonic Youth/Pixies male and female vocal contrast going on, and make music that is similar to both of those bands arty, raw kind of sound, but much closer to the Pixies rock end of the spectrum, as opposed to unpleasent experimentation. I think I support any band called The ____ Sisters that features prominent male contributions. As a bonus, evidently they put on a great live show.

Prominent Male Contributions indeed

Both bands new records have gotten good reviews from Pitchfork too (ILYBICD and Rogers Sisters), although I must point out that in the Rogers Sisters review, the writer shows his hand a bit too transparently. Nothing indicates a case of writer's block lock nitpicking that too many of their songs are sung about "you." Embarassing.

But anyways, you should check out both bands. I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness has a myspace page with streams and the Rogers Sisters have a QT album stream. If you're the type who doesn't want to leave a web page without an MP3, check out You Undecided by the Sisters.

Finally, more unidentified faceless people have given me the power to bestow upon you a pair of tickets to giveaway to you guys for the show at the Casbah on Friday the 18th. So here's what I want you to do. Who have I been neglecting on this blog? Is there an artist, local or national that kicks so much ass that it's just unforgivable that I haven't written anything about them? Comment away and early next week I'll pick one at random and the free tickets will be yours.

April 19, 2006

Thursday, April 20th Is the Fifth Annual National High Five Day


Two songs will do you well to listen to today: Thursday by The Features and The Rising. Go ahead, download blindly, you know you want to.

One concert will do you well to attend today: Blind Melon's in PB at 9:30.

Best National High Five Day t-shirt wins some cold hard cash. Check the myspace blog for details and post your picture there.

After Thursday, things will hopefully calm down around here, and I can get back to posting more regularly and thoroughly. Until then, keep the high fives coming.

April 14, 2006

4/20 Songs and DVD Contest!

4/20 Time

Since National High Five Day falls on the Third Thursday in April, which this year happens to be 4/20, we have received a good deal of emails alerting us to this coincidence. Most are related to the presence of the word "high" in our holiday's name, but many fail to even reach a level of comprehensibility to achieve that most basic and obvious realization. Well in yet another instance of giving the masses what they want, I think I'm going to attempt to break down the topic of weed music here on the blog. To make it even more interesting, this will also mark the first CONTEST that I've ever had on this blog. For details on the CONTEST you can go ahead and skip down to the end of the entry.

The influence of drugs, and namely marijuana has had on music is incalculable. It is depressing to imagine what music woudl sound like if be like if Coltrane hadn't had his smack, Syd hadn't taken all that 'cid, Bob Marley never toked the sweet sweet ganj and Johnny Cash hadn't taken whatever those nameless painkillers he was out of his gourd on for 70% of Walk The Line. But out of all of them, weed is probably given the most credit regarding promoting creativity and artistic achievement, (maybe credit is legitimately due, but it could just be because it doesn't make you end up penniless on the street, or make you kill yourself in a torrent of angst driven despair.)

So let's break down the influence of weed on the music world:

Dr. Dre - The Chronic CD
The Chronic

-Most obviously, we have Weed Rap. Exemplifed by Dr. Dre's The Chronic and Cypress Hill's Temples of Boom, this is pure glorification of the drug. Blatantly made for the masses, this rap doesn't pretend to establish any sort of facade regarding its intent to project a thuggish, outlaw image by endorsing a widely consumed partially decriminalized drug. In short, it is awesome. Note: This genre also includes Bob Marley and stuff like Sublime's "Smoke Two Joints because they're really obvious as well. Great Example: Cypress Hill - Hits From The Bong

-Then there is insane electronic music. Designed ostensibly to make people dance, but more often consumed in a dorm room with your MP3 players visualization in full gear, it's the rare track from this genre that is actually tolerable without the influence of drugs. Genre Definer: Josh Wink - Higher State Of Consciousness


The Flaming Lips On-stage Posse

-We also have wierd rock, designed to make noises that freak you out. Utilizing every production trick in the book, especially layering sounds, surround sound pans, vocal effects and in general just freaky shit, Pink Floyd would fit in here, so would latter day Radiohead or Wilco circa YHF. Nowadays, the term "Psychedelic" is used to describe lengthy, aimless, boring songs by bands who can't write anything catchy, but The Flaming Lips, with releases like The Soft Bulletin, Yoshimi and the almighty four stereo necessitating Zaireeka, not to mention the greatest stage show of all time, have claimed sole ownership of the weird rock crown. Best Song To Freak You Out With Headphones: The Flaming Lips - Race For The Prize

-There's Stoner Rock, with bands like Kyuss, but I don't know anybody who actually listens to this genre of music

-Crazy improvisational music is an obvious favorite of the stoners, but its rare that these songs can prove tolerable to people on the outside. If a song has a catchy hook, different movements, and most importantly builds towards an amazing climactic conclusion, it will undoubtedly be touted as "The greatest thing I've ever heard." I think that Santana's performance of "Soul Sacrifice" at Woodstock, especially when seen with the accompanying video, featuring scenes of naked men holding sheep, is a wonderful example of a crazy jam that everyone can agree on.


Ever really heard Automatic For The People?

-But songs need not have crazy builds or be laden down with fancy studio effects to prove enjoyable to the slack jawed couch dweller. Though those types of songs may prove to sync up better with a TV playing the Cartoon Network on mute, there are also songs that weren't written with the average pothead in mind, but that are good enough that they can prove revelatory when heard under the right circumstances. This is stuff like Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska, or "Automatic For The People," or "The Bends," music whose true beauty was hidden behind a thick wall of acousticness, until you heard it again for the first time one night. Crown jewel: Ryan Adams - Cannonball Days


So that brings us to the first ever San Diego Serenade contest! In celebration of 4/20, I'm going to be giving away a copy of "Reefer Madness" on DVD, courtesy of San Diego's own Legend Films! Legend Films has restored Reefer Madness for DVD and has colorized it for the first time ever. If you've never seen it before, it's a ridiculous example of unintentional comedy from the 1930's, and it benefits greatly in the visuals department from the colorization. For example each character has their own color of smoke as they engage in their dreadful illicit activities. To top it off, exclusively on this DVD, Michael Nelson of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 fame has recorded an audio commentary for the film MST3K style, pointing out all the hilarious comments that you'll undoubtedly be rendered far too incoherent to make yourself.

To win a copy of the DVD, as well as a nice "Got Reefer?" shirt, just post a comment detailing your ideal 4/20 song, or your best related experience. I'll pick one at random and send the winner the DVD and the shirt, hopefully in time for Thursday's festivities. The Contest will end at 3 PM California time on Tuesday the 18th.

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