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August 14, 2006

Guest Blogging is Fun

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Guest blogging is fun. I've done it twice now. What I think is funny about the process is that it only a stranger or a more distant acquaintance would be willing to hand over the reins of their blog to me carte blanche, anybody who actually knows me would never trust me to do that.

The most recent person to put me in full on "God-it's-so-difficult-not-to-post-lemon-party" mode is Ryan from Muzzle of Bees. He is canyoneering off in the wild west somewhere, so I get to write whatever I want on his blog while he's gone. Which actually turned out pretty good I think. Check it out.

July 20, 2006

The Zen of Road House

If you're wondering why posting has been rather limited on here the past few weeks, there are all sorts of answers I could give you, but in all honesty, it's probably been because I've been watching Road House over and over and over again. The 1989 Patrick Sawyze flick about a bouncer with a NYU degree in philosophy is the first movie for a new project we've been working on at work called RiffTrax, where Mike Nelson provides a MST3K style commentary (riffing) on a movie as a downloadable MP3. So you play the MP3 while you watch the movie, however you choose to do so. It's a cool idea, even after watching Road House for the 12th time to see what synchs up and what doesn't, (This has been a maddening ordeal, but if I ever get the call for Jeopardy and the categories turn out to be "The Double Deuce", "Jasper, MO", and "Whether Pain Hurts or it Don't", I'll be set.) So check it out if you like either Road House or MST3K. More movies will be coming in future weeks. And here's a little short that we made around the office:

And I'd expect a new Podcast tomorrow, as well as some pics from Tuesday nights Cat Dirt Records showcase with Fifty on Their Heels, MC Flow and Grand Ole Party, plus my thoughts on last nights Raconteurs show last night, later today.

http://www.rifftrax.com

July 13, 2006

No Limit Artists No Longer Out Of Work


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In case you were worried that the talentless photoshop hacks responsible for photoshopping the weekly dose of No Limit Records cover art (including such gems as the above Mercedes- Rear End) back in the late 90s was out of work and destitute, I present to you evidence that they are still hard at work in the music industry in the form of the cover for Bob Dylan's "Modern Times" due out at the end of August.

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And, much more amazingly, in the "Check it yourself to make sure it's true" department, No Limit Recording Artist Mercedes - Rear End is currently selling for between 35 and 60 dollars (!!!) on amazon.com. No joke. Check it out. There is no god.

June 09, 2006

Friday Charts - 6/9/06

This installment of the Friday Charts looks like it could just as easily have come from ten years ago. Half of the artists featured were at their peak over a decade ago, and evidently are still going strong. Some come as no surprise: Thom Yorke's album could have been "Thom Sings the Gin Blossoms" and there still would have been rabid interest in it. Conversely, tons of people seem to have downloaded Busta Rhymes' new album just to see if there is a track where Busta spends a couple minutes trying to cajole you into sending him some money a la The Herlihy Boy on SNL.

"Please send me five dollars...Everyone liked "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See", right? Please let me sleep in your basement..."

Cut to Dr. Dre shrieking "Let Busta Rhymes sleep in your basement!"

Unfortunately Youtube has no video of that semi-obscure sketch, so we'll move right on to the charts. Links go to the Hype Machine for each artists, where you can find a wide variety of album cuts, live tracks and rarities:

1. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium
2. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
3. Thom Yorke - The Eraser
4. Keane - Under the Iron Sea
5. The Walkmen - A Hundred Miles Off
6. AFI - Decemberunderground
7. The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
8. Busta Rhymes - The Big Bang
9. Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam
10. Tool - 10,000 Days

June 08, 2006

Get To Know Your Blogger, Your Blogger = Me

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Muzzle of Bees runs an regular feature where Ryan sends a blogger a set of questions he came up with and publishes their responses. I was quite excited when he asked me to participate. Muzzle of Bees was one of the first blogs I learned about (Ryan is a friend of "Ennnnnnnnn" video actor Jake Feala), and I'm not embarassed to say that I had hoped I would someday be asked to list my longwinded opinions and theories for a captive audience. After sending Ryan I think 6 different emails yesterday, including the always embarassing "Here is the link I forgot to send to you" email without actually including the link, the segment is finally up. So go check out the Q & A session right 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.

May 25, 2006

Sleepless in Seattle (Because of all the Embryonic Devourment going on)

I'm heading up to Seattle tomorrow for a wacky Memorial Day weekend of border to border driving. One of the bonuses is getting to see friends in Oregon and San Francisco. The friends in Oregon we meet up with at a Beck and M. Ward concert, and based on that good fortune, I looked into the bands that were playing in Seattle and San Fran just to see if we might get lucky in two more cities.

And not only did we not get LUCKY, we got completely, 100% screwed, because the day after we have to leave Seattle in order to get home in a healthy, non-speed requiring manner, the Northwest Death Fest is playing at Fenix in Seattle. Seeing that such a festival is taking place, with such a wide variety of abominable band names is quite the curiosity provoking event.

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The guy on the left from Sadus needs to work on his metal face


Check out this lineup:

Belt Fed Weapon
Bung
Ceremonial Castings
Damage Overdose
Deeds Of Flesh
Desolation
Disharmony
Doom Lit Sky
Embalmed
Embryonic Devourment
Fallen Angels
In Memoriam
Meatshits
Mummification
Near Life
Necrobiosis
Non Existence
Obituary
Passive Aggressive
Sadus
Scorched Earth
Severed Savior
Shitstorm
The New Plague
Try Redemption
Unsanctified
Vulganizer
Wake The Dead
Zuckuss

I have a few questions regarding death metal fests such as these:

1. How does this endless succession of blaring death metal not get old? Do people talk in the line for the bathroom saying "Wow, Deeds of Flesh was great, and Doom Lit Sky was even better, but believe me, Embryonic Devourment is going to blow them all out of the water."

2. Are band names tossed out of the band name selection process? If so, what are the ones that are left on the chopping block in favor of ones like Meatshits and Shitstorm?

2a. If those two bands formed an Audioslave/Velvet Revolver type supergroup, would they even have to discuss whether to call the band MeatshitStorm?

3. If a normal looking guy like me wearing a tshirt without a prominent skull or corpse were to show up at this event, what would be the reaction? What is the death metal equivilent of a needle scratching across a record as the music suddenly stops?

4. As a parent, wouldn't it be just infinitely more troubling to learn that your seemingly normal, A and B student is sneaking off to the Northwest Death Fest instead of going to play Wallyball at the rec center like they said they were than to find a bag of weed in your kids room and learn that occasionally they are getting high and listening to Dark Side of the Moon?


All these questions will unfortunately go unanswered. But as a final thought, everyone who writes about San Diego mentions how a bunch of people pegged it as "the next Seattle" during the mid 90's. Maybe, just maybe, this prediction not coming true was not such a terrible thing.

Enjoy your Memorial Day.

May 23, 2006

Songs of Summer on Muzzle of Bees

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Songs of Summer on Muzzle of Bees

Ryan over at Muzzle of Bees is doing a Songs of Summer feature, where he is soliciting opinions from music bloggers about their archetypical summer song. Would you believe that my summer song kicks off the series?

Just in case after reading my entry you wanted to hear the other three songs I mentioned as being contenders for the summer song throne, here are One Minute Man, Mrs. Potter's Lullaby and Mr. Chin.

May 19, 2006

Friday Charts - 5/19/06

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You can't make stuff up like the comments a few entries below. For the past three weeks or so I emailed a few different people at the Street Scene, hoping to hear some tips on bands that were playing or maybe even get some tickets to give away to readers of this website. I didn't hear anything until today when the design and media director of the Street Scene read my blog and called me "retarted" and "a joke" for suggesting that a Replacements reunion at the Street Scene might be an event worth getting excited about. I don't imagine that this kind of confrontation happened before the rise of the internet, and I think that we're all better for the chance to be randomly insulted by a grown man.

Intimate Secretary - Maybe my favorite song on the album (It's better live)

Secondly, tickets for the Raconteurs July 19th show at Soma go on sale tomorrow at 10 AM...technically...They are also available right now at the Raconteurs presale site. You need a password to get in, but I'll spare you the 10 seconds that took to obtain - it is "brokenboy". Tickets are a slightly pricey meat-a ball, at $30 a pop, especially for an album that didn't particularly distinguish itself the first couple of times you listen to it, but check out the ridiculous solos in the above video. I'm not one to doubt Jack White's powers. Bad things happen to the last guy who did that.

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Thirdly, I saw the above image on BoingBoing today. I'm not sure what it was specifically referencing, but it made me think about the recent lawsuit filed by the RIAA against XM radio. It's broken down very well here, but basically the RIAA has decided to sue XM for making devices like the XM radio I have, that essentially act as Tivo's for your radio, allowing you to record 5 hours of music. You can't take the music off, you can't give it to a friend, five hours is a pretty short amount of music to record, and it's not CD quality. But that doesn't stop the RIAA, whose next logical plan would have to be to seek out and sue all the widows of Gulf War veterans, just in case there are people out there who they haven't alienated yet. It's one thing when the poor guy who opens up the Authentic Kazakhstan Restaurant in Pacific Beach's business fails, you kind of feel sorry for that poor guy. When its a bunch of dicks like the RIAA who seem completely unwilling to seize upon the advances and goodwill exhibted by the public towards the exciting future of music and music technology, there's just no sympathy to be had. XM has a good rebuttal of their own right here, they come across as 100% pro consumer. I wonder what the RIAA's message to their consumers would be...

Fourthly, we arrive at the Charts. Some major releases have been hapening lately. Let's see what the ten most seeded albums are at a certain file sharing portal. Links go someplace with album samples, live bootlegs, crazy remixes, criticism, maybe ALL FOUR!

1. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium
2. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
3. Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
4. Tool - 10,000 Days
5. Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam
6. The Walkmen - A Hundred Miles Off
7. The Streets - The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living
8. The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
9. Neil Young - Living With War
10. Angels & Airwaves - We Don't Need To Whisper

No real comments, many of these albums have been around for a while. What's more interesting to me is what didn't turn up on the list. Pitchfork has given out a few highly touted reviews lately, giving Shogun Kunitoki, Beirut and the Futureheads "recommended" status and Scott Walker and Danielson "Best New Music" status. These are usually enough to catapault something into the top ten, like has happened to Band of Horses, or Tapes 'n Tapes. I don't know if it necessarily signifies a decline in the influence of Pitchfork on peoples downloading habits, but it is interesting to note.

Finally, three of these bands are rumored to be playing the Street Scene, #s 2, 4 and 10. I didn't even realize that Angels & Airwaves was a Blink 182 related project until I looked for MP3s to link to. I guess when you are retarded, you tend to be fuzzy on the details.

May 16, 2006

A Good Way To Get People To Talk About Your CD

Within a month of starting this website, I got an email from a random Northern band. They wanted to know if I would like a copy of their album, ostensibly to check out and hopefully hype on the website. Well of course I wanted it. The novelty of a band wanting to send me their CD was pretty neat, and even if they didn't come from San Diego, maybe I could learn about something new and bask in the shallow, thankless, reflective glory that is being the "first person" to tell you about a band.

Well, it turns out that I didn't particularly like the CD. It wasn't god awful, but it wasn't something I was going to stick my neck out and talk about just because they sent me a CD. It actually arrived while I was visiting New York, so it had been sitting in the mailbox when I got home, along with an email from the band asking if I'd got it yet. I replied that I had, but had been out of town and was going to listen the first chance I got. Not having a job, this was not a problem. I listened a few times. Nothing struck me. But I got a few more emails, asking what I thought. Then one of the guys IM'd me. He told me that he'd read my review of "A Confederacy of Dunces" at amazon.com. I read a Confederacy of Dunces in 1999, my senior year in high school, and did not remember writing a brief review of it at Amazon.com

Needless to say, I did not respond. In fact, I think I made sure my windows were locked. Anyways, this is a textbook way to not get someone to write about your CD.

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A good way to GET someone to write about your CD is to send them a really good CD. And someone did that to me just yesterday: Nathan Asher & The Infantry - Sex Without Love. The hype aroudn the album stresses that one of the songs had won two potentially made up songwriting competitions that I had never heard of. Having Won numerous blog competitions myself, most notably the Conor Lastowka Blog Writing Award, and the My Cat's Butt Invitational, this did not impress me. But the quality of the song "Thursday Night/Friday Morning" (not the award winner) did. It's the album closer, and builds from a quiet song mainly featuring the singers Oberst-like wavery vocals (a good thing), into a great drum and key heavy fake-ending-climax-then-reprise, which, as we all know, is the only proper way to end an album.

It would be foolish to base an album recommendation just that one song, (see Spacehog - In The Meantime), so don't just take my word for it. Kwaya Na Kisser recommends the album as well, and has a few more MP3s for you to check out. I think that any band that has it together enough to pull off the album closer they do is worth giving a chance to the rest of their material. So if you want, check out the CD at CDBaby.

And seriously, check out A Confederacy Of Dunces. I stand by that recommendation from my 18 year old self.

May 09, 2006

The Most Irrelevant Rolling Stone Cover Of All Time

Rolling Stone has just published their 1000th issue, and has released an issue celebrating themseles to mark the occasion. They are well within their rights to do so, though they may not still be as on top of their game as this Washington Post story would have you believe. The magazine is still entertaining, as long as you don't expect it to be revelatory or even groundbreaking, (or sometimes to even have articles about music in it), it makes a good beach or bathroom read. That alone shows how lowered the bar is for Rolling Stone in the Pitchfork-era.

But the magazine once was great, and as you peruse the collection they've assembled of the 100 greatest covers of all time, there are some impressive shots. There are the ironic. The iconic. The just plain awesome.

But they'e also made some interesting choices:


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Jakob Dylan and The Wallflowers. So bland, so forgettable. What puts this cover in the top 10% of Rolling Stone covers of all time? The historical oddity of it? It is kind of like looking at old, no longer used denominations of money and thinking, wow! People actually used to USE a $10,000 bill! I mean, it doesn't make sense. I know I certainly wouldn't want to walk around with one. I wouldn't really mind if other people did...But as a minor, insignificant historical footnote, I guess it is interesting that both A) Former Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase appeared on the $10,000 bill and that B) Bob Dylan's son appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone.


Bush


And then there's this...The description of it in the magazine is written in a way that is just dripping with unintentional negative things about the subject, Gaving Rossdale. "These days he is best known as Gwen Stefani's baby daddy." That's right, he has been rightfully forgotten, until you just annointed him one of your top 100 covers, thus reminding me of him. "Critics had covered the band with a level of opprobrium not seen since the Stone Temple Pilots were made the whipping boys of the alternative nation." At least the Wallflowers had critical acclaim. Pointing out that critics, of which the magazine ostensibly belongs, think something sucks, seems like a lame way to cover your ass towards anyone with musical knowledge while you play the "We're just giving those stupid kids who buy magazines what they want!" card. "That, to me, is the real fantasy of being a rock star. Everybody wants to be that guy." From someone who was in eighth grade when Bush came out and still somehow knew better, I can assure you that nobody ever wanted to be that guy.


Dave MatthewsBono

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Then we have some covers which were evidently deemed in the top 100 of all time, but which pretty much look like the subject was just photoshopped in over and over again. Interestingly enough, the Dave Matthews one appeared in 2004, but the covers with Bono, Bille Joe Armstrong, and Jay-Z appeared were on three out of four consecutive issues in 2005. Some might call that boring or lazy, but evidently Rolling Stone calls it three of the top 100 covers their magazine has ever had. This is the equivilent of the Rolling Stones Greatest Hits albums that are "Career Spanning," which is code for "Contains as many songs from Steel Wheels and Bridges to Babylon as it does Exile on Main Street and Let It Bleed."


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Laura Dern

But it could be worse. They could have picked more irrelevant, more forgotten covers. For example, the above two. "The Girls of Scream 2" and "Laura Dern: The Spark in Jurassic Park." I guess your magazine needs to have a cover every week, but jesus, how defeating must those meetings have been? Walking out of a meeting at one of America's premiere magazines having just decided on Scream 2 or Laura Dern to shine forth from newstands on your magazines cover for the next two weeks? Who were other people pushing for? What band, movie, TV show, or political cartoon lost out to those two covers? Is Laura Dern still making movies?

But at least you remember both of those movies, or at least you remember Scream 1. As opposed to the above to pillars of irrelevance, I believe that the last cover is the most irrelevant Rolling Stone Cover of all time.

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Bear in mind that's not just some random "We assembled two hot chicks and one chick that once kissed a hot chick in a movie" cover. No, those three ladies are there because their movie "The Sweetest Thing" that was due to hit theaters. The Sweetest Thing was given an abysmal 24% at Rotten Tomatoes. This isn't like a Pretty Woman type movie, where half the population loves it and half hates it. This was a movie that noboy liked, nobody cared about, and evidently nobody went to see. It puzzled me then and it puzzles me more now. Who owed who a favor? Was there confusion in the offices when these ladies showed up for the shoot? Were people fired becaus of this cover? Maybe someone was trying to drive the magazine into the ground like the Indians in Major League, and they just made it waaaaay to obvious with this cover and got fired.

There's an interesting story behind it, there's just got to be.

May 08, 2006

Lost Albums: Should Be or Not Should Be?

Q: What is "Hail, and Farewell Gothenburg?"
A: The sequel to Sweden, never released.

That's always been an intriguing little exchange from the FAQ on the Mountain Goats website. Ah, the fabled "Lost album." There is no better way to get peoples minds a-racing and anticipations dreadfully out of wack. I still remember reading a Beatles biography in ninth grade where the author breathlessly wrote about some vaulted tapes that only he had ever heard, but that were so mind blowingly great that the reader, the simple 15 year old wanting to learn about the Beatles, could not even look at them, lest he wind up like the nazi's upon opening the ark of covenant, and that would be if he was lucky.

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Who Cares?


Of course, those tapes turned up on the Anthology series, and later on Let It Be...Naked and nobody gave a damn. Distinguishing between similar sounding takes of a song and deciding which one is "Best" (which is never the released one that you've heard) is a passion enjoyed solely by the joyless elitists. Admitedly, sometimes a reworking of a song can completely change the animal. Bob Dylan's Idiot Wind has three distinct versions, all which change and enhance different emotions. Idiot Wind on Blood On The Tracks is not the same song as the tremendous rocked out Idiot Wind performed live on Hard Rain. The more quiet, reserved, organ tinged version of Idiot Wind from the vaulted Blood On The Tracks NY Sessions pushes the lyrical venom that was so apparent in the live version to the back, leaving mainly the singers pain audible, and is the rare vaulted material that truly is a completely different song. But usually you just get something where the band tried one take where they did "La's" instead of "Na's" on Hey Jude.

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Look at this watch...You won't believe what this thing can do...


Of course, an entire unreleased album is a very different situation. Though they just as rarely ever live up to the hype, they are often more satisfying and a more complete vision than the hours of outtakes and alternative versions that even the most pedestrian bands accumulate. Recently, the above Mountain Goats album, Hail and Farewell, Gothenburg recently surfaced on the internet. It had long been rumored to only exist on a single cassette tape, if at all. Evidently, it inspires a good deal of emotion and devotion (a little E & D never hurt anybody) in Mountain Goats fans. Somebody posted it at this SendSpace site. For a casual fan, I think it's hard to tell what distinguishes it from other early Mountain Goats recordings, but the song "Crane" stood out to me as a highlight during the first listen. The band is coming to the Casbah on June 15th, and have recently released a new EP.

And as one long lost album finally surfaces, another one prepares hints that it may do so soon, as Axl Rose announced today. It's hard to say what the best strategy would be for Axl regarding Chinese Democracy. As more and more people come of age musically that have never lived in a world where Guns n Roses has existed as a band, the possibility of them becoming a cross-generational punchline grows greater and greater. I would advise him to shelve everything for two more decades, just to avoid the awkward middle aged stage that claims all men except maybe Jack Nicholson, and emerge when he's in his "Cool old guy" stage, where its considered positive if you get really fat. As far as the new album goes, I think that the best Axl is going to get from people will be the damning faint praise of "It's not as bad as you'd think."

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But in the back of my mind will always be this article that Kurt Loder wrote in January, 2001 after the new lineup had played Rock In Rio. I was a sophomore in college, with the above poster of Rose on my bedroom wall, and when I read lines such as:


"a tribe of burly security guards began sweeping away un-credentialed idlers with a snarling insistence rarely seen since the heyday of such preshow prima donnas as Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones.

played with a passion and precision that's unlikely to be matched in any other quarter anytime soon.

he remains one of the great can't-take-your-eyes-off-him rock stars, twirling back and forth across the stage...pausing only to lean back and emit a proverbial banshee wail"

I wanted to believe. Loder ended by tell us to "pray for a tour." Now it appears we may get yet another one from the new lineup (I was at the last tour show in Philly, where Axl cancelled and the fans rioted. I left quickly.) I pray more that Axl is able to make one last contribution to the rock canon before he packs it in. A contribution, not a footnote.

May 02, 2006

Landon Aaron needs our help

This guy got dicked over by his High School and got detention for celebrating National High Five Day. People should call them and let them know how ridiculous that is: www.nationalhighfiveday.com

May 01, 2006

Scratch Arthur Digby Sellers off the "References to Use in Band Names" List

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I recieved the above poster (click on it for a bigger image) for my birthday. It's pretty sweet, they're individually printed by hand by the guy who runs F2-Design, and he has several awesome designs for bands of varying decrees of fame. The Mountain Goats are a band that has forever endeared themselves to me, for the sole reason that John Darnielle wrote me back within like an hour and a half to politely decline my invitation to compose an original song for the National High Five Day soundtrack however many months ago. You know you've made the big time when you merely responding to someones email, even if to decline whatever offer/invitation/scheme they are proposing, makes their day.

When I opened the poster, I noticed the small text below the enormous "MOUNTAIN GOATS" that read "The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers." This seemed very familiar to me. I thought that it was maybe the name of a Mountain Goats EP, or his tour. It's the kind of name that you feel like you've heard a few years ago, when you were supposed to be paying attention in English class, or maybe some kind of buffoonish, aristocratic monocle wearing cartoon character. Both would seem to be likely Mountain Goats references. Fortunately, my neighbor, (who minutes later collapsed into the bushes on my patio), was able to identify Arthur Digby Sellers as a minor (ie comatose) character in The Big Lebowski. Husband of Pilar, father of Larry, ADS was confined to an iron lung and did not speak in one of the post popular cult classics of all time, thus cementing his fate to 100% absolutely have a band named after him somewhere down the line. (Next up: Salacious Crumb)

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And The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers are just that band. It's safe to say that since they are on my wall, and named the way that they are, that I was rooting for myself to like them. Fortunately, the autoplay song on their Myspace page, "Lisa", is the kind of low key, string-laden song that doesn't suck, and I think it has made me a fan. What does it remind me of? Several bands you've heard that decided to just be slightly wierder. No dumbing anything down, no "The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers will change your life" effect. In fact, all three of their streaming myspace songs sound completely different from each other. I say listen to "Lisa," and if you're intrigued, go to their official homepage where you can download one of their entire albums for free. It's called Psalterie, I just got it, and I'm gonna see what sticks with me from it. You might not be as inclined, since you don't have the band up on your wall. But then again, you haven't gotten any emails from the Mountain Goats lately either, have you?

The first song on the album is called On The Occasion Of A Departure. Download it.

April 29, 2006

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.

hovercraft

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.

jailbird


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

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:

http://www.sandiegoserenade.com/2006/04/1986_world_series_game_6_reena.html

April 26, 2006

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

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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.

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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.

April 15, 2006

RBI Video Update

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Jeff Passan from Yahoo Sports interviewed me the other day, and it is published here. Jeff is undoubtedly the man, he once challenged his friend to a seven game series RBI Championship of the World, and despite the setback of losing Game 1, he came back to win the series with backbreaking slaughter rule victories in Games 3 & 5.

Friday Charts - 4/15/06

Here's the latest entry in the Friday Charts, looking at the most seeded albums at a file sharing community. Links take you somewhere related to the artist or album.

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Gnarls Barkley = Worthy

1. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
2. The Streets - The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living
3. Built To Spill - You In Reverse
4. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones
5. Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
6. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
7. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Dani California (Single)
8. Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
9. Tool - Vicarious (CD Single)
10. Tapes 'n Tapes - The Loon

Several new additions since I last updated this list. Notably two Singles have made it onto the list, which is undoubtedly a good sign for how the albums by the Chili Peppers and Tool will fare. The Chili Peppers song, however, "Dani California" sounds about as phoned in as you can get. It sounds like the equivilent of one of those fanmade trailers that people made before the new Star Wars movies came out, where they would piece together old Star Wars movie footage and put a new narration over it to make a "new" trailer, except this time they did it with the old, bad Chili Peppers radio hits. Dani California has the generic bouncy rapped verse that the Chili Peppers have been passing off as "Funky" for the past eight years, and then a surprising transition to a heavier, sung chorus that later segues into an guitar solo that makes you think that John Frusicante may have been better off if he had stuck to the Hillel Slovak route he appeared to be on before Californication came out.

Also, the Gnarls Barkley song "Crazy", which I just heard for the first time recently, is one of those songs that the first time you hear it, you can fast forward in your mind to how you're still going to be hearing it 8 months later, as you think to yourself "Jesus, they're still playing this song?" but it doesn't really irritate you because it's that catchy. The Raconteurs have yet to make a solid impression on me, but I'm leaving the door open to be blown away at some point in time. I still don't really understand its designation as a Super Group. Maybe that is all the work of the agent for the guy who isn't Jack White, but em>was in another band, so I guess technically people might have heard of him.

I am dismayed by the Streets popularity.

April 13, 2006

Hey Hey, It's Michael Nesmith!!

Michael Nesmith

If you ask me what the first concert I ever went to was, the answer you will get is Green Day, Dookie Tour '94. I have the t shirt. But it's not entirely true. Before that I attended a Billy Joel/Elton John extravaganza with my parents, (yes, they played Piano Man) and WAY before that I saw The Monkees at Wolf Trap when I was like in second grade. Yes, The Monkees for some reason played a big part in my childhood, and nothing makes me happier than to see that members of The Monkees are still kind of revered non-ironically in our modern society.

This Wired interview with Michael Nesmith (the one with the hat) popped up in my Gmail news feeds today, and is very interesting. Nesmith is famously the Monkee who objected the most to the role the band was forced into by the nameless, faceless executives of either television or the music biz. He wanted the band to take advantage of their popularity and write their own songs and play their own music on the records. Post-Monkees, he has gone on to produce one of the greatest movies of all time, "Repo Man", and generally kick back and savor his reputation as The Monkee Who Kept It Real.

Nesmith's desire to inject authenticity into the Monkees in my mind makes him sort of a tragic figure. One can't help but listen to him sing "Listen To The Band" and hear a voice that truly yearned to and deserved to be heard. The plea of the song, (a song that evidently meant enough to Nesmith to name one of his Greatest Hits compilations after it), takes on added significance, at least to yours truly, when heard inthe context of Nesmith's conflicted position as a talented musician in a band universally accepted as a joke. Videos of the band interacting with Johnny Cash and Frank Zappa as well as projects such as the Monkees bizarre psychedelic movie Head , wherein the band plays one scene as flakes of dandruffs in someones head, also serve to show the promise the group truly had that for the most part, remained unseized.

Nesmith evidently remains active in the music and arts scene. I will review his new album, "Rays" as soon as I can. Until then, check out the Monkees MP3s and videos I have below. The videos are of "What Am I Doin' Hangin' Round," Nesmith's hat wearin', heart rendin' country ballad, and "Goin' Down," my dad's favorite Monkees song, that is sung by Mickey Dolenz, builds like "Keep The Customer Satisfied" and has a video that trully must be seen to be believed. After that, download the MP3 of "Goin' Down" so you can show your friends how much ass the Monkees indeed kicked, and finally, the MP3 of "Listen to the Band", for you to put on repeat as you finish your last three beers of the evening.


What Am I Doin' Hangin' Round


Goin' Down

MP3s:

The Monkees - Goin' Down
The Monkees - Listen To The Band

Monkees Season One DVDs
Monkees Greatest Hits
Monkees Head DVD

April 09, 2006

1986 World Series Game 6 Re-Enacted in RBI Baseball

So last week had the first day since I've been keeping the blog that I missed an entry. I felt bad about this lack of discipline, and no doubt you were upset as well. I wanted to post the little project that I was working on that diverted my attention from posting about music. I decided that I wanted to enter this YouTube Cybersmack contest and win $25,000 for creating the best internet viral video, so I decided to re-enact Game Six of the 1986 World Series in RBI Baseball, my favorite video game of all time. Game Six is one of the most surreal, unbelievable displays of sports in history, and hopefully now that the Sox have emerged victorious in the World Series, it can be seen more as an utterly stupifying comeback, and less of a devastating choke job.

So this took a long time, and I heard more of the RBI theme music in those hours than a man ever should. But I also learned a good deal about the game. Namely these two things:

-Vin Scully is a great announcer. During the 20 minute plus bottom of the tenth, the other "color man" in the booth chimes in for about 3 different comments, one of them just being "Golly!" The difference between a run of the mill broadcaster and a hall of famer is very apparent, but I cut most of the color guy out because of time constraints.

-Secondly, the blame that Bill Buckner has taken for this loss over the years is just shockingly high compared to the Red Sox pitching staff. They are the true people who choked the game away. Obviously Buckner made a terrible error, but they put the Red Sox in an unbelievable position, one that you can't imagine any of today's modern super-closers ever ending up in.

Without further ado, here is the video: The 1986 World Series Game 6 Re-Enacted in RBI Baseball. Unfortunately it is about 6 minutes longer than the three minute YouTube contest limit, but I hope that people enjoy the video even if it doesn't result in a major cash payday for yours truly.

UPDATE: Well this has proven far more popular than I imagined. I'm glad that everyone liked it. Looks like I would have had a good shot in that stupid YouTube contest if not for the 3 minute maximum rule that I didn't notice until after I had completed the video. Damnation. Well if you'd like, you can download a smaller version of the video here.

April 04, 2006

The Beat of Soweto Proves to Indeed Be Indestructible

Soweto

Everyone should have a friend with musical tastes like my friend Andrew. By no means is his collection or tastes all encompassing, nor would I feel right calling it random. I think it would be right to call it unconstrained by era, fidelity or language. Through various phases, he has cajoled me into listening to reggae, The Grateful Dead, and hissy, tinny recordings of musicians from six decades ago. Some of it has stuck, namely the Dead, some of the genres of reggae were not so lucky (thank god.) But seeing that he has sent me cds, occasionaly just identified by a single word, is always an interesting experience. When seven or so albums turned up the other day, I knew that something worth writing about would come of it.

Indeed it has. The CD labeled "Soweto" has turned out to be The Indestructible Beat of Soweto, a compilation of South African artists that was released in the mid 80s. According to Andrew, this CD is "What Paul Simon wishes that Graceland had sounded like." Heavy words. I'm a big fan of Paul Simon, and don't think Graceland bashing is territory to enter into lightly. However, I was aware that Simon's usage of South African musicians on a good number of the tracks for the 1987 album was controversial at the time. Since I was six when the album came out, I was oblivious to the controversy, and only vaguely aware that I liked the song about the guy called Al. I don't care to learn about the controversy, nor do I think i would be the one to definitively explain it. If Paul Simon exploited the explosive political climate in South Africa in 1987 to generate publicity for his record, this "hype" has been forgotten by now as the record has proven that it stands the test of time on its own musical merits.

What does sort of irk me is this sentence from the Amazon.com description of The Indestructible Beat of Soweto.


Before Paul Simon, Sting, and Peter Gabriel started their explorations and exploitations of African music, this stunning set of music was already out there showing the world how it was done in South Africa's townships.

Now when you lump Paul Simon in with that "illustrious" crowd, it sort of makes you do a re-evaluation of things. Both of these guys have used South African sounds? Sting of I Used To Be Cool Once fame? The same Peter Gabriel last seen trying to get the entire Olympic village to never listen to "Imagine" again? Are there people out there, snarky people who probably call the album "Dis-Graceland" (like they were the first one to think of that), who think of Paul Simon as one of those types of musicians?

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Graceland - Still OK by me


My musical taste is not very subject to revisionist history. As a big Graceland fan, hearing The Indestructible Beat of Soweto compilation makes me feel a bit like I did when I learned that Dr. Dre had pretty much lifted all of the music for "Ain't Nuthin' But A G Thang" directly out of someone elses song. It's disappointing at first, but then I feel glad that I didn't know the music was lifted from somewhere before I heard the derivative work. Had I heard the original first, I might never have been able to appreciate the derivative/homage work, and then I would be deprived of the memories and associations I had with that work. And who knows if I would have been open to listening to these African musicians singing in a strange language, making wierd vocal inflections, and using bizarre instruments to create a joyous mix of acapella, bluegrass and zydeco had not Paul Simon eased me into it when I was six years old?

Mahlathini
Mahlathini

Well the answer to that is probably that I would have still appreciated the music on the Soweto compilation. It's about as infectious good time sunny day music as you can get. The instantly recognizable harmonies of Ladysmith Black Mambazo are of course represented on this compilation, but you also get a wide more variety of artists that you've never heard of. Standing out instantly is the unique "Groaning" voice of Mahlathini. Deep, gravelly and unlike many things you've heard before, this guy sounds like he would be the kind of guy that would sing part of a song and retreat to the side of the stage, but you'd be unable to take your eyes off him for fear that you'd miss him do something awesome. You've also got the fiddle playing of Moses Mchunu, which wouldn't sound out of place on a Cajun Zydeco record. I had always assumed that Simon incorporated disparate elements of South African music and Creole on his record. Now I realize that this South African sound just had many more elements to it than just what you could identify as South African on the surface. Also standing out is Johnson Mkhalali's Joyce No. 2, incorporating squeezebox, bass and stacatto guitar all so familiar sounding that even the most ardent Simon supporters couldn't help but feel that he pulled a fast one on them.

This album is far from under the radar. It was evidently named Album of the Year by the Village Voice in 1987, but I would be surprised if it had sold 1/50th the copies that Graceland had. Well now is your chance to check it out for yourself. I don't see how you could lose with this baby. If you like the music of Graceland, you'll love this album. If you're a hipster who wants to bemoan Graceland's obvious accomplishments in favor of something more esoteric at parties, this is perfect. If your tastes fall somewhere in the middle, in that foreign realm that we simply call "fans of good music," you win as well. Highly recommended.

Buy it at Amazon: The Indestructible Beat of Soweto

MP3 samples: I Have Made Up My Mind - Mahlathini, Nezintombi & Zomgoashiyo
Joyce No. 2 - Johnson Mkhalali

April 03, 2006

Video of New Bruce Springsteen Song "John Henry"

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Over at the amazon.com product page for Bruce Springsteen's new album We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, you can watch a video of him recording the song "John Henry" with a full band playing hoedown style. Included are a string section, banjo, accordian and washboard guy. Sounds pretty awesome, much cooler than the dour Devils and Dust. People sometimes forget that protest music can be fun. Having a lovable old codger with a washboard strapped to his chest delivering your message makes it much more palatable to people, kind of like a guy in a clown suit that gives poison candy to your children in the park.

We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions comes out on April 25th

The Vines are Still a Band

When I was in 8th grade, I somehow obtained a copy of Rolling Stone that had the band Belly on its cover. I was confused. This was at the height of my devotion to WHFS and DC101, but I had never heard of these guys. Who was this band? What had they done to warrant this sort of publicity? Where did they go from here? Is there a song out there by Belly that I would instantly recognize, but am just not aware that it is Belly?

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An Embarassing Magazine Cover


I still don't know the answers to any of these questions, but I have gotten more experienced with Rolling Stone, and realize that they are far from perfect in terms of the horses they occasionally back. Strange articles, like the Belly cover story, do have a tendency to stick with me though. So when I saw a review of The Vines new album "Vision Valley" today, I remembered a few more inexplicable articles I had read about the band four years ago, which still read as some of the most ridiculous hype gone awry in recent music journalism. First off is the above Rolling Stone cover story, proclaiming "Rock is Back!" Four years after the fact, I still remembered that this article talked mainly about how many bong hits the singer took. The funny thing is is that the cover also mentions a few other bands. The Hives haven't been heard from in a while but at least their albums rock and are catchy. Those other two bands did pretty well for themselves as well. I wonder why Rolling Stone picked The Vines to write about, especially with the insightful level of detail provided into the singers musical inspiration:

"He watches a lot of TV on the bus, but he doesn't remember much when it's over. He plays a lot of Tony Hawk video games. He identifies with Shaggy from Scooby-Doo because he used to have a dog. Trying to think of a film that made an impression on him, he ponders in silence before coming up with David Spade's Joe Dirt. "

The David Spade reference is quite telling. Compared to the other bands they were lumped in with in every story, The Vines are easily the Spade or even the Schneider of their class of SNL vets. But the whole hyping The Vines thing wasn't just Rolling Stone taking an alternative stance, hoping to be recognized as visionary geniuses, like the woman in your office pool who picked Monmouth to win it all.

vines guy


A critic for Slate.com wrote a piece that I still don't understand the point of. First of all, he lumps in The Doves with The Hives, Strokes, Vines and White Stripes, because of the monosyllabic "The" name, ignoring the fact that the White Stripes had already proven this "unifying factor" pointless and inaccurate. Secondly, he keeps referring to the groups as "The Vowel Bands." I didn't understand why when I read it my junior year of college and I still don't understand it. Most of the band names end with E, is that why he calls them that? Is it because there are five bands, so they are the A, E, I, O and U of the rock world? The guy then proceeds to go on to write the kind of article where the points he makes to convince you that that Vines are better than the Strokes and White Stripes all sound like very negative things about the band:


"The most naive-sounding and overtly commercial of this year's unusually diligent crop of top new bands"

"He sounded like a cat stuck in a tree, and then he tried and failed to play his guitar behind his back."

"Highly Evolved is actually a pretty good facsimile of an old-fashioned classic rock 'n' roll album"

"A rousing teen anthem that mirrors the emotion of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" without any of the wit"

I have to figure that both of these articles were written in the same "long shot bet" style as the average music blog who tosses out dozens of recommendations hoping that one will stick and they will get credit for being the first to talk about the band. Either that or editors didn't want to write another yet story about more deserving bands like The Strokes and the White Stripes. Without the compelling "Vowel Bands" backstory to nab them magazine covers, most of us heard The Vines last song "Ride" as the soundtrack to some commercial, I think it may have been for a cell phone company. I don't imagine too many more of us will hear anything off of this new album, unless that new movie "The Benchwarmers" staring everyone's 8th and 9th favorite SNL cast members from 1994 features them on the soundtrack.

The Vines Myspace site where you can hear a few new songs.

The whole albums is streamable at AOL Music

The Black Rider Playing in LA

The Black Rider

Well it looks like the Bob Dylan Musical "The Times They Are A-Changin'" closed in San Diego on March 19th. There is a lengthy, lengthy article in the Union Tribune detailing the many changes that the production has gone through during its run in San Diego. Since I never saw the play I just sort of skipped through the article until I saw something about the hopeful demise of its Broadway bound plans, which are evidently still on. It intends to open in New York this winter, and we can only wish it the best as it heads East, towards the city where Dylan came of age as a musician and hopefully towards the critical savaging it deserves.

And as the biggest musical theatre event of San Diego's year comes to a close, Los Angeles gets ready to open up a far more exciting, far more dignified production of their own. Tom Waits' "The Black Rider" opens at the Ahmanson Theatre on April 22nd. The Black Rider has always proven a difficult album for me to get into. Though Waits would later release albums such as Alice and Blood Money, both based on musicals he participated in, they remained at their heart Tom Waits solo albums. I believe the collaborative nature of the music on the Black Rider album, and the songs themselves, (lyrics penned by William S. Burroughs) makes it far less accessible than either of those two works. However, it does seem like the kind of production that would make for an ideal theatre experience, especially when you take a look at some of the cool looking sets that they have cooked up. They look sort of Tim Burton-y, and since I was convinced that Burton was thinking of Tom Waits when he constructed the "New Arrival" number in The Corpse Bride, it is appropriate that the similar ideals the two share might turn up elsewhere. I'm very excited to get a chance to see it live, and finally get a chance to experience The Black Rider the way it was meant to be seen.

In short, if you wanted to ask someone to lay out what the basic difference is between LA and San Diego, you could say this: LA puts on a show which sold out in London, Sydney and San Francisco, based on the works of an artist who rarely performs live, thereby ensuring that when anything of his does have a chance to reach his devoted fans, you can be damn sure it is worth your time. San Diego gets a musical where the greatest song ever recorded was illustrated for its audience by having giant fake boulders rolll across the stage.

MP3s: The Black Rider (Live excerpt)
Tom Waits - The Black Rider (Studio)
Video: William S Burroughs reading Crossroads (Real Player)

March 31, 2006

Baseball Season Will Be Starting Soon

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"Baseball season will be starting soon" begins Going to Tennessee by The Mountain Goats. Fortunately, the next line "But we have no baseball team here" need not apply to us here in San Diego, nor any longer to my family back in Virginia. One might think that with the latest news about Barry Bonds, steroids, and the web of lies, deception and cover-ups concerning those topics, that it would be impossible to retain the same child-like excitement I once had regarding America's pastime. One would be very, very wrong.

I find it even easier these days to romanticize the game of baseball, in spite of its glaring flaws. The fact of the matter is that there will always be dozens of memories I will have of the game that I reminsice about fondly, beer in hand, before Barry Bonds, the strike of '94 or DC Councilwoman Linda Cropp come to mind. Among these include:

-Skipping school to see the Orioles opening day at the height of my childhood baseball fandom in 1989 with my dad and grandfather, where we sat in the bleachers and sang "Na Na Na Na Hey Hey Hey Goodbye" as a brawling drunken couple was escorted from the stands
-Watching the Red Sox's 2004 World Series run, where a roar of the crowd across the street at Nick's signified that something great was about to happen on my five second delayed cable

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-Every phone call I made during the course of last seasons ill fated "Mets vs Nationals" bet.
-The first time I ever heard that bell tolling in the 9th as an entire stadium of Padres fans rose to their feet
-Remembering where I was and who I was with when Cal broke the streak, Luis Gonzalez beat the Yankees and McGwire hit 62
-The time that several friends bet heavily on "watch" mode on RBI Baseball, where the computer proceeded to play out an extra innings contest so dramatic that the next door neighbors had to come over to see what all the shouting was about
-Performing James Earl Jones' "Baseball Speech" from Field of Dreams with full band accompaniment at a concert last December
-Attending my first Nats game in the nation's capital on the Fourth of July last year and thinking "Yeah, this feels right"

And fortunately, for us romanticizers, baseball has more and better music associated with it than any other sport. For those of you who remain skeptical about the inherent goodness of the upcoming season, I've prepared a short 9 inning program for you to get yourself pumped. It starts slow, and saves the big guns for the end. We'll begin below:

Continue reading "Baseball Season Will Be Starting Soon" »

Friday Charts - 3/31/06

Here we go with another installment of everyones favorite chart, where we examine Big Champagne style, what the most popular albums are at a chosen internet site. Links will go to places with more information or samples of the particular album. And since it is raining outside, I wrote a haiku for each album.

1. The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics

Were these lyrics done:
"Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah"
With all your power?

2. Built To Spill - You In Reverse
At least one hipster
Will continue to insist
He misses "Mike Jones!"

3. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones
There's one conclusion:
Challenge the Flaming Lips to
A Yeah Yeah Yeah-off

4. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
Ghost, RZA, GZA
M-E-T-H-O-D Man
The Haiku-Tang Clan

5. Band of Horses - Everything All The Time
Too late for U2,
They could have taken the stage
To "The Funeral"

6. The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
When talking song suites
"A Quick One While He's Away"
I prefer hands down

7. T.I. - King
The Rubber Band Man
He's wild as the Taliban
My two T.I. facts

8. Tapes 'n Tapes - The Loon
If my kids ask me
Whether I liked Tapes 'n Tapes
I will be surprised

9. The Zutons - Tired Of Hanging Around
Made a Levi's ad
Where the guy gets his pants back
Instead of the girl

10. Massive Attack - Collected
Strokes, Hives, not The Vines
I would rather listen to
Than Massive Attack


March 30, 2006

The Flaming Lips Yeah Yeah Yeah Song Video

I imagine this will be a divisive song on the Flaming Lips new album, but I don't think there is any shame in admitting that it is far and away my favorite. It's by definitely the most fun song on the album, and has the most propulsive music and infectious sound to boot. Check out the video:

In other cool Flaming Lips news, The Whistle Stop Bar is having a CD listening party on Monday April 3rd in celebration of the new album, which you can then purchase at Midnight at M-Theory Music, just down the street. They're going to be playing commentary from the band along with the album, and you get a free limited edition 7" vinyl among other goodies they're gonna be giving away.

Also, over at the Flaming Lips homepage, you can now listen to the whole album and read Wayne Coyne's explanatory notes for each song, thereby forever eliminating any confusion whatsoever about what these songs are about.

Marc Ribot - You May Not Have Heard Of Him, But You've Probably Heard Him

If you're a fan of Tom Waits' weird stuff, like Rain Dogs, Frank's Wild Years and his latest Real Gone, check out the above video. It's of two songs from a date in Amsterdam on the Real Gone tour. Take note of what is going on musically when Waits isn't singing. The drumbeat just sort of lurches on at the same pace, the bass isn't really a factor, but that guitarist...It wasn't until I watched this bootleg concert that I realized how much of Tom Waits' signature sound comes from the efforts of his guitarist Marc Ribot. It's sort of like a rapper working with a favorite producer, in the sense that the Rakim may be fine on his own, but if you ever wonder why he never achieved the heights of his first few albums again, you may want to take a closer look at the less heralded Eric B.

Now that I've pointed out how integral and distinct Ribot's work is on Waits' records, every time you hear a solo or distinctive guitar riff, it's going to stand out, kind of like how you never noticed the arrow in the FedEx logo until someone pointed it out to you. You can thank me for that later. For now, you ought to check out the large body of solo work that Ribot has amassed with various projects. In addition to playing with other artists as diverse as Solomon Burke, Elvis Costello, Medeski, Martin & Wood and Harry Shearer(?) he has released several very interesting solo albums that I didn't know about until yesterday.

Muy divertido!


My favorite, and infinitely the most listenable to the non-fan of crazy avant garde music, of all of his solo works are the two albums he recorded with the Los Cubanos Postizos. Translated as The Prosthetic Cubans, (rivaled maybe only by Keith Richards and the X-pensive Winos as the greatest backing band name in history), they interpret traditional Cuban music Ribot-style. So imagine that sharp, metallic guitar snaking its way across shuffling Latin rhythms in the kind of marriage so unholy that of course it ends up working. Anyone who all of a sudden realized two paragraphs ago that a big part of what they like about Tom Waits is the work of his guitarist would be advised to check these two albums out today.


MP3: Baile Baile Baile from Muy Divertido! his second album with the Prosthetic Cubans.
The first was simply titled The Prosthetic Cubans.

Video of the group performing courtesy of archive.org

March 29, 2006

Pete Doherty: Hoon, Cobain or Somewhere In Between?

The Smoking Gun has an interesting gallery of Pre-Prepared CNN Obituaries so that if any number of notable people die, they can have a lead story image ready to go. You have to imagine that if there is any musician out there that warrants that treatment, it has to be The Libertines' Pete Doherty. Not really because of his accomplishments, but just because everyone sees it coming, so you might as well knock it out during a slow five minutes just to be ready.

Rolling Stone has a pretty fascinating article detailing a reporter's attempts to interview Doherty. Along the way he watches him snort, smoke and shoot a wide variety of substances, gets in a car with him for some reason, and even gets a few coherent thoughts out of the man, who seems like he definitely has an intelligent mind and a not too abnormal upbringing. I am a fan of the man's music, but was wondering where people thought he might wind up in the pantheon when the inevitable happens. I see it breaking down five different ways:

shannon hoon

1. The Shannon Hoon - as Chuck Klosterman says, the Blind Melon singer proves that dying young is not always a one way ticket to becoming a rock legend.

bradley nowell

2. The Bradley Nowell - Sublime became and remains exceedingly popular after he died, and inspires a few "what if he were still around" moments, but nobody laments him as being a genius that died before his time

gram parsons

3. The Gram Parsons - I don't know much about him, but decades after his death the consensus seems to be that he was a pioneer who died too young, even if the style he pioneered, (Country-rock), never really got that big and nobody really listens to him.

jeff-buckley.jpg

4. The Jeff Buckley - Became a legend after he died, and his shortened body of work is celebrated while wondering what could have been, but you get the feeling that if he were still around he'd be considered "Just OK"

kurt-cobain.jpg

5. The Kurt Cobain - Indisputable tragedy, a legend, decried only by people who want to be contrary, even if the points they make are valid.

I feel like he'd have to release one more pretty amazing album before the KC became a possibility, but I wanted to see what everyone thought, plus I found this cool poll utility and wanted to try it out.

Entry #85: Where It Becomes My Mission To Make Sure You Hear David Shultz

As mentioned below, my recent trip to NYC ended with a frustrated me being forced to listen to a CD by an unknown artist until my friend saw fit to borrow a roomates computer that my ipod could plug into. In a strange twist of fate, I got to the point where I actually didn't want the CD we were listening to to end. Had the circumstances surrounding my being in that apartment been different, had I not been beaten down by a weekend in the big city, or had I possessed a CD of the band I wanted to listen to rather than the ipod, I may have been more willing to take action and dickishly play what I wanted to right off the bat. As it stood, I sort of sat there while my friend brought me ginger ale and peanuts, and took in the music of David Shultz.

David Shultz Self Titled Album

I don't know much about the man, nor do I ever expect to. From his tour dates, I suspect he lives in New York, but he plays on Friday at Coupe De Ville's, (widely renowned as the worst bar at UVA, and paradoxically one of the few that endorses live music), so there may be a UVA connection as well. I think that his music is best summed up by a line from his album closer "Of All The Things": "I recognize the familiar sound / It's like a song I've heard a thousand times before / or maybe I've never heard it at all." I think that his music is like 1,000 other things done right.

Imagine your typical guy with a guitar, but take away the baseball cap and make him sound genuine. Put a little bit of whiskey in his voice. Kick the tempo up every now to keep things rockin'. Don't mention the ladies by name, they already know who they are. And most importantly, make sure that the guitar and harmonica sound mournful enough that when you realize that the song is making you sad, you suddenly understand that it's because you're not sure if anyone else you know is ever gonna hear this guy's songs.

I realized that right about song 3, and by the time the record was almost over, the thought of other people not hearing these songs I had heard had become a devastating proposition. Fortunately, I am a man of action who is going to do his best to make damn sure that these songs don't go unheard by you, the discerning reader of a stranger's blog. So here's what I suggest that you do: Check out these two songs, check out Shultz's myspace site and then, (this is the big step), register for a free trial at eMusic and use some of your 50 free downloads to get the rest of his CD. eMusiccan do no wrong by me. Their free trial is a cancel anytime, no strings attached policy, they're gotten rave write ups from Rolling Stone, and every other music blog you will read will endorse them whole heartedly. Best of all, within five minutes you can be downloading Dave Shultz's self titled album, plus My Morning Jacket, The Meat Puppets, The Arcade Fire, etc.

David Shultz Myspace

MP3: The Flaws & Tones

March 28, 2006

The Raconteurs Live MP3s and Videos!

Shaky video of early Raconteurs gigs have turned up on YouTube. Above is a cover of David Bowie's "It Ain't Easy" which is awesome. The video is right around D+ quality though, so it is fortunate that better quality MP3s of another show have also turned up, and are posted at Tea With Tufty. After listening to just the Bowie cover and the set opener, I have far more faith in the band. In fact, I even feel bad for doubting that Jack White would participate in something non-awesome. Below is a video for "Steady As She Goes", the single which made me uneasy.

Lastly is a Charlie Rose interview with Jack and Meg, where he discusses Hipsters in candid terms. I always think it is silly to see the term "hipster" used in a legitimate context, such as a PBS interview or a New York Times article, and this is no exception. What Jack White says, that had not crossed my mind before, is that the the fickle "looking for the next big thing" nature of hipsters moving from band to band at breakneck pace does not simply cause there to be fewer "classic" bands that stand the test of time, but that this is more of an intentional maneuver, because hipsters don't want to be associated with anything that is old and uncool. It's not that they got former forgotten buzz bands wrong, it's that they never wanted to be right: just cool. It's always strange to hear bonafide wealthy rock stars talking about things like this, but you have to figure he has more experience with it than most other people, so as before, I'm inclined to agree with the man.

As a final note, if you are ever looking for MP3s or reviews of recently played concerts, try using blog search engines such as Technorati. Whereas the big dogs such as Google and Yahoo can be unpredictable with their update schedules, sometimes taking days, blogs tell Technorati when they update, allowing them to be right on top of the latest postings. That's how I found these MP3s, a process which would have been more difficult and frustrating at Google.

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

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

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...."

March 17, 2006

Friday Charts - 3/17/06

Here is the latest entry in the Friday Charts, showing you the most popular albums as decreed by members of an internet forum. Links indicate a place to sample music or read more about an album.

1. The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
2. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
3. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones
4. Tapes 'n Tapes - The Loon
5. The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
6. David Gilmour - On An Island
7. Ben Harper - Both Sides Of The Gun
8. Morrissey - Ringleader Of The Tormentors
9. Calexico - Garden Ruin
10. Jedi Mind Tricks Presents Army Of The Pharaohs - The Torture Papers

fishscale.jpg

Ghostface Killah's "Fishscale" makes the biggest splash this week. As a former huge fan of the Wu, (I once made a pilgramage to the Wu-Wear store on Victory Blvd on Staten Island to get the shirt depicted in the cartoon on the San Diego Serenade logo), I am glad that members of the Clan are still respected. Ghostface would not have been my first pick to be the member of the Wu with the most staying power, especially after his "Who the fuck knocked our buildings down?" verse on Iron Flag's "Rules." I probably would have put him below Method Man, the GZA and maybe even Raekwon, but he seems to be the top dog these days. I listened to a few songs from the album, and thought that "9 Milli Bros." which features the whole Clan including ODB was a highlight. There's something about hearing all nine of those familiar voices on the same track that is oddly nostalgic for me.

As an additional note for the curious, I learned today that Fishscale means "high quality cocaine and has subsequently been assimilated to be descriptive of anything of high quality or good."

Other new additions include the Army of the Pharoahs, described as a underground hip hop supergroup, and Morrissey, whose work with The Smiths taught me that it was just a fact of life that I was never going to like every artist that is critically acclaimed.

March 15, 2006

In Honor of the NCAA Tournament: One Shining Moment

The NCAA Tournament is undoubtedly the greatest sporting event in the country. The first two days are rivaled only by the Super Bowl for the televised event that can pin you to the couch for the longest and in the gambling department, but I give the Tournament the edge because, unlike the Super Bowl, you are guaranteed to have drama at some point in time.

Unlike the Super Bowl, the games remain the central attraction of the NCAA Tournament, except for one small exception: One Shining Moment, which plays as the background music to an end of tournament highlight real that CBS ends coverage of the championship game with. Love by many, no doubt loathed by an equal amount, One Shining Moment one of my favorite parts of the tournament. It never fails to send a few chills up my spine, especially since I remember an obscene amount of the highlights, teams and players they show.

The song is pretty much songwriter David Barrett's meal ticket. Though performed in later years by Luther Vandross and Teddy Pendergrast, Barrett has himself opened for Art Garfunkle. The lyrics to the song are the stuff of Successories posters and the music is a step up from John Tesh territory, but I still love it. Fun Fact: Evidently One Shining Moment is a package deal with a piano Prelude called "Golden Street" which typically plays as the players on the winning team finish cutting down the nets. This is the part that everybody impatiently tolerates, waiting for the real part of the song to kick in. Sort of like this lengthy intro before I give you the good stuff after the jump...

Continue reading "In Honor of the NCAA Tournament: One Shining Moment" »

March 14, 2006

Check Out The Hype Machine

The Hype Machine is an interesting and very well done way of finding new music. The sheer amount of music blogs on the internet can make navigating to all the worthwile ones a daunting task, and can make finding the rare gems in an undiscovered blog near impossible. The Hype Machine attempts to make this problem easier by scouring music blogs for posted or linked MP3s, and then posting links and information about these MP3s. By then dozens of MP3s that get posted on any given day, you can instantly download the ones that sound appealing, and click through to the blog entry for further information. You can also use the Hype Machines reports about MP3s as podcasts. That means that you can set up iTunes to automatically download the posted MP3s from any of the blogs they represent, (or the entire site, which would be quite the eclectic mix of music.)

This features would make the Hype Machine valuable enough on its own, but they add in another interesting touch that makes it a great way to discover new music when you are sick of listening to your own collection. The Hype Machine features its own radio, based on the MP3 feeds of the websites it scours. You can listen through Windows Media, Winamp, Real Player or the sites own stand alone flash player. The flash player provides an nice interface, and the music streams quickly with links to the original blog posting and the artist info on amazon.com. All in all, I highly recommend the website as a great new way to scour the ever expanding world of music blogs and the abundant resources they provide.

The Hype Machine's address is: http://hype.non-standard.net/
San Diego Serenade can be found on The Hype Machine at http://hype.non-standard.net/list/650
If you'd like to automatically download any MP3s I post, in iTunes click "Advanced" then "Subscribe to Podcast" then enter this address: http://hype.non-standard.net/playlist/blog/650/rss/1/feed.xml

March 13, 2006

The Velvet Undergound's Squeeze

squeeze.jpg

There are few things more frustrating or enticing than the knowledge that some people are able to listen to music that you cannot. The music fan that has obtained access to vaulted materials, or a pre-released copy of an album, or maybe just an rare piece of vinyl that you aren't willing to shell out the excessive ebay prices for can be one of the most obnoxious people you will ever encounter. You know why, of course. Whatever they have heard and you have not is undoubtedly the artist in questions "greatest work" or a "lost classic" or "superior in every way to the version they released...you know, the version that you listen to." The internet has lessened the divide between the lost classic elitist and regular Joes a bit. Brian Wilson's Smile, for example was far easier for a casual fan to research and track down on various website than it would have been a decade ago when it circulated on patched together mix tapes. Smile, of course, was also one of the rare lost works where the elitists opinion was right.

I think it is time to extend the debate to the masses on another album that many people are unable to listen to: The Velvet Underground's "Squeeze." Squeeze is the infamous "last" Velvet Underground album, released after all original members save for Doug Yule had gone their separate ways. It is long out of print, and was available only on vinyl, copies of which sell for around 40 to 60 dollars on ebay. This super rare status of the album by one of the most name-droppable bands of all time makes me positive that there is at least one person out there who have assumed the contratian position that Squeeze is the Velvet Underground's greatest work.

If there are indeed people out there who believe this, it should be noted right off the bat that they are wrong. However, I feel like the album is not an outright disgrace. Towards the end of the Velvet Undergrounds career, their sound shifted immensely as members other than Lou Reed or John Cale got involved. I think this is a good thing, as the world needs more "Sweet Janes" and "Rock and Rolls" and less "The Gifts." The album Loaded features several prominent songs where Doug Yule sings, and much of Squeeze sounds like it could have come from the same sessions that produced Loaded's "Lonesome Cowboy Bill" or "New Age."

So Yule obviously had the "generic late era Velvet Undergound" sound thing down, all the way to the backing Lou Reed style vocals on songs like "Caroline" and "Friends." But if you look at the credits for Loaded, the wrting is still all Lou Reed, (he shares credit on only one song.) Yule could write a catchy sounding tune, but songs such as the Rock and Roll/Sweet Jane sequel creatively titled "Jack & Jane" and the idiocy of "Dopey Joe" demonstrate his struggles with lyrics. Taken as a whole album, the mediocrity of the album can be a bit underwhelming, but if these songs had been included on the Peel Slowly and See box set, or the deluxe edition of Loaded, I bet that few people would be able to identify them as outliers.

But I think that the debate deserves to be a bit more widespread than just what I think. Last.fm statistics show that between 60 and 120 people have listened to the songs from Squeeze. Compare that to the more than 20,000 people who have listened to other VU songs such as "Heroin," "I'm Waiting For The Man" or even "Sunday Morning." That's why I have put this zip file of the MP3s from Squeeze up on the site. I believe they are a vinyl rip, but the quality is acceptable, and I don't believe that you'll be able to find a better digital copy. So download, take a listen to what Doug Yule hath wrought and once you've heard for yourself, head on down to the record store and tell that ultra-hip clerk that you're finally calling his bullshit.

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:

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.

March 03, 2006

To Ignore or Make Fun of Jack White's Latest Essay?

jack white
Jack White "points out" the hypocrisy of criticism

I'm going to go more with "agreeing" with him. Jack White posted the following essay on the "Message" area of the White Stripes homepage. The section always provides an interesting but odd look at what the man is thinking. You can view the specific essay in three parts right here: Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3. (This may help explain who the "Billy Childish" mentioned in Part 3 is.) He makes some pointed claims regarding his opinion of critics, ("The only public expression that isn't 'allowed' to be critiqued") and the Good ol' days of journalism, ("There was a time when we had great writers, and respected journalists who had earned their position as tastemakers, and won peoples respect with their 'knowledge and insight.'") But the part that I find myself agreeing with is a comparison that Jack White intended in a completely different manner.

He wonders in Part 2, "Who are all these people on VH1 trashing everyone? Why does a failed stand up comedian have the final word on the Rubick's Cube?" He is of course referring to I Love the (Decade), but also to "Best Week Ever", which puts the events of the past week into the same format as the I Love the (Decade) show. White means to question the "Critic's Credentials" of both internet music journalism and these previously unknown figures on VH1. But I think he has unknowingly hit on a different point that the two share in common and that I think is far more important and dangerous than simply everybody having a platform to share their opinion.

Continue reading "To Ignore or Make Fun of Jack White's Latest Essay?" »

Friday Charts 3/3/06

Every so often you hear a news story about downloading that references Big Champagne, which is a company that tracks the prevalances of downloaded music and videos. I wonder how different what they do is from what I've been doing here, basically looking at a preprepared list of the most shared albums and reporting them back. Anyways, here are the top ten most seeded albums on a certain site. If there are links on a particular album, it will take you some place where you can sample the music or find more info about an artist:

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. TV On The Raio - Untitled, Unmastered 2006 release
6. Liars - Drum's Not Dead
7. Calexico - Garden Ruin
8. Secret Machines - Ten Silver Drops
9. David Gilmour - On An Island
10. The Strokes - First Impressions of Earth


That the Yeah Yeah Yeahs new album was anticipated is no surprise, although it still has around half of the seeds of At War With The Mystics. What is more interesting is that people would be this interested in an unfinished version of TV on the Radio, (described as "High on vocals, low on drums.") Evidently it still sounds impressive, although the band has asked blogs to remove MP3s they posted. Also interesting, but none too surprising any more, is the Tapes 'n Tapes album The Loon, which has been not only available, but officially released, since last year. However, on Tuesday, the following review appeared, (guess where?) and shot the album up the charts. I was incredibly underwhelmed by the record. For the names they tossed out to compare it to, (Pavement, Beach Boys and Pixies), it sounded like a garbled, amatuerish, unpleasent mess. Lastly, David Gilmour proves that you don't have to be a flavor of the month in order to have musical snobs take notice. But if you're not pulling down the latest salivating review from Pitchfork, it helps to be an ex-member of one of the biggest, most popular and most fondly remembered music groups of all time.

February 24, 2006

Friday Charts - 2/24/06

Here's our weekly look at the most popular albums at a popular file sharing site. This should be used to judge which albums are the most anticipated releases among people with more eclectic music taste than the people buying the albums that make it onto the more official charts. They're also a good indication of what you could maybe find on the internet if you searched really hard. This week, when available, links will take you somewhere where you can sample music from the album:

1. The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
2. The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
3. Calexico - Garden Ruin
4. Secret Machines - Ten Silver Drops
5. Liars - Drums Not Dead
6. The Strokes - First Impressions of Earth
7. Granddaddy - Just Like The Fambly Cat
8. Islands - Return To The Sea
9. Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I Am Dreaming
10. Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies

Several new entries this week, with most of the top ten surprisingly having been reviewed by the omnipresent Pitchfork, (See: Secret Machines, Sunset Rubdown, Destroyer, Liars.) The Liars in particular has been floating around for a while and really took off this week because of that review.

Sunset Rubdown is a side project of Wolf Parade singer Spencer Krug, for those interested. They have released two EPs in addition to the forth coming full length mentioned above. I found the Destroyer album to be interesting enough to warrant a couple listens, it is theatrical and dramatic. The other two new albums to hit the top ten this week I am not interested in so much. I do not like the Liars style music, and I am shocked that the Fiery Furnaces can be as popular as they are. We saw them open for the Strokes a few months before Blueberry Boat came out, and months later, as I read the applause given to the album I had to take a deep breath as I realized it was the same band. Lastly, keep in mind that the Flaming Lips album has nearly twice the seeders as any onther release on here.

February 23, 2006

Thoughts on the Indie Music Store "Apocalypse"

I read a Pitchfork article today entitled "Best Buy to Indies: Drop Dead." It is basd on a blog written by Patrick Monaghan, the president of an independent record label. Evidently, several major Indie labels have struck deals with Best Buy wherein the stores pay for preferential treatment in advertisements and in-store positioning, and Best Buy purchases a much larger quantity of their merchandise. In this case, Best Buy has decided to sell albums by these labels, which include The Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene for $7.99. Mr. Monaghan sees this as a death knell for independent music stores:


"If indie retail disappears completely where are the baby bands going to develop into the bands large enough to appear at BB or to sell a song to an ad or The OC? Where do the hip kids who devour Pitchfork and Punk Planet and Venus looking for their next cool band find that band if nothing exists to support smaller bands in the first place?

I feel like I can see a possible end and it's pretty sad, and not just because it's the business that I'm in..."

He then goes on to quote Martin Luther King, Jr. This argument reminded me of a recent entry I read in Mark Cuban's blog. Cuban addresses all of the Hollywood executives and theatre owners who see the ever shrinking window of DVD releases as a similar death knell to their theatre chains. Cuban remarks:

"Not a single person said "It could hurt our business, but we will just have to work harder to bring people in to our theaters". Not a single person said, "It will make us have to work harder and create a better value and experience for our customer...." No one even remotely associated with the industry even attempted to spin the situation. No one attempted to leverage the publicity (except for us of course) to their advantage."

This seemingly goes hand in hand with the quote that Matador Records president Gerard Cosloy gave to Pitchfork:

"Cool record stores should have something else up their sleeves besides using Best Buy as the bogeyman."

I think that both people are absolutely correct. Both record store and theatre ownersare in businesses which have witnessed tremendous changes within the past decade, and even more drastic changes are only going to come in the next few years. If a independent record stores only plan to deal with this issue is to hope that, like an organic farm, people are willing to pay more for a product just to cast your vote for how the world should be, they will fail. Obviously, the record stores will never be able to match Best Buy's album prices, but they need to think of some ways to make their products have an increased value over the CD you buy at Best Buy, much as the major labels have begun packaging DVDs and other extras with CDs to give them value over downloads. A couple ideas that lept to my mind were that autographed copies of CDs, (provided by the labels), could be seen as being worth the extra few dollars. Or possibly the establishment of Frequent Buyer clubs, with CD preview listenings or in-store concerts being the rewards for purchasing multiple CDs. The sentiment that a plain CD is too expensive is not going to be going away anytime soon.

Also, if Mr. Monaghan believes that without independent record stores, the "kids who devour Pitchfork" will not be able to find the next cool band, he would be no doubt interested to learn that all five of the CDs that Pitchfork reviewed today are available for purchase on Amazon.com. In addition to the thousands of music blogs making recommendations, there are services such as Pandora and last.fm designed to provide suggestions based on your exact musical preferences. It seems to me that many people who twenty years ago would have opened up a record store, have found newer, and more relevant outlets for their passions. Mr. Monaghan's frustrations are understandable, but he should be banding together with other independent record stores to offer the consumer something that no other retail entity can, thereby justifying the stores existence in this wild, wacky iTunes era.

February 20, 2006

One Last Thing About Sunday's Show

It's Generic Sitcom Plot Device #28, bookended by #27, (simultaneous dates with two different women) and #29, (losing something valuable of your parents and trying to cover it up only to learn that objects aren't important, but telling the truth is.) Of course, i refer to the situation where a woman "can't go in there" ('there' equals the ball, reunion, party, etc) because somebody is wearing her exact same dress. Being firmly grounded in the real world, this has never struck me as being a big deal. It's entirely possible that I might not even notice were this situation to actually occur in real life. Which made what I did notice at the Casbah at last night's show by The Hold Steay all the more shocking to me.

During a song introduction, singer Craig Finn told an anecdote about the martyrdom of Saint Barbara, which evidently occurred after she converted to Christianity in the third century. Finn, in an effort to illustrate in a modern context how shocking this was at the time, compared it to getting a facial tattoo. I thought this was a good example. A deliberate attempt to distort your most noticable and unmissable feature is certainly a shocking act. That's why so few people do it. It's unnecessary, shocking and rebellious, (in a conformist sort of way.)

So I wonder what was going through the heads of the nine or ten people in the crowd at the show last night that were all wearing the same style glasses. The thick, black framed Buddy Holly/Rivers Cuomo style glasses. It was unmissable to me, and I wasn't even the one wearing them. If you spun in a circle, it would have been difficult to find an O'Clock where someone wasn't sporting them. Even two members of the band were!

Hold Steady Glasses
The Hold Steady See Eye To Eye on Facial Fashion

So just piecing this together from how I see it...There can't be any reason to get extra thick, ostentatious glasses, other than the look. They can't be lighter, or be more comfortable. The look can be the only reason. And if you want that particular look, you have to have some sort of inkling about what image that look conveys to the rest of the world: indie rock, ironic-nerdy, non-conformist hipster. You care so little about fashion that you're willing to deliberately look uncool as possible! But that makes you cool! UNTIL, you walk into a room and a ten other people are doing the same thing!

Unbelievable. You might think I am exaggerating, but I couldn't be the only one who noticed this last night. The thick framed glasses are still rare enough that I notice when I see someone wearing them. There were so many people last night that it was similar to what it would be like if you went to a concert and there were 10 different people there, of different genders and widely different ages who didn't know each other, all wearing these wigs:
rainbow wig

or these fake muscle shirts:
Fake Muscle Shirt

Very bizarre.

And Yet, It Would Be Unlike Me Not To Find Some Fault With Last Night's Show

I think that there ought to be a Rotten Tomatoes type site that aggregates ratings for just every day things. People could provide short reviews of a given topic, and you could then come up with a collective "rating" for what the public opinion is of something. It would be interesting to see the issues, that despite the atmosphere of devisiveness in the country caused by politics, religion, the anonymity of the internet, people still agree on. The first thing that comes to mind to me would be babies crying on an airplane. This would likely get a very high rating. It would not be unanimously despised though, because there are still people out there who can empathize with the difficulty of travelling with a baby. The fact that this horrible, onerous social situation would likely only get a 80-90% disapproval rating makes the following item even more shocking to me. The one item that I am sure that every person would agree on, no matter who you are, is that advertisements in movie theatres before the movie starts are stupid and irritating.

A quick internet search turns up several essays by like minded people: One, Two, Three. That took thirty seconds. Reading these sites, the main themes seem to be that you paid for the main attraction, that the main attraction is what you are there to see and that it is unfair and discourteous to subject you to something unrelated that you likely have no interest in. This post specifically objected to theatres that were unwilling to specify at what time the actual main attraction would start, so that those who wished to avoid the unwelcome ads could do so. Pretty much, there isn't a single person out there who likes the idea of paying for something you want to see, only to be inevitably trapped in situation you don't want to be in while you are subjected to entertainment you don't like.

Swearing At Motorits opened for The Hold Steady
Swearing At Motorists know the difficult role of Opening Band


Which brings me to the subject of opening bands. If I could change one thing about the process of live concert attendence, it would be to have some sort of schedule posted ahead of time. It wouldn't have to be set in stone, but it could go a little like this:

-Doors open at 8:30
-Local Amatuerish Opening Band will go on from around 9:30 to 10:00
-Tour Partner who is likely here because of label politics from 10:30 to 11:15
-The only band you're interested in and the only one you would conceivably pay money for will start at around 11:45

Continue reading "And Yet, It Would Be Unlike Me Not To Find Some Fault With Last Night's Show" »

February 17, 2006

I Can Do That But I Don't Want To

chrisbliss.jpg
Juggler Chris Bliss

This guy Chris Bliss juggling to the triumphant finale suite of Abbey Road is probably the best interpretive juggling you will ever see, until somebody juggles cats to "Paradise By The Dashboard Light." What a great idea. I'm surprised that nobody has ever found out that Abbey Road "syncs up" with a movie a la Wizard of Oz/Dark Side of the Moon.

Link to amazing juggling footage: http://marketplace.espeakers.com/movie.php?sid=5290&aid=10558

Friday Charts - 2/17/06

Let's take a look at the Friday Charts to see what people are excited about this week. These are the most shared albums on a music site:

1. The Flaming Lips - At War With the Mystics
2. Secret Machines - Ten Silver Drops
3. Calexico - Garden Ruin
4. Granddaddy - Just LIke The Fambly Cat
5. The Strokes - First Impressions of Earth
6. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
7. Jack Johnson & Friends - Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies From The Film Curious George
8. Islands - Return To The Sea
9. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (Higher Quality)
10. The Knife - Silent Shout

As you can see, the highly anticipated new Flaming Lips album (as reported in last weeks charts, quickly soared to the top of the charts. While the album may not exactly live up to the rabid expectations, (Read my review), it is certainly understandable that the interest and anticipation for this album were there. The rest of the top ten remain similar to last weeks. The Islands album is a side project of the now defunct Unicorns, which for some reason has had a large amount of staying popularity on this site. The only other notable inclusion on the list is the The Knife's "Silent Shout." Here we see the power of a Pitchfork review. Based on the coveted "Best New Music" status conferred upon the album in this review published Monday, Pitchfork is able to make people with the same interest in Jack Johnson and the Arctic Monkeys take interest in a pretty bizarre techno album. One of these days, I feel Pitchform is due to pull an Emperor's New Clothes style scam, where they hype an album that one of their staffers recorded while taking a shit, and seeing how many people they can convince to buy into it. If anyone is fairly sure that this has already happened, let me know.

February 09, 2006

Found While Reading The Below Review at Allmusic.com

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I doubt either my son or daughter is that stupid...

The Best Review You Will Read All Day

If you can gues the album being reviewed by gushing allmusic.com reviewer Jo-Ann Greene, you are a better man than I. Your only clue is that it was released in the late 80s. Here are some of the choicest quotes from the review:

One of the most exciting albums released during a decade of artifice and extravagance...

The most unique, and instantly identifiable, beat/riff combination of the decade.

Even the four tracks that didn't make the singles cut could have, if MCA had the audacity to keep releasing them.

Never has music's past, present, and future been more exceptionally combined.

Click below for the answer....

Continue reading "The Best Review You Will Read All Day" »

Why This Crazy Guy Was A Big Deal

slystone.jpg

Sly Stone performed at the Grammys last night, his first public appearance in a really long time. This reclusiveness prompts this AP reporter to refer to him as "The JD Salinger of Funk," which is most hopefully a new trend in nicknaming, (The Ayn Rand of the Hood, etc.) After reading the article, many may wonder why this guy performing was a big deal, since his performance at the Grammys was regarded as lukewarm. Well, evidently, the performance almost did not happen as close as the week of the event. This LA Times article details the rehearsal, which makes Sly Stone sound more like the ODB of Funk.

Click to read more and see several videos of Sly & The Family Stone performances from their peak:

Continue reading "Why This Crazy Guy Was A Big Deal" »

February 08, 2006

Enjoying Your Downloaded Music More in San Diego

Or anywhere. There are a few things that you ought to know about music on their computer that seem to confuse or be unknown by a majority of people out there. These include how to get music off of an iPod and onto your computer, and how to actually make BitTorrent programs work. Below are my recomendations for both of these dilemmas

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