Friday, July 30, 2004


Super Furry Animals go apehouse for their upcoming greatest hits.

Jude Law might play Ian Curtis in movie.

"Leaving New York" will be the first single off the new R.E.M. album.

Hulkamania! Hogan's daughter is going to give you a pop-music piledriver, and Lou Pearlman's going to watch sweatily from the shadows, eating sloppy joes and touching himself inappropriately.

Black Cat happenings

?uestlove from The Roots spins on Friday, and "Run for Cover," which sounds like it could be great or an insanely self-indulgent night of scenester masturbation, is on Saturday. I'll let the Washington Post explain:

Last year's Run for Cover event at the Warehouse Next Door had an interesting concept: Members of Washington area rock bands formed supergroup-style tribute acts for the night, playing 10-minute sets dedicated to one band -- complete with costumes and all the necessary affectations. It was a blast, and there's another edition tonight on the Black Cat's main stage. The bands and members are a closely guarded secret, but we have it on good authority that you can expect to hear sets dedicated to such artists as Sonic Youth, Oasis, the Modern Lovers, Rush, the B-52s and even an all-female Van Halen. Doors open at 9:30.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

My obsession continues...

Finally, published one of my "sightings" from the DNC:

Report: Saw Cuba Gooding, Jr. during my lunch break at Atlantic Fish Company. When the waitress brought him his change, she asked him to "say it? Please?" He said "Show me the money!" and she gave him his change. He seemed very happy to be recognized.
By: Michael, Allston

It feels good. It really does.

Saturday, in the park, I think it was the fourth of July...

Good news for those of you who thought musical theater wasn't as sissy as it was in the good ol' days.

Why Can't I Be You?

Here's a story about the Curiosa Festival in the Philly City Paper. Not the strongest of premises (the bands opening are fans of the Cure? Grew up listening to them? No effing way...), but still moderately interesting.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

No retreat, baby, no surrender...

Kerry uses Springsteen's "No Surrender" for his entrance into Boston. Bravo.
"I just want to say Bruce Springsteen had it right. No retreat. No surrender," Kerry said after concluding a six-day cross-country trip to his hometown of Boston for the nomination and his nationally televised acceptance speech on Thursday.
Supposedly this is his campaign song, and this is old news, but it's news to me (I've heard otherwise that it's "I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty. Who knows? I'm no journalist). Maybe Bush can use "Downbound Train." uses a Wilco reference in a Dispatch from Fallujah.

To get political for a second, Edwards' speech tonight was good, but it didn't light any fires. Sharpton's, the bit I saw, was great. How did Sharpton turn from ready-made punchline into true-blue cheerleader? Barack Obama's speech from last night, that was pretty fantastic.

Wanna see my smilin' face on the cover of Rolling Stone

You've got to be fucking kidding me.

Prince had a quote in Entertainment Weekly a few months back: "It took me four albums to get on the cover of Rolling Stone. Now it takes new artists only one. There should be rules for that kind of thing!"

Yes. Yes there should. People are trying to stop gay marriage, and this stuff's going on? Where are our priorities?

More Celebrity Sightings in Boston

Half of these have to be jokes.

Reported: I saw Mayim Bialik and Jenna von Oy of Blossom shopping in Copley. Jenna had on a shirt that read: 11-2-04 The End of an Error. Mayim was covered in Kerry buttons. by: Chad, Boston

A Blossom reunion, perhaps? I may have just broken my fingers from crossing them with such force wishing that this could possibly happen.

Seacrest... Out!

So on the same day, Ashlee Simpson's album hits No. 1 and Ryan Seacrest's show gets cancelled. The world is remarkable in its ability to maintain balance. Crap goes out, more crap comes in to replace it. Ah, the circle of life.

A Change Is Gonna Come

The Boston Globe has a short article about politics and music. Everything ties into music these days. The Beaver County Times is working on an article about music and the future of crime-fighting robots.

Also, check out the Globe's rundown of celebrity sightings. Halfway down: Steven Seagal and Ralph Macchio? Fan-tastic. Who was the first one to reach for their wallet when it came time to pay for that meal? There's this uncomfortable moment when the check is placed between them, they both stare at it, then glance at each other... "Uh, I'm a running a little low, Ralph, but I'll get you back." And who submited the one about seeing "Jon Stewart walking with David Safaii (MTV producer)" on Newbury Street? David Safaii's dad? "Who's that walking with famed MTV producer David Safaii?"

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

I had a friend, he was a big baseball player back in high school...

Continuing its tradition of reaching to the point of shoulder dislocation,'s Page 3 is promising more articles about the "undeniable connection between sports and music." Sure, fine, whatever. I mean, you can make the connection between those two things and anything else; they're pretty big cultural touchstones. In the Kevin Bacon Game of life, they're like JFK and A Few Good Men. Myself, I think there's an undeniable connection between unchecked editorial control, too much money in the freelancing budget, and shitty content. But I'm not devoting a summer-long series to it. Anyway, here's their list of best and worst staudium songs, and a place to vote for your most and least favorite songs. My favorite? "Closer," by Nine Inch Nails (I like it when the Phillie Phanatic humps someone to it). Least favorite? That song they sing at the beginning, with the rocket's red glare? I mean, come on. Goddamn trite.

Starring Gwen Stefani as Crystal Bernard

The wait is over; the MTV Video Music Award nominee list has been announced and No Doubt got five nominations. This band, I am at once in awe of and frightened by its refusal to die; they're like the penicillin-resistant bacteria: "Amoxycillin? I eat this shit for breakfast. Bwa ha ha! Now, before I was so rudely interrupted, I was giving you runny poop." No Doubt is to music as "Wings" was to NBC's primetime schedule—it's like 1996, you're flipping channels, and all of a sudden, there's Tim Daly arguing with Steven Weber about being more responsible.  And you're like "What... the fuck? This is still on? Who watches this?" Precisely. I have a feeling the people who kept "Wings" on for 23 years and No Doubt fans run along the same Y axis of mediocrity.

And in case you hadn't heard it enough in commercials and from Jettas driven by sorority girls, Jet's going to perform everyone's favorite song of 2000, "Are You Gonna Be My Girl?"

Party at the mansion...

The Twilight Singers' new album, She Loves You, all cover songs, comes out August 24. Here's a track listing. Man, Hope Sandoval, Marvin Gaye, John Coltrane, and George Gershwin all on the same album; why does this sound like it could be a fiery wreck? But it won't, Dulli (almost) always pulls it out. So it's one month until Greg Dulli gently fucks our ear canal, then drops a $20 on the dresser on his way out.

There's bourbon on the breath/ of the singer you love so much...

Damn you, Boston and New York... Wilco dates announced in your fair hamlets, at Radio City Music Hall in New York and the Wang Center in Boston (hee hee... wang. Gets me every time).

Monday, July 26, 2004

Dents and Shells

New Richard Buckner album is called Dents and Shells, and according to the Merge website, will be available for pre-order on October 1.

The Slow Wonder

Short review for a short album:

The A.C. Newman album is a lot better than it should be; it's really the surprise of the summer for me right now (supplanting the old number one of how badly Beastie Boy Mike D. has aged; seriously, it makes me fear the passage of time) . It sounds like New Pornographers, of course, but without so much of the studio razzle-dazzle and A.C. doing every song. Not as great as Electric Version, but undeniably catchy as all get-out. High points: "Miracle Drug," "On the Table," and "The Town Halo." One problem: goddamn short. Thirty-three minutes? I mean, even Rivers Cuomo's like "that's one short album."

Sunday, July 25, 2004

The Popular Music

Washington Post story about Merge Records' 15th anniversary.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Ted v. Hil

Washington Post's take on the Ted Leo show... you have to look under the review of Peter Noone. Yes, Peter Noone of Herman's Hermit's . Thank God Mike Love and his broken shell of Beach Boys weren't in town or there would have been no room to even mention Ted. Also, a Hilary Duff review.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Everybody's working for the weekend...

If you ever wanted to hear what "120 Minutes" sounded like, circa '93 or so, come on down to the D.C. metro area...

Tonight: John Wesley Harding's All-Male Threesome (tee-hee), with JWH, Scott McCaughey, and some other guy at Iota, if you want to go out to Virginia. Agnostic Front at The State Theater.
Tomorrow: Fountains of Wayne and They Might Be Giants at Live on Penn.
The Lord's Day: Concrete Blonde at the 9:30.

Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?

Cliff notes for Donnie Darko, over at (nice touch with the reverse-countdown clock in the first line). I'm really looking forward to the director's cut. What do I want in the extra twenty minutes? More Swayze.

It's interesting, because the movie is so twisted. And there are things explained that make sense, like the shots of everyone sad in bed towards the end; but there are also things that are borderline ridiculous, like the "telekinesis" explanation offered up. But it's nice to know the creator of the Smurfs liked the explanation of the blue creatures' sexual organs, and to find out about all the extras on the website.

Merry Christmas, United Kingdom...

...You get an eight-date Pogues reunion. I don't know what we have to look forward to in the U.S. come December, but if it involves Aaron Neville, color me satisfied.

Deja Vu

How much more do I need? Bowie's Diamond Dogs was reissued as a 30th anniversary two-disc set, just like Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane before it. Is a remastered version of "Chant Of The Ever Circling Skeletal Family" a necessity for me? I bought the Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane reissues when they came out, but I didn't own them before. Ziggy Stardust in particular absolutely blew me away; I couldn't listen to it for a week after the first time I put it on; its sound was just so amazing, the album itself was better than I could have imagined. But Diamond Dogs I have, and to be honest, it doesn't do much for me. But I'm a sucker for reissues, especially with bonus tracks.

More future temptations (or wastes of cash): the Clash's London Calling is getting re-released as a two-disc set with a DVD; Rocket from the Crypt's Circa, Now! reissue is out now with four new songs (and photos of the band. Yes, that's right. New photos); and now Pavement's Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain is getting the two-disc treatment in October. I'm a huge fan of the two-disc sets that preserve the original album on one disc and put all the extra crap on another. I really didn't "get" Elvis Costello's My Aim Is True at first because I had a special edition with a bunch of b-sides and unreleased songs stuffed onto one disc along with the original album. This dilutes the flow of the album, makes it too long, and makes it hard to experience what brought people to love the album in the first place. (The Costello reissues are now two-disc sets.)

So far I've successfully avoided the Jawbreaker Dear You reissue. I've been strong so far; I think I can make it.

We were singing this song together and it sounded so good

I chose Ted Leo over Hilary Duff last night, and while there's a twinge of regret inside me, I can't say I made the wrong choice. Hearing the new songs at the Black Cat was a lot better than hearing them in some suburban shopping mall canyon in Silver Spring, bouncing off the Potbelly Sandwich Company and being swallowed up by the gigantic Pier One. Radio 4 was a lot better than the last time I saw them, but still, I'm not sold. It just gets relentless after a while, all the New York punk-dance beats, becoming indistinguishable by the end. Enough with the timbales and bongos! Their next single, "Party Crashers," was pretty sweet though.

So Ted Leo was great. "Hearts of Oak" is one of the only songs that can get me to swing my sad, formless hips. That song is the straw that stirs my drink. I wasn't sure how good the band would sound now that it's a three piece, including Ted, but it seems to make the songs rawer, angrier, more agitated. And it actually sounded good; the mix was just right. So hats off to you, Black Cat sound guy. The only thing that could have made the show better is all the scenesters and dumbasses shutting the fuck up. But for them to do that, we'd have to turn back time and give them more attention as infants. And when I do invent my time machine, I've got more pressing matters to attend to (number one: not letting Fregosi allow Mitch Williams to pitch to Joe Carter in the '93 World Series).

Anyway, looking forward to the new Ted album in October. Should be good.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Dance to the Underground

If you like to dance; take ecstacy bought in dingy, flourescent-lit bathrooms; and rub against glowstick-waving 19-year-olds with pig tails, and if you don't support this administration and its war, then my friends, I have your version of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory: United Beats for Peace. I'd go, but I can't say I fit all the prerequisites; I'm not much of a dancer (wink).

It's much like Sophie's choice...

Decision time for tonight: Ted Leo at the Black Cat... or Hilary Duff at the Patriot Center? Hmmm...

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Superchunk! You're number one!

Here's a story from Tuesday's Washington Post about annoying people at rock shows. And here's a forum on that was started in direct relation to said story. You know what they call that where I come from? Synergy. In South Carolina, you know what they call people who think that the confederate flag has no place flying above state capitals? Massachusetts fags. So it's all about local dialects. Fascinating.

You know who I can't stand at concerts? People who get offended when I happen to relax with a cool calming smoke whilst I enjoy a some Southern Comfort. Of course, by "at concerts," I mean "on the bus ride home." And by "Southern Comfort," I mean "hardcore pornography." Maybe it's just me (hint: it's not).

The Jumpoff

If you're in Boston, at least for this "convention" thing, The Jumpoff is going to feature Biz Markie, Jon Stewart, the Clintons, Rev. Al, Mission of Burma, X-ecutioners, Jerry Springer, and a whole bunch of other folks. Being in Boston, the odds are you'll seeing Chris Colbourn from Buffalo Tom, but I can't guarantee anything. Just... the odds are good. It's at Avalon on July 25.

What's Up, Matador?

Trying to appeal to a broader range of white folk, CNBC will see Yo La Tengo (August 5), and AC Newman (August 11) perform on John McEnroe's new show . And once they are done with their subtle melodies, they're going to get their poor hippie asses bussed back to Hoboken where they belong.

In other Matador news, supposedly Chan Marshall of Cat Power is changing her name to Afasm Msafa, her "old native american name, [meaning] Arrow From A Southern Moon." I would have gone with Dirk Steele, which doesn't so much "gay porn" as screams it from a mountaintop.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The World's Sexiest Vegetarian

Once again, I came in second. 
Andre 3000 'World's Sexiest Vegetarian'

But really, with a man as sexy smooth as 'Dre, how can one be a sore loser? There's always next year.

Desperado, why don't you come to your senses?

Are we sure it wasn't because she was covering "Desperado"? Who are these people? Why are they going to see Linda Rondstadt at a ghetto casino, then getting mad that she liked Fahrenhet 9/11? They're tearing down posters they're so mad. Amazing. What's incredible is that you know these people think a Michael Moore shout-out deserves an uprising of Sunday-brunch-buffet proportions, but leading a country into a fake war? That deserves a second term in office and a salute. Personally, I'd be more pissed if she dedicated her version of "After the Gold Rush" to Wayans family, and their brave efforts to get White Chicks into theaters. 

What's Goin' On?

Go to Ryan Adams' website. On the picture of the apple, there's a small brown spot on the upper right side. Sweep over it with your mouse and see what happens.
What is his story?

UPDATE: Missed your chance. He's now got tour dates and pre-sale information on there. So if you didn't get to see the Ryan-Adams-as-a-worm-smoking-a-joint animation, well, you're SOL.

Let the Idiot Speak, you never fail to amaze me.  I have to say,  comparing Wilco to Hootie is just goddamn ignorant. 

To a listener accustomed to Hootie and the Blowfish, Wilco sounds like the Minutemen—daring, allusive, funky, weird, and yet so right. To a listener accustomed to the Minutemen, Wilco sounds like Hootie and the Blowfish: classic rock for frat boys.

Lord knows how many frat parties I've been to where they've blasted "Ashes of American Flags." And really, is this the only guy who's ever heard the Minutemen? Tell me about this "punk rock" you are so fond of. It sounds exciting. You think there's some Venn Diagram out there, hidden from the world by a shadowy cult like the one sworn to defend the Holy Grail (if I'm to believe Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and I do), maybe in the deepest corners of the Pitchfork building, that shows an overlap between Minuteman and Wilco fans? Such a thing could not exist. And if it does, then God help us all.
I'm not going to make a case for Wilco being the best band ever. They're my current favorite, and they excite the hell out of me. Whether or not Jeff Tweedy leans on others for musical help, does not diminish the fact that he's a great songwriter. It's not Jeff Tweedy and the Wilco All-Stars. It's a band. Other people contribute to a band. But to say say that they're just average is missing the point. Like them, don't like them; just don't put together some sham article decrying their abilities. And then go back to listening to the Strokes.
I shouldn't get worked up. This is the same site that has an article called "What, Exactly, is Crunk?" for all you cultural anthropologists out there so interested in what those minorities are up to these days. Keeps them off the streets, right? 

Monday, July 19, 2004

Marched into the capital brooding duplicitous, wicked and able...

According to the Detroit Free Press (by way of R.E.M. is going to play a series of concerts to raise money for John Kerry. Sprinsteen, Mellencamp, and Dylan have also been mentioned, but R.E.M. seems to be the most concrete name out there.
There will be 6 to 10 shows in all, "likely including New York, Los Angeles and Cleveland," according to the paper, in addition to Detroit. Who wants to put money on whether or not any of these shows will be in DC?


I've been going nuthouse on the betterPropaganda site the last few days after reading a tip in an old Wednesday Morning Download article on Lots of great indie rock, hip hop, and electronica, and all free.

Hey glad girls, I only want to get you high...

Guided by Voices' farewell, The Electrifying Conculsion Tour (this is their official site? It's so ghetto, it's almost appropriate), has official dates. I saw GBV back in high school, Robert Pollard had a cooler of beer on stage and he must have gone through eight cans during the set. Of course, when I saw the Streets, they one-upped him by having bottles of brandy, complete with taps, attached to the drum set.  

Sunday, July 18, 2004

The work, the work, the working life...

A random thought: of all the Springsteen deep cuts, I'd nominate "Factory" as the deepest. I have no proof of this, really, but when I was listening to Darkness on the Edge of Town the other day, it's still the song that of any other Springsteen song, I think, what the hell? Don't get me wrong, it's a good song. Just... odd. And I can't put my finger on it. I guess the litmus test is, if I heard it on the radio, it's the song most likely to cause me to crash my car out of total shock that they're playing it.  Again, absolutely no proof.
And on a side note, I'm totally discounting the Lucky Town and Human Touch albums, because they just don't exist. Never heard of them.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Don't ask him for water, cause you'll sink like a ship...

Well, I fell for Mr. Adams' charms again. And I have the bruises to prove it.
I bought the Pixies' "Bam Thwok" on iTunes, and I decided I needed one more, following junkie logic. Just one more. So I got the Moroccan Role EP. Of course. It was an impulse buy, like when you bought the Cap'n Crunch Crunchberries that were all crunchberries, because, goddamn it, the Cap'n was away and someone had had screwed up at the factory, and this you needed to see.
So upon first listen:
"Ah, Life," sounds like early Stones or Beatles, back when they used to cover American rock songs in German bars. It barrels along like a loose cannon truck driver played by Paul Westerburg in a remake of Wages of Fear. (This, by the way, is a crackerjack idea. And I'm just giving it away. This is like the movie equivalent of the formula for Coke. You'll be printing your own money.) It goes along so fast and so loose that you barely have time to notice any flaws or bullshit. 
"I'm Coming Over" is both a threat and a promise. The chorus: "Nobody taught you how to cry." Come the hell on. If he's going to be pulling crap like that, then lock the door. Production sounds like crap too. Overproduced, ready to be used in the background of a climactic scene on "One Tree Hill" ("Is Lucas home... Oh. What are you doing here?").
"Don't Even Know Her Name" is a rambler like Heartbreaker's "To Be Young" and not even as good. Its intro reminds me vaguely of Buffalo Tom's cover of "Wah Wah." I think this is the song that fascinates me the most, even though I like "Ah Life" the best (it barely sticks around long enough for me to think differently). It seems to be on the verge of something great, but doesn't have the stones to go that extra bit. I think the problem overall, is that he doesn't even buy what he's selling. Heartbreaker is so amazing because he convinces you each and everytime, on songs like "Come Pick Me Up," that he's falling apart, that he's murdered. Anymore, the most I get out of him is that he wants to nail this take because he's meeting his friends later and they're going to talk about New York Dolls albums, because, you know, that's what we do in New York City, right? I came across a line off that first album, from "Don't Ask for the Water":
With her hands on her chest
and a book full of quotes
And isn't that what Ryan Adam's is doing? He's not letting anything out, and just quoting other artists. Oh, this is my Dylan song, this is my Replacements song, this is my Stones jam. It doesn't mean anything. If I wanted to here someone sound like a band I liked, I'd have gone to a lot more Strange as Angels shows in high school (Strange as Angels being the pre-eminant Cure cover band of the Philadelphia metro area. I think they still play at the Bent Elbow Tavern, God bless 'em).

Anyway, here, again, he gets lazy with the lyrics: "Oh, I saw her face/ Oh, I lost my place" is the last thing he leaves us with. May as well be "so long, suckers."
By the way, "Bam Thwok" is solid. I've heard people get down on the "Bam Thwok wakka-wakka" chorus, but really, does "crack crack, crackity jones" reveal to us anymore mysteries of the universe? Of course, this is a return, the first thing we've heard in about a decade, so a lot was expected from this; a furious testament to warped wisdom and circular logic, plumbing the depths of the psyche in 3 minutes of hip-shaking goodness, maybe. But I say it's all made up for by those Joey Santiago guitar lines, as identifiable as fingerprints on glass.

Friday, July 16, 2004

A Whiter Shade of Pale

So my iTunes cherry has been popped. This is going to be dangerous. I'm through the looking glass, and you know what? It feels good.
The first song I bought? Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale." That's right, it's a fantastic song. It sounds like prom night at Stoner Regional Vo-tech.

I'm trying to find iTunes exclusive songs and songs I like from albums I have no interest in buying. I know the Pixies' "Bam Thwok" is available on the site, but it scares me. R.E.M. has a 5-song soundcheck set up there, but damn it if I don't have enough R.E.M. live stuff. Then there's the Ryan Adams 3-song "Moroccan Hole" EP. But I'm ready to call some abuse hotline on Ryan Adams over our relationship. Everytime, since Heartbreaker, he's done me wrong. And I say, this is the last time, Ryan. But next thing I know, he's whispering in my ear, telling me it's alright, he's a changed man, he's going to take me to TGI Fridays for frozen mudslides and potato skins, and it's going to be like the old times. "Remember when you put 'Come Pick Me Up' on repeat and drank straight from the bottle of wine? That was a moment," he tells me. And I forget everything else. Then he does an interview in Rolling Stone about how he's going to release an album of spoken word comedy ("Very political, but very funny") with the drummer from the Strokes, and it's like "You fucking bastard..."
Whoo... anyway, where did that come from? Yeah, I like iTunes. I miss Napster and the dirty bootlegs I would find on there (PJ Harvey and Bjork doing "Satisfaction"? Sign me up), but in a world where punk rockers are doing ads saying illegal downloading isn't cool, I'll take what I can get.

Livin' La Vida Overstock

This is a hilarious story. What's the over/under on many copies of the Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton albums these libraries going to be saddled with in the next few years? 

Libraries Don't Want Ricky
Labels dump unwanted CDs as price fixing settlement

America's libraries: The record industry's personal landfill.
Personally, I have Martha Stewart Living: Spooky Scary Sounds for Halloween and it's not bad at all. Good album, couple of good tracks, and I know Joe Levy at Rolling Stone will agree with me. He said so on VH1's "I Love Halloween-Centered Albums". There's this one track with an owl, and by the end, without even noticing it, this werewolf howl has taken over the mix. It comes out of nowhere. Great stuff, Martha Stewart is the DJ Shadow of Halloween sounds. 

...With Sting as "Himself"

A big hand to you,  You actually managed to suck any fun out of the pinnacle of cheap movie fun: the celebrity cameo. It's always stupid, always an easy laugh, usually a good, if low-rent, time. So why write a whole article delving into the existentialism of what's basically a cheap joke? Snore.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Take Me Out

So Franz Ferdinand... I don't get it. I bought the album in April or May, buying into the hype. I read a few articles that said they lived up the hype, and for some reason I bought into that.
Full disclosure: I don't fully buy into the whole rock revival thing. There are a few bands I like, though almost despite myself. Hot or not? The Strokes: Not. Interpol: Hot. Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Hot. French Kicks: Not. Sometimes I'd just rather listen the Velvet Underground or Television or whatever band is being ripped off. I can't explain my affection for Interpol. They so blatently rip off Joy Division, and the first time I heard the album, I hated it. But the album grew on me; I have no good excuses.
The first time I heard the Franz Ferdinand album, I didn't like it at all. It sounded like a British version of the Strokes: kind of lazy, kind of catchy, with that singing style I hate. It's basically crooning. Notes aren't so much hit as slid into. So I put it away after one listen. And I kept reading how people liked it. A lot. So the other day I was on, in a music chat. I loved the Pernice Brothers, Long Winters, and New Pornographers albums last summer. I lived off those albums; they made me undeniably happy. Just a constant three-album rotation, with some Ted Leo and Hot Hot Heat thrown in. And this summer, nothing has come close. I like Wilco a lot, but it's not a constant roatation album. The Roots I'm just starting on now, but I don't know about its staying power. Actually, a lot of times I still thrown in The Long Winters' When I Pretend to Fall when I've worn out a new album. I asked the music critic for some recommednations, and he mentioned, along with a couple other suggestions: 
The Franz Ferdinand album is really fun, too. Band is better live, but still. 
So Franz Ferdinand: maybe I'm missing something. Maybe I have to go back. Maybe I didn't realize how great it was.
No, I was right.
It's just... yeah, the British Strokes. There's not a lot there, under the surface. It's got some catchy music, but nothing that moves me. Maybe I'm just cold. But nothing on this album moves me. It's so very twee, pretend witty, and yeah, cold. Like a tundra. There's absolutely nothing that makes you believe in this band, that exists behind the artiface to draw you any deeper. Now, I like Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, I like Rocket from the Crypt a lot. I'm not adverse to just going out and shaking my ass, having my hips appealed to more than my heart or head. But there's almost a low-rent "pedantic" (to, ironically, borrow a word from the Post writer, when he was talking about The Jam) nature to them, like they're studying passion and rhythm and ass-shaking, instead of diving headfirst into it. The more I think about it, it's probably the same problem I have with the Strokes: they seem numbed by some drug that makes them able to talk the talk but not walk the walk. Maybe Franz Ferdinand's problem is their numbing drug is being British, but without any intelligence. Blur and Pulp can be dispassionate and cold, but I think Damon and Jarvis are smart guys, and can turn a witty line. There's not too much witty in a line like "It's so much better on holiday/ So much better on holiday/ That's why we only work when/ We need the money." It feels haughty, it feels proud for no good reason. And it's just there. They could have repeated "box turtle" throughout the song and had the same effect. Lou Reed could pull it off because it was new and exciting when he did it, and even in his simple lyrics, he seemed to understand irony at the heart of it, not just because he knew the definition. There was a side of him that was pathetic, and he knew it.
And maybe this is why I like Interpol: while they rip off Joy Division, that kind of dread transcends, and it works on any level. Or maybe I'm just making excuses for a band I like for no explainable reason. I'm all aboard. Franz Ferdinand... I just can't ride that train.

New albums

Leonard Cohen's new album comes out on September 28 (a week after his 70th birthday! Seventy! At that age it'll be an achievement if I can go to the bathroom on my own, much less put out an album)  and Elliott Smith's final album comes out on October 19. (Come on. His final album? I'm betting Elliott's going to be like a mopier, whiter, less scary version of Tupac.)

Live Aid

A DVD of Live Aid is being released as a four-disc set in November.

Is that a picture of Bob Geldof circa now? Because he looks good.

"Tony Danza Promises Talk Show Bonanza"

So in Australia, someone buys a suitcase which turns out to be packed full of lost Beatles memorabilia. And in Paris, a handwritten copy of a Jacques Offenbach opera was unearthed. Both were tremendous, exciting discoveries of important cultural artifacts.

And thousands of miles away, but in a world much different:

Tony Danza Promises Talk Show Bonanza

Tony Danza on Monday promised television critics that his upcoming talk show will be lively and unpredictable.
It's nice to know someone found Tony Danza, too. Possibly sharing a two-bedroom with Judd Hirsch, maybe arguing over whose hair it is on the bar of soap in the shower. And his re-discovery led to one of the best headlines I've seen in a long time.

You walk cool, but darlin', can you walk the line...

Re: Early discussions of Springsteen being the coolest.
Thesis: Springsteen is the coolest.
Proof: Right here.

QED, Motherfucker. Q.E.D.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

No Limit... except the 12-man roster

Ah, it must be summer if Master P gets cut from an NBA Summer League team. You could set your watch to it.

To relive the better times in Master P's life, here's a video of him interviewing the cast and crew of Star Wars.

Everybody Famous

So Tommy Mottola signed Lindsay Lohan to a record contract. Anyone else not have a record contract yet? Anyone? Maybe she can tour with Cojo from "Entertainment Tonight" and the dog from "Frasier." Dear Lindsey, I look forward to hanging out with you. Signed, the Wicked Cheap section at Newbury Comics.

Justin Guarini's another guy whose CDs record companies had the balls to sell at $17 a pop. At least he's landed on his feet.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Storytime (In the Streets of Spies)

When I was in high school, I got turned on to Jawbox. I had heard their first two albums, and pretended to like them because the older kids I knew, my friends' brothers, liked them. So yeah, sure, Jawbow, woo! And I still remember, in one day, at a Sam Goody in the Willow Grove mall, I bought Jawbox's Savory EP and the Afghan Whigs' Gentlemen. Possibly still the greatest music-buying day of my life. Anyway, the EP blew me away. Four songs, two covers, the single from the album; a rock solid base line like a jail's foundation, two guitars circling each other, lyrics that made no sense except at some dreamtime level, and these drums... goddamn those drums. I have friends that play drums that used to dissect Zach Boracas' swirling drum beats; they were like whirlwinds of leaves blowing up in an empty parking lot. They were Euclidean geometry, the only time it made sense to me in its theory of controlled chaos. But I'm getting to purple. Jawbox is still one of my all-time favorite bands. Hearing about one of the members is like watching some special on baseball when Hank Aaron or Mike Schmidt or Ted Williams shows up and you are overwhelmed by this memory of joy from the heydays. For Your Own Special Sweetheart is still my second favorite album by far (beind Automatic for the People - come on, you want to deny that album? Peter had an easier time denying Jesus).

The main man of Jawbox, J. Robbins, went on to Burning Airlines. That left me cold. I saw his new band, Channels, play their second show, at the Warehouse Theater. It was sloppy, J. kept looking down at his guitar while singing. There were high points, but not cathedral-ceiling high like Jawbox. And now there's an MP3 of one of their songs on the J. Robbin's website, Storytime (In the Streets of Spies) (it's the third song, for you guys too lazy to look). It's good, it's got all the markings of a J. Robbins songs, but he needs a second guitar. That's where the magic lies. Well, we probably won't have Jawbox again, but we have this. It's kind of like looking at photos from you past when you should be going out and making new memories, but I'll take what I can get.

Bruce Springsteen and Kevin Arnold's Dad

I should take anything written on's Page 3 with a grain of salt (did they even need a Page 2?), and I don't want to overstate this, have to be fucking kidding me. They have a list of the "15 'coolest' celebrities" and my first clue to just walk away should have been the fact that coolest is in quotes. I'm not sure exactly why, but I think it has something to do with this sentence:

Just recently, I was groovin' to a band in New York 10 feet from the guy who played the dad in "The Wonder Years."

Which begs two important questions:

1) Should one accept judgements of cool from someone who is "grooving"—I'm sorry..."groovin'"—to a band?
2) What band brought together Dan Lauria and this guy? My guess is it wasn't the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. And I will place money on that. If I had to go with a genre, I think it would be a band that plays jazz featured on CDs you buy at Starbucks.

And did he approach the guy? Did they talk?
ESPN writer: Hey, how you doin'?
Dan Lauria: My wife's takin' pottery classes at the community college, my oldest son's an idiot, my daughter is livin' with some hippie in a VW bus (I think she's pregnant), and Kevin, he's asking me about sex. I just want to have a nice cold beer and watch Namath and the Jets. I hate the 60's.
ESPN writer: Uh... you know they cancelled The Wonder Years a while ago?
Dan Lauria: Go fuck yourself.

Anyway, Springsteen is 12th on this list. Twelfth. Who's number 11? Alex Rodriguez. Yeah, great baseball player, maybe the best shortstop ever, but he doesn't exactly ooze charisma like gravy from Star Jones' purse. (That's right, I made a cheap "Star Jones is fat" joke. All in my plan to bring her discount-shoe-selling, daytime-talk-show-having empire crumbling to the ground.) And 10th is Rebecca Romijn-Stamos. Because, according to the last line, "This gal is chill."

How can you put Springsteen 11th on a list where goddamn Derek Jeter is first? Maybe on the "clutch shortstop" list, but even that would come down to a tie-breaker, because I hear Bruce absolutely carries the Freehold beer league softball team he's on. He steps into the batter's box, tells the catcher "Don't you feel like you're a rider on a downbound train?" and lines a shot over the centerfielder's head. He then writes a song about it, gives it to Patti for her album, and passes out king-sized Rollos for Halloween, never giving any of this a second thought. The man is everything we want to become, a—and I can say this without shame—handsome man in his fifties, well-respected across multiple generations, well-spoken, talented, and surrounded in a luxurious home by a loving family. He runs around for 3 hours, singing his heart out, hanging upside down from a mic stand, grasping the audience in the palm of his hand. Me, I can't get the groceries into my apartment with using the elevator. Twice. He could turn us all into Manchurian candidates by the end of his set. "Thanks, hope you enjoyed that 20 minute version of 'Jungleland,' now go burn Dick Cheney's house to the ground." Yes Bruce. Whatever you say Bruce. "And buy a shirt on the way out. My son's talking about going to an Ivy League school."

It's getting to be ri-goddamn-diculous that Bruce comes in 11th on a cool list, behind Brad Pitt, Charlize Theron (I don't care how many songs were written about her on the last Third Eye Blind album. It's Third Eye Blind. I wrote 20 songs about my high school girlfriend, and she's not on the list), and Tobey Maguire. I really don't care if you write for the 3rd or 26th Page on, there has to be some rule about being a dope. And saying "groovin'" when talking about watching a band.

The cure for insomnia...

Why is it appropriate that the musical guests on Carson Daly's show this week include Lit and Uncle Kracker? This is the entertainment equivalent of the Olive Garden.

I'm like Aquaman and Brown Hornet/ I'm like Imhotep but don't flaunt it

It's kind of silly that the "hometown paper" says "You Got Me" was off of "1999's Phrenology," when the song is on Things Fall Apart and Phrenology came out in 2002 (and the next line should have been a hint for the editor to do some fact checking). I mean, the Roots are kind of a Philly hometown pride thing, and it's like the Inky is just hearing about them now. Anyway, beyond me being nitpicky, it's a good article, with some interesting behind-the-scenes, creative-process stuff in there. Like with any band I'm a big fan of, I'm worried and excited about the new album. But the more I hear "Don't Say Nuthin'" the more I like it.

Not just for shut-ins with overactive imaginations anymore...

There's a really great article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine this weekend about the "new" graphic novel movement (you need to sign up to access it). I don't read too many, but I do have a warm spot in my heart for straight-up comic books (they kept me off the streets, and of course, kept me away from all those loose suburban girls) and I've kind of kept up to date on these newer ones. Reading this makes me wonder if I'm missing a lot of good stuff.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

John Kerry vs. an Adorable but Flatulent Dog

Should I feel like a dick because I sat down to watch TV tonight and I had a real hard time deciding between the Kerry/Edwards interview on "60 Minutes" and "America's Funniest Home Videos"? Because, I know I'm voting for the Johns, but have I decided between the dog burping and the baby sleeping in the oven for the big cash prize? I can't say I have, because they both have a lot to offer in their own way. (I think I'm leaning towards the dog, because babies are so fucking arrogant.)

But he is easy like a Sunday morning, I will give him that...

I'm not a big fan of the show, but I caught the intro to The Simple Life tonight (it was on after Arrested Development which is fan-fucking-tastic). So, I agree that she's a "party girl," and that Nicole Ritchie is the daughter of Lionel, but can he be called, legally, "superstar" Lionel Ritchie? Isn't there some sort of shelf-life on these types of superlatives? We don't call Elizabeth Taylor a sex symbol; we don't refer to Jay Leno as a "funnyman." I'm just asking for an end to the madness.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Motherfuckin' Yossi with those goddamn muffins...

I'm listening to the new Beastie Boys, and it's good stuff. I mean, the single is probably, on the surface, the best song. It's the most ass-shaking, it has the best music, so on and so on. Definitely the mix tape song. What I might like most about the CD is the layout, which sounds real stupid, but there it is. The lyrics are littered with editor's notes and footnotes explaining references and questioning rhymes (ex. "I'm like the beach at the Bahamas make you feel alright [Editor's note: I love the Bahamas]"). Or:

1 This is the same Blimpies where Matthew Allison threw his Blimpie at the man behind the counter. [Editor's note: why?] Because the man wouldn't give him extra lettuce.

Cracks me up, for no good reason.

I've never been a huge Beasties fan, but everytime I hear "Intergalactic" I think about hearing it in a van on a dirt road in England. So I got that. (I should really pick up Hello, Nasty.) And of course, I loved "Sabotage" and a lot of Ill Communication, but thought that album was a bit long. I really don't know if I've listened to the whole thing in one sitting. And Paul's Boutique is alright, but it's not as groundbreaking for me as for others; it's like getting to a great party too late. So that's my full disclosure. But this album actually sounds short by comparison. And already too much has been made about how this is the Anti-Bush album. I mean, it's in there, but goddamn if music writers and critics don't grab onto one thing and make that the story of the album, obscuring everything else (see the drone on Wilco's "Less Than You Think"). The music's a lot less show-offy than I expected, too, almost dark in some places, but I guess when you're talking about the Beasties, dark is a relative term (it's not like when Blink-182 awkwardly shifts from jerk-off jokes to songs about suicide. That's like watching an ape drive stick). Anyway...

Best Songs: "Ch-Check It Out," "Crawlspace" (almost left off the album according to the editor's notes), "Who Got The"
Scariest Thing: Mike D's neck

Friday, July 09, 2004

I've entered a game of pricks with knives in the back of me...

Barsuk's released the tracklisting for future soundtrack of america (their lack of capitalization, not mine). I'm not big on Jimmy Eat World, but is that a Guided by Voices cover?

OK Go : This Will Be Our Year
David Byrne : Ain't Got So Far To Go
Jimmy Eat World : Game of Pricks (BBC evening session)
Death Cab For Cutie : This Temporary Life
Blink-182 : I Miss You (James Guthrie mix)
Mike Doughty : Move On
Ben Kweller : Jerry Falwell Destroyed the Earth
Sleater-Kinney : Off With Your Head
R.E.M. : Final Straw (MoveOn mix)
Bright Eyes : Going for the Gold (live)
The Long Winters : The Commander Thinks Aloud (future mix) of The Black Eyed Peas : Money
They Might Be Giants : Tippecanoe And Tyler Too
Clem Snide : The Ballad of David Icke
Yeah Yeah Yeahs : Date With the Night (live)
Fountains of Wayne : Everything's Ruined (acoustic)
Nada Surf : Your Legs Grow
The Flaming Lips : Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (live on the BBC)
Old 97's : Northern Line
Laura Cantrell : Sam Stone
Tom Waits : Day After Tomorrow
Elliott Smith : A Distorted Reality Is Now A Necessity To Be Free

Thursday, July 08, 2004

The question is...

...will this be as good as Crazy from the Heat?

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

He's blind AND he's throwing up!

I think, up there with Wet Hot American Summer and Richard Buckner's Since, one of the truly underappreciated pieces of modern genius is the art of Sam Henderson. Sam does the Magic Whistle comics, which I was introduced to back during my first year out of college, living in hot, sweaty Boston. A few of my friends and I had actually driven out to a show of his in Somerville, and you know what? I should have strapped on a set and bought one of his drawings. His work is just indescribably funny in a third-grade sort of way. My own comic stylings owe a huge debt of gratitude to this guy, like Cathy owes a huge debt to the racist napkin scribblings of a young Strom Thurmond. If anyone's looking for a birthday present for their girlfriend, or me, a lot of Sam's artwork is for sale here. Warning: there are a lot of ass jokes. And if you don't like ass jokes, then you are Log Cabin Republican.

Has Anyone Else Read Dear Mr. Henshaw? That Shit is Deep.

Like all great writers, I tend to be more effective with a few drinks in me. Charles Bukowski, Ernest Hemingway... uh... Beverly Cleary. Sometimes it helps to loosen the bowels of creativity (nice). So it's great that I finally have my own personal computer and don't have to rely solely on my work PC for my writing, because it started to feel wierd drinking at work. Well, not that wierd...

So a toast to the people at Dell, Allagash White, and Henry Huggins, wherever you are.

What a waste of gunpowder and sky...

I'm falling asleep on the job. Three days ago I could have written about Fourth of July songs, like Springsteen's "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" and "Independence Day." I'm not as quick as Wayne Brady, I guess. I'll have to mark my calender so I remember to write about the great Labor Day songs, like James Taylor's "It's Labor Day (Let's Rent a Beach House)" and Uncle Kracker's "Everyday is Labor Day to Me."

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Kim Gordon and the Captain Jack Hand Cream

The new Sonic Youth's treating me well. But is it just me, or is that guitar line in "Dripping Dream" lifted from Billy Joel's "You May Be Right"? It creeps me out. And I can't be the first one to notice this.

On the Sonic Youth site, it says:

Describing the record, the band has asked listeners to imagine "Bare Trees" era Fleetwood Mac jamming with "Jealous Again" era Black Flag

And you know what? It helps. It really does.

Tom Tomorrow

This Modern World is always filled with adequaciousness.

The princess phone's been quiet

Well, it took them 4 months, but Superchunk finally updated the news section on their website to tell the world that their new Clambake bootleg is coming out. The clambake series is kind of like the Dylan bootleg series, except ghetto and in no way historically valuable. But I'm a sucker for the 'Chunk.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Dr. Giggles

What happened to the American Movie Classics channel? I mean, Dr. Giggles? Sure, it's the best movie with Larry Drake playing a murderous dentist, but a movie classic? It's like they played every other movie known to man, looked around at what they had left, and said "Well, that's it. It's Giggles time. Consider the doctor in."

Friday, July 02, 2004

I awakened to the cry/ that people have the power/ to redeem the works of fools

Federal Marriage Amendment? To quote the vice president, "Go fuck yourself."

Future Soundtrack for America

I read something about this a few weeks ago in Spin and took notice of it because of R.E.M.'s involvement, but hadn't heard anything since. According to Billboard (by way of the album, on Barsuk Records (get the last Long Winters album) should arrive August 10, and proceeds will go to and other progressive political groups. They Might Be Giants (whose John Flansburgh organized the album), R.E.M., Death Cab for Cutie, and Tom Waits all have songs, but only They Might Be Giants' has been revealed. (Message board talk on have said R.E.M.'s song will be "Final Straw," which they posted on their website months ago, and really, wasn't anything special.) I'm not blown away by the bands involved, but it's a good cause and you get a shiny new CD.

Also, Tom Waits has a new one coming out in October, Real Gone. So if you're keeping score, we can look forward to new R.E.M., Ted Leo, and Waits that month.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Tommy Stinson

Some part of me believes that no matter how bad things are in life or how depressed I get, if ex-Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson is alright, if he's still out there fighting the good fight, then things are alright with the world. I don't feel this way about Westerberg. Chris Mars? Nope. Slim Dunlap I like, but only because of his name (that's an H-O-T name). But Tommy, he's a different animal. According to his website, he's got a new album coming out, he's still in Guns 'N' Roses, and Chinese Democracy is coming out (sure, whatever). I have no plans to buy his album, and Chinese Democracy? I think we're all Axl Rose's stood-up prom dates at this point. But the fact that Tommy is still working, it honestly makes me feel that things are going fine...

Lucky Boston bastards...

D.C. gets Clay Aiken, you get Diamond Dave.

June Bug vs. Hurricane

Just announced: Lucinda Williams at the 9:30 Club, 25 bucks, August 14. And according to her website, she's got a live double album coming out on September 14th. So we're just going to be knee deep in Lucinda at the end of the summer, which is fine by me. It should be noted that A.C. Newman of the New Pornographers is playing the same night at the Black Cat, which makes for a pretty kick ass night out.

A Grand Don't Come For Free

The Streets/Dizzee Rascal show is sold out, and for once, I have tickets. Thank God; I wasn't even thinking it was going to sell out, but I guess D.C. is ravenous for the English hip-hop. (What is the crowd going to be like? Lots of backpacks?) Unfortunately, I'm going to miss the Ted Leo/Evens show at Fort Reno. I really believed I could have caught both, but I figure, hey, I saw Ted a few weeks ago, and he's playing the Black Cat in the next few weeks. It's not like I haven't seen him enough. And Ian MacKaye, it's not like he's going anywhere...

Let me take your hand, I'm shaking like milk...

There's a good article in Rolling Stone online (I don't know, it might be in the magazine too, but I don't read it much anymore) about the Cure, where Robert Smith goes back and talks a little about each album. I have to say, I'm a complete sucker for stuff like this, where all the hack music writer bullshit is swept away and the artists speaks for him or herself. I don't know how much of it is eye-opening, but I will say I never pictured Robert Smith as a bee drinker. Maybe red wine in a goblet, but not beer. And this comment alone, is worth the price of admission (even though it's free):

With "Love Cats," I suggested that we were going to do something that's kind of like a Disney take on jazz, based around the Aristocats.

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