Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Black out the windows/ it's party time...

Twilight Singers are playing three October dates in Philly, NYC, and Boston to strut their new album. Check out their redesigned site.

I can't do this all on my own...

Tonight. 9:25. Season premiere of "Scrubs". One of the best shows on TV. It's a whole lot funnier than the Republican Convention. Plus, I mean, don't we all owe it to Zach Braff after Garden State? And especially for opening our eyes to Frou Frou's "Let Go," which played over the last scene and the credits...

Art avenger, let's start the adventure...

Who knew Del tha Funky Homosapien was a character in ESPN's NBA 2K5 video game? Anyway, ESPN Videogames sponsoring the Cali Comm tour, with Del headlining.

The heart of enemy territory...

A little help for the Republicans this week; good luck finding those Applebees.

With millions of colors reflected in daylight/ right on the kickdrum/ turning the sound up on...

Here's a good show: Interpol and Secret Machines are touring together this fall. There's a partial itinerary on the Matador Records site, and the whole tour is listed on Interpol's goddamn infuriating site.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Beat Basement

Another great online radio station, this one for hip-hop. See? I'm diverse. I like the hip-hop. I'm "down" with it.

Sunday Reading, A Day Late

Philly Inquirer calls the new Jill Scott "a classic." But that might just be hometown pride.

New York Times talks up the new Bjork album, Medulla. The Times Online gives it 5 stars.

A little off-subject, but the Guardian has an article about Mackenzie Crook, who played Gareth Keenan on The Office.

NME.com has a rundown of the MTV Video Music Awards.

The Washington Post covered the D.C. National Rock Paper Scissors tournament.

Partisan hi-larity via Wonkette.com: Cheerleaders for Truth, Swift Yacht Vets, and Pleasure Boat Captains for Truth.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

And the radio is in the hands / of such a lot of fools/ Tryin' to anesthetize they way that you feel...

There's a great online indie radio station on SomaFM. I've heard some Guided by Voices, Superchunk, an almost disturbing amount of Modest Mouse for some reason, some bands I hadn't listened to before, and perhaps the song with the best title I've heard in a long time, Minus the Bears' "I Lost All My Money at the Cock Fights" (replacing my old number one, Guided by Voices' "Running off with the Fun City Girls").

Allston Rock City

The Boston Globe has an article about my former address, Allston Rock City, and how it's getting back that rock and roll aura it's been missing. Ah, Allston... Good times, good times...

If you can't afford a broken nose/ how can you afford to fight?

I've heard the new Ted Leo. The worst thing I can say about it is it's not Hearts of Oak. If this album just appeared without a history attached, I'd think it was fantastic. But Hearts was by far my favorite album last year, and it'll probably end up one of my favorite albums of all time. Shake the Sheets has its own sound; it's not the hip-shakin' good time of the last album, but it's still great. More politically active, angrier, more diverse in its sound.

A few days ago I heard a song that I couldn't place and it was driving me nuts. I knew it, just couldn't place it. Was it the Strokes? Interpol? I really couldn't tell, and it could have been either. Then I realized I was listening to the intro of "Take Me Out" by Franz Ferdinand. And I have that album; I've listened to it fairly recently. But it just sounded like all those other bands, however you want to categorize them. Any band is going to have influences, and may wear them on their sleeve. The Stones had American soul and blues bands; Springsteen wrote "Born to Run" as an epic Roy Orbison song. Rarely, if ever, do bands just appear out of the ether; no matter how good, they're standing on the shoulders of giants. The trick is to make those influences into something new. And you can listen to Ted and hear any amount of influences: the Clash, Gang of Four, Thin Lizzy, early '80s pop-metal, the Jam. The list really does extend beyond my knowledge and my patience. But he makes it all his own. God bless him for it.

One song does sound like something else: it's the next to last song (at least on the version I got; Lookout has it listed as the last song), "Walking to Do". It's got this amazing call and response ending. Anyway, it sounds like another song and it's right there; it's like having a word on the tip of your tongue. Frustrating.

I don't know why he doesn't get the hype the other bands do, but it reminds me of an article I read in the Guardian a few weeks ago, that I linked to (and I'm too lazy to go back and find). I guess Lookout just doesn't have PR machine working like other labels do. Ah well.

It comes out October 19. Here are people smart than I reviewing "Me and Mia". You can download it from Lookout Records. I might right more in-depth about it later, as it sinks in. For right now, I haven't stopped listening to it, and it grows on me more every time.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Defend Johnny Cash!

Of course the Republicans wait until after Johnny Cash died to pay their respects, because nothing's more important to them than a little cold hard cash. So the GOP is holding an auction to pay tribute to the man in black with an auction at Sotheby's. Because nothing pays tribute to a man who once played prisons than an auction of his stuff at an elite auction house. Word is they're still looking for a woman's shelter for their Ike Turner celebrity roast. Here's a site looking to stir up trouble.

Rock Paper Scissors

If you're in the DC area tonight, and you want to put your hands to better use than self-love, then DC 9 is hosting the DC National Rock Paper Scissors Tournament. First place is $1000 and and XM Satellite Radio; all you usually get out of self-love is a mess to clean up and a deeply Catholic sense of shame.

Rolling with the Stone

An article about the new Tom Waits album in Rolling Stone. An instructional dance song? Really, can anyone outdo the electric slide?

As a side note, compare Rolling Stone's review of the new Steve Earle album ("one of the year's best albums") to the Washington Post's review ("a good album that could have been a great one").

And as long as I'm just coasting on the fumes of Rolling Stone's editorial content, here's something about the Freaks & Geeks soundtrack, coming out a few years too late, on September 14.

Friday, August 27, 2004

He couldn't get arrested in Hollywood, so he came out to D.C.

Getting arrested in front of the Sudanese Embassy is the new black in D.C. I guess Danny feels like he's got to make up for Gone Fishin'. I wonder if Joe Pesci somehow got him into this mess, or if when he was arrested he wearily muttered "I'm gettin' too old for this shit..."

Around the Sun

So it looks like the cover art for the new R.E.M. album has been leaked. The band seems to be popping its cherry left and right; the name of the album is taken from a song on the album (a first) and the cover art, however blurry, is all of the members (another first).

All is full of love...

Bjork listening parties, courtesy of Filter:

8/25 New York, NY @ Piano's Upstairs Lounge
8/25 Chicago, IL - Panic! @ Smart Bar
8/26 San Diego, CA @ Yeah!
8/27 San Francisco, CA @ Mixed Elements
8/27 San Diego, CA - Vice Versa @ Recognize
8/27 Denver, CO - Lipgloss @ La Rumba
8/27 Miami, FL - Revolver @ Soho Lounge
8/28 Las Vegas, NV - Rawkerz
8/28 Boston, MA @ The Plan
8/31 Sacramento, CA - Lipstick @ Old Ironside's
9/1 West Palm Beach, FL - Wormhole @ The Lounge
9/4 West Palm Beach, FL - Popscene @ Respectable Street
9/3 Chicago, IL @ Berlin
9/3 Honolulu, HI - Rebel Rebel

and i realize/ that i hate the sound of guitars/ a thousand grudging young millionaires...

In an act of kismet the size of which might be termed "biblical," Pitchfork.com reviews the first volume of the Fugazi Live Series, while Reuters reviews Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

On the funny pages

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you the devolving of Dennis the Menace cartoonist Hank Ketcham into a dirty old man, parts one and two. He's turning into the Benny Hill of the funny pages.

And while I'm on the subject of comics, and I meant to link to this a while ago, here's the least action-packed Spider-Man strip you'll ever see. (I can't make it link directly, so make sure to pull up the comic from Wednesday, August 11, 2004.) The guy can lift a dumptruck over his head, but he can't stay up late? Pussyman is more like it.

One last funny pages-related thing. I'm begging the crossword puzzle creators and editors of the world: stop using the clue "Start of a Dave Barry quip." Every damn week I feel like I'm trying to figure out this guy's wacky take on marriage or messy kids.

I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now...

Bob Dylan: author. This is going to be bigger than Garfield: Survival of the Fattest: His 40th Book.

School's out forever, Alice...

Alice Cooper was in the Washington Post yesterday, talking about the musicians that have united against Bush:

"To me, that's treason. I call it treason against rock-and-roll, because rock is the antithesis of politics. Rock should never be in bed with politics."

He's right. Rock should really be about starring in commercials for Staples and shilling for golf clubs. It should be about maintaining your 4 handicap or making sure there are enough ingredients for "The Big Unit" sandwich at Alice Cooper'stown. Cause that's the dangerous rock lifestyle we expect. Not this politics crap. We should all listen to what Alice has to say about music, as opposed to some fly-by-night, gimmick "artist" like Springsteen. Anyway, before telling the assembled reporters, hanging on ever word, to "watch this drive," he went on to say:
"When I read the list of people who are supporting Kerry, if I wasn't already a Bush supporter, I would have immediately switched. Linda Ronstadt? Don Henley? Geez, that's a good reason right there to vote for Bush."

Good a reason as any, I guess. Better than any I've heard. But what about the people rockin' out for Bush? Brooks and Dunn. Lee Ann Womack. Christian rock band Third Day. A better lineup you couldn't find at any state fair, I do declare.

Snore. See what the Philly Inquirer has to say about the mix of politics and music.

Anyway, I guess Alice will ignore Bob Dylan's whole catalog, or Creedence Clearwater Revival's goddamn fantastic "Fortunate Son" or any number of songs that deal with politics either on a literal or metaphorical level. I guess you don't worry about that stuff when you're too busy trying to hit your cue to pick up the albino snake from the roadie and show it to the audience.

In spite of my fear of suffering the wrath of Alice for dangerously trying to intermingle politics and music like it was golf and aging shock-rock icons, Concerts for Change (this is their third name, since beginning as Concerts for Kerry is finally coming to D.C. One show (alright, more of a happy hour) is on August 29, the other is September 2.

I would measure the success of a night by the way by the way by the amount of piss and seed I could exude over the columns that nestled the P.A.

If you're a fan at all of Patti Smith, you should subscribe to her mailing list. She sends out a weekly email update, and boy, it can be a good read. Here's some of what I got today.
i got to get back to work. i am researching the late,
great walt kelly, creator of pogo. he is next on my list.
i forgot to mention that a sparrow shat on my head
in ventura. i have been well assured this is very good
luck. so i share my good luck to all. now i must mosey
on. i got to get my clothes out of the sink and hang
them in the sun.

This is what makes her a great writer: so much info in such concise language. Can't wait to see what she has to say about Pogo.

Under the Table and Dreaming...

Good for Dave Matthews eliminating the middleman. This is much more direct; he could have just put out another shitty album. This is almost post-modern in its existential view of the relationship between artist and audience. Dave Matthews is the new Gwar. Next week, the touring members of the last American Idol season are going to give Dirty Sanchezes to teenagers in a burn ward in Pittsburgh.

Get yer hands off of my woman, motherfucker...

I don't, how do you say... understand?... this review. But the point seems to be, Ben Folds covers the Darkness, which is either extremely cool, or completely redundant.

And the last known survivor/ stalks his prey in the night/ and his fortune must always be...

Eye of the Tiger! To be honest, I think most of us are looking for that tape. Or if not actively searching, hoping it pops up on Maximum Exposure late one Sunday night. It's like the Paris Hilton tape of animal attacks.

Lying on the floor, I've come undone...

Uh oh, Weezer fans: stuff like this never turns out well. See you in 2009, River! Have fun at Harvard!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Shake the Sheets

Here's the cover art for the new Ted Leo. It's pathetic; he's really trying to sell out for that coveted communist demographic. You're no better than Arby's now, Ted.

Kicking the Heart Out

The free download on iTunes is Rogue Wave's "Kicking the Heart Out," and it's a pretty catchy little piece of cotton candy. And it you want to fill that Rogue Wave void that you've noticed growing in your heart like a tumor, they have another song for download over at betterPropaganda. If this keeps up, you can piece together a Frankenstein version of Out of the Shadow in no time.

Also on iTunes, R.E.M.'s "Leaving New York" is up for sale. I'm still not impressed; I'll just stream it off their website if I feel the need to hear it.

This is what they mean by a short list?

They nominate 73 albums, and not one of them is Have Love Will Travel? I think this list is short... by one! I guess it's true what they say: the music industry is all about politics... and people fucking hate Dan Ackroyd.

Coming to a district court near you...

This tour is a travelling lawsuit. Who thought this was a great idea to loose this upon the world?

Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge

Mudhoney's still around? God bless 'em. Anyway, Mark Arm brushes the cobwebs off "Touch Me, I'm Sick" to rock against Bush in Seattle, along with some other Northwestern all-stars. Sorry, but Citizen Dick isn't involved.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

I go through all this/ before you wake up...

So I couldn't wait and I downloaded the Twilight Singer's cover of "Hyperballad". It's treating me real nice. It reminds me of the Whigs' cover of "Lost in the Supermarket" on the Clash tribute, where it was almost a mix of "Supermarket" and "Train in Vain". This sounds like a hybrid of Queen's "Under Pressure" and "Hyperballad". There's something about when Dulli gets his hands on a song; he really does make it his, adds his swagger. And you have to love him using the Bjork pronounciation of "the" in the first verse: "... from the top of zuh mountain..."

Water, once again, finds its own level...

You would have heard about this too if you'd been smart enough to set your CNN e-mail alerts to "Keenan Ivory Wayans".

Biscuits for Smut

I noticed this little bit of news on RollingStone.com:

HELMET have moved back the release of their latest album, Size Matters to October 5th because of singer PAGE HAMILTON's collar bone injury. The band also had to rearrange its fall tour . . .

Moved back from when? 1997? I remember when they came out with Meantime came out, they were supposed to be the king shits; Page Hamilton was supposed to be a musical genius. Then, nothing. I remember the follow-up, Betty, sounding interesting but going nowhere. A few weeks ago, "Unsung" popped into my head, and I'd been meaning to listen to the CD. I wondered what happened to them. Now we know: the old injured collar bone excuse.

Lost in the supermarket...

Thanks, Clive. You know what would be even better than making record shopping fun? Making it less expensive. Not shoving shit down our throats. Just a thought. You know, a lot of companies don't necessarily have fun stores, but people still shop there. Maybe it's the product people are getting tired of. Because if you're shopping for music, that in itself should be... fun? Maybe it's just me; I'm from simple folk.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Wherever you go/ I can follow/ the path of destruction/ you leave like crumbs...

Review of the Twilight Singers' She Loves You, which comes out today, on RollingStone.com.
Twilight Singers She Loves You (One Little Indian)

Greg Dulli takes pride that the Shortstop, the bar in Los Angeles he co-owns with friends, has the city's best jukebox. This covers CD shows why. Dulli and mates, including Mark Lanegan on several songs, offer their interpretations of artists from Bjork and Fleetwood Mac to Marvin Gaye and Nina Simone. The album opens with a surprisingly tender version of "Feeling of Gaze," a song from Hope Sandoval's unheralded Bavarian Fruit Bread album of 2001. Dulli regains the swagger fans have come to expect of him on a street-fighting rendition of Martina Topley-Bird's "Too Tough to Die." Though Dulli shows real love for the originals, the band also turns the songs inside out, twisting Bjork's "Hyperballad" into an intoxicating pop/rock anthem and infusing Mary J. Blige's "Real Love" with a Seventies rock strut. It all comes together on Simone's "Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair," which is transformed into a sweaty howling wail of desperation, love and horniness. (STEVE BALTIN)

Hold me now/ don't start shakin'...

The New York Times had an article about the Polyphonic Spree on Sunday, and they explain it better than I can, because, well, they are the New York Times, and I am dumb. I mean, I didn't buy the weapons of mass destruction shenanigans wholeheartedly like the Times, but still...

This Friday, catch the Spree on Letterman.

Saturday, August 21, 2004


Haylie Duff and Paris Hilton fighting over the same song? This must be some song. Lord, I hope the Union can survive this. I haven't been this worried since Gallagher and Yakov Smirnoff got into a knife fight over an airline food joke.

Friday, August 20, 2004

I Am The World Trade Center

I appreciate people who are ballsy in their life. I am, for the most part, not. I have never followed any muse, and I sort of rode the fence between "living my life" and "giving into the man." I never truly "sold out," but I was never all that happy and I never made that much coin either. So I sort of rode the fence called mediocrity. And I tamed that bitch; I have a belt buckle for keeping my balance on that gallant steed for more than 8 seconds. I think it's been 5 years now.

Anyway, things like Sweet Relief break my heart and earn my respect, because here are people that follow their muse and take a huge risk, that try and create something beautiful and worthwhile, and get slapped in the face by whatever you want to call it: destiny, bad luck, God, karma, whatever. I don't know if I Am The World Trade Center will ever get a grand album dedicated to them with contribution from Lou Reed, R.E.M., Pearl Jam, etc., or what, but their story really grabs me. Amy Dykes was hit with Hodgkins Lymphoma while on tour, and you can tell from the website (it may take a little digging; it's a beautiful site, but not the greatest to link to) that it hasn't been the easiest road to travel. I had a friend pass away from cancer, and I know how tough it is to deal with, insurance or not. I've had it hoit closer to home, in my family. So check out her story, maybe give a little love or find a way to support these musicians somehow. I think anyone who loves music harbors that secret fantasy of going on stage night after night to play something that you love, to find connection. And to have that dream cut down, and to not have the support, monetarily, of any of these HMO bandits, is goddamn heartbreaking to me. So here's a little pithy shout out to her and all of her ilk.

Anyway, let's keep things light. Here's the Cincinnati Post's review of Benji: Off the Leash.

Kevin heard it on the radio/ New form of word of mouth...

R.E.M. has announced the openers for their upcoming tour. Honestly, I know nothing about these guys. Not a lick. The closest I've come to their music is seeing a Charlie Mars CD and thinking "Isn't that the drummer from the Replacements (nope, Chris Mars). I saw R.E.M. finally, for the first time, in Hartford my freshman year of college. Radiohead opened and it was their last show on the tour; R.E.M. and their crew brought out a cake after their last song to thank them. I remember I hated Radiohead's first album and actually tried to show up late to miss them, but I was there for their set and it was amazing. The Bends had just come out, and I had to get it after seeing them; it's still one of my favorite albums. Wilco's opened up for them a few times, I know definitely during parts of the last tour. So who knows? These guys could be the shit.

In other news, Vote for Change tickets go on sale Saturday morning at 10 am. Presales are done, and even though I'm on the MoveOn.org email list and I've given them money, I wasn't good enough to be selected ("randomly") for the sale. But it's alright. I'm sure an R.E.M./Springsteen concert in Philly shouldn't sell out too quickly.

I just love my baby's poundcake...

Dear Peter Angelos,
Your karma's getting bad. Real bad. It's below the Mendoza Line. First you're blocking the Expo's move to DC, now you dick over Van Halen. (Although, really, Eddie Van Halen getting dicked over is just the pigeons coming home to roost.) Mr. Angelos, you keep this up and when you die, you're going to reincarnated as the fabric in Youppi's crotch in the middle of August. Or you'll get dick cancer. I've seen it happen.

Julie Christie, the rumors are true...

Salon.com has a story about the End of an Error show that Yo La Tengo played in NYC. Now YLT is taking that show on the road, riding MoveOn.org's jock and hitting the swing states. As of now, details are sketchy, but it looks like it'll resemble a variety show. Comedians? Perhaps. Authors? Could be. Boxing kangaroos? My fingers are crossed.

Don't marry an uh huh whore...

Over on iTunes, for a mere $9.99 (which is a lot less than $10), you can download a PJ Harvey sessions album. It's a mix of Polly Jean's commentary, studio tracks, and live versions, including the unreleased title track from her latest album.

Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief/ All kill their inspiration and sing about their grief...

New U2 album due in November. There were rumors of this being released on iTunes or something along those lines because they feared it would show up on the internet (the demo was stolen a few months back at a phot shoot). So any which way, you might be able to get this one way or another before November.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Don't think twice, it's alright...

Yup, here it is: The reggae Bob Dylan tribute:

1. The Times They Are A-Changin' -- Apple Gabriel (Israel Vibration)
2. Maggie's Farm -- Toots Hibbert
3. Just Like A Woman -- Beres Hammond
4. Lay, Lady, Lay -- The Mighty Diamonds
5. Gotta Serve Somebody -- Nasio w/Drummie Zeb & The Razor Posse
(featuring Incline)
6. Knockin' on Heaven's Door -- Luciano
7. The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll -- Michael Rose (Black Uhuru)
8. Subterranean Homesick Blues -- Sizzla
9. Mr. Tambourine Man -- Gregory Isaacs
10. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right -- JC Lodge
11. One Too Many Mornings -- Abijah
12. Blowin' in the Wind -- Don Carlos
13. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall -- Billy Mystic (Mystic Revealers)
14. I and I (Reggae Remix) -- Bob Dylan

Can't find a better man...

Pearl Jam is playing a warm-up show at the Fleet Center in Boston in preparation for the Vote for Change Tour. And if this wasn't enough to get you lined up for tickets, if the idea of Death Cab for Cute playing an arena wasn't enough... take a breath... Tim Robbin's band is expected to open up. Hot. Shit. I would have prefered Juliette Lewis' band, but you take what you can get. Tickets go on sale Saturday... on Ticketmaster. I guess those guys patched things up, huh?

Woke up to the sound of pouring rain...

I downloaded "I Remember You" by Skid Row on iTunes recently; the song popped onto the radio about a week ago and man, I don't know what to say about it. I'm not a big fan of listening to a song purely out of irony or nostalgia; I hate '80s dancing, and now, '90s dancing (are we ever going to get to the point where the future is ironic? "Hey, remember that second Paris Hilton album?" Uh, no... "Ha ha ha! Brilliant!"). There are a few songs from my youth that I shouldn't like but I'm a sucker for. "Photograph," from Def Leppard: that chorus kills me, it's just so poppy and meaty. Aerosmith's "What It Takes", I still remember singing in 7th grade science class with a girl I was crushed out on, and I still think it's pretty beautiful. "I Remember You" reminds me of that moment in middle school dances when the slow song would come on, and I'd race around trying to find the girl to dance with. "Just friends," I'd say, but you know I was keeping that memory for the next few weeks. Anyway, I have no point. Just that as much as I hate Skid Row, and Sebastian Bach, and that whole thing where he wore the "AIDS Kills Fags Dead" shirt and tried to expain it away... despite all that, I love that goddamn song. I can't tell you why; I have no idea. But I've been listening to it like crazy.

So you wanna be a rock and roll star

Who puts out the better album: Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton, or this guy? I say this guy, because supposedly the Matrix and Linda Perry are constructing some songs for him as we speak. Lil Jon's heard him rap, and it's... shit, man. Makes Jay-Z sound like a kitten's death rattle. And his first single, "Hairy Teabags," is already a big underground hit over there (check out the Danger Mouse remix).

Never too young to smoke/ no you're never too young...

I know I'm treading a thin line here, and maybe I'm being too sensitive, but what the hell is going on with this tour and the sponsorship? It's not even about it being a tobacco company, but more about a cigarette that aggressively markets in the inner-city, and not in a good way. I haven't been this confused since the Irish Protestant Family Picnic Tour with Sinead O'Connor. Anyway, time for a Camel Light...

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

It's my prerogative...

Aren't meetings this evil and wrong usually broken up by an elite force of Vatican commandoes right before the high priest plunges the dagger into the virgin's heart? They must be getting rusty. First the Superbabies, now this...

Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion...

Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly will be on washingtonpost.com for a live chat Thursday. Make sure to check it out. Or don't. No sweat off of my sack...

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

It's better to leave than be left behind...

Here's the full version of R.E.M.'s "Leaving New York." I can't say it grabs me, but I do like that part before the second chorus, where the vocal melody changes, and it reminds me of "E-bow the Letter." But I'm not blown away, I don't feel excited. I remember years ago, Peter Buck said he didn't want to R.E.M. to stop because he wanted to make the Great American Rock Album. I don't thinkk this is going to be it. Come on, Stipe, you can write better lyrics than this... And why doesn't Mike Mills sing anymore? Why do they overdub Michael for counter-melodies? Grr.

Cheetoes and 100-proof martinis on the roof

Things I learned from the Superchunk Clambakes Vol. 3 CD, courtesy of Mr. Jim Wilbur:
  • "Decorating the mahogany" means leaning against the bar
  • In "musician parlance" a song that hasn't been played live yet is "cherry" (and he makes it sound dirty)
  • The kids love "Driveway to Driveway" (actually, that wasn't courtesy of Mr. Wilbur)
    It's a good CD for the 'Chunk fans, despite some rough vocals, especially during "Pink Clouds". But you don't listen to Superchunk for sterling musical performances; it's more about the chugging pop goodness, and man there's a lot on here.

  • Just follow the day and reach for the sun...

    Consider me indoctrinated into the cult. The Polyphonic Spree played the 9:30 Club last night, and it was only an hour, but goddamn if they don't pack a lot of rapture into that time. I hadn't really listened to them that much, only knew that one song from the VW/iPod commercial and their appearance on "Scrubs" (which was pretty cool in and of itself). They had two keyboards, a harp, french horn, trombone, guitars, bass, drums, percussion, violin, nine-piece chorus... I think it's something like 25 people in all, everyone in flowing robes or dresses. Just an amazing show. Makes me wish I had seen them last time, when they played the Black Cat. Must have been an experience seeing all those people squeezed onto that small stage. Anyway, every song is about the sun coming up or staying strong or hope. It's all incredibly cheesy, but it's so exciting, with all those people up there banging away and singing, it's hard to resist. Hell, I would travel the country singing about the sun machine breaking down; it looked like a good time. As long as there's no testicular shaving ritual or handling of snakes (those little bastards are sneaky), I'd sign up.

    Check out their cover of Bowie's "Five Years" on iTunes, which is very alright.

    Get your fears out/ Keep the queers out/ I'd love to let them see/ there's no one here as queer as me

    Here's an interesting article in Salon.com, via the Guardian, about British response to Beenie Man's homophobic lyrics and its affect on free speech. Or, I assume it's interesting. I didn't read it. I'm kinda sleepy right now.

    Every boy is a snake is a lily/ Every pearl is a lynx is a girl

    The video for Bjork's new single "Oceania" is available online. I wonder if it'll be strange...

    I know it'll be OK/ When I get a six pack in me, that's right

    I'm not even sure what to say about this. I mean, they're fucking beer cans. A company that aggressively markets mediocrity is not worried about the "truth" of music history or recognizing artists that made significant contributions but have no sway with frat boys. I mean, Bon Jovi's on one can, so their logic isn't exactly airtight.

    Monday, August 16, 2004

    Leaving New York

    A snippet of R.E.M.'s new single, "Leaving New York," is up online at their website. I can't judge what I can't hear in its entirity, but the small clip isn't exciting. Too middle of the road. But still, my fingers remain crossed.

    Sunday Reading, A Day Late

    Review of Little Steven's Underground Garage Festival.

    Sonic Youth. Boston. Globe.

    Young artists and their need for attention, via the Guardian.

    Grilled Cheese Contest. You're welcome. And a little somethin' about the luckiest judge in America.

    Put it in the slot. Ungh, yeah! Anyway, the best jukeboxes in Philly!

    Lead guitars and movie stars...

    In the Chicago Sun-Times, buried in an article about movies set on water (who pitched this story?):
    Disney is preparing a sequel to "Pirates of the Caribbean," with Keith Richards possibly playing the father of swashbuckler Johnny Depp.

    This is absolutely fantastic news. Keith was supposed to play the John McEnroe part in Mr. Deeds, and that fell apart, so I can only hope this gets realized. Perfect.

    Thursday, August 12, 2004

    Dear God/ I hope you got the letter and/ I hope you can make it better down here...

    Looks like God and I are on the same page about the Black Eyed Peas.

    When you were mine/ I gave you all of my money...

    Here's an article from the Washington Post about Prince, who's playing three shows in DC starting tonight. This is a pretty exciting (long) weekend, musically, for DC: Prince; Lucinda Williams and Polyphonic Spree at the 9:30 Club; A.C. Newman at the Black Cat. If anyone goes to any of the Prince shows, please, for me, keep screaming "For the love of all that is holy, play 'Batdance'" whenever it gets quiet. He'll know what you're getting at.

    Wednesday, August 11, 2004

    “That’s the rule: nobody flips the Waits tape.”

    This is a funny but flawed essay on the upcoming digital revolution driving record stores into the ground. Sometimes record stores are like a nature documentary, with the alpha male shooing off all comers with a deep groan and a show of antlers. And sometimes buying an album that's even a touch mainstream is like buying Hustler at Barnes and Noble. But still, it's a beautiful thing digging through CDs to find something hard-to-get or just browsing around, killing a few hours. It's intrinsic to the experience, like going to a bar as opposed to drinking alone at home. It's all part of the thrill that doesn't come from typing a name into a search engine, surly cashier be damned.

    "C'mon, have some democracy, you low-down dirty ho!"

    Ike Turner's Guide to Restoring America's Honor

    Next up: the Good Hygiene Award

    Andre 3000 couldn't stop winning awards if he tried. First the sexiest vegetarian, now this. But something tells me there's a hole in his heart, and it's in the shape of a Teen Choice Award, isn't it Andre? Well, you can't win them all.

    In other OutKast news, Big Boi just won tickets to a sneak preview of Without a Paddle, starring Matthew Lillard and Seth Green.

    "...a sexual calisthenics class"

    Ladies and gentlemen, the new Lester Bangs: L. Brent Bozell III (it's true: good things come in threes) of the Parent's Television Council (by way of Salon.com1)has the 411 on all the hottest jams of the summer. And someone likes his DC post-punk, because J. Robbin's old band gets a shout-out:

    "Lean Back" comes from a rap group named Terror Squad, which probably should have thought about a new name after September 11. (Just ask the band formerly known as Burning Airplanes.)

    Or that band named after the lethal toxin that got sent to Daschle. Ricin? Well, it's Burning Airlines, but what are facts worth these days? Nuttin'. Anyway, L. Brent's column is like the 106 & Park of conservative watchdog groups, playas ain't got nothin' on him. Like L. Brent once said concerning the Federal Marriage Amendment: "Don't hate the player, hate the game. And the game is anal sex."

    I wonder what he thinks about my new song I sent him, "Milady, Sit on My Face."

    1 Also in that part of Salon is a mention of a New York Daily News piece about Joe Namath drawing the interest of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI because Broadway Joe had "long hair, wore mod clothes and loved the ladies." If lovin' ladies is a federal offense, then consider my phone tapped, baby.

    Rock, Rot, and Rule

    Last night I dug out an old tape I had of Rock, Rot, and Rule, a comedy album by the drummer of Superchunk, Jon Wurster. The whole thing is a sketch where Wurster plays Ronald Thomas Clontle, a writer calling into a Tom Scharpling's WFMU (Jersey City, NJ) radio show to talk about his book, Rock, Rot, and Rule; the book divides every band into one of those three categories. People will love this or not understand it at all; the album is like "Blue Collar TV" for music nerds.

    Interviewer: What makes Bowie rot?
    Ronald Thomas Clontle: Too many changes.

    What's great? Clontle defending his idea that Madness invented ska against a bunch of callers, telling one that if the she would ask Gwen from No Doubt, Gwen would agree with Clontle. A lot of the humor is surprisingly subtle, and how much you like it depends on some equation involving your bullshit meter, taste for pranks, and if you are way too into music. If you've ever read Wurster's tour diary on the Superchunk site, you know he's a funny guy, but here, he pulls off a great joke for more than half an hour and gets people to call in to argue with him.

    Anyway, he's got his own site. Check it out.

    Tuesday, August 10, 2004

    She's my fave/ Undressing in the sun

    According to the Pixiesmusic.com newsletter, the Pixies are on the cover of Spin this month:

    As if there wasn't enough Pixies attention these days, Spin magazine has a cover story with the band, featuring the largest article the magazine has ever written: 16 pages! The article features appearances by band members, Evan Dando, J Mascis, Kristin Hersh, Vaughan Oliver, and a cast of thousands! Check out the Sepetmber issue, in stores very soon.

    John Kerry would like ta say/ That I'm a crazy muthafucka from around the way ...

    Pretty funny article in the San Francisco Weekly about campaign music, if only for this line:
    As Cheney has no soul, he cannot hear music. Lately he's been taking the stage to the sound your TV makes during a test of the Emergency Alert System.

    A cheap shot, it's true. He has no soul. Look into his eyes. I dare you. You won't fear death thereafter.

    Choo-choo Charlie had a pretty good band/ But he couldn't understand why no one would come...

    Interesting article in the London Times about the hyping of new artists. When they got to the end and they name five hyped bands that flopped, I read four and started chanting almost, like I was betting on black 29 in roulette, "Gay Dad, Gay Dad, Gay Dad..." And you know what? I won big. I remember when they came out and everyone was saying they were the next shit, and I was trying to explain to a friend how I might get the album: "Oh, I've heard good things." That's what I always say when I haven't really heard a band. Anyway, never heard of them again; I'm a sucker. But now, I'm an educated sucker.

    Wake Up, Everybody

    Man, America Coming Together has got a lot of irons in the fire. First the Vote for Change Tour (I think I may have mentioned it), now an album, I guess produced by the Jim O'Rourke of R&B, Babyface, and includes a song by Marvin Gaye. This should be a lesson to all the politically apathetic kids out there: the man gets shot by his dad two decades ago, and he's still coming out against Bush. I head Biggie and Tupac collected signatures for Nader, they're so disgusted by the two-party system.

    Phevos and Athena

    It's off-topic, I guess, but it needs to be said: The Olympic mascots scare the shit out of me. I'm not trying to be mean, but they look like retarded children. With super-strength. And yet dangerously unaware of their super-strength. If I saw them in a dark alley, I would definitely blow my rape whistle.

    You Don't Know My Name

    I feel for this guy, I really do. For months after I got my last phone number I would get calls for Luis. "Yo, Luis there?" "Hola, Luis!" And so on and so forth. It annoyed the hell out of me, and I don't think Luis put my number on a hit album. But at the same time, I can realize how people would just assume Alicia Keys is giving out her home number for her fans to call. And why wouldn't she? They're obviously a bright bunch, and what sparkling conversation they must be capable of. But it's confusing. I know that the breakdown of "You Don't Know My Name," when she does the one-sided conversation, had me talking back to the stereo like five times before realizing she couldn't hear me.

    Alicia Keys' "You Don't Know My Name": Hello? Can I speak to --- to Michael?
    Me: Yes. Yes you may. Who may I ask is calling?
    AKYDKMN: Oh hey, how you doin?
    Me: I'm doing alright, just drinking some wine from a box. Who is this? You sound like Alicia Keys!
    AKYDKMN: Uh, I feel kinda silly doin' this, but um, this is the waitress from the coffee house on 39th and Lennox.
    Me: 39th and Lennox? Where's that? Waitress? Coffee house? Who what now?
    AKYDKMN: You know, the one with the braids?
    Me: Braids? What are you talking about?
    AKYDKMN: Yeah, well I see you on Wednesdays all the time...
    Me: Wednesdays? Do you work at Popeye's? Because I think calling yourself a "waitress" might be a stretch... wait a minute...

    Well this is better than all the people that tried to violate Kurt Cobain after In Utero came out, and it wasn't because they didn't like Albini's production.

    So you want to be a rock n roll critic?

    Pitchfork.com is currently looking for reviewers. Besides clips or an unpublished review, they're asking for:

  • A list of your Top 10 favorite albums of 2004 (so far)

  • A list of your Top 5 favorite bands from each decade (1970s-2000s)

  • A list of the last 10 CDs you bought

  • Estimate of the number of CDs and LPs you think you've owned

  • I like the site a lot—a lot of their writers are music-saavy, insightful, and funny—and I'd probably enjoy writing for it (if they'd have me), but the idea of having to prove yourself with how many CDs you've owned or what your favorite '80s bands were seems fairly precious. I don't know even if I've bought ten albums that came out this year, much less consider them all "top ten" worthy. I know that they want a certain type of reviewer, and I know I'm a bit of a snob myself, but this feels like being a state school grad hanging out with the indie rock version of the Skull and Bones.

    Well, at the very least, it's makes for an entertaining, High Fidelity-esque list-making exercise for a nerd like me.

    World Class Fad

    Paul Westerberg has a new album coming out, Folker, on September 7. I haven't really followed Westerberg for years, but I like to know the guy is out there; it's probably like how a president feels about the snipers on top of the White House. But everytime I hear a little something about Paul, I think back to happier, younger days, of riding in my parents' car, driving down some Jersey highway, sitting in the backseat with my headphones on, listening to Don't Tell a Soul. Ah, to be 26 again. There's also an article in Billboard about the films that may feature his work, including the new Cameron Crowe movie and some animated movie with Ashton Kutcher and Martin Lawrence (that should be delightfully understated. I wonder if the script was written in all capital letters).

    Hello Hawk, come pick me up...

    Superchunk's Clambakes Vol. 3 is available on the Merge Records website. It's taken from the Merge 10th aniversary show at the Cat's Cradle in 1999; the tracklist is here. Superchunk putting on a good rock show is as sure a bet as Dan Ackroyd making a dead blues singer turn over in his grave, so this could be worth the $13.

    Monday, August 09, 2004

    Sunday Reading, One Day Late

    Pixies article in the New York Times.

    Review of the Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan show outside of Boston. For the first time ever, for one shining night, murder is only the second biggest thing to happen in Brockton, Massachusetts.

    Words of wisdom from Slash.

    The Village Voice reviews, a little late, Sonic Youth and the Secret Machines.

    This is why we don't let teens vote for anything of consequence. Come to think of it, can we make it so that you have to decide between casting a vote in political elections and, say, the Blockbuster Awards? Either one or the other, but not both. Can this be a bad idea?

    And Washington City Paper's Suck-O-Tash recaps the "Run for Cover" show at the Black Cat from a few Saturdays ago.

    And when you come calling me down I’ll put on my disease...

    Pitchfork has a review of Jimmy Eat World covering Guided by Voices on the Future Soundtrack for America compilation. Sounds like an absolutely horrible idea, but this guy says that they don't completely screw it up, and hey, this guy should know, right?

    Saturday, August 07, 2004

    Cooper's Snake Gets Into Some Hot Shit...

    What a lazy headline: "Alice Cooper's Snake Eats Too Much". They couldn't have said "Cooper's White Snake Examined by Doctor"? "Roadies Concerned By Bulge in Cooper's Snake"? If you're going to publish this crap, at least have some fun with it. I haven't been this disappointed since they turned down my idea for the title of William Hung's album, saying it was "racist and juvenile."

    Also, having nothing to do with Alice Cooper, white snakes, White Snake, or David Coverdale, the Washington Post weekend section had an article about 'zines going online. Nothing dirty there, either. Sigh...


    So Kansas is banning Outkast and Lou Reed in its libraries. Well, look on the bright side: it just leaves more room for the Ricky Martin and Martha Stewart Halloween CDs they should be getting from record companies! What saddens me most about this? Kansas libraries still have a better music selection than any retailer in Washington D.C.

    Friday, August 06, 2004


    Rick James is dead. Unfortunately, running the phrase "I'm Rick James, bitch" into the ground is still very much alive.

    Bits and pieces

    An A.C. Newman interview from Chicago's metromix website.

    New Social Distortion, Sex, Love and Rock & Roll, is due out September 28, according to RollingStone.com.

    Pink Floyd's The Wall is coming to Broadway. So this is basically just Laser Floyd for the tea and crumpets set, right? Think about it. Now think about it after a huge bong hit. Blows you mind, huh?

    From Tommy's lips to God's ear?

    Yankee... Hotel... Foxtrot

    Pitchfork has a review of The Conet Project, which was the subject of an article, linked to on this very site, in the Washington Post earlier this week. Do I smell a ham radio movement brewing? We'll know for sure if it gets mentioned in Us Weekly's year-end round-up: "Hot: Ham radio; Not: Honey-baked ham."

    After reading about the review and article, I think I need to go back and listen to "Poor Places" and see knowing the real-life espionage background of the "yankee hotel foxtrot" sample adds any new layers of meaning to the song, or if it was added because sounds cool.

    Update: The fever is spreading. Freestyle Conet Project Battles. I think we're almost at saturation point. The Shaw Report in Entertainment Weekly is seriously considering filing The Conet Project under "5 Minutes Ago".

    Thursday, August 05, 2004

    Me and Mia

    So the new Ted Leo is going to be out October 19. I'll be there opening day, before the record store opens, lying in the fetal position, hand tucked between my legs in an oddly disconcerting way (it's for warmth!), smile on my dreamy face, a pillow of the coldest October concrete beneath my head... Just kidding; I won't be doing that. DC doesn't have any record stores! Anyway, there's an MP3 of "Me and Mia" up on the Lookout Records website, for anyone who can't wait.


    In London, at Madame Tussauds' Rock Circus, there's a wax figure of Brian Wilson. He's sitting on a bench, in a bad suit, one arm slung over the back of the bench. There's enough room to sit next to him, and people do; they have their picture taken next to Brian's likeness, him sitting there with a goofy look on his face like a drunk 15 year old.

    Wax museums are freaky by nature, but this is the king of freaky wax statues. It's not even close. Just the look on his face... brrr. The thing is, it's too natural. That's the way Brian Wilson actually looks and it hits too close to home. I couldn't sit next to it; I was too afraid it would lean over and calmly ask me if I had any Rollos. And if I didn't, where could he find a good, cheap theremin? It's almost as if Brian Wilson wasn't made for these times, but he was made for wax museums.

    Anyway, I am reminded of this because Brian Wilson is bringing his live performance of Smile to the U.S.

    Mas Yo La Tengo

    From the Matador Records e-mail newsletter:
    Yo La Tengo perform tonight on the John McEnroe Show on CNBC.
    Not only are they the "house band' for the entire program, but McEnroe himself joins them for a cover of "Beat On The Brat."
    Tune in at 10 PM to see the show.

    The End of an Error

    For those who are in the New York area, support John Kerry, and have a few bucks to spend: The End of an Error. Yo La Tengo, John Wesley Harding, and the French Kicks are performing; all three are a good time live. And you know who else will be there? Famous people. Yes, people who are famous. Like two of the gay people from Queer Eye, the Corrections guy, and Eric Bogosian.

    Do You Want More?

    Bruce Springsteen: New York Times columnist.

    Wednesday, August 04, 2004

    In this episode, I continue to beat a dead horse...

    Springsteen is probably my favorite artists to be seen or read interviewed. He speaks with a calm intelligence; he doesn't try to make himself out to be an expert or a scholar, he just thinks before he speaks, which is an undervalued quality (or maybe it's overrated. Trent Lott, according to Salon.com's Right Hook worked on a line "for a while" to properly describe John Kerry, and unveiled his masterpiece of King's English at a rally in Mississippi: John Kerry is "a French-speaking socialist from Boston, Massaschusetts, who is more liberal than Ted Kennedy." A while? It probably took more time to wash your white hood, Trent. But I have to give him credit, it's better than the original line: "That John Kerry is one hell of a n****r lover.").

    Anyway, there's an interview with the Boss on backstreets.com. And he's on Nightline tonight.

    To balance this out, here's a Jessica Simpson diet tip, courtesy of Cosmo: "I have two bites of a piece of chocolate cake and then throw out the rest." For cardio, she kickboxes the homeless people who try and dig it out of the dumpster.

    Come on ride the train, it's a choo-choo train...

    Festival Express is showing at Visions Cinema in D.C. from September 3 to 9. From their e-mail newsletter:

    "A backstage pass to the wildest and woolliest ride in the history of the music...Brilliantly captures the extraordinary Joplin character in all her self- effacing glory and is the only piece of film footage like that ever to have surfaced!"
    — Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle

    In 1970, a train journeyed across Canada carrying some of the greatest rock bands of the time. Janis Joplin, The Band, The Grateful Dead, Delaney & Bonnie, Buddy Guy, Ian & Sylvia and others lived (and partied) together for five days, giving concerts where and when they stopped. The train was called the Festival Express. Festival Express might just have been the greatest, and certainly the longest, non-stop rock n' roll party ever. Nicknamed "The Million Dollar Bash" by Rolling Stone magazine, Festival Express was designed to capitalize on the then-burgeoning craze for multi-day, talent-heavy music festivals.

    Well maybe we could cut someplace of our own with these drums and these guitars...

    Springsteen on the Vote for Change Tour:

    From brucespringsteen.net: "I felt like I couldn't have written the music I've written, and been on stage singing about the things that I've sung about for the last twenty five years and not take part in this particular election," said Bruce Springsteen.

    From RollingStone.com: "This is one of the most critical elections of my lifetime," Springsteen says, "certainly since I was a young man. I've built up twenty-five years of credibility, hopefully, with my audience. That's something I've tried to put to good use when called upon. It's also something I don't expend lightly."

    Around the Sun

    R.E.M. name their upcoming album. It doesn't do much for me. I guess we'll see...

    "But I like hip-hop. I'm hopping all the time, man."

    Ladies and Gentlemen, P. Diddy interviews Bill O'Reilly. Hopefully soon I'll have find that interview between the rappin' grandma and Star Jones.

    Odds and Sods

    Here's more info on the London Calling 25th anniversary set.

    Here's a tour schedule for J. Robbins' new band, Channels.

    Neko Case has two albums coming out. Unfortunately, neither are New Pornographers albums.

    The Sweet Relief Musician's Fund has been around for 10 years, and here's a short article about it. It's a great organization, but what did they ever do for Kid Rock's departed buddy, Joe C? Nothin'. Not even a donkey basketball tournament. The blood's on their hands.

    You can download speeches from the Democratic Convention for free on iTunes, if that's what you're into. There's actually a lot of stuff you miss in John Edwards' speech if you don't hear it on headphones; I hear he was very influenced by Pet Sounds.

    And if you want a preview of the Republican Convention speeches, all you have to do is chant "Candyman" three times into the mirror of a darkened bathroom, but it takes a real set of stones to unleash that kind of hell.


    Official announcement of dates from REMhq:


    October 1 Philadelphia
    October 2 Cleveland
    October 3 Ann Arbor
    October 5 Minneapolis
    October 8 Orlando

    On the MoveOn website there's a full schedule of all the shows, and what the e-mail I got failed to mention was that John Fogerty is also playing with R.E.M. and Springsteen. So the question is: Does he play "Centerfield"? Can the song be deconstructed so that "Centerfield" is a metaphor for the presidency, "coach" is the voting public, and "me" is John Kerry? Wow, I just blew my own mind.

    Too Tough To Die

    The new Twilight Singers song, "Too Tough To Die," swings like a bear's nuts, and do you expect less from Dulli? Seriously, the song has that 4 a.m. tension and sexiness that Dulli trades in. It feels like the moments before a knife fight in a dark alley in L.A. (Full Disclosure: I have never been to L.A. I have never been close to a knife fight. But if I were going by personal experience, would it carry any water if I said this song felt like a drunken shoving match outside a Pizzeria Uno in Boston?) Just great... sounds like the Whigs, and as much as I like the Twilight Singers, I love the Whigs. One of the greatest live bands ever, hands down. There's something about covers that brings out the best in Dulli, like a great actor with a well-written part. This song makes me hot for the new album, hot in a dirty sort of way, but that's the way he wants it.

    Tuesday, August 03, 2004

    The Biggest News Ever

    So tomorrow is supposedly the day. Wednesday. The formal announcement of the Vote for Change concerts, and the names thrown around so far have been Springsteen, R.E.M., Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, Neil Young, Dixie Chicks, Steve Earle, Ani DiFranco, James Taylor, Death Cab for Cutie, International Noise Conspiracy, Jackson Browne, Jimmy Buffet, John Mellencamp, and a rumor of Bob Dylan.

    Springsteen and R.E.M. are supposedly paired together, according to backstreets.com and Yahoo News.

    Wait a moment. Please. Just a moment.

    Okay, I'm sorry. I... I just wet my pants. Just a little bit, but still...

    I flew up to Boston last September for the second Springsteen's shows at Fenway Park in Boston. The whole show, being in the magical park, this cathedral of America, seeing one of the greatest performers ever... worth every penny. Worth even more.

    I've loved R.E.M. since middle school. The way Michael Stipe wrote, those cryptic messages, it was like a secret code between him and every overly sensitive teenager everywhere. As much as I have a problem with their recent stuff, that flame still burns, and I still love what they do.

    The idea of seeing two of my favorites, playing for something that I am invested in with just about every inch of my being—the upcoming election, and God willing, John Kerry's presidency—gives me such a thrill. I can't think about bed right now. All I can think of are plane tickets, of internet sales, of tickets in hand. The thought of the electricity in that air, sometime in the future, it's the reason why you enjoy life.

    I'm getting too worked up. I feel like Harry Knowles talking about Blade 2 or something on Ain't It Cool News, just ridiculous. I feel like an asshole drunk dialing his prom date. But this is the reason why I write this crap, why I read about music, why I could go broke buying every album out there. It's passion amplified.

    So the official announcement. Wednesday... tomorrow.

    On another topic: There's a message thread on Backstreets.com about Springsteen showing up to have pizza with some backstreeters who just did Habitat for Humanity. Makes me think I should buy a hammer. But it's a pretty cool read.

    Putting the "Fun" in "Fundamentalism"

    Who doesn't like a little religious humor? Well, it's better than "Cathy."

    The Skeleton Shop

    Nice Tim Burton-esque timewaster, via crazyclown.

    "You wanna go for a ride?"

    Some stuff about the new Twilight Singers cover album, She Loves You, found digging around on summerskiss.com:

    Concerts for Victory

    Much like the caterpillar becomes a butterfly, or the poppy seed becomes corrosive, alluring cocaine, such has Concerts for Kerry become Concerts for Victory. Take that, Federal Election Commission; the Republicans ain't the only ones who can sneak around pesky campaign financing laws. But hold on, fellow D.C. residents; don't get your hopes up. No concerts for you still. Portland, Oregon? Yes. Seat of the federal government? Of course not! We can't even support a record store, how could we support a fundraiser?

    The Conet Project

    The idea for this article in the Washington Post probably sprang from a lawsuit Wilco just settled recently. At the end of "Poor Places" from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot there's a woman repeating "Yankee... Hotel... Foxtrot" over and over; that sample was taken from a set of discs, called The Conet Project, which collected bits of shortwave radio broadcasts. The story behind the project is pretty interesting, and the explanation of the mysteriously random bits of numbers and codes is even a little bit creepy.

    Who likes their gossip hot?

    A couple bits of gossipy crap courtesy of the New York Post's Rush and Milloy:

    Kerry's bipartisan band
    Sen. John Kerry mentioned at the Democratic Convention that his prep school garage band, The Electras, may be getting back together. But already there's partisan squabbling.

    Jack Radcliffe, Larry Rand, John Prouty, Peter Lang and Andy Gagarin, who all attended St. Paul's with Kerry, recently got together in Hartford, Conn., to talk about re-releasing the Electras album.

    At first, everybody got along fine. But Rand says "the reunion disintegrated" when the band couldn't agree on whether to go with an established label or distribute it themselves. They also couldn't agree on how to spend the potential profits.

    Democratic Electras "wanted to send the profits" to the Kerry camp, Rand tells the New Bedford Standard-Times. But Republicans Radcliffe and Gagarin would hear none of it.

    "If the proceeds from my songs go to the Democratic National Convention, I'll be worked up," said Radcliffe.

    The band's two factions have decided to re-release two separate albums.

    You can buy the Kerry-friendly version at http://www.elextrasrockandrollband.com/.

    The Grateful Dead's Bob Weir is pleading with Deadheads everywhere not to vote for Ralph Nader. Performing on Saturday in Boston, Weir told the band's followers to be sure to vote, but the exorted, "Don't vote for Nader. I know him. He's an a--hole," our spies tell us. The band then broke into "Johnny B. Goode," a theme song of the Kerry-Edwards campaign ...

    In another bit of news, the husband half of this married gossip team went to Brown University and got a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University, which isn't, you know, a bad school for journalism... if you like your schools internationally regarded as premier learning institutiona for a particular field. This makes George Malloy the front-runner for this year's Marilyn Vos Savant Memorial "Waste of a High IQ" Award.

    Little (Air) America

    According to the R.E.M. website, Mike Mills will be on Al Franken's Air America radio show Wednesday at 1:30. It can be heard on the Air America website, or in one of the few markets where they are broadcast.

    Monday, August 02, 2004

    Rock and Roll Circus

    Old school review from the New York Times.

    A review of the new Old 97s album.

    Orange alert for iPod users. Yeah, keep wearing those white earplugs. Turns out they whisper "I'm hip"; they say "I'm important"; and they scream "Steal my fucking iPod."

    Wait... this guy was in Uncle Tupelo? So he knows Tweedy? If I ever run into him, that's the first thing I'm going to ask him. The second thing I'll ask him will be "Just what exactly constitutes an uncomfortable silence?"

    Nobody likes Bush...

    The president, not the English grunge band with the super-sexy lead singer. Anyway, Will Ferrell and a story about the Liberation Music Orchestra.

    Wakka Wakka Revisited

    Our guest reviewer, my good friend, and bitter and murderously jealous arch-nemesis, Mr. Sheena Easton, returns, still turning over in his mind the mystery that is "Bam Thwok," the newest Pixies song:

    The Boston skyline is pocked. Sensitive eyes see it—every poetic death in this city is charted and marked. You can see the deaths like you can sort of see the Milky Way, it's just like the imprint scientists look for to identify a blackhole: debris surrounding invisible sinkholes where big souls collapsed. No afterlife for those unlucky bastards—just limbo or nihil.

    Forgive me for getting carried away, but that graveyard tang is what makes Boston rockers rock more profoundly than the rockers of other cities. The great Beantown songwriters are spirit mediums for the annihilated. Every golden Boston anthem is two-parts rock, one-part funeral dirge. And each has adifferent spin of the city's melancholy.

    Which brings me to my redress of the Pixie's BAM Thwok review I had posted a couple of weeks ago on this blog...

    I was at a wedding at the Hyatt Harborside near the airport last night, probably the best view of the Boston skyline on the harbor. One-hundred-eighty degrees of my view, at all times, was dominated by that stone obituary. If I wasn't working, I would have been drinking.

    So driving home, I've got the radio on. Not FNX, something else, and I recognize the so-called iPOD exclusive. Kim Deal cutting through the frequencies, Frank Black's dry commentary. And it's like I'm hearing all those black holes reopening as I pass along route 1A into Lynn. Just like Stephen Hawking recently said in a classic flip flop of the intellect: black holes donot destroy information, they transmute it into something unrecognizeable,something weird, let out in spurts over eternity.

    Something like the goddamn bridge of this song.

    I've spent a lot of time in basements—the cellar was the Fortress of Solitude for my devastating preadolescence. And in those basements, I've listened to a lot of Pixies. And for a moment, listening to BAM Thwok, downtown Lynn felt like a cellar lit with a black light and comic books spread all over the place. So much energy it hurt.

    So color me a thinking democrat, I withdraw my flaccid critque of BAM Thwok, and can only say that Kim Deal has made Jim Henson, making muppets in Heaven, an even happier man.

    Songs from the Crystal Cave

    From the Boston Sports Guy links page: Pure. Genius.

    Don't throw your hands...

    The Santa Cruz Sentinel is marking rock's 50-year anniversary by looking at some of the defining songs of the past half century. This week: "Everybody Hurts".

    Me, as much as I'm an R.E.M., I've never really been a huge fan of this song; it's too pithy for me. (Though I can't deny that orchestral swell towards the end... in the video, the camera pulls back, everyone gets out of their cars... very nice.) And while I know this was an attempt for Michael Stipe to step out of his lyrical shell and address an issue simply and directly, I prefer his cryptic, more poetic lyrics. "Everybody Hurts" offers no real comfort beyond a blanket, pseudo-therapeutic, sappy half-thought. "Find the River," with its fable of finding comfort in dangerous times, using metaphors of cities, water, and childhood, is ten times the better song.

    Any which way, the Sentinel's series is an interesting idea and the article's not a bad read.

    Logic Will Break Your Heart

    According to the Stills' website, the band will have two acoustic sets available online, at iTunes and Napster. The setlists:

    Available on iTunes (recorded live on Live 105 San Francisco)
    1. Still In Love Song (acoustic)
    2. Lola Stars and Stripes (acoustic)
    3. Yesterday Never Tomorrows (acoustic)

    Coming soon on Napster (recorded live at Napster)
    1. Lola Stars and Stripes (acoustic)
    2. Yesterday Never Tomorrows (acoustic)
    3. Gender Bombs (acoustic)
    4. Still In Love Song (acoustic)
    5. Talk To Me (acoustic)

    Save Us, S.O.S.

    Rollingstone.com has a short article about the upcoming Hot Hot Heat album, hopefully coming out around Thanksgiving. Make Up the Breakdown is a great album, one of my favorites from last year. They seem, at first glance, like they could just be another group leeching off bands of the past (I'm looking right at you, Strokes), but I think they have a great, original sound: careening, post-punk, surprising, hip-shaking, all with a splash of organ. Good times, good times.

    Hot Hot Heat is also featured on a compilation of live tracks from CBC Radio 3 along with the New Pornographers and some bands that I don't know the first thing about (probably crazy Canadians, I'm sure).

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