Saturday, October 30, 2004

The kettle has something to say about the pot...

"I don't like fake pop stars! Be yourself! Punk rawk!" says the desert, referring to the grain of sand. "Now excuse me, but a bunch of old white men have to write me a mid-tempo, over-produced song about abstinence. Sex Pistols rule!"

Best of Both Worlds

Who knew that something would go wrong with a Jay-Z/R. Kelly tour? Who could have predicted something like this? It's absolutely shocking.

Friday, October 29, 2004

This is Halloween/ Everybody make a scene...

From, by way of Wonkette, here are 2004's Scariest Halloween Costumes.

There's a war outside still raging/ You say it ain't ours anymore to win...

Bruce hits the campaign trail.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Because, in the end, aren't we all made of stars?

Moby says no thanks to the vegan Haterade© and gives Eminem some props. Could it be that Kerry even repairs the burnt bridges of mortal musical enemies?
you know that eminem and i have had our differences in the past.
but this video:

is the best thing that i've seen all year.
it's an amazing song and an even more amazing video.
please go watch.

Shellshock Rock

Here's a tidbit for those in D.C. today from a chat:
Just wanted to let the faithful know there's a really great punk film playing tonight at the Goethe Institute -- a Northern Irish film called 'Shellshock Rock.' I went last night and it's definitely worth the trip: Stiff Little Fingers, the Undertones, etc. all doing their thing. The filmmaker John Davis is there to answer questions after the screening, which was cool. Thanks for posting.

David: Thanks for the heads up, should be very worth checking out. It might serve as nice little tribute to the legendary John Peel, too, as 'Teenage Kicks' by The Undertones was known to be his favorite song, and SLF's 'Suspect Device' and 'Alternative Ulster' both ranked very high on his yearly Festive Fifty when they were first released.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Insert maniacal laugh here...

I can't tell if this is hilarious or horrifying.
Earns Bush Top Movie Villain Title In British Poll

In a Total Film magazine poll of almost 10,000 readers, Bush was named the year's top movie villain for his appearance in Michael Moore’s documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11."

He beat out Alfred Molina's Doc Ock in "Spider-Man 2," Leatherface for "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and Gollum for "The Return of the Ring."

"How long do we have to listen to this for?"

Now here is a really good article. All the CDs released over a months time listened to in the span of a week. I like this guy a lot more than that asshole who read the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica.

The guiltiest of pleasures...

My two iTunes purchases last night: Counting Crows' "Einstein on the Beach" and Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn". I feel dirty, but it feels so good.

Stakes Is High weighs in on the new Eminem video.

It really is a surprising piece of work, and I think a lot of its power comes from the fact that this is Eminem spouting off about civic responsibility. Normally, the twist at the end—when you think there's going to be a balls-out riot and it turns out the angry mob just wants to register to vote, y'all—would be seen as didactic and cheesy. But goddamn if it doesn't work. Here's a guy that raps about matricide and locking his baby momma in a trunk; here, he's rocking the vote. It's like if Nader released a song about cutting off Bush's head and shitting down his throat.1

1While actually recorded, "My Toilet, Your Esophagus" by Ralph Nader's band Manufactured Obselence was never actually released (though heavily bootlegged). Therin lies the distinction.

Can I ask respectfully?/ Can you get the cameras off me?

Strap yourself in, it's time to ride the Lindsey Lohan Experience®. Thrill as you cleverly elude paparazzi! Scream as you make out with swarthy men who aren't Fez! Feel your spine tingle as you perch in an oversized birdcage/metaphor! She'll sell you the whole seat, but you'll only need the edge.

No truth to the rumor that the Lindsey Lohan Experience® is nothing more than a remodelled version of Justin Timberlake: The Ride™.

If you're having girl problems, I feel bad for you son/ I got 99 problems but the bitch ain't one...

I guess I lost this bet. I really believed he was going to get that job in the men's section at Sears.
Jay-Z Eyes New Day Job

In an unprecedented move, the 35-year-old hip-hop icon, who has previously stated he is retiring his recording career, is set to become president of Universal Music Group's Island Def Jam label, a source with knowledge of the deal has told E! Online.

Baby Boy

What the hell is going on with Beyonce's sister? She got married at 17, now she's had a baby at 18. Does she have some mysterious disease we don't know about? Is she supposed to die at 25? Is she like some Greek tragedy (or, even better, Robin Williams in Jack) and she's aging at an alarming rate?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Got Live if You Want It

Ashlee Simpson: fearless. It's a relief the family came out and said that the SNL incident was due to acid reflux, because everyone originally thought it was a more serious medical affliction: she was born without talent.

Mister, I ain't a boy/ no, I'm a man/ And I believe in the promised land...

God bless Bruce Springsteen.

"Ron Fare is really up on the strings"

And Kanye West would walk a thousand miles if he could just... see you... tonight. Bing-a-da-bing-a-da-bah bah-da bah-da-bah. If you can, check out Kanye West's celebrity playlist on iTunes, especially the explanation of his first selection. In fact, most of his explanations are pretty entertaining. And I while I can't agree with his love for Maroon 5, I think he's spot on in his judgment of Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn". I still have a special place in my heart for that song.

As the flaming priest stepped into the firing line/ On the business end of a beam of despair

First Britney quits, then Ashlee gets outed, now Lindsay Lohan is hospitalized. For what? Probably being too damn sexy. And who do I blame? Fez from That '70s Show. Anyway, this just proves the rule that like famous deaths, the crumbling of the teeny-bopper entertainment infrastructure comes in the threes.

Strap him with AK-47, let him go/ fight his own war, impress his daddy that way...

George W. Bush: if nothing else, he's the muse of the angry. He's moved Michael Moore to make the highest-grossing documentary ever, artists to create the Vote for Change tour, and a British journalist to romanticize assassins. Now the man has worked his strongest magic, moving Eminem to vote. has a link to Eminem's new video, "Mosh", and says it "makes Fahrenheit 9/11 look like a GOP campaign spot".

Oh the boys on the radio...

John Peel, R.I.P.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Pieces of Me

It's one thing to hear about it, a whole other thing to see it. Here is the Ashlee Simpson "moment" from SNL. Even with the sound off, it's a complete trainwreck. You almost have to feel sorry for her.

I am an American aquarium drinker/ I assassin down the avenue...

Wilco's announced a New Year's Eve show at Madison Square Garden with Sleater-Kinney and the Flaming Lips. I think something I once heard Larry King say1 would sum it up best: "Holy shit!"

1Actually, I have never heard Larry King say this. But I'm sure he did once. That man has a sailor mouth on him, even when he's sober. Which is rare. I'm telling you, the man is dirrrty.

So you better do as you were told/ you better listen to the radio...

Wait... what? The music industry might be dirty? This can't be! Between this and Ashlee Simpson getting busted on live TV, it's like there's a shitstorm and someone left the windows open. My world is crumbling.

It seems I can finally rest my head on something real/ I like the way that feels...

Ashlee Simpson is a lip syncer? No! But she was the Simpson sister that kept it real! This can't be happening. There must be some logical explanation for this. Does this incident give Jessica more street cred? I can't help but think that this sort of thing that drove Britney to take a break from the music industry. Most of all, how exactly does this affect Lindsey Lohan? Damn you, music industry, and your unrealistic expectations!

At least one Simpson is keeping it real. Her dad is blaming it on acid reflux. Now not only can she seek forgiveness, but she can score a spokesperson gig for Nexium. Nice. And is the the first time acid reflux has been given as the excuse for anything in a public forum? Bravo, Joe Simpson. Bra-vo.

Sometimes truth is stranger that fiction...

The Washington Post sports section has an interview with Bad Religion's Greg Graffin.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

I want to live like common people do...

Jarvis Cocker is going to be involved in the soundtrack for the next Harry Potter movie. Seems Franz Ferdinand is already involved.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Orpheus strummed his lyre till his fingers bled/ He struck a G-minor-seventh

Nick Cave gets interviewed by Rolling Stone. Damn, that album is good stuff.

Are you gonna go my way?

First Dave Matthews' tour bus let loose its septic tank on some people in Chicago (which in a beautiful cosmic bit of kismet, got a mention in the news today), now Lenny Kravitz's toilet overflowed. And he's being sued for it!
Amica Mutual Insurance Co. says in court papers that the apartment of retired executive Joel M. Disend "sustained catastrophic water damage" on Aug. 1 due to Kravitz's "allowing a commode to become blocked, clogged and congested with various materials."
Various materials, eh? This really has been a banner year from crappy musicians and poop jokes. I don't think we'll ever see anything like this again in our lifetimes. (Unless cyborg technology extends our lifetimes indefinitely. Then, well, I'm wrong.)

Friday, October 22, 2004

(Night time is) the Right Time

More whoring, this time for dead blind singers. Fans should not the Ray Charles tribute includes a return to the harmonica for Bruce Willis. And an aggrieved nation breathes a sigh of relief.

I still think the best cover of a Ray Charles song is the lip sync version of "(Night Time is) the Right Time)" by the Huxtable family for Cliff's parents' wedding anniversary. Timeless.

How to Dismantle Muscial Credibility

U2 continues its whoring of Apple and iPod.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

100 percent of my love/ Up to you true star...

Thurston Moore's writing the liner notes for the upcoming Nirvana box set.

More like Bowling for Poop!

First the funny name. Then that "1985" song. Now Bowling for Soup is recording a remake of the "Gilligan's Island" theme song. It's good to see a band that unafraid to marginalize itself, to fill the overweight void left by Smashmouth. What's the over/under on how long it'll take them to record a serious album, one that deals with teen suicide?

Daddy's gonna pay for your crashed car

So Bono took a break from whoring himself out for Apple to accept the TED Prize:
Each will receive $100,000 and the chance to have three wishes fulfilled by a group of world-class companies and many members of the TED Community, it was announced Tuesday.
What, is this like Pay It Forward or something? My only hope is that one of these wishes is for research into hovercraft technology, because damn it where are all the hovercrafts? We are 4 years past the great dividing line that is the year 2000, and where is all the cool crap the movies promised me? Answer me, Bono, Mr. Goddamn Third World Debt?

I do have to say, on the subject, that the cover for the new U2 album is very cool in a simple sort of way.

It's jackpot plus/ in which she trusts...

People will bet on anything. Americans bet on who will win the coin flip in the Super Bowl, Brits have what shitty Christmas single will top the charts. To quote Yakov Smirnoff (which I often do): What a country!

Straight Outta Belfast

Jim Sheriden, director of lilting Irish dramas "My Left Foot" and "In America" is directing the 50 Cent movie Locked and Loaded. Older, white, Oscar-nominated directors helming movies about rising hip-hop stars is the new hot Hollywood cliche. This replaces the old hot Hollywood cliche: Giovanni Ribisi playing a retarded man-child.

Actually, this could be pretty good; "The Boxer" and "In the Name of the Father" are pretty gritty without being overbearing, and pretty damn good movies in their own right. Now if only we can get Daniel Day-Lewis to play 50 Cent (the man can do no wrong).

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

It was a graveyard smash...

Bigger than the Vote for Change tour. I think, if there was one thing that "Monster Mash" was crying out for, it was to be contextualized within modern American politics. And finally something's been done about it. Whew. Now if only someone will rewrite "I've Never Seen a Straight Banana" in terms of the fight for gay marriage.

Get Ready for Love

One door closes, another opens. Once I get done complaining about the lack of the Elliott Smith stream, I find out you can stream the new Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds double album over on Thank you Epitaph, and thank you VH1/MTV media empire.

(By the way, the new Epitaph online newsletter opens with a hilarious story involving night terrors and trying to drop a deuce in an oven.)

I'm going on a date with a rich white lady/ Ain't life great?

Speaking of Mr. Smith and his posthumous release, MTV no longer seems to have a stream of the album online. Man, those guys are good dealers. They give you a taste, then make you pay. I see their game. Damn you, You won't even help me pull the belt tight when I tie off anymore. Cold.

Well as long as we keep our stride/ I believe we'll be fine...

Being that I got a copy a few months ago, and the new Elliott Smith album has really outshone all other comers in terms of newsworthiness, I forgot that Ted Leo's new album came out yesterday. The Washington Post gives it a glowing review. This is still, for my money, MY FAVORITE ALBUM OF THE YEAR SO FAR©. The runners-up, forthwith:

2. Elliott Smith - From a Basement on the Hill
3. A.C. Newman - The Slow Wonder
4. Wilco - a ghost is born
5. The Roots - The Tipping Point

I think that's it. The new Twilight Singers hasn't caught fire with me yet, and I'm not sure how I feel about the Black Keys album. The Streets is bumping up against there like a skank in a nightclub. P.J. Harvey is close.

Do They Know It's Christmas?

I have never liked this song at all. And now a new version of it? Snore. Why can' they remake a better song, like The Waitresses' "Christmas Rapping"?

Where you at?/ The whole city behind us...

Call me a sucker, but that goddamn Kanye West song in the Motorola commercial has got its teeth in me, like TB on an Irish poet.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Ed Wood

Ah, finally. Ed Wood on DVD.

Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?/ It took me years to write, will you take a look?

Here is your Booker prize winner, for all you nerds out there. Gay fiction? Is that anything like that fan fiction online involving characters from "Stargate SG-1"? Because that stuff is not too shabby.

Who Is It

Rumor is, the new Bjork video is now online. But the truth is, I can't find a goddamn thing on that site. I'm like a monkey driving a spaceship.

All the news that's fit to print

This is what I had to work with today. Is nothing going on in the world? (I mean, besides all that war stuff. Insert frowny emoticon!)


Monday, October 18, 2004

It won't do/ to dream of caramel/ to think of cinnamon/ and long for you...

This trailer for Closer uses what has to be one of the greatest, sexiest, most beautiful songs ever written about yearning, "Caramel". This is from an era when Suzanne Vega was perhaps the coolest woman on earth, when Nine Objects of Desire came out. And now that I think of it, that has to be on my Underappreciated Albums of the '90s list. Oh yeah, the movie doesn't look too bad either.

Once more with feeling...

There's a party goin' on. Where? At the intersection of the Venn Diagram where Buffy fans and Kerry supporters converge. Is anyone not rockin' the vote this year? I hope there's no backlash against voting because it's becoming "mainstream" and "played out", like Ugg boots or pashminas.

The Nobel Prize for Kick-Ass Live Band goes to...

Here's an odd bit of news from the Polyphonic Spree:
The Spree release live favourite ‘2000 Places’ as a single on November 15 backed by the band’s rendition of the Lennon classic ‘Happy Christmas, War Is Over’. To promote the release, the band will be playing ten dates around the country beginning in Brighton on the October 27.

The band have also announced that they will be making a live appearance at this year’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo on December 11. The band will be performing two songs to a worldwide TV audience of over 50 million people.

A single and a performance at the Nobel Prize ceremony? I'd put that up against any month's achievements by any band in the past century. How many other bands have rocked out with Vitaly Ginzburg in the audience? I say Tim DeLaughter should pull Christiane Nusslein-Volhard out of the audience and dance with her, his Springsteen to her Courtney Cox. Oh, that would be sweet.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

A dying man in a living room/ whose shadow paces the floor/ He'll take you out any open door...

MTV is streaming the Elliott Smith album. It's really great, it really is. I read somewhere (okay, Entertainment Weekly) that he had become obsessed with the White Album, and you can hear that. It really does have a lot of different textures, tones, and moods. But it's creepy to hear him sing "I know how I began and how I'll end/ Strung out again" and "It's just a fond farewell to a friend/ Who couldn't get things right". It's hard to view this album unmoved by the past, but on it's own, it's really a tremendous piece of work. There may be some insight into who Elliott Smith was at the end, but you never can tell. I do know there's nothing on the album so far to shed light on the rumor of whether he killed himself in order to get Mary Lou Lord to stop calling.

And I have to say, I love this whole "streaming preview" thing. Brilliant. I don't even have to buy albums anymore. I can use all the money I'm saving on my two new passions: archery and aromatherapy. (Well, I have three new passions if you count robot erotic fiction, but that doesn't cost any money.)

It's her prerogative...

Poor Britney: Someone needs a break! If I were a believer in emoticons, I'd give her the biggest frowny-face I could.
"'My prerogative right now is to just chill and let all of the other overexposed blondes on the cover of Us Weekly be your entertainment,' she wrote. 'Good luck girls!' "

On one hand, I admire her willingness to break free from the young-teenage-superstar corporation that took advantage of her youth and now is using up girls like Hilary Duff, Lindsey Lohan, and the Simpson girls. On the other hand, a very cogent argument would be to shut the fuck up. It's not like you're shoveling shit and if you were, I doubt you'd be able to "just chill".

Shit Shoveler: "Yeah, boss, I'd really like to just chill and let the other shit shovellers on the cover of Shit Shovelers Weekly be the shit shovelers of the moment. I really want to recapture my youth."
Boss: "Number one, go fuck yourself. Number two, you're fired. Number three, that's not your shovel."
Shit Shoveler: "This did not go according to plan."

But I do have to tip my hat: she recorded a cover of "My Prerogative" and all of a sudden the word ends up in her press release. Foxy PR move or a sympton of the Word-A-Day-desk-calender disease? Word is, she's been overusing it in other situations:

"Hmm... Moons Over My Hammy or the Meat Lover's Skillet? My prerogative is for the skillet!"
"My prerogative is that you fire the maid, dying child or no dying child!"
"The gays shouldn't get married. The Bible doesn't give them that prerogativeness."
"It's my prerogative that we don't use the condoms tonight, Kevin."

No overexposed blonde will take your place in my heart, Bri... Oh, wait. One just did. Sorry, girlfriend.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

I try my best to hide in crowded rooms/ It's nearly possible...

For anyone who's ever dreamt of sponsoring a member of Yo La Tengo in a charity bike tour, today is you day. Just hit that link and seach for either Georgia Hubley or Ira Kaplan. I can't be the only one that's fantasized about this, right? What about the fantasy of having sex with a dolphin... in public? Anyone?

Friday, October 15, 2004

If you don't know me by now (If you do-on't know me-ee)

For those of you blessed enough, The Office Christmas Special is on BBC America on Thursday at 9. How do I know? A little birdy named Entertainment Weekly. Brilliant, brilliant shit.

F-R-I-D-A-Y/ Night!

The worst part about starting your Friday night early is coming home, settling down to some good ol' TV, and finding out you best option is Reba. I think that may be the litmus test of Friday night: if at any point you contemplate watching Reba. And let me tell you, I'm not just watching it, I now know that the big family drama is Van maybe going to Denver. To Denver people! He has a child!

Anyway, at the bar, when I was young and exciting, there was a Simpsons episode that I've never seen. The kids are playing baseball, and Bart says he's Tomo Ohka from the Expos; Milhouse says he's Estaban Yan from the Devil Rays. Then there's this exchange:

Nelson: I'm the person everyone in the stadium hates.
Bart: The umpire?
Nelson: No. I'm Billy Cyrstal.

Very, very true. Only one thing worse than watching the Red Sox lose. That's watching Bill Crystal enjoy the game. You like the Yankees, Billy? Maybe you can shoe-horn that fact into another lousy romantic comedy. And the only thing that can make that worse is seeing him sit next to Robin Williams. You know at one point one of them turns to the other and says "You, I've been working on this bit." Let me save you some time: it's not funny. I mean, it'll play at the Wal-Mart convention, but in an existential sense? No.

Anyway, the Sox are rained out, and Reba's drawing to a close. I hope everything works out. In fact, I'm down on my knees praying. Well, praying and trying to get the peanut butter off the kitchen floor.

Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage...

The Boston Globe interviews Billy Corgan about his new book of poetry. That's right. Poetry. Hughes, Blake, Eliot... Corgan. Is there any way this can be good? Will it make us yearn for the good old days of Jim Morrison? I will bet you right now it won't even be as good as the unicorn-and-rainbow poetry of that 12-year-old kid with leukemia who was always on Oprah.

Put Ariel on/ and smoke away the night...

It's finally been sighted. I heard about this a month or so ago from a kid fighting everyday in the streets of Jeffersonville, Pennsylvania: Richard Buckner's "Ariel Ramirez" is used in a Volkswagen commercial. This doesn't chap my ass at all because Buckner needs the money. For some reason I'm convinced he sleeps in a sleeping bag on top of oily cardboard. Poor guy. And VW has a pretty good track record of background music, like "Pink Moon" and a deep, deep, deep Son Volt track. "Ariel Ramirez", by the way, is on Since, one of my top five underappreciated albums of the '90s.

Lunapark closed indefinitely

So Luna broke up. I saw Luna on December 30, 2000. The end of the mathematical millenium. The dawn of a new age of understanding. And I ended up getting punched in the back of the head by a drunk asshole. Anyway, some light fisticuffs between him, my friend, and myself ensued and we were kicked out. And what happens? Luna fucking stopped playing while this was happening. Just stopped. Now, I'm not condoning this sort of shenanigan, but did Buffalo Tom stop for a bar fight? Answer: no. They kept the rock going. But, oh, Luna, the fragility of the moment has been wrecked. Maybe the sweaty hordes won't hear every gentle, clever twist of phrase you lay before them, like pearls before swine. "Oh boo hoo, all eyes aren't on me! But if no one's looking at me, I may cease to exist! I need them to clap, for I am much like Tinkerbell, kept alive by attention from others." So in summation, screw you Dean Wareham. Now you have more artistic freedom to record your masturbatory little pop ditties about French girls who leave you however you like. Or whatever their songs are about. I had a fist in my ear.

And while I'm on the subject, what's with people wearing cellphones on their belts? You're not fucking Batman.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Hey Hey Hey

Finally. The Fat Albert Movie. This is going to sleep with Car 54, Where Are You's wife, then send him video of it.

The best part of the trailer is at the end, when they announce "Directed by Joel Zwick". Oh, Joel Zwick. I didn't know Joel Zwick was putting his distinguished artistic fingerprints on this. Well, now I'm going.

And if our blue moon turns to gold/ or our family home gets sold...

Full disclosure: I didn't find these on my own; I was pointed to the site by largehearted boy. Anyway, that aside, it's the homepage of Buffalo Tom's Bill Janovitz, which has more than a few MP3s. I highly recommend "My Radio", which reminds me of driving through New England, fast, in the fall. The man's still got it, whatever it is. I guess this means Buffalo Tom is no more? Eh, maybe I'm just last to know...

That's entertainment...

This could actually get me to care about the Oscars, since I know New York Minute is going to get jobbed. I still remember at some MTV award show he hosted he called Johnny Depp "the rich man's Skeet Ulrich." I've always thought that was brilliant, but I do have very low standards.

Where have all the rude boys gone?

Did you realize last night would have been NHL opening night? Flyers v. Lightning? I hadn't even thought of it. So damn sad...

No wedding day smiles, no walk down the aisle/ No flowers, no wedding dress...

Ah, marriage: the henna tattoos of publicity whores. Thank God we're protecting this important institution against the gays.

Everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey...

This is an even classier move than when REO Speedwagon teamed up with the Blue Man Group.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

And all the scenery looks fake...

The Superchunk message board once again has the scoop on crap that I miss on TV. This time, as pointed out to me by the Lovely Joanna, Superchunk and others get a shout out on "Gilmore Girls" last night.

Lenny Bruce is not afraid... has an audio excerpt from the new Lenny Bruce box set where Mr. Bruce talks about his drug bust in the City of Brotherly Love.

There goes my hero...

Foo Fighters are playing a free show in Tempe, Arizona, tonight at a presidential debate party. So this one goes out to all my Arizona peeps. Represent!


I can sell the beat/ I'm asking for the cheque...

I saw the U2 iPod commercial last night, and all I can ask is, what do they have to prove? I mean, didn't their last album sell a metric ton? Don't their concerts sell out within hours? And don't they do this consistently? They've never struck me as a band to do commercials. It can't be for the money and it can't be for the exposure. So what's the point? I haven't been this confused since N'Sync started doing Chili's commercials a few years ago.

Going where nobody says hello, they don't talk to anybody they don't know...

Had I been in D.C. this weekend, I probably would have spent a fair amount of time stalking Springsteen and R.E.M., in town for the Vote for Change finale. But I wasn't here for the most part, and when I was, I was sleepy. The Washington Post gossip page has a rundown on the after-party, at fancy-pants Zaytinya. The big reveal that "(Don't Go Back to) Rockville" refers to Rockville, Maryland, although from my non-scientific research, I think a fair amount of people from Rockville and the area knew this. I know Mike Mills mentioned it was Maryland during, I'm pretty sure, a VH1 concert around the time Up was released, before launching into a solo, piano-driven version of the song.

I've had a little bit of experience in Rockville, and the best thing about it is that song. Though they do have a pretty kick-ass Dave & Buster's.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Good Morning Captain

I'm having difficulty with this one: If you had to put this news on a scale, where would it go? I'd say it deserves placement between "Whoa!" and "...shit...!" but that could be because it's kind of a left-field announcement for me. For some people it could be "Holy fucking good lord!" or "Oh. My. God." For some, "Nice, that sounds neat-o." Me, I'm trying to think of it in a whole universal truth of indie rock perspective.

Well they blew up the chicken man in Philly last night...

Springsteen is releasing his MTV Plugged set in November. This is actually the one Springsteen release I don't own (well, besides 18 Tracks, but I have that box set). I draw the line at the Plugged show. Yes, I have Lucky Town and Human Touch, but I can't even consider getting this. It's Shane Fontaine on guitar. This is L.A. Bruce at the worst. (L.A. Bruce fits in between the era/look of "I'm-not-going-to-get-angry-about-my-failing-marriage" Bruce of Tunnel of Love and his Ghost of Tom Joad look, which basically looked like "Man, I just got out of the state pen, and all I want to do is get my life back on track, be a good husband and be a good father to my kids. No, I ain't interested in one last score. I'm happy pulling a nine-to-five at the plant. Mr. Harrison is a good boss." Then of course Mr. Harrison lets him go over some total bullshit and he gets into some bad stuff, but he's doing it for his family, and it's not like society is giving him any breaks at all, you know? But that doesn't turn out well, and he's back in the clink, only for some longer sentence because of, you know, goddamn sentencing guidelines, plus he's got priors. Goddamn, that look brings a tear to my eye. That look is what happened to the narrator of "Atlantic City".)

You will believe a man can fly...

Did you know that Christopher Reeve died? If only the goddamn liberal media would mention it.

I think the most heartwarming aspect of Christopher Reeve's death is the way local entertainment reporters have sprung fearlessly into action. These poor bastards sit on the sideline and usually have to work up a lather, which they often do effortlessly, about some celebrity passing through town in some sad play ("You might remember Anson Williams as Potsie from "Happy Days," but from now on he'll be known as Sister Catherine Mary from the touring company of 'Nunsense'!"). But this... this is big time news. They get the news thrown to them at the top of the broadcast. Because nothing else is going on in the world. It's about time we busted this Iraq story down below the profile of the local man trying to break a record for most basketballs spun at one time.

And I can just see them, sitting in their cubicles. saying "This is my time to shine! They need me now." And they come up with clever lines like "Superman: Grounded!" and "Superman had his kryptonite; Christopher Reeve's kryptonite was simple motor functions while sleeping." They get to delve into their vast knowledge of celebrity history ("Did you know Christopher Reeve was quite the theater star before Superman? It's true!") and personal history with the dead ("You talk about really nice people in Hollywood? Christopher Reeve is at the top of that list. A class act!"). And they get all serious and throw to live shots of people kissing Reeve's star in Hollywood. Then, most impressively, switch gears on a dime and tell everyone to tune in later so they can let you know what the dog from "Frasier" is up to these days ("Straight from the dog's mouth!").

So hats off to you, local entertainment reporter. Now's your time to shine.

"Seven states away they're doin', doin' the strange fruit swing..."

Three notes on iTunes:

1. R.E.M.'s Around the Sun is the top downloaded album, and has been up near the top since it came out last week. So good for them. On the other side of the coin, I still haven't bought it yet. I had it in my hands at Newbury Comics in Boston (oh how i miss you Newbury Comics...) and it was on sale, but I just... I had no desire to own it. Maybe because I streamed it too much. Maybe I just don't like it all that much to buy that at the expense of something more exciting. Maybe it's something stupid like the CD pack is a cardboard digipak and it's the first time R.E.M. has packaged an album like that; and everytime they do something new, I get a little sadder. Who knows, but this is probably world record time for not buying a new R.E.M. CD.

2. Free download of the week? Flickerstick. From VH1's classic "Bands on the Run" reality show a few years back. They keep trying, God bless their little hearts. I haven't heard much from the Josh Dodes Band, which makes me cry on the inside, just a little bit. Why is it Flickerstick is still around, but they never made a second "Bands on the Run"? That show was tasty.

3. If you have the $0.99, and you like the Twilight Singers, I heard the original version of "Too Tough to Die" by Martina Topley-Bird this weekend, and it's well worth the cash. A lot different. Not as swinging, it feels like voodoo, raising ghosts. Fuzzy bass. Testifying backing vocals. Almost creepy. I love it. Dulli's got great taste.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Keep your eyes wide open/ and my shotgun loaded/ 'cause I don't want to leave this heaven so soon...

This song, I'm convinced, is what it sounds like in Dennis Hopper's head, and it's really catching fire with me. I never really listened to the Screaming Trees, beyond their kick-ass contribution to the Singles soundtrack (one of the top soundtracks ever. I am not wrong about this), "Nearly Lost You". But I think hanging around with Dulli has rubbed off on Mark Lanegan, and you can especially hear it with that female singer: "I'll do it, daddy." Who else even tries to get away with something like that? It's a hell of a sexy song in an odd way.

Man, does he look like Tom Waits in that picture.

The rock and roll lifestyle

I'm considering working the Vote for Change stop here in D.C. What would I do? The most glamorous job there is: catering. Nothing says rock and roll like deli platters from Safeway.

Vote for Change organizers: I will take this job on one condition. There must be a better-than-50-percent chance that I at some point hear the phrase: "Bonnie Raitt says the sausage links aren't cooked all the way through." That's all I need. Or a pie-eating contest between Keb' Mo' and Mellencamp.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

More Bob

Bob Dylan: Nobel Prize winner?

Bringing It All Back Home has a sample of the audio book version of Dylan's Chronicles, read by Sean Penn.

Bottle up and go/ if you're going to hide, it's up to you...

I saw this a week or so ago, and the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. It could be another example of a Pitchfork writer crossing his arms, stomping his foot, and playing contrarian just for the sake of being the only guy to disagree. "When it comes to suicide, critical hindsight is bullshit. Even the most sincere music is largely just performance, theatrical unreality crafted for maximum emotional impact." Which is a fine thesis... when someone doesn't end up committing suicide. Yeah, you can call it performance when someone sings the saddest song ever, then walks off stage all smiles. It's a whole other thing where you write songs dripping in sadness, then take your own life. There's no connection? Come on.

Yes, of course you should separate the singer from the song. Did Johnny Cash shoot a man just to watch him die or take a shot of cocaine and shoot his woman down? I’m thinking he didn’t. But take Springsteen: was there a Wendy that he tried to take down Thunder Road? Was there a Sandy and did Bruce tell her about getting his shirt stuck on the tilt-a-whirl and thinking he’d never get off? I have no idea, but there's a good chance the answer's no. But if you read interviews with Springsteen, he talks about how he wanted more than anything to escape his town, to not be another factory worker. And that’s the metaphor. Whether you think the metaphor is elegant or clumsy or somewhere in between, the image of getting trapped on the tilt-a-whirl was a metaphor for being trapped in a small seaside town.

A writer’s work is informed by the writer’s life. Listen to Dylan's Blood on the Tracks. That wasn't informed by his personal life? Of course it was; it's practically the diary of his marriage falling apart. Was Elliott Smith happy? Listen to his songs, read his autopsy at The new album may not be a suicide note. There are probably no lines about wanting to put a knife in his chest while his girlfriend’s hiding in the bathroom. But the same sadness that brought him to his end is obviously an influence in his songs.

On the other end of the spectrum, do I think Lindsey Lohan wants her privacy and to have fun while she can? I am 100 percent certain. (And on this note, you can accuse the young Ms. Lohan of many things, but she’s no starfucker. Do you think she calls up restaurants and says “You have no reservations? Uh, I have two words: Wilmer. Valderamma. A little sitcom called That ‘70s Show? A comedy powerhouse named ‘Fez’?” I don’t even think that works at the restaurant Ashton Kutcher has a stake in.)

Islands in the stream/ that is what we are...

Ten new rides at Dollywood = ten reasons to relive the magic that is Dollywood.

Kenny Rogers, on the other hand, added a .99 cent menu to the three Kenny Rogers Roasters still open. (They're all in Connecticut. Why?)


R.I.P. Rodney Dangerfield

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Lights out tonight, trouble in the heartland... does a nice job of capturing a lot of what I felt at the Vote for Change tour, right down to Springsteen's odd fascination with playing "Youngstown" live. Although calling "Bad Day" a song that "already sounds like an REM classic" is just an outright lie.

And he said "Hey kid, you think that's oil? Man, that ain't oil, that's blood"...

So I finally get around to writing about this. It was so big, I don't think I have the words. It was... monumental. It's like in the movie Contact where Jodie Foster's character says they should have sent a poet to describe the things she sees. The Vote for Change tour was in Philly on Friday, and yes, Fogerty played "Centerfield". And yes, he used his baseball bat guitar. It was like a little bit of Branson, Missouri, in South Philadelphia. Fogertywood. He looked like he was having a great time. And I think if you apply a formula of political metaphor to the song, it was quite an apt choice of song:

"Put me in coach, I'm ready to play/ Today/ Look at me/ I can be/ Centerfield"
Me = John Kerry
Coach = The American voting public
Centerfield = The Oval Office

Quid erat demonstratum, motherfucker.

Also, some other stuff happened. R.E.M. and Springsteen played. Springsteen came out and sang on "Man on the Moon", Stipe sang on "Because the Night". Michael Stipe on his knees, shaking his fist in front of Springsteen as Bruce soloed. Fogerty sang on "The Promised Land". Everyone came out and did "Proud Mary", "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding", and "Power to the People". Mills and Buck came out and played on "Born to Run" while Michael stood off-stage, pumping his fist.

Whew. A nipple-hardening, pants-tightening experience. You haven't heard "Centerfield" until you've heard it live.

Anyway, R.E.M. played great, but played the wrong songs. "Leaving New York" and "Animal"? Zzzz. "Final Straw"? Snore. "She Just Wants To Be"? Sleep-inducing until Peter uncoiled a messy, exciting solo that he usually reserves for "Country Feedback". In Cleveland, they had a better set list, which chaps my ass. They get "Life and How To Live It"? Not fair. And Springsteen sang on "Bad Day" too? Son of a bitch.

And Springsteen, what else can be said? "Lost in the Flood", "No Surrender", Johnny 99". Though I don't understand his need to play "Youngstown" every goddamn time I see him. Even Fogerty was great; "Deja Vu (All Over Again)", off his new album, was actually a really great song and "Fortunate Son" was absolutely amazing. Although it's hard not to think of Wrangler jeans when you hear the song anymore. Bastards.

Playing track 6, track 7/ again and again...

A poster on the Superchunk message board recounts a bit from Conan O'Brien last week:

i'm cutting and pasting this from another list -- funny stuff. did anyone see this last night (after the debate)?:

a hoary prospector in the used vinyl section says, "if I keep digging, I'm sure I'll find some out-of-print superchunk albums and some guided by voices side projects!"

then he smacks another shopper with his pickaxe and says, "stay away from my claim!"

When I Paint My Masterpiece... has a review of the Dylan autobiography

Dream on...

Steven Tyler is involved in a cell-phone based walking tour of Boston. Hopefully he gives his insider info on where to get the cheapest handjobs from Chinese hookers. And if you think this is sell out, it's a step up from covering Diane Warren songs for Jerry Bruckheimer disaster movies.

Crooked Beats

I complain about the lack of independent record stores in D.C., so I may should pass along this info. D.C. has a new record store. And even though it is right down the street from my apartment, I haven't been able to visit it yet. But it's called Crooked Beats, and it's across the street from the ninth circle of Saturday night hell that is Tom Tom. The over/under on its survival is one year. I'm not saying that to be an asshole; just be pragmatic.

Handle with Care

There's a Tom Petty special on PBS right now, and something he said made me think: some of the greatest songwriters in pop music history (and Jeff Lynne!) got together as the Traveling Wilburys, and the best they could come up with was "Handle with Care"? I mean, good song. Catchy. But that's it?

Monday, October 04, 2004

"It's only when you stop that I feel it..."

I want to give a shout-out to my friend, the Mysterious Becker, for burning me a copy of the hard-to-find Chisel album 8 A.M. All Day before he left for his new life of siestas and cheap hookers in Spain. It's held up well, and reminds me of college days when my friends and I were obsessed with having cheetos and 100-proof martinis on the roof of our dorm, and I could hardly drink a Jack Daniels Country Cooler. Misty water-colored memories...

Sunday, October 03, 2004

I'm a flea-bit peanut monkey/ all my friends are junkies...

Victoria Secret's new commercials use the Rolling Stones' "Monkey Man". Which is odd, because—and I could be wrong—I'm pretty sure the song's about heroin. I wonder if advertisers listen to the songs or just decide they like the beat. I'm sure you could devote a whole term paper to misused songs in advertising, like Wrangler using "Fortunate Son" or Target using a Devo song about, if you really listened to it, the evils of commercialism. Or you could write term paper about something that actually matters. Take it from me, you start writing papers about the metaphor of water in R.E.M. songs or women in Springsteen songs, and you end up with a temp job and an unread blog. (They should make this into one of those NBC "The More You Know" PSAs they show on Monday mornings. Take it, NBC, you can use it.)

And the plants are dry and they need to drink/ so you do your best, and you flood the sink...

Tom Moon gives Around the Sun a pretty lukewarm review in the Philly Inquirer. Besides the comment about "Aftermath" being "bombastic arena music," I have to agree with a lot of what he says. The album's growing on me, but when he says "Rather than offer unruly, giddily unhinged songs, R.E.M. now favors a fussbudget aesthetic that renders the recordings flawlessly beautiful, but strangely free of joy," I think he hits the argument in the sweet spot. Another good point, about Stipe's lyrics: "Turns out he's better off not observing love's torments with such specificity."

Update: Man, oh, man. Even the MediaMix section of the Washington Post's Sunday Source section is down on Around the Sun. C-fucking-plus? Man, I can take that from Tom Moon, but the MediaMix is like the UMass creative writing department: no one gets anything below a B ("I think you copied from a 'Goofus and Gallant' cartoon, but it was a good cartoon nonetheless. A-"). This is a section that gives regular A-minuses to Helen Fielding novels ("What You'll Love: Bridget's pluckiness! What You Won't: All those British terms. What's a flat?").

Friday, October 01, 2004

Weird War

This is going to be horrible. I may be in the minority, but I hated Life is Beautiful. Hated it. But I look forward to one day seeing Roberto Begnini's slapstick take on the Trail of Tears. (A page from the script: "Bene! This blankets are so warm and comfortable! Thank-a you, white man!" [sneezes loudly] "Uh oh! Hope I'm-a not-a comin' down with something!" )

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?