Wednesday, December 28, 2005

And the poets down here don't write nothin' at all...

Watching Wings for Wheels, the Born to Run reissue doc, I just couldn't believe (and I'm repeating myself here) they couldn't have found space for a disc of outtakes. Don't get me wrong, the documentary is great, and has some unbelievable moments. but watching Springsteen listening to the sixteenth take of "Jungleland", with its effed-up mariachi-esque intro isn't the same as listening to it yourself. Or that live, quiet version of "Backstreets". Or give the stuff on the War and Roses bootleg a proper release. Anything. Is it too much to ask for a Tracks sequel?

The only answer I can think of is that Bruce believes there's a reason why one version wasn't used, and he's not proud of those versions. But listening to War and Roses, to the little differences between the takes... amazing. The emotion on "Backstreets", the strings and backing vocals on "Born to Run" are worth excavating. These songs are so loved and tattooed on the minds of fans, that hearing their genesis has immeasurable value. They may not replace the final versions in our hearts, but hell if they're not fascinating listens.

But I'm just repeating myself and rambling. Hey, how about the Dunkin' Donuts guy dying? Crazy shit.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Two sips from the cup of human kindness and I'm shit-faced, just laid to waste...

Personally, I think Belle and Sebastian and the New Pornographers touring together (ahem, scroll down) is a hell of an idea. But maybe that's just me.

Sofa King. We Todd Ed.

My first pre-New Year's resolution: resist the temptation to second-guess end-of-year top-whatever lists. (My second? More compound modifiers!) What's the point? Subjective opinions, to each his own, et cetera and et al. Something about one hand clapping, deaf ears, or a choir which is being preached to. In the end, it just angries up the blood, and I don't need that.

But certain actions require a measured response. So here it is: Rolling Stone cannot honestly think that A Bigger Bang is the second best album of the year. Just impossible. Did they listen to the album, or did they open up the jewel case and find a check for a million dollars? An album that crappy at number 2 (hee hee, I say... funny thing) is just counter-intuitive to the whole idea of critics lists. It's obvious that Jann Wenner sends Mick Jagger coded mash notes disguised as reviews, but this goes too far. So my measured response to this? Ess my dee, Rolling Stone.

But at least I kept it short, and that counts for something.

Friday, December 16, 2005

I want to be your Easter bunny, I want to be your Christmas tree...

Chris Martin's incessant wooing of Michael Stipe pays dividends, and joins an illustrious group of musicians, including (ahem) Dashboard Confessional, who've gotten Mssr. Stipe's implicit approval through the magic of duet.

Over the past few months Martin's gone to the extreme lengths to get his approval, including buying a Stipe-designed lunchbox and calling himself a dog to Stipe's "master". If Martin also "ran into" him randomly (and on an almost daily basis), made him a mix tape with "Autumn Sweater" on it, and started bad-mouthing other people in Stipe's life ("Yeah, that Peter Buck, he'll play guitar with anyone, if you know what I mean"), he's pretty much used every trick I used in college to get girls to like me.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Free Music

Hot on the heels of my bold proclamation that I love free music comes word (visa largehearted boy) that Kristen Hersh has a free downloadable EP, deceptively titled Free Music. This is like an Abbott and Costello routine waiting to happen.

Abbott: I downloaded Free Music off the internet today.
Costello: And what was the name of the album?
Abbott: Free music.
Costello: Of course it was free music, but what was the name of the album?
Abbott: I told you. Free Music.
Costello: You been listening to anything else?
Abbott: Music.
Costello: Thank you ladies and gentlemen, enjoy Brian Setzer Orchestra! [cue exit music: "My Humps"]

I didn't say it would be a good Abbott and Costello routine. They've been dead for a while and they're quite rusty. And playing "My Humps" just a desperate grab at the younger demographic, but at least they keep the blue stuff out of their act.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

They say the best things are life are free...

I love free stuff, because I am cheap and broke.

Look: Cat Power! And over there: Ryan Adams (though only in bite-sized form)! And it should be noted that's 97 Best of 2005 est rad. Right now they're "flashing back" and their time machine seems to have landed on Soul Asylum's "Somebody to Shove" and I can't even tell you how happy that makes me.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

All my girls, stand in a circle/ clap your hands, this is for you...

It's not evil-bad like "My Humps", but the new Ashlee Simpson song is pretty effing bad. Embarassing; like, I almost feel bad for her. It's like karaoke Gwen Stefani. Or KidzBop rocking "Hollaback Girl". Just horrible. Why can't she just keep it real like The Veronicas (they go on, like, road trips and stuff)? More importantly, if someone were to convince Joe Simpson that the kids these days like Al Jolson, would he have his daughters do songs in black face? Someone should get on that.

By the way: this (by way of a single syllable) and this (by way of vorpalfilm ; Borken Social Scene meets You're the Man Now Dog!).

Monday, December 12, 2005

Before we make our respective passes...

You know, one moment Pandora's playing "The First Part" for the zillionth time when I boot it up and it's like "Pandora doesn't understand me" and I'm rehearsing the speech, saying "I think a change will do us both some good. It's gotten stale. I need a music engine that takes me dancing on the weekends and brings me flowers." Then it comes through the door with Consonant and "Does Your Hometown Care?" and it's all like "It's alright; I'll buy you a corn dog, yo." And the butterflies are back.

Friday, December 09, 2005


I don't know if Rolling Stone's 500 best albums list is new, but the presentation is. And that alone suckered me in to find my number.

It's 134. You know what would be cool? If it were 187. 'Cause that's how I roll.

A few thoughts, as these lists are sure to provoke:And now the top albums I probably should own on that list but don't:

Passing through and it's late, the station started to fade...

This could be the end of me. I put in R.E.M., and I get back Superchunk and Fugazi, plus change. That's a deal.

I'm terrified to see what they'll play when I ask for music similar to "My Humps".

Thursday, December 08, 2005

While she doesn't look as good without makeup, I wouldn't call Cameron Diaz a dog...

I apologize to the pervert person looking for N*SYNC fan fiction involving Justin and a dog and most likely left disappointed; if you email me, I have been working on a story about Chris Kirkpatrick judging a competitive eating contest that takes a turn for the delighfully erotic.

Now our children grow up prisoners/ all their life, radio listeners...

It's official! The talk of the town is the awe-inspiring craptitude of "My Humps". "Knock, knock, knock!" Who's there? "Zeitgeist."

I'd pretty much avoided the song, but you don't need to spend the night in a trashcan to know it stinks. But with all this overwhelming commentary devoted to one song destined for a VH1 "hey-remember-that-crappy-song" special, we may be at a cultutal crossroads: this may be what causes the cultural revolt, where the music snobs take up arms, lead by John Zorn and Tweedy, and storm the radio stations. And you know what? More power to them. Oh, who am I kidding? More power to us; I'm no causually observer. Si su puede, motherfucker.

What's most interesting is that this song and Shaggy's "It Wasn't Me" are both considered "unsolicited singles," meaning the record companies didn't push the single, programmers and the masses did. And both songs are poop. Heavy poop. So analyze that and see what it says about populist demand. I always thought that if record companies didn't shove crap down the throat of the masses, people may find better music. Oops!

Remember when the Black Eyed Peas recording studio caught on fire? Did God know something we didn't, and tried, in his passive-aggressive way, to stop the madness? Could it be that God said "I'll let planes crash into buildings, but fuck this. Seriously, I gotta draw the line somewhere"? And when the Peas rose above God's will to give him the finger and hit number one, did G.O.D. throw up his hands and say "That's it. I'm done. Have fun at the Rapture"?

Is there a theologian in the house? Or at least someone who reads the "Left Behind" series? I'm kinda worried.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

With the windows clear and the mannequin eyes...

Light's out, the snow's coming down outside the window, books are closed, and Ryan Adams is on Letterman playing "Come Pick Me Up". Says online it's a rerun from early November, so it was in support of Jacksonville City Nights. Odd marketing move, but I'm not complaining. It's a top-drawer song.

Cheers to Heartbreaker; jeers to the great unknown.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Your imagination's having puppies/ it could be a video for new recruits...

I finally got around to buying the Bowie/Arcade Fire EP on iTunes, and honestly? It's kind of "eh". The combination of these two should have been something close to catharsis, but instead, both of them are maybe tempered by the presence of the other. This should have been bigger, but it's more whimper than bang. A real missed opportunity. But there's always the chance I'll come around on it later.

The big hit was actually The Tragically Hip's "Something On" which is just simple and satisfying, like good mac and cheese. Comfort rock. And I broke down and bought the Veronica's "4ever". If they're nicotine, it's still in my veins, I guess.

Other than that, I spent a good amount of time loading up on free MP3s: Okkervil River, the Hold Steady, John Vanderslice ("Trance Manual"? yes, please), Magnolia Eletric Co (what's going on in my life that I'm hungry for intensely weepy neo-alt-country?). The talk of the town has been Sufjan Stevens' "Casmir Pulaski Day" but I still can't warm up to him. Too creepy in his devotion, too fragile in his voice. It all adds up to an uncomfortable listen for me, way too intense. Of course, I was also expecting catharsis from "Five Years", so I'm a hypocrite.

I'm looking forward to getting that Hold Steady album. There's a tiny part of me bothered by the delivery, and I'm finally hearing the Springsteen influence (you can hear it in the piano breakdown of "Stevie Nix"), but all in all, I could use a good straight-up rock album.

And as long as I'm spilling my guts about stupid crap, I'm really looking forward to the catfish sandwich I'm about to make, but not so much my Criminal Procedure exam on Friday.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

They don't love you like I love you...

Now this is more like it: a new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album. If only I could slip into a coma and wake up closer to the release date, so I wouldn't have to deal with the bullshit in between.

But the big slip in the article is word of a Karen O. solo album. I only hope this comes out around the same time as the Paris Hilton album and starts an all-out war. And to the winner goes our hearts. For some reason I think the symmetry of this is natural and it may have been prophesized. I think I read it in the Bible, towards the end. Or it maybe it was "Entertainment Weekly".

On a totally unrelated note, I think I'm over The Veronicas. So sad. Totally gorging yourself on manufactured power-pop is no way to live, and has shown to cause cancer in rats. I listened to those three songs on such a constant rotation that I feel like I just left a competitive eating contest or an isolation chamber: I'm squinting at the sun, my chest hurts, my head feel shrunk, I'm not sure what time it is. I think I may have permanent vertigo. But if anything, this just goes to show what a towering achievement "Since U Been Gone" is, because I'm still listening to that song and can't get enough. That song was passed down from on high, it was, and we are all better for it.

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