What's More Unbelievable?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Gamera and Mothra v. The Greatest of All Time

Last Show! Last Setlist! Last Chance to Pogo to the greatest hits of the 90s and 00s!

Sonic Youth - Silver Rocket
Polvo - Time Isn't On My Own Side
Built To Spill - Car
Guided By Voices - Echos Myron

The Pixies - U-Mass
Pavement - Unfair
Superchunk - Seed Toss
Fugazi - Repeater

Archers of Loaf - Underdogs of Nipomo
Neutral Milk Hotel - Holland, 1945
The White Stripes - Hypnotize
Les Savy Fav - Wake Up!

Pinback - Prog
The Exploding Hearts - Throwaway Style
Broken Social Scene - Late Nineties Bedroom Rock for the Missionaries
TV On The Radio - Staring at the Sun

Animal Collective - Grass
Ween - The Mollusk
The Magnetic Fields - You and Me and the Moon
The Shins - Know Your Onion!
Ratatat - Bustelo

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - I Am Goodbye
Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
Yo La Tengo - Stockholm Syndrome
Bedhead - Crushing

M. Ward - Here Comes the Sun Again
Iron & Wine - Carousel
The Mountain Goats - Weekend in Western Illinois
Andrew Bird - The Privateers

New Pornographers - Streets of Fire
Mogwai - New Paths To Helicon Pt II
Arcade Fire - Old Flame
The Wrens - This Is Not What You Had Planned

Sunday, April 26, 2009

In Dreams I Melt With You

Wilco - Hell Is Chrome
Arcade Fire - Black Mirror
Islands - Humans

Vladimir Ussachevsky - Wireless Fantasy
The Dukes of Stratosphear - My Love Explodes
Olivia Tremor Control - Dusk at Cubist Castle
The Monkees - Daily Nightly
Idyll Swords - Escutcheon Ascent/Biza's Theme

Brian Eno - Alternative 3
My Bloody Valentine - I Only Said
Mogwai - Sine Wave
Les Savy Fav - Brace Yourself

Black Sabbath - A Bit of Finger
Nico - Lawns of Dawns
Liars - Be Quiet Mt. Heart Attack
Sonic Youth - In the Kingdom # 19

Grandaddy - Underneath the Weeping Willow
Bedhead - Bedside Table
Will Oldham - Apocolypse, No!
Animal Collective - In the Flowers

Ween - Captain
Windy & Carl - Traveling
Burial - In McDonalds
Andrew Bird - Unfolding Fans
M83 - Midnight Souls Still Remain

Sigur Ros - Meo Blodnasir
The Flaming Lips - Christmas at the Zoo
The Microphones - I Want Wind To Blow
The Stranglers - Golden Brown

Gastr Del Sol - Rebecca Sylvester
Edsel - The Good Celeste
Holger Czukay - Boat-Woman-Song
Godspeed You Black Emperor -

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Oh! Delmarva, Here I Come! Right Back Where I Started From

In a little less than a week, Hott Mama, The Pow!erbot Team and I will be heading south on a journey through the Mid-Atlantic states and I'm horribly excited. Partially for the destinations along the way and certainly for the people we'll be visiting but I'm also frothing at the mouth to get hours upon hours of uninterrupted music listening. I love road trips and I love them most for their soundtracks. For me, the journey is an end in itself. I took a nearly cross country road trip with Listmaker years ago and we barely left the car because the point of the trip was to be inside with the stereo blasting mix tape after mix tape. I'm giddy just thinking about the upcoming trip and wonder if it's too early to start putting together the pile of cds that will carry us towards the Mason-Dixon line.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Embracing the Inner Beast

Years ago, indie popstress Mary Timony entered a magical chrysalis and came out on the other side forever changed. Early in her musical career she championed self empowerment and feminism through occasionally oblique yet always fascinating lyrics. After 1995's beloved The Dirt of Luck, dragons and faeries began to creep into her work little by little and critics started to wonder where this mystical obsession came from and why was she delving into the world of storybooks and fantasy. I can only assume that Ms. Timony had a choice at this point - give up the childish visions or dive in headfirst. Just looking at the song titles of her next full length album, The Magic City, shows she chose the latter. "Medieval People," "Lady of the Fire," and "Lullaby of the Moths" are the work of someone who took an infatuation and exploded it into a defining characteristic.

I am a witch - Helium

Neko Case has done the same with her newest LP Middle Cyclone. On this amazing album, Neko fully explores her dual loves of nature and animals. Again, you need look no further than the song titles to discover that she has chosen to almost singlemindedly follow her personal muse. "Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth" isn't her song but it as much of a thesis statement as anything else uttered on this album. She spells it out even more explicitly in "People Got a Lotta Nerve" where she plainly states that wild animals will eat you without a second thought and we humans are foolish for hoping or expecting anything different. Whereas Mary Timony uses fairy tales as a safe haven from the ugliness of modern life, Neko Case's songs are more like the Grimm Brothers' cautionary tales. Civilization has its many positives and negatives, it's true, but there's nothing quite as unpredictable or terrifying or beautiful as the natural world.

People Got A Lotta Nerve - Neko Case

In honor of Neko Case and poetry month, here's a wonderful poem by the fantastic and brutal Anne Sexton:


Oh you brown bacon machine,
how sweet you lie,
gaining a pound and a half a day,
you rolled-up pair of socks,
you dog's nightmare,
your snout pushed in
but leaking out the ears,
your eyes as soft as eggs,
hog, big as a cannon,
how sweet you lie.

I lie in my bed at night
in the closet of my mind
and count hogs in a pen,
brown, spotted, white, pink, black,
moving on the shuttle toward death
just as my mind moves over
for its own little death.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Follow Your Dreams. Go To School Naked

Roy Orbison - In Dreams 
The Everly Brothers - Sweet Dreams
Cher - Dream Baby
Stevie Wonder - Never Had a Dream Come True

Beck - Girl Dreams
Pavement - Passat Dream
Built to Spill - Made-Up Dreams

Dead Milkmen - Dean's Dream
T Rex - Dreamy Lady
The Magnetic Fields - Too Drunk to Dream
Olivia Tremor Control - Define a Transparent Dream
Guided By Voices - Ghosts of a Different Dream

Superchunk - Good Dreams
Pixies - Bird Dream of Olympus Mons
Weezer - Only in Dreams

Belle & Sebastian - You Made Me Forgot My Dreams
Tom Waits - Innocent When You Dream (78)
M Ward - Bad Dreams
Leo Kottke - All I Have To Do Is Dream

The Walkmen - Thinking of a Dream I Had
Will Oldham - Dreaming My Dreams With You
Wilco - Dreamer in My Dreams

Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan's Dream
The Apples in Stereo - The Silvery Light of a Dream (Parts I and II)
Dog Faced Hermans - Dream Forever

Broken Social Scene - Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)
Neko Case - Dreaming Man
TV On The Radio - Dreams

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Fish of Cheese With the Head of Walt Whitman

April is poetry month and I wanted to kick it off with some brilliant, inspired lyrics proving that the musicians and songwriters and the true poets of our golden age. I didn't have anything set to post today but then I was playing Rock band 2 with Hott Mama (and killing it if I can be honest for a moment) when who should appear like a beacon on a foggy night? Dave Mustaine, a man sadly passed over year after year for Poet Laureate. Was he born in Canada or something for I can think of no other reason he has yet to receive this highest honor that all little heshers aspire to.

"Peace Sells" came blasting out of the teevee and we fumbled our way through it as best we could. I had never heard the song as I had vowed to never listen to Megadeth ever again after their ubiquitous mind-bender of a hit "Sweating Bullets" kept showing up on MTV back in the early 90s. I refused to give them any love even though they have some of the best album titles of all time such as Killing is My Business...And Business is Good! and So Far, So Good...So What? They tried to recapture this glory with 2007's United Abominations but without an ellipsis I just can't bring myself to care.

Well the song itself was pretty terrible, as I assumed it would be, but the lyrics were a sheer joy to hear. While I fake-drummed away and Hott Mama caterwauled along with Mr. Mustaine, I realised that Steve Albini is indie rock's Dave Mustaine. Here's the proof that they may have been separated at birth. 1. Both have odd, growly, speak-sing vocal styles. 2. They're both crotchety contrarians who always seem to be harshly judging all humankind, including their faithful audience members. 3. They both somehow come off as joyless and smirking at the same time.

Here's a sample of Dave Mustaine's brilliance when it comes to putting pen to paper followed by some audio samples of these long lost twins.

Peace Sells:
What do you mean, "I don't believe in God"?
I talk to him every day.
What do you mean, "I don't support your system"?
I go to court when I have to.
What do you mean, "I can't get to work on time"?
I got nothing better to do
And, what do you mean, "I don't pay my bills"?
Why do you think I'm broke? Huh?

Peace Sells - Megadeth

My Black Ass - Shellac

Monday, March 30, 2009

Adventures in Crowd Management

Can you tell if you would like a stranger simply from the way they act at a concert? I am here to state most certainly that you can. The guy who pogoed wildly and then burped in my face at an Archers of Loaf show years ago? I'd probably not want to go for a beer with him. The total creep who wandered the grounds of Fort Reno handing out flyers shirtless with his pants far too low and far too close to the the no-no zone? I most likely would not want to share a slice of cheesecake with him? And the two starched shirts chatting during songs, clapping loudly and arrhythmically and shouting out "Screen Door!" over and over and over again at the Jeff Tweedy solo show this past weekend? I wouldn't stop if I saw them crossing the street.

Friday night Jimbama, Mothra and Quinnothra ventured into Northampton for a solo acoustic concert from Mr. Wilco and I've never in my life seen a crowd so rowdy at a semi-quiet show. The only time I can remember a more insane crowd was at a Servotron show in Baltimore but there the band was actively heckling the crowd and badmouthing the city, basically guaranteeing angry verbal assaults from drunken jackals. This show started awfully quiet with about 6 or so songs in a row with no banter, just focusing on the tunes. It didn't matter, the goofballs filling the audience wanted blood and were going to scream their lungs out whether Jeff talked to them or not. Imagine the softest moment in a beautiful song and imagine the rapt attention you would hope for from a large audience. Then imagine that lovely scene split in half by the shrillest "Whooooo!" you could imagine. Isn't this kind of behavior outlawed in a concert going rule book somewhere? Didn't R.E.M. address this kind of nonsense years ago?

Well Mr. Tweedy is a total pro and eventually started talking to the audience, filling in the second half of what had been, up until then, an awkward one way conversation. One by one he politely eviscerated those who needed it most. I was so impressed by the way he would cut off the assholes at the knees but in the kindest way so that they wouldn't go home, hating the front man they once loved. After one fellow loudly mumbled something about how Jeff Tweedy's father should hang out with his, Mr. Tweedy responded, "Do you have a mouthful of sandwich? Are they serving hoagies here?" During a brief tuning break, the crowd's setlist suggestions grew increasingly louder and more insistent. As 50 or so song titles flew through the air with abandon, he shook his head and remarked "these are the good parts." He also mentioned his fear that if he didn't put an end to the barrage of requests quickly, within 5 minutes the savages would rush the stage and spill out onto the street, tipping over his bus and setting it on fire. There are superfans and then there are those in attendance Friday night who made Jeff Tweedy fear for his safety.

I was in such a good mood and the comebacks were so lovely that I didn't mind the chaos and actually revelled in it. He handled it all so well and was such a great showman that it never felt uncomfortable and never seemed like the inmates had taken over the asylum. The concert itself was amazing, building slowly and featuring songs from all parts of his career including his side projects. The first encore is almost always a gimme but the second encore always feels special. On this evening he came back for a third encore, performing "Dreamer in My Dreams" and "Acuff Rose" at the front of the stage without a microphone. The yahoos still didn't shut up, even for this part, but they couldn't ruin what a perfect end to a bizarre and amazing evening. Check out a fan video of the finale below after the setlist.

1. Spiders (Kidsmoke) 2. I'm Always in Love 3. Remember the Mountain Bed 4. Bob Dylan's 49th Beard 5. Jesus, etc. 6. One By One 7. Everlasting 8. New song 9. Someday, Some Morning, Sometime 10. The Ruling Class 11. Wait Up for Me 12. Muzzle of Bees 13. In a Future Age 14. Forget the Flowers 15. California Stars

1st Encore
16. Shot in the Arm 17. Via Chicago 18. Fake Plastic Trees

2nd Encore
19. Wilco (the song) 20. Heavy Metal Drummer 21. Casino Queen 22. I'm the Man Who Loves You

3rd Encore
23. Dreamer in My Dreams 24. Acuff Rose

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ha Ha Very Funny

The Beatles - Act Naturally
Beck - Satan Gave Me A Taco
Van Morrison - Big Royalty Check
The Frogs - I'm Sad the Goat Just Died

Crispin Hellion Glover - These Boots Are Made For Walking
Richard Cheese - Buddy Holly
Shooby Taylor - Stout-Hearted Men
The Beat Farmers - Happy Boy
Tony Burello - There's a New Sound
"Weird Al" Yankovic - White and Nerdy

Flight of the Conchords - Think About It
Zlad - Elektronik Supersonik

David Bowie - The Laughing Gnome
The Pogues - The Gentleman Soldier

Nite Hawks - Chicken Grabber
Louis Jordan - Barnyard Boogie
Wynonie Harris - Keep on Churnin'
Bull Moose Jackson - Nosey Joe
Hurricane Harry - The Last Meal

Spinal Tap - Stonehenge
Leonard Nimoy - The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins
Pat Boone - You Got Another Thing Coming (Judas Priest)
Kip - Always and Forever (Napoleon Dynamite)

Song-Poem - Virgin Child of the Universe
Monty Python - Galaxy Song
Tom Lehrer - So Long, Mom
Muppets - Simon Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear
They Might Be Giants - Violin

Will Oldham - Big Balls
Devastatin Dave - Zip Zap Rap
Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 - My Pal the Tortoise
Atom and His Package - Anarchy Means I Litter
Danger Doom - Vats of Urine

Reggie and the Full Effect - Mood 4 Luv
Ween - Bananas and Blow
"Weird Al" Yankovic - Buy Me a Condo
The Simpsons - Monorail Song

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Know You Can't Control Yourself Any Longer

I love lists. Listmaker loves lists. Most people love lists, especially music nerds. One list that often comes up as a topic with us music geeks is guilty pleasures. These are the kind of joys that would only bring shame and derision were they to see the cold light of day. Music snobs love to talk about this subject because there are serious cool points to lose depending on what circles you traffic in and how deeply affected your musical friends are. Hardcore punks are as rigid and fundamentalist as the worst of the religious right.

Over the years, I've softened on my uppityness and have embraced, or at least tried to, the entire world of music. Few things turn me off on principle alone and I try to give most anything a chance. Years ago, I realised how much I truly loved Journey and everything changed. Not "loved" in any ironic, so-bad-they're-good kind of sense but true joy. "Any Way You Want It" moves me as much as my favorite White Stripes songs and thanks to Rock Band 2 I now know how truly awesome it is to belt out that melody at the top of my lungs. After Steve Perry, the deluge. I stopped caring what was hot and what was not and started embracing all the cheesy artists I remembered from my youth and the walls came tumbling down.

I was talking about this the other day with Flapdoodle and Flapman and found myself at a loss for words. "What are your guilty pleasures?" they asked and I had a hard time thinking of any. There's very little I'm embarrassed to admit I like these days, as evidenced by my loud and proud crowing about Rush. I offered the new Kanye West album as something that's not really a guilty pleasure but more a surprise to some people who know me. They offered up Billy Joel and Hall & Oates, neither of which is really something to be ostracized for. I have selfmade best of cds in my collection for the music of Dave Matthews and Enya, both who are pretty embarrassing but I can't apologize for my enjoyment of some of their songs. Yes, there's little cool about either musician but something about them touch me in ways the 18 year old Gamera would retch at. So, there we were, at a loss for a true guilty pleasure until Flapdoodle came up with one that I dare anyone to trump - Miami Sound Machine. I don't even know their music very well but I'm sure if I liked them it would be a hard thing to admit openly. It kind of makes me want to investigate their back catalog.

Dr. Beat - Miami Sound Machine

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pea Soup Pea Soup

Shaking Off the Sadness With an All Night Beat Frenzy!

Kraftwerk - Dentaku
Trans Am - Party Station
The Faint - The Conductor
Fantastic Plastic Machine - Take Me To the Disco
Wolfgang Press - Mama Told Me Not to Come
Gary Numan - Metal
Kanye West - Robocop
Burial - Near Dark
Radiohead - Sit Down. Stand Up.
Tortoise - Jetty
Tleilaxu - Sick
Mum - Don't Be Afraid...
Ween - Friends
Alice Deejay - Better Off Alone
Hans Raj Hans - Aaja Nachle
Fischerspooner - Emerge
MGMT - Electric Feel
Hot Chip - Keep Fallin'
Booka Shade - In White Rooms
Dirty Vegas - Days Go By
New Order - Ecstacy
Daft Punk - One More Time
Crystal Castles vs. The Whip - Divebomb
The Cure - The Walk (Everything Mix)
Sugarcubes - Motorcrash (Justin Robertson Mix)
We Will Build - Out These Doors Inside
Passion Pit - Sleepyhead
The Avalanches - Radio
Beastie Boys - Intergalactic
Mantronix - Needle to the Groove
Animal Collective - Lion in a Coma

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Capt. Planet's Maiden Voyage vol. 2

Theme vs. theme once again. This time Mothra brings the elements while Gamera delves into the artists who don't merit a second purchase.

Grandaddy - Underneath the Weeping Willow
Boyracer - Is It Me or Is It Cold?
The Pastels - Love It's Getting Better
Drunk - A Nip For Kitty

Man or Astroman - Earth Station Radio
The New Pornographers - All of Things That Go To Make Heaven and Earth
The American Analog Set - Gone To Earth

The Hives - Die, All Right!
Wire - Lowdown
Franz Ferdinand - Cheating On You
Dog Faced Hermans - Les Femmes et Les Filles Vont Danser

Scorpions - Wind of Change
Brian Wilson - Wind Chimes
Billy Bragg and Wilco - Black Wind Blowing
Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers - The Sweeping Wind

Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 - Cup of Dreams
Kanye West - Street Lights
Starlight Mints - Cracker Jack
Teenage Fanclub - Guiding Star

John Parr - St. Elmo's Fire
Madvillian - Do Not Fire
Mitch Hedberg - Fire Exit
Bill Monroe & Doc Watson - Fire On The Mountain
Broken Social Scene - Fire Eye'd Boy
Wolf Parade - This Heart's on Fire

Unrest - Cath Carroll
Smog - Not Lonely Anymore
Edsel - Narrow

Brian Eno - Slow Water
Modest Mouse - Grey Ice Water
Beck - See Water
Akron/Family - I'll Be on the Water

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cliches Come to Life

Phish are back after a five year hiatus and so are their legions of glow stick loving fans. I got to work today, saw the headline on Yahoo that $1.2 million in drugs were confiscated at Phish's three night jammy jam at the Hampton Coliseum in Virginia this past weekend and just laughed in amazement. Back with a bang, eh boys? Even better is this headline courtesy of Gawker:

Police Win War on Drugs Belonging to Zonked Phish Hippies

Yes it's expected that there will massive amounts of drugs at a Phish concert but still, $1.2 million!? That's a lot of drugs. What kinds of drugs, you wonder? "Many of the charges pertained to marijuana, cocaine, mushrooms and painkillers" reads the article. I know what you're thinking - the painkillers must have been to dull the 3 hour+ onslaught of noodling and vacuum cleaner solos. I saw Phish years ago and was relating the story to a friend and he commented on how I was probably the only one there actually paying attention to the music. While that's obviously an exaggeration, it is odd to be straight at a show where the assumption is that you are on one, if not several, controlled substances. As much as the hacky sack loving, haircut avoiding, hippie dancing legions bug me, I still would have loved to be at one of those recent shows but not enough to be one of the many doofuses who wander around the parking lot yelling "I need a miracle!" Man, I hate those guys.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Capt. Planet's Maiden Voyage vol. I

Elements vs. Artists Who Don't Merit the Purchase of a Second CD!

Desaparecidos - The Happiest Place on Earth
Bjork - Earth Intruders
Tom Waits - Earth Died Screaming
The Fucking Champs - Over the Flat Earth

The Stranglers - Get A Grip On Yourself
The Rapture - House of Jealous Lovers
Iron Maiden - The Trooper

Frank Black - Parry the Wind High, Low
Guided by Voices - Adverse Wind
Cat Power - Wild is the Wind
Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet - Summer Wind

The Detroit Cobras - Midnight Blues
The Replacements - Color Me Impressed
MC5 - Ramblin' Rose
The Walkmen - The Rat

Crooked Fingers - You Must Build a Fire
Sebadoh - Soul and Fire
The Cure - Fire in Cairo
Brian Eno - St. Elmo's Fire

Akron/Family - Afford
The Wrens - This Boy is Exhausted
Q & Not U - Soft Pyramids

Of Montreal - A Collection of Poems About Water
M. Ward - So Much Water
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! - Underwater (You and Me)
Lilys - Icy Water. Water Everywhere

My Morning Jacket - Anytime
Death Cab for Cutie - Company Calls
Maserati - The Width of The Atlantic

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bring Me the Head of Jeff Tweedy

I hate shit like this. If you don't feel like clicking, let me post the offending quote: "(Wilco's last album) features a lot of songs that didn't quite live up to their lofty legacy. So there's a little more pressure on the band to come through with goods on the still-untitled follow-up." Oh really? Says who? Most people I know love that album including Mothra, Jimbama and Big Red from Lucky Bitch. This happens a lot (and it happens a lot on Pitchfork) where one person, or one website's opinion, all of sudden gets deemed common knowledge. When I saw Wilco last summer, their fans were insanely excited about the new songs which all sounded incredible live. In my mind, there is no separation between their back catalog and their recent songs. I also find criticism that classifies Sky Blue Sky as soft, toothless rock to be missing the boat completely and not really listening to the album. It seems that often times critics come to a general conclusion about something (see: TV on the Radio) and all agree to unanimously pan or praise a certain band, album, etc. For some reason, Wilco has seen a mild critical backlash recently and Sky Blue Sky took a hit but to me it's all nonsense and makes me trust critics less and less with each passing day. And that part about needing to prove themselves this time out is laughably pretentious. You either like an album or you don't like it but no one's take on anything is universal. I'm sure most every shitty record out there has someone championing it, even if it's just the artist's parents. I hope for Wilco's sake that their forthcoming album is pleasing to Ryan Dombal for who knows what kind of shitstorm will rain down on them if it's not.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Oblivion or Bust

Did anyone else see Kanye West on VH1’s Storytellers Saturday night? In a word it was revelatory. I am now his soldier. I am ready to go into battle for Kanye. And what battle would that be exactly? I’ll let Kanye answer that. “The war on traditional thinking.” For you see, Mr. West is not simply a fantastic songwriter or a masterful producer or a mindblowing performer, he is also a vessel wherein god’s words course through him allowing him to be a mouthpiece for the freaks and weirdos and in the end causing him to change minds.

The entire show seemed to be beamed in from the future. Kanye performed on a square stage lit from within that changed various colors over the course of the evening going from bright white, to silvery like a mirror or watery surface to multicolored as his mood warranted. Above him was another reflective square hanging from the ceiling at an angle adding an extra dimension to the future shock set design. There was also a full band surrounding the raised platform that included at least 2 drummers as well as a smattering of string players. They looked a demolition crew from the year 2112, all dressed in dark colors and wearing shiny helmets with protective face guards to prevent them from being injured by any explosive comments or egos on stage.

When Kanye was on SNL recently, his voice was noticeably off and the autotune seemed as much a necessity as a cool effect but on Storytellers, he was on pitch about 96% of the time and it elevated the songs drastically. He was belting out all his newest jams and ferociously spitting hot fire on older hits like “Flashing Lights.” Songs were manipulated into mulitpart medleys or else drawn out with extended jams where the drummers pummeled their instruments as Kanye waxed poetic on the tragic events leading up to 808s and Heartbreak and the near constant criticism he suffers at the hands of reporters, bloggers, haters, parents, close minded jerks and anyone else put off by comments like “My biggest regret in life is not being able to watch myself perform. Y’all know a pleasure I will never have.”

One of the most incredible and shocking events came during a jam/breakdown, one of the many “storytelling” portions of the show where Kanye expounded on a variety of topics, some of which were censored and/or cut from the show entirely. During this particular story, Kanye divulged that he’s not much of a reader so most of his quotes are from movies or from conversations he’s had. He goes on to talk about the value of actually talking to your fellow humans and how educational it can be to engage with people of opposing viewpoints as long as you keep an open mind and are willing to broaden your perspectives. After mentioning a few clich├ęd ideas (young black guy vs. older white woman, rich Lincoln Town Car passenger vs. homeless man) he says he’s realized he’s been wrong all along with his conservative opinion of homosexuals. All those people in Chicago were wrong, he said, telling him to avoid gay people when he was growing up. Then after this astonishing revelation and wonderfully surprising display of progressive thinking, he went on to sing “Don’t be an asshole for too long.” Putting his money where mouth is when it comes to the war on traditional thinking, my respect for Kanye increased tenfold in that moment.

I used to think Kanye was a buffoon but I’ve softened my stance on him recently and it’s no secret that this latest album has made me fall hard for the man. I can see why he’s been such a target for critics and can also now see that he’s horribly talented and I admire his stubborn refusal to back down, give in or stop trying to be the biggest star in the galaxy. His ego is enormous, sure, but he truly believes in what he’s doing and the endless possibilities laid out before him. During his more bizarre and longwinded asides on Saturday’s program, he certainly resembled a somewhat creepy cult leader but I have tasted the Kool-Aid and will follow him into the darkness.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

There Will Be Blood Sausage

Blood and bleeding!

Liars - Brocken Witch
Jay Reatard - Blood Visions
Misfits - Bloodfeast

Destroyer - Your Blood
Barbara Manning - The Blood of Feeling
Suzanne Vega - Blood Makes Noise

Black Sabbath - Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath
Truman's Water - Good Blood After Bad
Slant 6 - Blood Song
Voxtrot - Blood Red Blood

Billy Bragg & Wilco - The Blood of the Lamb
Franz Ferdinand - Shopping for Blood
Radiohead - We Suck Young Blood (Your Time Is Up)

Archers of Loaf - Fashion Bleeds
The Faint - Cars Pass in Cold Blood
The Cure - The Blood
PJ Harvey - Rub Til It Bleeds

Matt Sweeney & Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Blood Embrace
Bon Iver - Blood Bank
Mountain Goats - The House that Dripped Blood

Man...Or Astroman? - The Heavies (Let's Surf the River of Blood)
The Dead Milkmen - (Theme From) Blood Orgy of the Atomic Fern
Ted Leo - Bleeding Powers
Pixies - I Bleed
Johnny Cash - Flesh and Blood

Bright Eyes - Bad Blood
Sondre Lerche - Face the Blood
The New Pornographers - The Bleeding Heart Show
Sons & Daughters - Blood

Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Salute to Hymie Packwottle

Happy birthday, Jamie! Jamie, along with Listmaker, is mostly responsible for my interest and subsequent obsession with music. If you think this blog is boring, long winded or overly geeky, he is to blame. So hats off to you, Jamie. Let's take a trip down memory lane and hit some of your personal musical highlights.

The Paquette Sessions
Back when we both lived at our parents house, we'd often waste time in the basement pounding away on our instruments, hoping for some approximation of Versus style indie jangle mixed with Sonic Youth's noisy clanging and banging. We recorded hours of this stuff which I later sifted through, hoping for little flecks of gold. The best of the endless 8 minute jams in search of a coherent piece of music ended up on a tape called the Paquette Sessions. Here's a crunchy little treasure showcasing Jamie's chugging guitar stylings and my heartless drum bashing. Enjoy!

Vale-Mover (Return) - The Paquette Sessions

When indie rock hit us, it hit hard. Mitten was started by me and two friends - three people who could barely play their instruments. It was not a pretty sound but the DIY spirit coursed through our veins and we weren't cowed by the obvious lack of talent or songwriting abilities. Over time, we fumbled our way into being a somewhat competent band of troubadours who were never offered a gig we wouldn't play. The basement of a library? Sure. The summer camp where Listmaker and I were counselors? Of course. The mall in D.C., an empty coffeehouse on the Jersey Shore, a crowded pool hall who wanted nothing to do with us? Check, check and check. Jamie joined us in time and played with us whenever he could adding a much needed je ne sais quoi to the sound of Mitten. We always missed his guitar playing whenever he wasn't around but none of us could ever figure out what he was playing on any of the songs. It was a complete mystery. Here he is, trucking along on a song written specifically to kick of our shows, giving the audience a preview of the nonsense to come.

Whatever Happened to the Beautiful South? - Mitten

Jamie's post-college, pre-NYC band was a somwhat legitimate enterprise that played at actual venues like the Black Cat and even put out a 7-inch. I was so amazed and very jealous. While my band at the time was playing open mike nights at cheezy bars, he was living the good life, trashing dressing rooms and writing contract riders longer than Moby Dick. This is from the aforementioned 7-inch, the only record I've ever seen that is played at 33 1/3 RPM on one side and 45 RPM on the other. Once again, happy birthday and have a rockin' day.

Drown - Leka

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hey Hey Hey Hey

So I finally went out and bought the new Kanye West cd. I downloaded the whole thing and figured I only needed a song or two but after a few more listens, it all became indispensable. Even though I had the digital files, I rarely listen to those since I don't have an iPod or anything similar so, Luddite that I am, I wanted an actual physical copy of the album. I love it. Where has Kanye been all my life? Or, where has this 808 lovin', old school soul Kanye been? I've heard some of his hip hop and liked it fine but there's something special about his newest foray in auto-tune soul searching. I've been trying to figure why I love 808s and Heartbreak so much and I think it boil down to three main points.

1. It reminds me of the soul pop I loved as a kid. There are hints of Lionel Richie and New Edition all over this album and that does it for me.
2. That unbelievably pleasing robot vocoder sound. I love robots and I love vocoders and I love the chrome emotions that saturate this record.
3. It's a concept album and I am a sucker for concept albums. If you don't know, the concept here is bitterness and sadness caused by the dual tragedies of Kanye's mother's death and the breakup with his fiancee. These events made Kanye reexamine his life of fast times, private planes and endless parties. I have nothing in common with this guy or his problems yet I find the stories compelling and his regret and raw emotions deeply affect me. When he says he had to leave his sister's wedding before they even cut the cake, I feel the sting. During the final track, "Pinocchio Story," the whoops and hollers from the crowd sound so out of place as Kanye pours out his heart screaming he wants to be a real boy. It sounds horribly cheesy and lame - Oh, poor little rich boy - but it absolutely kills me. Try opening track "Say You Will" on for size and try to tell me it's not the proper follow up to Lionel Richie's "Hello."

Say You Will - Kanye West

Monday, February 23, 2009

Opinions No One Asked For

Happy birthday, Listmaker. I just want to say how grateful I am for your years of friendship and mix making. Even though they come at a slower pace these days, I still cherish each one even when not made specifically for me. In response to your latest wonderful compilation, here is my report card. In case any readers out there haven't already downloaded their copy I say quit yer stalling and click on the link now. You'll be glad you did as the mix is full of hits and the reviews below will make a lot more sense. Now, on to the nonsense:

1. The Searchers – Hearts in Her Eyes – I think this is how you started that first mix for me way back in 1994 perhaps? Oh how much has changed. Instead of camp counselors you are now a teacher of children and I manage adults who act like children; you are no longer making mixes on cassette with covers made of rubber cement and old report cards and instead post them as digital files with photo covers for others to print; One thing that has not changed is the viselike grip that power pop has on your soul. A-
2. Nick Lowe – Rollers Show – Maybe it’s the Republican method wherein constant repetition becomes truth but this song makes me desperate to hear the Bay City Rollers. I thought they were a much-maligned bunch of castoffs but if the Jesus of Cool gives his seal of approval, count me in. A
3. Deerhoof – Basket Ball Get Your Groove Back – I now hate Deerhoof, basketball, Dick Vitale and all music thanks to this utterly horrendous puzzler of a “song.” F
4. The Feelies – Loveless Love – You know how Ian Mackaye’s entire musical output all stems from The Minutemen’s “This Ain’t No Picnic”? Well, this song is The Technical Jed’s “This Ain’t No Picnic.” A
5. Caribou – Eli – I liked him better when he was in the Dictators but this is still lovely. Breezy like a summer's day and soft focus like a Summer’s Eve commercial. B+
6. The Dodos – Jody – Drum and Guitar duos are kind of the dodos of the music scene what with Meg White on semi-permanent hiatus and the singer from the Black Keys putting out a solo album but these dudes make me nostalgic for those ugly, awkward, flightless birds. I love the insistent strumming, clattering percussion and the out of step intro and outro on this one. Marvelous perfection. A+
7. Rodriguez – Rich Folks Hoax – What if Donovan had something to say besides moon-eyed semi-poetic nonsense? It still wouldn’t be as ass kicking as this song. So gorgeous I nearly fell over the railing of my yacht. A
8. Jacques Dutronc – Hippie Hippie Hoorah – What is making that sick sound? And I mean sick in both the old “ill” sense of the word as well as the new “illin’” meaning. B+
9. Ify Jerry Krusade – Everybody Likes Something Good – True. Very true. Even Hitler apparently had a soft spot for puppies and soaring classical music. B+
10. Young-Holt Trio – Wack Wack – At first I thought this didn’t hold a candle to the live version, and while I still love the raw insanity of that version, I’ve come to appreciate the professionalism on this one as well as the weird bowed bass/distorted vocal parts. A good song for every elementary school orchestra to learn. A-
11. The Baseball Project – Harvey Haddix – As compelling as “Hurricane” when it comes to story songs based on real life crimes that have devastating effects. Perhaps, like that story, this song will lead to an overturned ruling. A
12. John Fogerty – I Can’t Take It No More – Speaking for disgruntled baseball nerds everywhere, John Fogerty, a man who will forever be associated with the sport thanks to “Centerfield,” screams his head off about the injustices of Harvey Haddix’s lack of a perfect game acknowledgement. B+
13. Gentleman Jesse – Highland Crawler – At first I thought you were breaking the cardinal rule and including the same artist twice on one mix but then I realized this isn’t “So It Goes.” Close call there, Raphael. Is this band the Mayflies USA of the late 2000s? A-
14. Sloan – Cheap Champaign – This band deserves their almost-ran status. Their songs are effervescent and pleasing but leave little trace once they’ve trickled down your throat. I couldn’t sing you a single line from any of their songs. B+
15. Gilberto Gil – Frevo Rasgado – This could be the theme song to the creepiest children’s show ever. Creepier than anything Sid and Marty Kroft ever dreamed up. B
16. Stormy – The Devastator – Standard Issue Soul Song #23-F. B
17. The Records – Teenarama – You already blew my mind once with this song but you’ve done it again. Every time I revisit it I find a new favorite line. Currently it’s “First bra/Too far” which I think perfectly sums up the ultra-creepiness and heavy, heavy guilt this song is trafficking in. B
18. The Collins Kids – Hot Rod – From a song about teens to a song by teens. The wish for a speedy death machine is great but she knows she has to wait until she’s legal. Maybe she should hang around with the hussy from the Records song and teach her a thing or two about the beauty of patience and delayed gratification. B+
19. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – Gardenia – This song is as good as any legendary Pavement gem. I like his jams but I like the short bursts of perfection too. A+
20. Alemayehu EscheteTchero Adari Negn – Like James Brown blessed with voodoo power and itching powder. B+
21. Jo Ann Garrett – Goin’ Man Huntin – An update on The Most Dangerous Game? B
22. Crooked Fingers – Your Control – Hot damn this is an amazing song. Once again relegated to the cheap seats, Eric Bachmann will not be deterred. A+
23. Bon Iver – For Emma - A beautiful song and a perfect closer. Too bad the same can't be said for Harvey Haddix. A

Saturday, February 21, 2009

This One's For You, Flapdoodle

It's always fun to find a new blog to read and in my case, since I only read blogs written by friends and family, it's fun to find a new friend. Flapdoodle is someone who we'd see occasionally around town over the years and recently have gotten to know better thanks mostly to the public school system since she is Sebastian's school librarian. She is also a regular listener to Battle for the Earth (bless her heart) and introduced me to the wonder of the Mont Blanc for which I will always be grateful.

She recently posted a comment on Hott Mama's blog wherein she mentioned a moldy oldie about a girl so busy she has to wait until the weekend to see her man. How busy is she? Well, Thursday is all booked up with a taffy pull if that gives you any indication. In the comment, Flapdoodle asked if I could track down the song, which I instantly did because I'm obsessive, and while I don't think it's a hidden gem by any standards, it is fun and cheesy and reminds me of one of my favorite MST3K shorts, so it gets bonus points for that. Here it is:

Come By Sunday - Diana Dors

And here the MST3K short for those with extra time to kill: