listen, you liberal commie bastards!

Can't stand Rush? Sick of Bill? Wanna strangle Sean? Tune into Air America Radio and get your left-wing on. If you think Janeane is cute, (fellow Minnesotan) Al is insightful, or Chuck D is a bad-ass, this brand new talk radio network might be worth a listen. Stream online or tune into one of these ol' fashioned radio stations:

New York - WLIB 1190 AM
Los Angeles - KBLA 1580 AM
Chicago - WNTD 950 AM
XM Satellite Radio - Channel 167
Portland OR - KPOJ 1620 AM
Inland Empire CA - KCAA 1050 AM
Minneapolis MN - WMNN 1330AM (Franken 11am-2pm only)

you don't know jack

Last night (3/30), 24 returned to Fox's Tuesday line-up and got off on the right foot during its first new episode in over a month. Fox will be airing new episodes every week until the season finale, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all goes down - which is a change of heart for your truly, and avid 24 fan since day one (haven't missed an hour yet). I was sick of junkie Jack, Chase (Jack part deux) and his stupid baby, Palmer & his disappearing girlfriend, Nina & Sherry showing up yet again, and on and on and on...

Now, by really upping the stakes (the "deadly" virus is out, people are dying, panic is taking hold, and the mastermind is making direct demands to the president, who looks more & more unlikely to win re-election IMO), it seems like the 24 producers may have actually managed to salvage what had been mostly a very boring 3rd season. Who else but 24 would basically kill off a thousand people, including very likeable main cast members? Of course, it helps that a lot of these deaths will be able to dramatically play out over the course of this season's several remaining "hours." Still, when Michelle plugged that guy toward the end of the hour, I knew 24 had found its balls again. I just hope it doesn't misplace them again.

beauty in the breakdown

MP3 The Fiery Furnaces - "Tropical Ice-Land" (single version)
I absolutely love the reworked single of "Tropical Ice-Land", which is more upbeat & electro-influenced than the more mellow, folky version that appears on The Furnaces' excellent 2003 LP, Gallowsbird's Bark. In this age of iPod+iTunes, overhauling a track for single release is a pretty worthwhile enterprise, I suppose.

MP3 Frou Frou - "Let Go"
From 2003's Details, you may recognize this song from the trailer for Zach Braff's directorial debut Garden State, a hit at Sundance 2004 that opens in select cities on July 30 (courtesy Fox Searchlight). I'm really looking forward to seeing it.

BTW: My good buddy Seth "the Raw Dawg" Marshall was the producer's assistant on this flick.

the shield is no joke

Lastly, did anybody see FX's The Shield last night? Shane & Tavon's brawl at the end was serious sh**, undoubtably the most intense "fight" scene I've seen on tv since Tony "whacked" Ralphie during season 4 of The Sopranos. Tavon got f**ked up, yo!

next RANA event announced

from JBau on the RANA yahoo list:

RANA will be returning to the House That Jake Built, The Tribeca Rock Club, on April 21st for a special RAWK SANGWHICH. Theband will play an early set followed by a set by Rose Hill Drive, a tremendous young rock band from Boulder (don't worry...none of that barefoot hippie shit...bring your earplugs), then will come back on for balls to the wll nightcap set. For those of you who are still kicking yourself for missing RANA's last Tribeca show, here's your chance at redemption.

4/21 Tribeca Rock Club $12

Show starts @ 7:30PM.

Approx Times:
7:30p RANA
8:45p Rose Hill Drive
10:15p-???? RANA

NYC folk - you have been notified.

yeah! what!?! okay!!!

Here are some downloads from the second season of Chappelle's Show. This is funny-ass sh**!!

WMV Chappelle's Show - "I'm Rick James, b**ch!" (14.6 mb)

MP3 A Moment in the Life of Lil Jon #1
MP3 A Moment in the Life of Lil Jon #2
MP3 A Moment in the Life of Lil Jon #3

just rock 'n' roll, every night

(L to R) Ryan, Scott, Howard, Andrew, & Matt
backstage @ Dean campaign fundraiser, 8/26/03
Irving Plaza, New York City (photo: Pavel Antonov)

They're RANA, and they're from New Jersey. Now residing in Brooklyn NYC, Mr's Thornton (drums), Metzger (guitar), Southern (bass), & Durant (keys) make up my very favorite rock band. I cannot recommend them enough, and I must insist that anybody who's interested get out to see them perform live asap (or as soon as there are new tourdates listed). They are talented up the wazoo, and it doesn't hurt that they're great guys taboot. So this is my first blogged plea to the public @ large: check these f**kers out!!

Thanks to the Mr Ramie Rockslide, I've finally gotten my hands on the live recording of RANA's latest event, a two set rawkfest from NYC's Tribeca Rock Club on 3/20/04. Here are a few songs from this already much ballyhooed show:

MP3 RANA - "Phillippe Petit"
MP3 RANA - "Do You Ever Feel Ashamed"
MP3 RANA - "Bloodshed"
MP3 RANA - "Carson Daly"
MP3 RANA - "Charm Bracelet"
MP3 RANA - "Buy Sell or Break"

Notes: "Bloodshed" was played in conjunction w/the one year anniversary of the Iraq invasion. "Charm Bracelet" is a new song, and this version is the first I've heard. "Buy Sell or Break" included Noah Chernin (former RANA road manager) of Sam Champion, who opened the show, on tambourine.

Here are some additional free downloads, from the official RANA website:

from Here in the USA (2001):
MP3 RANA - "Good Book"
MP3 RANA - "Carbombed Again"

from The Athens Sessions, produced by Bill Berry (summer 2003)
MP3 RANA - "Not So Mopso"
MP3 RANA - "Remember My Address"
MP3 RANA - "The Day She Went Away"

from the live album Subject To Change (recorded 11/3/03)
MP3 RANA - "My One Dear Son" >
MP3 RANA - "We Will Not Be Lovers" (Waterboys cover)
MP3 RANA - "Some Kind of Girl"

I made the trek out to NYC this past New Year's to ring in 2004 w/these 4 fine sons of Jersey, and I took some digital pix while I was there. Check out my gallery from 12/31/03 @ CBGB's, where King of France and Moonraker joined in on the fun as well. Good times were most certainly had.

ain't no mekhi phifer

A word to the wise: don't pronounce her name Nellie McKay like "okay", but rather like Mekhi Phifer, with an "aye" at the end. I just wanted to clear that up so people weren't saying it wrong & pissing her off by accident.

i'm so hard for a rich girl

MP3 Stars - "Elevator Love Letter"
One of my top ten songs of last year comes from Broken Social Scene side project Stars, off of their 2003 LP, Heart. Does pop music get much better than this, folks?

MP3 Nellie McKay - "David"
Here's another song from the talented miss Nellie McKay, this being the lead-off track from her excellent double cd, Get Away From Me. I just can't resist a foul-mouthed, jazz-influenced, 19 year-old white chick from Harlem, NYC.

pukey mcpuke

I just got back from a saturday nite out @ Tonic in uptown mpls, where my good friends were vomited upon. That's all I have to say about that.

rockin' the cities: update

Here an updated list of various shows coming soon to my home town:

4/01 Blonde Redhead @ Fine Line
4/03 The Unicorns @ Triple Rock (AA)
4/06 Grandaddy, Saves The Day, & The Fire Theft @ Quest
4/06 Stereolab & Clearlake @ 1st Ave
4/12 The Rapture & B.R.M.C. @ Quest (AA)
4/13 Supagroup @ 400 Bar
4/15 stellastarr* & The Killers @ Entry
4/17 The Distillers @ Quest (AA)
4/18 TV on the Radio @ Triple Rock
4/18 Phantom Planet & The Thrills, @ Quest (AA)
4/23 Bouncing Souls @ 1st Ave (AA)
4/25 The Strokes & The Raveonettes @ 1st Ave
4/28 Radio 4 & The Fever @ Triple Rock
4/29 Deerhoof @ Triple Rock (AA)
5/08 Peaches @ 1st Ave
5/20 Sondre Lerche @ Fine Line
5/20 My Morning Jacket & M. Ward @ Quest (AA)
5/22 MF Doom @ Triple Rock (AA)
6/11 Franz Ferdinand @ Fine Line

See you out @ the shows!

we must all have waffles

Sweet 16 weekend gets under way tonight (3/26) with another trip to ye ole cinema. Lisa is organizing a group effort to go see the latest film by Joel & Ethan Coen, The Ladykillers. The Coens' latest comic outing stars Tom Hanks, finally back in a comedic role - and a damn hilarious one from what I've seen in the trailers & ads. It's no secret that I'm a huge Coens fan, and it's a special pleasure to have The Ladykillers releasing just a few months after 2003's Intolerable Cruelty was in theaters (& now in my DVD collection). I'm as giddy as a schoolgirl...

blessed are the forgetful...

MP3 Beck - "Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime"

From the motion picture soundtrack, Beck covers this Korgis original, which plays during the opening and closing credits. MP3 courtesy Esselle (I had this song on repeat while I typed this post). Scott Lapatine over @ stereogum is also hosting Jon Brion's theme from the film.

I ventured out to the cinema Wednesday afternoon after an aborted attempt to buy new dress shoes (whadduya mean, you start carrying @ size 8? - I wear a 7 1/2, f**ker!), and pulled a double feature w/the Dawn of the Dead remake and a second look at Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. For me, ESOTSM required at least one more viewing, though I'd probably still see it again (attn: JRDN) if given the opportunity. I've got to go out & get the Charlie Kaufman screenplay asap.

CAVEAT So, I do have a few thoughts about the flick. But for those who have yet to see the movie, be forewarned - I may accidentally give away plot or story details, so read @ your own peril. I also haven't read all that much of what else has been written/said out there in the great blog-o-verse, so apologies ahead of time for any possible redundancies.

In the few things I have read, somebody suggested that the film progressively breaks down your internal cynic and resuscitates the internal romantic. I like that concept, and I think it fits in a lot of ways. Kaufman does a great job of structuring the plot, which unfolds backwards (sort of), in order to shift the audience's emotions around as he takes us on a roller-coaster ride of love & relationships. The first act begins w/the seemingly random meeting of Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet), and shows us the awkwardness of meeting someone & the restrained excitement of a two people coming together, though both are wary of putting themselves out there & getting hurt. I love the strange simplicity & beauty of this sequence, how hopeful and curious it made me feel, and I think the filmmakers had pretty much won me over before the main credits ran.

The Kaufman-esque complexity of what is actually going on is hinted at the end of the opening, once Elijah Wood's panty-stealing Patrick shows up asking Joel strange questions. Then the credits begin roll, and we see Joel miserable & blubbering in his car - the bitter, tearful, and lonely end of a relationship. We also get filled in on the oddball exposition, this time about wiping memories (in order to "begin again") etc, that Kaufman did such a great job with in Malkovich and Adaptation. Director Michael Gondry proceeds to take us on a tour of the pain, frustration, and claustrophobia of a struggling/crumbling relationship, showing Joel & Clem sniping at each other, getting on each others' nerves, hiding from one another. We even see Joel's friends, played by Jane Adams and David Cross, grumbling about their couple issues ("Oh, you're going to make this about our sh**?") while Joel searches for his own answers.

We see Joel re-experiencing his memories of Clem as they are being wiped away, and at first Joel enjoys the retribution of having her erased, as the ugliness of the final days/weeks of their relationship disappear. But then something happens to change Joel's mind. All it takes is one tender, warm moment for Joel to question his decision. Despite the pain of his "break-up" w/Clem, he can't bear to have that beautiful memory taken away from him, and he wants to call the whole production off. As we watch Joel desperately trying to salvage his history w/Clem, Gondry & Kaufman continue to work backward through the relationship, and we feel how much Joel increasingly cherishes his life w/Clem. The climax of the second act was specially meaningful for me, as we see Joel's final goodbye w/his memory of Clem. They recount & relive their very first meeting, talk about their regrets about how it played out, about how special it all was in hindsight. I wasn't bawling or anything, but that moment felt special to me as well. The third act, which IMO is by far the best out of all the Kaufman films, turns everything on its head & returns to the film's opening, but I won't go too much into detail lest I completely ruin the movie for everybody. Suffice it to say, for a guy who hasn't been in a whole lot of romantic relationships, I feel like I came away with a better understanding of them in general, and a greater appreciation of how people & moments can be so utterly precious in the long run. But what do I know...?

Who cares? Go see the movie, you fools.

Also, check out what Sean has the say about the flick over @ said the gramaphone. He's far more eloquent than I.

all she says is, "who is johnny?"

Here's a few random bits of music to help get over that dreaded mid-week hump...

MP3 Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Mr. You're On Fire Mr."
I found this cool Liars cover @ punkassbitch recently.

MP3 Adam Green - "What A Waster"
I found this Adam Green track a while back somewhere. It's a Libertines cover off of last year's Jessica EP. Oh Jessica, where has your love gone?

MP3 Lyrics Born w/Gift of Gab - "Cold Call"
From 2003's Later That Day... comes this conversational track from MC Lyrics Born and Quannum crewmate Gift of Gab (of Blackalicious). They hate phone solicitation, and so do I, dammit.

Lastly, here's a cool mix cd by lionel for any bootleg/mash-up fans out there. More info is available @ the Get Your Bootleg On board. My favorite part is the El Debarge track.

lost in translation

Yowza! Scarlett Johannson struts herself while performing w/the Pussycat Dolls in LA. The Sun Online has a few pix, while WireImage has a whole slew that you have to pay to see. Doesn't that just make you feel dirty?

Thanks to Productshop NYC for the heads up.

starlight mints & dressy bessy @ quest (mpls) tonite

The Starlight Mints are playing The Quest tonight (Mon 3/22) w/Dressy Bessy, which should be quite the indie pop combo. Hopefully I'll be able to drag out JRDN to come out to the show w/me. It ought to be a real bubblegummy good time. Here are some tunes from each band, in case anybody else wants to come check them out...

From The Dream That Stuff Was Made Of (2001):

MP3 Starlight Mints - "Submarine #3"
MP3 Starlight Mints - "Valerie Flames"
MP3 Starlight Mints - "Sir Prize"
MP3 Starlight Mints - "The Twilight Showdown"

From Built on Squares (2003):

MP3 Starlight Mints - "Irene"
MP3 Starlight Mints - "Brass Digger"
MP3 Starlight Mints - "Goldstar"
MP3 Starlight Mints - "San Diego"

From the self-titled Dressy Bessy (2003):

MP3 Dressy Bessy - "Just Once More"
MP3 Dressy Bessy - "Hey May"
MP3 Dressy Bessy - "Blink Twice"

From Sound Go Round (2002):

MP3 Dressy Bessy - "I Saw Cinnamon"
MP3 Dressy Bessy - "Just Being Me"
MP3 Dressy Bessy - "That's Why"

The remaining dates on the spring tour for both bands:

3/23 Omaha, NB @ The Ranch Bowl
3/24 Denver, CO @ The Larimer Lounge
3/26 Boise, ID @ The Neurolux
3/27 Portland, OR @ Dantes
3/28 Seattle, WA @ Neumos Crystal Ball
3/29 Vancouver, BC @ Richard on Richards
4/01 San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
4/02 San Diego, CA @ The Casbah
4/04 Los Angeles, CA The Troubadour
4/06 Phoenix, AZ @ TBA
4/07 Tucson, AZ @ TBA
4/09 Tulsa, OK @ The Venue on Boston ST.
4/10 Little Rock, AK @ TBA

wcha championship: gophers 5, north dakota 4

I spent much of Saturday night w/the Rosen siblings watching Minnesota Golden Gopher hockey go neck & neck w/#1 North Dakota @ the X before Grant Potulny put the Goph's ahead for good with just over six minutes remaining in the third period. By taking the WCHA title from the top-ranked (and unfortunately named) Fighting Sioux, Minnesota is likely to get a #1 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament, where they will seek to make Pat Riley proud as they pursue a third consectutive national title. Unlike that other tournament, which I used to have much love for (but now know very little about), the hockey tourney still has some continuity year-to-year to keep me interested, which I am.

"on par with a night of heavy drinking..."

I saw Michael Gondry & Charlie Kaufman's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with my sista tonite (Fri 3/19), and it's easily the best film I've seen this year. I do have more to say about it, but it's late & I'd like to give the film some more thought. And who knows, I may go & see it again this weekend, if the opportunity presents itself. For more info, check out what folks are saying about the flick over at Metacritic. Or better yet, get your butt out to the local multplex and see it for yourself.

get yo drink on...get yo drink on...

In belated-honor of St. Patrick's Day, here are some tunes related to all things liquor...

MP3 New Pornographers - "The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism"
From 2000's Mass Romantic, just another pop masterpiece from one of my favorite Canadian supergroups.

MP3 Earlimart - "We Drink On The Job"
JRDN and I caught these guys opening for The Decemberists last November at the Triple Rock & were plenty impressed. This track is off of last year's Everyone Down Here.

MP3 Tom Waits - "The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)"
A boozy Waits classic from 1976's Small Change. Man alive, I love Tom Waits.

MP3 Corn Mo - "Busey Boy"
I first encountered the legend that is Corn Mo on March 22, 2002 @ The Knitting Factory in NYC, where he opened a historical RANA event. "Shock & awe" are the best terms I can use to describe his incredible set of accordian metal. This song, about being mistaken for sometimes drunken actor Gary Busey struck a chord with me in particular, since a couple of my good friends often had trouble distinguishing between Busey and Nick Nolte. Good times. From his 2003 album, The Magic Is You!

george michael is such a nice young man

All you American Idol-addicts out there stay tuned to Fox tonight (3/17) after the show, as my favorite new show of the year Arrested Development, which normally airs Sundays at 9:30 ET/8:30 CT, is having a new episode airing at 9:30 ET/8:30 CT. Guest stars for this episode include Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Henry Winkler, Amy Poehler, and James Lipton(!).

For those looking to catch up, FX is airing the first six episodes of Arrested Development back-to-back this Sunday (3/21) starting at 2pm ET/1pm CT. If you haven't seen the show, you owe it to yourself to take a brake from the college hoops and see it from the beginning. Few shows make me laugh as hard as this one, and there are even fewer shows that I would describe as "brilliant" - but this one deserves it.

it's good to see you back in a bar band, baby

MP3 The Hold Steady - "Knuckles"
MP3 The Hold Steady - "The Swish"

JRDN and I hit up the Triple Rock Monday nite for the all ages Hold Steady set (they also played there Saturday nite for the rest of the adults, but JRDN & I are still kids at heart). The show was quite rockin' & I was able to pick up the new cd, The Hold Steady Almost Killed Me, which releases tomorrow. Recommended you have a penchant for lyrical indie punk/rock, or were ever of fan of frontman Craig Finn's old band, Lifter Puller.

Here's an extra quick shot of Finn before the show (that's Kyle Feldman's girlfriend in the foreground; I used to sleep over @ his house back in grade school). The other picture was taken by JRDN of myself & this girl Barbara, as we pretended to be stock photography models, a vocation I don't think actually exists. Also notice the expertly placed PBR sign in the background, frame-center.

sunday with the rosens

My good friends the Rosens (Sam & Rachel) were kind enough to invite me along to the Timberwolves game this past Sunday. They were great seats (hence the following photos, taken from the home baseline), but the game was dreadful. Once again, the Wolves follow up an impressive performance with a fairly lousy one. Urgh.

I spent Sunday evening with the Rosens as well, grabbing dinner and helping Rachel give their new puppy, George, a bath. Frankly, it was an exhausting experience. I don't think George enjoyed it much either, which was the crux of the problem. Also problematic was how freakin' long it takes to dry off the darn dog. Can you tell I never had pets as a kid (and the family parakeet doesn't count)?

shot rock-splitter to god!!

MP3 The Wrens - "Hopeless"

New Jersey's The Wrens kicked out the jams at the 7th Street Entry last night, and good times were had. I was flying solo at the show, which allowed me ample time to knock back a few PBR's (which used to be $2/can, but is now $2.25 dammit) and call a couple out of state chums. Luckily I caught JB at home, and he filled me in on recent events involving dodgeball tournaments & how Andy "Boom Boom" Knauer is teaching his high school students made up film/video terminology ("to keep it interesting"). Hee hee hee...

The Wrens came on just before midnight (fellow labelmates Bottom of the Hudson opened) and surprised me with how freakin' loud they were. For a band that's been together 14 years (read here for more info), the really rocked out hard. They launched into "Per Second Second" (lyric=post title), and then plowed through "Everyone Chooses Sides" - which was one of my top ten songs of 2003. The set really flew by, as they mixed in a couple tracks from 1995's Secaucus with material from their much lauded 2003 comeback album, The Meadowlands. I was up front for most of the show, but I moved to the back towards the end to salvage my hearing a bit. I was home by 2am. Good times...

next up: The Hold Steady (new band of Craig Finn (formerly of LFTR PLLR) @ Triple Rock on Monday 3/15 (AA) doors @ 6pm $8

Wolves 96, Lakers 86

Despite the return of Karl Malone, the Wolves pulled out a solid win at home to take the season series from the Lakers. This was a big win after terrible losses to Philadelphia, Boston & Portland in recent weeks. The Wolves are 46-20 & still on top the midwest division, but their lead has been diminished in recent weeks. Hopefully they can get some consistency back in place before the playoffs begin. But does KG need to be more selfish to help them advance?

mess with the bull, you get the horns

HBO2 aired the B-movie classic Kiss of Death late last night, so it could be seen in all it's foul-mouthed glory. The first (and nearly only) David Caruso vehicle is a guilty pleasure of mine, since it's hard to miss an opportunity for an over-the-top performance by a man with such red hair (how great was he in Proof of Life?). Caruso had one heck of a supporting cast in this flick, including Oscar nominees/winners Helen Hunt, Samuel L. Jackson, and a buffed-up Nicolas Cage, as well as Stanley Tucci, Ving Rhames, Michael Rapaport, Philip Baker Hall, and Kathryn Erbe (for any other LO:CI fans). If someone can't appreciate the bizarre spectacle of Nic Cage bench-pressing strippers, not even a little, then I think they need to open their minds & develop some respect for the joy of all things schlock.

In other news, have the Bushies developed an unwanted enemy in the escalating culture war? If the self-proclaimed king of all media can help out, I'm all for it.

now hear this first mp3 posting. I'll try to rotate tracks periodically, so get them while they're hot. Don't be afraid to tell me that my taste in music sucks, but please only do so when you actually think so. Compliments are nice, too...

MP3 Ted Leo - "The Sword in the Stone"
The first solo acoustic track off of last year's Tell Balgeary, Balgury Is Dead EP is a gem, but then so is the rest of the album. If I had to categorize Mr. Leo, I'd say he falls somewhere between power-pop and indie rock, but that's really a lame description. He is from Jersey, so that's a good thing. I recommend checking out his recently released concert DVD "Dirty Old Town" that presents a full-band set from Coney Island in 2003, as well as some solo footage from Tinkle @ Pianos NYC.

MP3 Nelly McKay - "Sari"
Nellie McKay is popping up everywhere. I saw her on Letterman last month, then all the buzz around the net prompted me to download her double album Get Away From Me from iTunes, and finally I stumbled into the end of her lunchtime set at Mpls' famed Electric Fetus on Tuesday, where she kicked the ass out of this song (which is actually "Sorry" spelled wrong on purpose). I dragged my sis out to see her full set that same night, and good times were had. The album is appropriately all over the place, as this 19 year-old NYC'er skips from tongue-in-cheek jazz ballads to poppy love songs about dogs to politically driven rap numbers (like this one). This song brought the house down.

MP3 Scott Metzger - "The Day She Went Away"
This solo acoustic performance was recorded 1.16.04 @ Tribeca Rock Club in NYC. It's a Metzger original that is also played with his band (& my favorite Jersey rockers) RANA, who have recently been in the studio recording their follow-up to 2002's Here in the USA. I hope this ballad makes the new album.

neat-o phot-os!

The Walkmen 3.8.04

Nellie McKay 3.9.04

The Stills 3.10.04

Broken Social Scene 3.10.04