like a gull takes to the wind

After far too much anticipation & replaying of its fantastic teaser trailer, I finally saw Zach Braff's Garden State last nite. I definitely enjoyed it, but I also went in with expectations that were just too high. Braff has a solid filmmaker's eye for visuals, and I think he's very talented, but his film felt like exactly what it is - a first feature. It comes off a little bit clunky, with music cues that are good but feel forced, an under-used Ian Holm and a under-developed character (IMO) for Peter Sarsgaard, and a general sense that everything is a bit more "meaningful" than it really is. Natalie Portman finally gives another good performance after acting against green screens for several years, and once again she plays a muse for some guy (also see: Léon and Beautiful Girls). She is delightful, and she & Braff play off of each other quite nicely. Still, I felt there was something missing from their on-screen relationship that made the film' ending seem a bit light or unearned for me. Of course, I'm being really overly critical here (the film school grad in me that I can't get rid of), and I may even see the movie again to get a second impression, which I won't mind so much since I actually did like it the first time around. Both of today's songs come from the Garden State soundtrack, due out in early August:

MP3 Simon & Garfunkel - "The Only Living Boy in New York"
Originally from Bridge Over Troubled Water, Braff uses this appropriately titled song at the climax of the film's second act, which features Braff, Portman & Sarsgaard screaming their lungs out on the precipice of vast quarry (which has since been immortalized on the film's poster). It is at this moment that something changes dramatically in Braff's character, as if he's realizing something for the first time. The scene is a little heavy-handed, but it's also quite nice (there I go, using that word again).

MOV The Shins - "New Slang" video (4.2mb)
One of Garden State's finer moments comes in the first scene between Braff & Portman. They meet awkwardly & by chance in a doctor's office, and she eventually offers him her headphones to listen to The Shins, saying that they will "change your life." This beautiful song, from the Oh, Inverted World LP, plays as he (and we the audience) watches her watching him listen to it. It's a lovely, intimate, simple moment & Natalie may have never looked so radiant.

On a barely-related note, I listened to Faded Seaside Glamour by Delays on my subway ride back to Park Slope last nite after the movie, which fit well with the mood of the film & was, yet again, quite nice. Be sure the keep checking in on Zach's blog to see what's happening with him & his movie.

I'm off to cruise around Manhattan with RANA & Sam Champion. I'd like to give a shout out to Jessica Jolly, who's hosting a party tonite to coincide with the final nite of the DNC. Please chip in comments w/your thoughts & impressions, since I won't be able to see the speech for myself. Let's hope that Kerry knocks it out of the park!

goin' down down down downtown

Yes, it is Waits Wednesday & I am here in lovely New York City, though I actually got into town yesterday (Tuesday 7/27) afternoon. How did I manage to get out the east coast so quickly? All credit goes to my sister Dana, who drove (as an old friend of mine likes to say) "like a champ" in order to bump up our sceduled arrival time. She was a manimal behind the wheel, refusing to let silly things like nightfall or a heavy downpour keep her from her destination. Bravo, D.

Today's selections are decidely NYC-influenced, a theme which is likely to continue throughout the next week I would guess:

MP3 Tom Waits - "Union Square"
Once I finish this post, I am likely off to the Union Square area, where I will do my best to catch a late showing of Garden State, which opens today in New York (more on that tomorrow, perhaps). This is from Tommy's Rain Dogs LP, and it certainly gets me pumped about heading downtown ("Downtown" from the Heartattack & Vine album also does the trick).

MP3 Interpol - "The New"
Thus far, I have decided to avoid posting material from Interpol's upcoming sophomore LP Antics. I'm not sure why, but I feel a little bit weird about it. Perhaps I'm a bit torn because the New York-based band's first album, Turn On The Bright Lights, on which this may be my favorite track, was my hindsight favorite disc of 2002 (Pitchfork's as well). But shouldn't that mean that I would want to feature the new album even more? I'm clearly confused & still debating, and I welcome anybody to psychoanalyze my indecision if you think you can offer any useful insight.

you've crossed the curtis line

Last Halloween, the Rosens & I watched the sci-fi "thriller" Dreamcatcher (I think Rachel's brother Adam picked it), which was in theaters last year. It's based on a book by Stephen King, and had big Hollywood veterans like director Lawrence Kasdan and writer William Goldman working behind the camera - and yet it is horrible. But it is so bad, that it's gone back to good again. In fact, it's borderline amazing. I picked up the dvd used a couple weeks back, and showed it to my pal Joe Blnk on my first nite back in NYC. He was likewise stunned. The plot is convoluted & all-over-the-place, the acting borderline ridiculous, and oh, the visual metaphors! I laughed my ass off. For those of you out there who enjoy a good "bad" movie now & then, you might want to check it out.

A few snapshots from the road trip, for the heck of it:

we're on a road to nowhere

Today, my sister Dana & I hit the road early as we do our best to make it out to NYC by Wednesday. We should hopefully make it to Cleveland (or somewhere thereabouts) by the end of the day, though I'm not sure where we'll be stopping to spend the nite. I'm not sure if I'll be properly rested for trek, but I've got no choice but to forge ahead (I'll be sure to pack some Red Bull to keep me going through the tough stretches). During my week and a half on the road and in New York, my blogging may be very sporatic, depending on my ability to find quality wireless access & my old laptop's ability to meet my needs. If all goes well, I'll be able to post regularly with little/no problem. If not, you can expect to hear from me sometime around August 4th or 5th, once I get back to Minneapolis (& my trusty G4).

MP3 Built To Spill - "Car"
Obviously, today's songs are "road trip"-themed. And naturally, the first song I thought of was this track, one of my favorites from indie rockers Built To Spill. From their 1994 LP There's Nothing Wrong With Love, "Car" is just a great poppy rock song, courtesy Mr. Doug Martsch. "I wanna see movies of my dreams" - what a great f**kin' line! Let's hit the road.

MP3 The Modern Lovers - "Roadrunner"
I looked into getting the Modern Lovers' self-titled album after hearing Matt Durant of RANA rave & rave about it. I tried ordering it from Insound, but I accidentally got vinyl instead of a cd. Oops. Anyway, I eventually got the 1976 album in an easy-to-listen-to (and put in my iPod) format, so I can share this fantastic track with y'all today. I think this Jonathan Richman-penned song will have to be the first song played out of the driveway.

nothing gets you high anymore

As my voyage out to NYC (next week) approaches, my excitement for the July 29 Rocks Off Concert Cruise with RANA is growing each day. A couple days ago, I found out that another great up-and-coming Brooklyn band has been added to the bill, as Sam Champion will be playing an opening set. Now it's more than a show, more than an event - it's gonna be a serious throw down & I can't wait! Tickets are still available online, if you're interested. Here are a couple of Sam Champion tracks from their upcoming debut album, Slow Rewind (linked from the band's official website):

MP3 Sam Champion - "Company Dance"
Sam Champion is made up of Noah Chernin (another NYU alum) on guitar & vocals, RANA's Ryan Thornton on drums, and Jack Dolgen on bass. Noah is definitely channeling Malkmus quite a bit, and the band cites Pavement, Wilco & Neil Young as their primary influences. In other words, they sound a lot like upbeat Silver Jews (circa America Water). Notice the generous use of cowbell at the can never have enough.

MP3 Sam Champion - "It's Getting Late"
According to their website, Sam Champion "tries to uphold the aloof aesthetic of early nineties rock music your older sibling(s) brought home from college." I suppose they do a pretty decent job of upholding that ideal. Yeah, their music may be a lot like a stripped-down version of Pavement, but I freakin' love Pavement - so I don't think that's such a bad thing.

Filed under completely unrelated, check out this feature from's Page 2: The Vengeance Scale. It measures revenge on a scale of 0.0-10, mixing plenty of sports, pop culture, and pro wrestling examples along the way. It's pretty amusing. Thanks go to mr rosen for the solid heads up.

i've made a huge mistake

Emmy travesty: Carl Weathers isn't nominated for "Guest Actor in a Comedy Series"

Last week, the nominations for this year's Emmy awards were announced - so of course I have to do a bit of ranting about them. Here's a complete list of nominations (via USA Today) for your own reference.

The good news - joining Curb Your Enthusiasm and the final season of Sex & The City in the Best Comedy category is Fox's Arrested Development, and deservedly so. Given the amount of critical & industry acclaim the show received, I won't be surprised if it actually wins. AD's Jeffrey Tambor was also nominated for Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, though I think Will Arnett (G.O.B.) should have been nominated as well. The amazing second season of Chappelle's Show is up for Best Variety (Music or Comedy) Series, which The Daily Show took home last year (and is nominated for again).

The late John Ritter of 8 Simple Rules has been nominated for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, which I don't know about. No disrespect to Mr. Ritter or his body of work, but this nomination is just pure sentimentality, as he only appeared in a few episodes of this past season due to his sudden death. IMO, it just seems like laziness on the part of the Academy.

Lastly, the Best Drama category is a joke. The West Wing may have won the award the last four years, but does it really deserve a nomination for its fifth, and Sorkin-less, season? I have been a gigantic 24 fan, but a good portion (if not most) of last year's third season was a complete mess. My sister loves Joan of Arcadia, but is it one of the five best hour-long dramas on tv? I don't watch CSI, which is tv's most popular show, so somebody will have to let me know if it's really deserving. But where's the nod for Six Feet Under? Or the under-watched The Wire? Can you sense my frustration? I guess this will finally be The Sopranos' year to win the big one.

End of rant. Thanks for your patience.

screw you, taxpayer!

Yup, it's Waits Wednesday again. The snooty, yet delightful folks over at Pitchfork news reported recently on the new Tom Waits album, entitled Real Gone, which is due out October 5. Above is the cover art (clearly), fetched from the Anti records website.

MP3 Tom Waits - "Ol' 55" (live on VH1 Storytellers)
Back in 1999, when Waits was touring in support of Mule Variations, he recorded a performance for the VH1 series Storytellers. The now-defunct (I think) show featured musicians explaining the backstory behind their songs in between performing them. Since Waits is a master-storyteller already (through his music), not to mention possibly the coolest individual alive, this was right up his alley. "Ol' 55" is the leadoff track from his debut album, Closing Time, on which Tommy's voice doesn't sound nearly as gravelly as it does twenty years later.

MP3 Camera Obscura - "San Francisco Song"
Last nite's Camera Obscura show at the 400 Bar completely slipped my mind. I was over at mr rosen's, who I won't be seeing for a couple a weeks due to both his & my travel plans, and I never even gave it a thought. Then again, given my upcoming trips to NYC, Chicago and LA, I should be saving up my cash anyway. This track comes from the great 3 disc Merge Records 15th anniversary compilation, Old Enough To Know Better, which I found for just $12 (on sale) at Electric Fetus last weekend.

I also spent much of last weekend watching the entire second season of The Kids in the Hall on dvd. Yes, the season one dvd set just came out a month or two ago, but I've had it since February since I pre-ordered it through the Kids' official dvd site. Likewise, the season 2 dvd set won't be in stores for months yet, but you can still get it early by ordering online. For more Kids in the Hall info, check out the fansite, which is a great resource.

In other dvd news, NYC dance-punks The Rapture have made their first concert dvd, The Rapture is Live &, Well, in New York City. It was recorded during a three nite stand at NYC's Bowery Ballroom, and directed by another former NYU Film classmate of mine, Patrick Daughters, who also directed the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' video for "Maps" that broke them on MTV. Back in June, I posted a link to a live video of "Sister Saviour" that I think was taken off of the dvd. Here's a link to order it through Amazon.

Lastly, the Majority Report tipped me off to a new documentary called Outfoxed that focuses on just how bogus Fox News really is. I haven't seen it yet, but you can order a dvd of the movie for just $10 (+shipping). It was directed by Robert Greenwald, who also directed Janeane in the unconventional Abby Hoffman biopic Steal This Movie! back in 2000.

ETA: More dvd news! The first season of the critically-acclaimed Arrested Development will be released on October 19, according to TV Shows on DVD. The 3 disc set will come out a few weeks before Fox premieres the second season on November 7. As always, the latest AD news (& fake news) can be found over at The O.P.. Thanks to Matt @ Fluxblog for the heads-up.

Don't forget to tune in to Bravo's Dave Foley-hosted Celebrity Poker Showdown tomorrow nite (Thursday 7/22) @ 9pm ET/8pm CT, as AD stars Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, David Cross & Judy Greer hopefully take all of Peter Facinelli's money (for charity).

i shall never misuse rex kwon do

Napoleon (Jon Heder) and Pedro (Efren Ramirez) do their part to get out the vote.

This past weekend, I did my best to catch myself up at the movies. Sunday, after meeting up w/Marc (in town for a triathlon) for brunch & killing some time at the Fetus, I finally got around to catching Napoleon Dynamite, which is damn funny & a good time. Director Jared Hess has seen his fair share of Wes Anderson flicks (as have I), and Napoleon is a nerdier step-sibling to Rushmore's Max Fischer. Today's songs are featured in a couple of stellar scenes from the film (check out the official site):

MP3 Jamiroquai - "Canned Heat"
Much like the final concert scene in School of Rock or the Vietnam war play in Rushmore, Napoleon Dynamite reaches its climax with a remarkable performance by its main character. This song, from Jamiroquai's 1999 album Synkronized, gives Napoleon (played to gawky perfection by Jon Heder) the opportunity to put the lessons culled from "D-Qwan's Dance Grooves" to good use. Heck yeah, he had Pedro's back!

MP3 When In Rome - "The Promise"
This 80's classic, from the self-titled album by When in Rome, closes out the movie quite nicely. As the song speaks about friendship & commitment, we see Napoleon finally find someone (namely the forgiving, glamour shot-taking Deb) to play teatherball with him. And Napoleon played like a champ, once again showing off his skills, which always scores with the women.

On Saturday, I caught The Corporation, a new documentary about the ills of corporate power (based on the book by Joel Bakan). One of the directors was also behind 1992's Canadian doc Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky & the Media, which my old NYU pals Seth (aka "Raw Dawg") and Andy first brought to my attention a few years ago. It throws a lot of information at you & doesn't offer any easy answers, encouraging the viewer to get involved to help bring about change. In that way, it felt a little like a Michael Moore doc, and in fact Moore (as an interviewee) even gets in the film's the last word. Worth seeing if it's playing in your town.

BTW: I would like to give a shout-out to another old NYU cohort of mine, Becky Goldberg, who was an assistant editor on Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. I saw her name in the credits when I saw the movie "opening night," but I only recently found out that it really was the same girl I used to know. I believe she had a rather mixed experience working on the film, but I'm not going to comment on that any further. For those interested, Becky also directed her own documentary a while back, entitled Hot & Bothered: Feminist Pornography. I don't think the page has been updated in a while.

On Friday I finally saw Anchorman, which was funny - but not nearly as funny as Dodgeball IMO. However, Steve Carell was amazing.

Today, I met up with Rachel for a matinee of Richard Linklater's Before Sunset, which I loved. I had introduced Rachel to the original Before Sunrise about a month or so ago, at which time I was kind of stunned that she had never seen it. The sequel takes place in real time, and since the two main characters - who haven't seen each other in nine years - have so much to say to one another in the 80 minutes that the film encompasses, Linklater ditches much of the ambience that helped make the first film so romantic & magical & focuses almost entirely on actors Ethan Hawke & Julie Delpy (who helped Linklater pen the script, btw) & their sparkling chemistry. When the credits faded up, Rachel exclaimed, "Evil!" No, she liked the movie plenty, but rather she didn't want it to end. I only hope it doesn't take this creative team another decade to bring us the next chapter in the story of Jesse (Hawke) & Celine (Delpy). I highly recommend Before Sunset, but you cannot see it without having seen Before Sunrise first. And you can't borrow my copy - I loaned it to Marc (the triathlete) & his gal Shira (happy b-day!).

If you've visted The Big Ticket before, you probably know that I'm looking forward to seeing Garden State, which opens in NYC (and LA) July 30 - just in time for my latest venture out to the east coast. What you may not know is that director/star Zach Braff has a blog that's attached to the movie's official website, which has had a ton of stuff added to it lately.

Lastly, did anybody else catch this week's intense episode of HBO's Six Feet Under? Damn! It got me riled up, frustrated, angry, a little scared & a little freaked out - that's successful drama, people. And I ain't NEVER picking up a hitchhiker, no sir...never, ever, nerver...novenvahn, arggh...

so romantic, so dramatic, so sheik

RANA out @ the ballpark in Cincinnati, OH (photo by Kelli Scarr)

It has to be a RANA celebration day! I haven't featured my favorite Jersey rockers in a while, but today other circumstances have forced the issue. Yesterday, I found out that I will indeed be heading back out to NYC in time for RANA's three hour tour on the Rocks Off Boat Cruise on July 29. And later that same nite, my pal Rachel informed me that RANA was also going to be playing Martyrs' in Chicago on August 6, leaving me just enough time to get my ass back to the midwest so I can road trip it down to Chitown for the show/weekend. I still can't believe Rachel managed to pick up on this information before I did - I must have really had my head up my ass this week. Still, things are certainly looking up.

MP3 RANA - "I'm Not Orfeo"
Taken from the band's 2002 debut LP Here in the USA, this is a stripped down, lo-fi rendition of a song that features some searing slide-guitar work from guitarist Scott Metzger when it's given full band treatment. Still, this piano-driven track, on which keyboardist Matt Durant belts out a powerful, heartfelt vocal, may be RANA's finest recorded work (thus far). With this song about the mythic tale of Orpheus and Eurydice, Matty finally found a good use for his fancy-pants Yale education - with his fantastic lyrics.

MP3 RANA - "So Long Edgewood"
This is linked from the "music" section on RANA's official website, where there are a number of other songs available for download as well. This track was recorded in the summer of 2003 during the Bill Berry-produced Athens Sessions. The demos from these sessions were (I think) intended to help the guys lure a record contract, which (as far as I know) has still yet to come about. Frankly, I'm still perplexed as to how that hasn't happened yet. The next album, which has already been recorded (if I'm not mistaken), is being produced independently. "So Long Edgewood" is also the first in the "So Long" series by the band, which also includes "So Long Shadow" (and I've been waiting over a year now to hear the next chapter, guys).

bonus MP3 RANA - "Legend of Zelda"
Do not request this at a RANA event. They are not going to play it, despite the fact that long-time fans still shout out it's name in the heat of drunkenness. It's a rocked out version of the theme from the classic Nintendo video game The Legend of Zelda, and it's fun and it's clever - and it's retired. But I still get a kick out of it. This was recorded live at Wetlands Preserve (R.I.P.) NYC on March 3rd, 2001 (long before video game covers were all the rage, IIRC).

RANA is coming to a town near you! Upcoming tourdates include:

7/29 New York, NY
8/04 Philadephia, PA
8/05 Pittsburgh, PA
8/06 Chicago, IL
8/09 Detroit, MI
8/10 Indianapolis, IN
8/11 Nashville, TE
8/13 Charlottesville, NC
8/14 Richmond, VA
8/19 Washington, D.C.
8/20 Hammontown, NJ

Be sure to check out the RANA website for details.

'cause i got there too late

After nearly a week-long absence, I am back with "Track 2 Thursday" - featuring the second tracks from two of this week's finest new releases...

MP3 The Fiery Furnaces - "Straight Street"
Like many others, I too am on the Blueberry Boat bandwagon. The sophomore release from NYC's The Fiery Furnaces is a doozy, with marathon songs that chew up your great aunt's song structure & spits it back out onto your dinner plate. After the epic, 10+ minute "Quay Cur" that opens the record, "Straight Street" is actually one of the album's more straightforward (no pun intended) songs. From what I can tell from skimming the lyric sheet (thankfully included in the liner notes), it seems to be about overhearing business conversations while taking tea at a computer cafe...intriguing. The Furnaces have completely overhauled their formerly simplistic website, which now looks a lot like this nicely designed fansite. Hint: It's the color scheme.

On a completely unrelated note, I am suddenly reminded of shooting one of Joe Blink's movies over on Gay Street in the Village (NYC) way back when in winter/spring 2000. Ah, the memories...

MP3 The Roots (featuring Dom) - "I Don't Care"
When I wasn't listening the Interpol's Antics this week, I did find the time to spin the new LP from The Roots crew, The Tipping Point, more than once or twice. This album is a much more concise & traditional effort than 2002's Phrenology, and thus far I've been digging it. Now I'm not the hip hop afficionado that my pal JRDN is, but as the song says, "I don't care." This track 2 follows the extended, soulful opener "Star/Pointro" - which I thought about posting, but decided against after coming up with this bullsh** theme for the day. Still, I think this is a pretty solid track.

Update: Pitchfork doesn't think much of The Tipping Point today.

andrew is a funny name

The three funniest individuals I have ever met are all named Andrew. Okay, two of them go by "Andy" - but you get the point. Well, I stumbled across a website for one of these fellows, Andy "Ardy" Samberg, and his friends - who call themselves The Lonely Island. They have a bunch of funny videos & stuff archived on the site, though IMO none of it beats Andy's The Jew-Run Media, a mish-mosh of sketchs & shorts that he put together at the end of his NYU Film career. Andy & his crew also have a show up at Channel 101 called The 'Bu that also features (sometimes) Scrubs star Sarah Chalke. There's plenty of other amusing stuff to check out over at Channel 101 (including some Jack Black material), so stop by when you have a moment.

BTW: Andy "Boom Boom" Knauer & Andrew Zidel are some also funny muthafu**as. If you know either one of them, make him tell you a joke. You won't be sorry. On second thought, don't do that. It's rude to put them on the spot like that. But say hello for me if you get a chance.

Bobby says, "Same to you, Mr. President." (note: Bob Weir didn't actually say that)

This is hi-freakin-larious. George W. Bush was out on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania last week (probably not too far from my pal Angie), where recent high school grads Ian Long, Adam Stanley & Brendan McNamara were ready to protest him. According to these guys (and supposedly some innocent bystanders), they allegedly got the "bird" from Dubya. You can read up about the "incident" over at the Live Journal of one of the guys, who apparently was on Wednesday's Al Franken Show to tell his story. I missed it, but hopefully the show will be available soon over at the Air America archive. The Bushies just continue to lose their cool, I guess.

frisch comes alive

Here are details for tonite's Flip Frisch live acoustic show here in Mpls, direct from your program director (and mine) Kimmy G:

Hello Everyone!

I wanted to invite you all to come and check out the one and only Flip Frisch playing live at the New Dehli Bar and Restaurant next Thursday night, 7/15.  I believe it’s a 9:30pm show [...] Here’s the address – the bar is located on Eat Street:

New Delhi Bar and Restaurant
1400 Nicollet Ave St
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Hope to see you there!  And PLEASE spread the word!!!

Kimmy likes exclamation points - and rightly so.

why can't we look the other way

Hey all...

Apologies for the lack of updates in recent days. I've been a bit of a headcase this week, and I haven't managed to sit down to put together a decent post. Besides, all I've been listening to since last weekend is the new (leaked) Interpol album, Antics - and nothing else. I can't help myself. Still, I am going to try to put something together later today or tomorrow. Thanks for your patience, and (of course) for stopping by. I appreciate your concern for my well-being. Have a nice day.

jerry falwell destroyed the earth

(left to right) Corn Mo, a DLR-wannabe, and Jake from Rocks Off/TRC/Wetlands etc

Corn Mo may be the greatest opening act a rock band could ever ask for. The metal-accordion mastermind, who I last wrote about back in March, will be warming up the crowd at First Avenue before tonite's They Might Be Giants show, which I actually doubt I will make it to. For those who are going to be there, you are in for a treat - so show up early. For more on the man/myth/legend, check out his online diary or his Friendster profile.

MP3 Corn Mo - "Lollipop"
This song, from his I Hope You Win! LP, usually opens up Corn Mo's raucous live performances. It's also appropriately used in this MOV web promo (6.7mb) for the Corn Mo Show, which I've just got to see one of these days.

MP3 Corn Mo - "Busey Boy"
Also from I Hope You Win!, I posted this song about Corn Mo's resemblence to actor Gary Busey a few months back, but here it is again. Both this track & "Lollipop" are from the MP3 section on Corn Mo's website.

MP3 Corn Mo - "Shine On Golden Warrior" (live)
Recorded on March 22, 2002 @ Knitting Factory NYC, this is probably the highlight of his set opening for New Jersey's RANA. On stage, Corn Mo is alone w/his accordion, a microphone, and a drumstick stuck inside his shoe (so he can smash the cymbal he sets up on the floor). He needs no backing band - he can rawk out all on his own. This song is a tribute to old school wrestler Kevin Von Erich, aka the Golden Warrior (of course).

Yesterday, Slatch tipped me off about an upcoming compilation from Barsuk Records entitled Future Soundtrack For America, due out August 10. It's a joint project between Barsuk,, and Music For America that whose proceeds will benefit "non-profit progressive organizations." Ben Kweller is apparently contributing a track called, "Jerry Falwell Destroyed the Earth" - which I'm interested to hear.

In movie-related stuff, I stumbled across a download for an episode of Sundance Channel's Anatomy of a Scene series that features Zach Braff's upcoming directorial debut, Garden State. I found it through the Fox Searchlight forum, and it's available at Jeff Patch's blog in both lo-res & hi-res quicktime formats. I can't wait to see this movie.

can you read between my gums?

I just got back from the dentist, who is also my uncle Neil. So while I wait for the novocaine to wear off, allow me to make a shameless plug for a friend of mine, Flip Frisch, and her brand new cd, The Spring of My Content. This album is a long time coming for Flip, and I couldn't be more pleased for/proud of her. She mostly does straightforward guitar-based folk stuff, but it's always cut with her wry sense of humor, which nicely complements her big, beautiful heart. The following links come from her relatively new website, where there's an additional song available (though the "order the cd" link doesn't work yet).

MP3 Flip Frisch - "Come Into My Garden"
I think Flip first played this one for me back in May '03, when she was in town for Sam & Rachel's wedding. After all of the double entendres she croons in this song, I feel a little bit dirty. I can't believe she might be selling this to children.

MP3 Flip Frisch - "Bunkbed Nights"
This nostalgic track is kinda sad, reflecting back on unrequited childhood romance. It's also quite lovely. When Flip was over at my folks' place on July 4th, she mentioned that she had actually been at the cabin she sings about earlier that same day.

Flip is up at Herzl Camp (where we all met, once upon a time) for the week, but will be back in Mpls briefly to play a set @ the New Delhi Bar & Restaurant (1400 Nicollet Ave S) next Thursday (7/15). I'll have more details when I have more details.

every mighty mild seventies child

Elsewhere, iTunes users may want to take advantage of this week's free download, "Combat Baby" from Metric, which coincidentally I have been listening to quite a lot of late. I posted the song a while back, but those who missed out should take advantage this time around.

Also, Tofu Hut has a couple live cuts from Nellie McKay's appearance on NPR a few months back. He's also got a nice write-up of her free show at NYC's South Street Seaport that's worth a read. Nellie can really be a charmer in person, can't she?

truth is baby, it's a lie-lie-lie-lie

The Hives' Pelle Almqvist thinks to himself, "See the idiot walk, see the idiot talk..."

MOV The Hives on Pepsi Smash 6.24.04 - "Walk Idiot Walk" (12.2mb)

Asl promised, here is The Hives' performance of "Walk Idiot Walk" from the June 24 Pepsi Smash. It's the first single from the upcoming Tyrannosaurus Hives LP, due to be released July 20. Over @ Kingblind there's a link to download an MP3 of the song, if you're interested. It's lovely, Swedish-punk-rock goodness. The Hives also played "Hate To Say I Told You So" (from Veni Vidi Vicious) to close the show, but I wasn't planning on posting it. If you really wanna see it, be sure to leave me comments saying so.

My pals Rachel & Sam are boardgame afficionados. Since they are also big Lord of the Rings fans, Rachel received the LOTR edition of Risk, the game of world domination, a few months back for her birthday. Somehow it got mentioned on Sunday, so we played it for the first time on Monday. The LOTR version is like regular Risk, with a whole lot of additional variables to help confuse any rational person. As per usual, my strategy was lacking & maintaining my will to compete was a struggle. Rachel, who I teamed up with on the fellowship/"good" side & is usually fiercely competitive, quickly got annoyed with the tedious nature of the game, proclaiming it to be "no fun." Still, we fought the good fight as long as we could, but Sam & Mike took their evil forces & destroyed us, and everything good in the world.

They were evil-doers. They hated us because we love freedom.

"red white & blue...aww yeah"

Las Vegas' The Killers surround the "host" of Pepsi Smash.

MOV The Killers on Pepsi Smash 7.1.04 - "Somebody Told Me" (11.3mb)

Last week, Mateo over @ Rock n Roll in the Real World was complaining about missing both The Killers and The Hives on some live music show on The WB called Pepsi Smash. Given the usual roster of "artists" who frequent the show, which is hosted by a Ryan Seacrest-wannabe, I can see why I had never heard of it before (of course, Ultragrrrl knew the score). I had trouble getting the videos on the show's website to work for me, so I managed to find the show online, download it, and encode the Killers' segment to a somewhat reasonable size. Come back tomorrow (or later on this week) & I'll have the Hives' segment available as well.

Aww...isn't Brandon just adorable?

And if you didn't already know, "Somebody Told Me" is the big hit single from The Killers' debut LP, Hot Fuss.

Independence day was good times. I had some peeps over, and we played some bocce ball, took the boat out for a pleasure cruise, and consumed massive quantities of food. I was the grillmaster, and I rose to meet the challenge (thanks to Mike for all his assistance, especially w/the kabobs). Chris over @ Pop77 helped supply much of the day's soundtrack w/his New Synthetics shows, and the whole event was made immensely better by the presence of our old pal Flip, who's in town to promote her new debut cd. Since americans like nothing better than to stuff our faces & blow sh** up, we managed to take in a very solid fireworks display out in St. Louis Park, though Rachel's sudden lack of depth perception made her uneasy about whether or not the fireworks were exploding too close to the ground (and us). Sam & I weren't as concerned.

Happy birthday, America!

loosening my grip on bobby orr

Yesterday was Canada Day, so today I will conclude my Tragically Hip tribute week as best I can. We will return to regularly scheduled programming next week. Have a great holiday weekend, folks!

MP3 The Tragically Hip - "Courage" (live)
"Courage" originally appeared on The Hip's third album, Fully Completely, and I think is still considered their signature song & biggest hit. Besides undoubtably being overplayed throughout Canadia, the song also played a key role in Canadian director Atom Egoyan's acclaimed 1997 film The Sweet Hereafter. This version comes from The Hip's outstanding concert album Live Between Us, which was recorded 11/23/96 at Cobo Arena in Detroit, MI. Frontman Gordon Downie always throws random poetic musings into his song lyrics when performing live, which I've always gotten a kick out of & which he does nicely here.

MP3 The Tragically Hip - "Escape is at Hand for the Travellin' Man"
Here's another more subdued track from 1998's Phantom Power that I've grown to really love. It sort of speaks about the more subtle, day-to-day moments of living on the road as a touring band, and some of the people that you meet along the way & probably never see again. Downie crafted some particularly beautiful words for this song, which always puts a reflective/nostalgic smile on my face.

MP3 The Tragically Hip - "Fireworks"
Lastly, here's yet another song from Phantom Power, but I felt I just had to cap the week off with "Fireworks" - something my pal Rachel simply refuses to do without this weekend. This opening verse of this song speaks specifically to Canadians & their stereotypical passion for all things hockey - the song was originally called "Bobby Orr" if I'm not mistaken. However, "Spacemoose" offers this bit of insight over at
But I think the song is about how stars have been replaced with fireworks. Great people, great moments are lost in the modern rush of moments and people. When everyone gets 15 minutes, no-one gets 16. The bright stars of yesterday are replaced with the brief fireworks of today.

An interesting perspective.

mpls show alert

Anybody who already picked up tickets for the upcoming Broken Social Scene/Walkmen show at First Avenue should pay attention: Modest Mouse has been added to the 7/28 bill and is now headlining. Advance tickets are now $22, and this message was on the 1st Ave website:
NOTE: People who have purchased tickets to the Broken Social Scene concert need to turn in their tickets for refunds, then repurchase a new ticket for the show including Modest Mouse.

You have been forewarned.