california loath part 2

MP3 Local H - "California Songs"
I think my new favorite Cali-bashing cut is Local H's California Songs. Thank you to Mr. Largehearted for pointing me to the live version at, where I have found many Spoon bootlegs that put their studio work to shame.

guest blog from the windy city

It's hard to top the daily updates and music expertise from Mr. Gilbert but I can always give a little rant. While I love the fact that many quality television shows have made it to DVD (such as Homicide, Twin Peaks and Mr. Show), I think some of the new releases are getting out of control. For example, all you Alf lovers out there can now pick up the complete first season. Or how about season one of Saved by the Bell: The College Years. Yes we all loved those crazy cats at Bayside High School, but things didn’t go so well once they graduated. Moreover, we can all look forward to the crappy USA late night cop drama Silk Stalkings dropping September 28th, complete with bonus material that includes an interview with the creator / producer Stephen J. Cannell. Oh boy! The list goes on and on, but I put out a challenge to find the worst TV show that has made its way to DVD.

california here we come

I wonder if everyone in California will look this pretty...oh so so pretty.

MP3 Tom Waits - "Los Angeles Theme (Another Private Dick)"
As (almost) always, Wednesday means a dose of the coolest man on the planet, Tom Waits. Today's selection is an noisy, groovy, yet atmospheric instrumental track from his score of Jim Jarmusch's 1991 taxicab extravaganza Night On Earth. In the Los Angeles segment of the film, talent agent Gena Rowlands tries to convince cabbie Winona Ryder that she should "be in the pictures," but Winona prefers her steady taxi driver lifestyle to potential stardom. And despite the temptation, I am refusing to make a cheap Winona Ryder joke in order to end with a flourish. That would just be easy, low budget humor, and I simply won't stand for it.

MP3 The Decemberists - "Los Angeles, I'm Yours"
Indie rockers have issues with Los Angeles. Not all, but many. There are enough indie rock tunes out there bashing the southern California city to make this music fan sit back & say, "Damn." Portland, OR's Colin Meloy of The Decemberists is no exception, as this tune from last year's Her Majesty The Decemberists album demonstrates. "An ocean's garbled vomit on the shore"- dude, that's harsh, yo. Of course, this being The Decemberists, the song avoids being an annoying rant by taking it's biting lyrical commentary and balancing it with Meloy's pleasant vocals & sweet indie pop melodies.

MP4 Death Cab For Cutie - "Why You'd Want To Live Here" 4.26.04 (59mb)

[NOTE: This video won't play in your browser, so right/control click the link to download it to disk & then open in Quicktime version 6 or later.]

Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie expresses a similar rant towards Anthony Kiedis' favorite city, though with somewhat less success IMO. I find Gibbard's lyrics to be a bit too on the nose at times, and I think he's guity of it again in this song, which originally appeared on 2001's The Photo Album. Now you may be asking yourself, "This dude is going to LA for a week, so why is he posting songs bashing the town before even he leaves?" Frankly, I just love the irony of it, people. See you next week.

The Death Cab video is courtesy of Silence Magazine, who hosts a whole bunch of other indie rock concert videos, along with plenty of other stuff.

it's not quality, it's quantity

Apparently Jude Law made some crack about the Funky Bunch. Feel the vibration!

More upcoming movie stuff this morning. First off, Dark Horizons pointed me to versions of Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic trailer with much better picture quality than the links I posted last week:

MOV The Life Aquatic trailer lo-res (12.2mb) hi-res (54mb)

Also, in case anybody hadn't already run across it, here's a trailer site for what looks to be one of the strangest/most interesting films of the fall season, I ♥ Huckabees. It's directed by writer/director David O. Russell, who last brought us the suprisingly amazing gulf war action/comedy/etc Three Kings back in 1999, when talking about "George Bush" was just nostalgic & funny. He was also behind the bizarre & hilarious independent comedies Flirting With Disaster and Spanking The Monkey, so this latest effort should fit nicely in his catalog. It has a great cast featuring Dustin Hoffman, Jude Law, Lily Tomlin, a comedic turn by Mark Wahlberg, Naomi Watts (who comes off utterly cracked & fantastic in the trailer) & Jason Schwartzman, in what is probably his first real notable/decent role since, well, Rushmore. The film goes into limited release October 1, so mark your calendars.

better propaganda x 20

For all of you who put up with me yesterday, here are twenty quality songs (some newish & others not so much) courtesy of better Propaganda:

MP3 Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - "Me & Mia"
MP3 The New Pornographers - "The New Face of Zero & One"
MP3 Metric - "Combat Baby"
MP3 Chromeo - "Needy Girl"
MP3 Broken Social Scene - "Almost Crimes" (Radio Kills Remix)
MP3 Blonde Redhead - "Misery is a Butterfly"
MP3 Of Montreal - "Disconnect The Dots"
MP3 Viva Voce - "Alive With Pleasure"
MP3 Air - "Cherry Blossom Girl"
MP3 The Streets - "Fit But You Know It"
MP3 Hot Hot Heat - "Bandages"
MP3 Les Savy Fav - "We'll Make A Lover Out of You"
MP3 Oxford Collapse - "Back in Com Again"
MP3 Cut Copy - "Future"
MP3 Ratatat - "Seventeen Years"
MP3 Calexico - "Alone Again Or"
MP3 The Decemberists - "The Soldering Life"
MP3 Guided By Voices - "Gonna Never Have To Die"
MP3 TV on the Radio - "Dreams"
MP3 Pretty Girls Make Graves - "All Medicated Geniuses"

Similarly to Epitonic, better Propaganda is a fantastic source for free & legal mp3's that focuses on independent music & creating more exposure for new bands & artists. I recall somebody saying that it's run by former Epitonic people, but I could be wrong about that (corrections are encouraged, folks). Anyway, I quickly pulled these links from the site, and there is plenty more where they came from. Go have a looksee & explore a little for yourself.

BTW: I've lined up some of my pals to keep things rolling on the blog after I leave for Los Angeles on Wednesday. So please show my guest bloggers JRDN (Mpls) & Marc (Chicago) much love while I'm away from my desk.

monday morning confessional

While much of this past weekend was kind of a waste, I did manage to watch Donnie Darko on cable late saturday nite, which was the first time I had seen it since catching the new director's cut while I was in NYC last month. So today's selections are Darko-related:

MP3 INXS - "Never Tear Us Apart"
The original cut of the film begins with "The Killing Moon" by Echo & The Bunnymen, which seems appropriate enough given all the rabbit imagery in the movie (not to mention that the song rules). While the trailer for the director's cut features "The Killing Moon" prominently, in the new version it is moved toward the end of the movie (replacing "Under The Milky Way" by The Church) and this classic INXS song plays over the opening instead. It's debatable which song works better, though I prefer the use of this track, as it cues up to the visuals better IMO. Director Richard Kelly wanted to use it in the film's initial release, but the licensing proved too costly the first time around. This song originally appeared on INXS' big hit album Kick, and I recall its MOV music video (3.3mb) being played at nauseum on the MTV.

MP3 Gary Jules & Michael Andrews - "Mad World" (alternate version)
While supposedly not the director's first choice to play over the film's climactic montage, this Tears For Fears cover by the film's composer Michael Andrews (featuring Gary Jules), which appears on the Donnie Darko soundtrack, has become a hit in its own right (much like the film has done after the fact). Go over to the Gary Jules website & check out the "video" section, which features an extremely cool new video for the song directed by Michel Gondry. Somebody else out there pointed out this video a little while back, though I can't remember who at the moment.

BTW: Darko fans may want to check out the film's official site, though I found it to be weird, frustrating, & kinda annoying. The director's cut is great though, and it's worth seeing in the theater. Newmarket Films has a listing of when it may be coming to your town (click "playdates").

Now time for the confessional. I had the original, drumless version of "Mad World" playing on repeat for several hours on Sunday afternoon into the evening, so you can probably get a fairly accurate sense of where my head was at during that period of time. My father & I had another frustrating conversation about what I'm doing (or not, to be more precise) with my life, which threw me into my current state of "introspection". Explanation time: I've spent the last three & a half years riding the big ups & downs of depression, including the last two years back here in Mpls slumming it under my parents' roof. I initially left NYC way back when to come back home & get back on my feet, but things have not worked out all that smoothly & once again I have found myself in a rut. Honestly, besides keeping up this blog, I haven't done much of anything worthwhile in the past couple of months - and yes, that is both pathetic & depressing (even moreso; damn vicious circle). I like managing The Big Ticket, as I'm able to focus on all the stuff I actually like. I'm all about the new Interpol album or the upcoming Wes Anderson flick or whatever, things that are far more interesting than my achingly dull bullsh** life. I know, I know...unless you're Julian Casablancas or Lindsay Lohan, that's true for just about everybody. What can I say? I still bore myself into inactivity. Blah, blah, blah...I need to get over myself already & get a life of my own. Ugh.

I did manage to crawl out of my pity party & tune into some of HBO's Sunday nite line-up. After watching last nite's episode of Six Feet Under, I predict that they will take Nate's daughter away from him. It's gonna happen, I can feel it. Jeez, he just can't catch a break. Thus far, I agree with the TWOP reviewer regarding Entourage - it's really overrated. And yet I've seen every episode. However, Jeremy Piven is the show's big shining bright spot, and once again he delivered huge last nite. Give that man an Emmy!

Anyway, sorry to drop such whiny personal nonsense on you guys out there. I really do appreciate all the kind folks who bother to stop by & read through my semi-daily ramblings, & I'm glad some of you actually enjoy it. I usually don't want to waste people's time plodding on about my own neuroses, but I had to felt the need to make this half-assed "mea culpa" today given my general mood right now. When I see my site listed under "the cool kids" over at stereogum's blogroll, I feel like kind of a fraud, and I thought I should say as much for honesty's sake.

Again, thanks for your patience. And not to worry - we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming shortly. Tomorrow: my LA preview.

lions, tigers, republicans...oy vey

While this year's Olympics are currently keeping American short attention spans preoccupied, some other patriotic souls are managing to stay focused on the upcoming Republican National Convention, which begins in NYC just over a week from now. RNC Not Welcome is sort of a catch-all site for would-be protesters and activists who object to the use of New York City for political gain & plan on making their opinions heard/seen. Still, given the expected tighter-than-tight security, I doubt anybody will be getting near MSG and any actual delegates. Then again, you never know.

Surprise, surprise, surprise! Today's musical selections are kinda political:

MP3 Steve Earle - "The Revolution Starts Now"
Filed under folk/alt-country/Americana, singer-songwriter Steve Earle has been living & making music in Nashville, TV for over 25 years. His new album The Revolution Starts...Now was recorded immediately after the 9/11 Commission hearings and the breaking of the prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq, so naturally he had politics on his mind. While his critically acclaimed 2002 album Jerusalem was considered a political album, his latest disc goes a step further, as evidenced in some of his song titles ("Home To Houston", "Rich Man's War", "Condi Condi", "F the CC"). Earle will be hosting a weekly show on Air America Radio starting this Sunday (8/22) at 10pm ET, and the show will likewise be called The Revolution Starts Now.

FYI: Steve Earle appeared in multiple episodes of HBO's The Wire. He played a reformed addict named Waylon in season 1 (dvd out October 12) trying to help junkie/criminal-informant Bubbles (Andre Royo) go clean. Last I recall, Bubbs was still riding the white tiger.

MP3 Sleater-Kinney - "Off With Your Head"
Everyone's (or at least my) favorite chick punk outfit Sleater-Kinney has contributed this track to two politically-motivated compilations, the second volume of's Rock Against Bush series, and Barsuk records' Future Soundtrack For America, which is co-sponsored by and Music For America. The Sleater-Kinney gals have always been topical (see "Combat Rock" from 2002's excellent One Beat), so their inclusion in these releases should come as no surprise. Unfortunately, their August 31 show at the Beacon Theatre (one of the few non-Clear Channel venues in NYC), which was supposed to feature David Cross as well as other bands/comics, got cancelled. I wonder if the Bush daughters are disappointed.

BTW: So, how will I be spending my time during the RNC? While I would be extremely curious to be in NYC to see what all goes down, I will instead be heading in the opposite direction & spending a week in lovely Los Angeles, CA. I've got a family thing out there, and hopefully I'll find time to scope out the city a little (as I haven't been there since I don't know when) & meet up with some of my old pals who have taken their act out to the west coast. I may not be able to blog out there as "effectively" as I did out east last month, so I'll may have to find myself a guest blogger or go quiet for a little while. I'll post more information before I leave Mpls next Wednesday.

i'll order you a red cap & a speedo

Slatch, you are my hero! Today's post features links to the new trailer for Wes Anderson's next movie, The Life Aquatic - my most anticipated film of the year. Here are direct links to the files, which I don't seem to be able to get to through the film's Yahoo! movies page:

MOV Yahoo! trailer - The Life Aquatic w/Steve Zissou
56k (5.4mb) 100k (10.9mb) 300k (21mb) full (36.3mb)

I'm a huge Wes Anderson fan, with Rushmore, Bottle Rocket & The Royal Tenenbaums being among my favorite movies. The Life Aquatic stars Wes veterans Bill Murray, Owen Wilson & Anjelica Huston, along with Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum & even Bud Cort (of Harold & Maude fame) amongst others. Owen, being a big movie star now, wasn't able to help Wes script this film (as he had on his previous productions), so writer/director Noah Baumbach (of Kicking & Screaming fame) collaborated with Wes this time around. It's schedule to open in theaters on December 1, and I can barely contain my glee just thinking about it. Hooray!

volume, volume, turn up the volume

MP3 Tom Waits - "Step Right Up"
It's Wednesday, and Tom Waits wants to sell you something. And he's quite a salesman. I'm not sure what he's selling, but according to the lyrics of this song, which appears on his 1976 Small Change album:
That's right, it filets, it chops
It dices, slices, never stops
lasts a lifetime, mows your lawn
And it mows your lawn
and it picks up the kids from school
It gets rid of unwanted facial hair
it gets rid of embarrassing age spots
It delivers a pizza
and it lengthens, and it strengthens
And it finds that slipper that's been at large
under the chaise longe for several weeks
And it plays a mean Rhythm Master
It makes excuses for unwanted lipstick on your collar

And it's "only a dollar." Sounds like a good deal to me.

For those of you who can't wait for Tom's new album Real Gone to drop October 5 (or whenever it leaks), the first single "Metropolitan Glide" is now available for download through the iTunes music store.

MP3 Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - "The One Who Got Us Out"
One week ago, I posted this track from the upcoming Shake The Sheets album by Ted Leo & The Pharmacists (in stores 10/19/04). After listening to the album (which should compete for "album of the year" honors in a few months, btw), and this song in particular, constantly over the last several days, I simply had to write about again. I was so excited to simply be listening to it the first time around that I didn't do the song justice in my shallow attempt at a write-up. Yes, I'm repeating myself. Don't sue me, ok?

Ted Leo has infused his songs with politics in the past (see "The Ballad of the Sin Eater" re: anti-americanism), and he does so again throughout Shake The Sheets. He writes an "open letter to a president" in "The Angels' Share", recounts his own reactions to the Iraq prison abuse scandal in "Counting Down The Hours", and calls for political activism while respecting "the process" in the album's title track. On this track, Leo criticizes our American leaders' push for war with, "they say it's the only way" and "they play like it's a game," and "they would fight if they had time." Leo also echoes Kerry's "Let America Be America Again" catchphrase:

What can you say that'll take the weight away?
I look into the endless battle, & all I want is what should be.
And I'm damn ashamed to feel this rotten.
Can we reclaim what's been forgotten?

He later states, "All they want is one who'll lead, & I'll put it to you plain & bluntly - I'm worried for my tired country." I'm not entirely sure who he's referring to when he asks us to "tell it to the one who got us out," but then again I haven't been able to decipher all of the lyrics (corrections are welcomed, btw). Anyway, Ted obviously feels pretty strongly about all of this, as do I. I don't think his politics get in the way of his songwriting, as Shake The Sheets is still a kick ass rock record with plenty of fist-pumping tunes, no matter what you believe. But upon closer listening, there is a lot of interesting & topical stuff going on as well. What do you think, America?

you won't find moments in a box

Sunday, the Rosens & I drove out to Brooklyn Center, MN to see the end of Phish. None of us had the desire to drive all the way out to Vermont for their sold-out Coventry festival (in Coventry, VT), as none of us had even been to a Phish show since 2000, before their year & a half hiatus during which I lost interest in a big way. But since Phish decided to simulcast its final shows to Regal Cineplexes across the country (in HD video that looked spectacular, btw), we decided the 20 minute drive & the $20 ticket price (which used to get you into an actual Phish show) wasn't too much revisit a group that had provided so many great moments during our formative late teens & early twenties.

Now despite my general lack of interest in them & my penchant for things more indie, I don't claim to be a "reformed" Phishhead. Hell, Phish is as "indie" as it gets, cultivating a gigantic fan base without any real crossover success. And while I rarely ever listen to them anymore, I still love them to death & think they were one of the greatest bands ever.

As they played "Reba" during their first set (of 3) on Sunday, I remarked to Rachel that it was their older, more intricately-composed material that really drew me to them, that didn't sound like anything else out there. Of course, "Reba" and many other songs played during their final show were IMO somewhat sloppy (I'm looking at you, Trey), which only served as a reminder that the band is probably doing the right thing by calling it quits.

There's a nice article over at Glide Magazine (via Phish.Net) that discusses the pros & cons of the Phish legacy. They describe the hiatus as such:
You know when that girl broke your heart, and told you “we need time apart.” Then you spent a miserable year trying to get her back, and when you finally convince her to give it another shot, after two weeks you realize she was right all along. But you have a good couple months of drunken, sloppy sex anyway before you both eventually decide to just break it off for good? That was the hiatus.

And they're right. Phish played a marathon midnite-to-sunrise set on new year's 2000 that they could never top. They toured summer & fall 2K as an encore, and their final pre-hiatus show at Shoreline in California was a much better send off than the show I watched in a movie theater this past weekend. The band got back together to give it another shot, but after another year & a half they realized it just wasn't to be.

I'm sure the sets from Coventry will be available for download over at Live Phish soon, though I won't be making that purchase. While the show had some great moments, I doubt I'd ever want to listen to it again. There were some extemely beautiful moments though, especially during the second set. Keyboardist Page McConnell became too emotional to properly sing the ballad "Wading in the Velvet Sea," but he managed to play through the tears as frontman Trey Anastasio performed a gorgeous guitar solo to cap off the song. Page's tears were contageous as Trey began to cry while speaking to the audience, as each band member took their turn thanking them for 21 years of loyalty, good times, and incredible music. Drummer Jon Fishman gave props to the fans who, after not being allowed to park on the grounds due to the damage caused by the previous week's unfortunate weather, just left their cars at the side of the road & walked the remaining 12 miles (or so) to the camping/concert area. When you've driven hundreds of miles to see a band, what's a little walk after all?

Anyway, my thanks to Phish, who were a big chunk of my life.

MP3 Phish - "Cavern"
I can honestly pinpoint the moment I first got hooked on Phish (no pun intended). I was at Herzl Camp in Wisconsin during the summer of 1994, and my age group (the "Deavers" were the oldest in camp) was having some sort of dance in the old cafeteria (aka "chadar"). Whoever was dejaying put on this song, from Phish 1992 Elektra debut A Picture of Nectar, and I just lost my sh**. I was dancing around like a nut, and I remember vividly getting a natural high out of it. No drugs were ever necessary for my Phish experience, thank you very much.

MP3 Phish - "Sample in a Jar"
When I got home from camp that summer, I promptly received my first live Phish show from my brother Alan, the 12/31/93 performance from the Worcester Centrum on two Maxell audio tapes. And I wore those tapes out. After playing "Auld Lange Syne" at midnite, the band launched into a "Down With Disease" jam that was always my favorite moment on the second tape. "Down With Disease" also opened the second set on Sunday & may have been the peak moment of the whole show for me. I thought about posting "Down With Disease", but decided to post "Sample in a Jar", likewise from the band's 1994 album Hoist, instead. It's not a big jam vehicle or anything, but it's a great pop song. I had to do it.

Lastly, I'd like to give a shout-out to Tyler P, Kerry, Dr. Swain & the other NYC folks from last month's RANA boat cruise who said they were headed out to Coventry. I hope you all made it out there & back in one piece.

assorted nuggets for a saturday

Unable to sleep, I was snooping around Ted Leo's website this morning and I fortuitously stumbled across what appears to be cover artwork for his upcoming Shake The Sheets album (which I discussed earlier this week), due out 10/19/04. If you haven't already, get your ass over to the Lookout Records site & download the disc's fantastic leadoff track, "Me and Mia." It also seems to be available through the good folks over at better Propaganda. And if you want, click here to see a hi-res version of the above graphic.

Kilby reminds Jennifer Love Hewitt that she went out w/Carson Daly.

In other late nite news, Craig Kilborn is apparently calling it quits as host of his (and our) Late Late Show, which is kinda sad for yours truly. While I haven't watched his show much lately, I've really enjoyed it a lot over the past couple of years. As much of Conan's bits have gotten stale over the years (is her still doing "In The Year 2000"?), I chose instead to tune into Craiggers for his cocky sense of humor & the odd (yet hilarious) style of his show. Yeah, he always laid it on thick with the ladies, but he was an underrated interviewer. I liked that he didn't lay on the bullsh** & fawn over his guests like many of his counterparts, and his "5 Questions" segment (carried over from his Daily Show days) was effective in throwing curveballs at celebrities & making them come up with some sort of answer (be it smart, funny, or outrageously stupid). He often had the best indie acts as musical guests, and his favorite basketball player was/is KG - my kinda guy. I will miss his show, & I wonder what he's going to do after he wraps it up next month. I hope we hear from him again sooner than later.

This game will take us all yet another step closer toward hitting bottom.

Yesterday, information leafblower tipped me off about an upcoming Fight Club video game, which is just a horrendous idea. Now I was completely obsessed with Fight Club back when in 1999, and it's still one of my favorite flicks. Ironically, the game's website has a forum filled with people ripping on the game - not because they've played it, but simply because its existance is downright vile in relation to what the film/book stands for. Ugh.

Lastly, in other video game-related news, I broke down & picked up Madden 2005 for my PS2. Over at, the Sports Guy thinks the game should have its own holiday. And with that, I've got to get back to finishing off the Packers. Enjoy the weekend & thanks for wasting your time w/me.

ETA: I have almost zero interest in the Olympics, & strangely I feel a little guilty about that. Do I hate America? Do I hate freedom?

john kerry took my shoe

The good folks over at Sub Pop records, who are kindly hosting one of today's tracks, have just re-released the debut self-titled album by Guelph, Ontario's The Constantines. The disc, originally released by Three Gut Records back in 2001, has only been available north of the border in Canada until now. Highly recommended for those who came to rock.

MP3 The Constantines - "Arizona"
When I last posted about the band back in April, I hosted this song. While I don't like to post a track more than once, I guess I don't mind it so much when it's not taking up space on my .mac account. It also helps that "Arizona," the leadoff track from The Constantines, is sweet post-punk goodness. "We want the death of rock 'n' roll!" Well, not really.

MP3 The Constantines - "The Long Distance Four"
"Let the Parisian crowd stand in shock" may be one of the best opening lines for a song that I've ever heard. This is a more mellow Constantines song, and perhaps a pre-cursor to the lovely "On To You" (see "more downloads" below) from their sophomore record.

MP3 The Constantines - "Young Offenders"
When JRDN & I saw these guys open for fellow Canucks The Weakerthans (who were purely mediocre IMO) last fall, this song was one of that set's highlights. I got chills when frontman Bryan Webb was belting out, "CAN I GET A WITNESS?!?" over & over & over. Yowza.

There are a couple more downloads from last year's incredible Shine A Light cd avaiable through Sub Pop, and they're worth checking out.

and we are going to be fair

Have you heard about all these nonsensical accusations against Democratic pesidential nominee John Kerry being made by a group calling themselves Swift Boat Veterans For Truth? Well, I'll let Jon Stewart explain it for you in a clip from Monday's episode of his award-winning The Daily Show:

WMV The Daily Show - "Vet Offensive" 8/9/04

As I've been doing my best to rest off an illness leftover from the weekend, I've been keeping some strange hours. This has gotten me up early enough to listen to Morning Sedition, the "liberal" talk radio show streaming on Air America Radio from 5am-8am CT. Hosted by NYC radio vet Mark Riley & comedian Marc Maron, it might just be my favorite show on the network. This week, they've been airing this satirical (and silly) ad mocking the smear campaign by SBVFT, which I cannot stop laughing at:

MP3 Morning Sedition - "Swift Boat Vets For Truth spot #2"

For those who are interested, Air America Place is a site that hosts mp3 archives of many of AAR's programs. Some of the shows have their (very repetitive) ads edited out, though Morning Sedition isn't one of them. AAR is also streaming some material from their website, including WMA this clip of Marc & Mark discussing the swift boat vets issue, which also features full audio of the original (and real) accusatory ad.

he's got the fire and the fury

Greggs (Sonja Sohn) & McNulty (Dominic West) are on the lookout for The Wire.

Wahoo, it's another Waits Wednesday! Alliteration is awesome.

MP3 Tom Waits - "Way Down in the Hole" (live)
My 26th birthday is coming up in September, and HBO has already pre-ordered my gift - a brand new episode of my favorite show on tv, The Wire. While the long awaited season one dvd won't be out until October 12, the third season kicks off on September 19, right after I blow out my candles (assuming I get a cake this year). "Way Down in the Hole" is the show's theme song, and this raucous live version comes from the soundtrack to Waits' 1988 concert film Big Time, which needs to come out on dvd.

MP3 Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - "The One Who Got Us Out"
The new album from Ted Leo & his band the Pharmacists, entitled Shake The Sheets, leaked last week, and I finally managed to hunt down a few tracks for myself last nite. From what I've heard thus far, it looks like Ted has put together another fantastic, energetic rock record. Be sure to head over to the Lookout Records website, where they have the mastered version of "Me & Mia" available for download as well. The album is due out in stores October 19, and I cannot wait. Ted, you're my American Idol!

let's burn the hills of beverly

Matador reported last month (scroll down a bit) that the label will be releasing a remastered version of Pavement's classic sophomore album, Crooked Rain, Crooken Rain, in honor of the 10 year anniversary of its initial release. Matador's upcoming releases page lists October 26 as the release date for the two-disc set, which will feature "alternate takes/mixes and previously unreleased songs" much like the critically-acclaimed "Luxe & Reduxe" edition of the band's Slanted & Enchanted that Matador released in 2002. While it won't be out for months, I'm already extremely psyched.

MP3 Pavement - "Gold Sounds"
I used to listen to Crooked Rain, Crooken Rain a lot when I rode my bike around as a teenager. In hindsight, I suppose that wasn't the safest course of action, but oh well. This album always puts me in a sunny, laid-back summertime mood, and "Gold Sounds" has always been the disc's centerpiece for me (yes, even more than "Range Life"). So smile, it's free.

MP3 Amfibian - "Elevate Me Later"
Here's another track from Crooked Rain, Crooken Rain, covered by the original line-up of (Phish lyricist) Tom Marshall's Amfibian. Recorded live at Wetlands Preserve (R.I.P.) in NYC back on 11/4/00, this is a relatively concise version of the song, which I've heard stretched & jammed out on other Amfibian recordings from that era. While Marshall reformed Amfibian this year with completely new personnel, back in 2000 the band featured east coast veteran rocker Chris Harford, as well as RANA's Andrew Southern & Scott Metzger, who tears it up here on lead guitar.

bonus MP3 Pavement - "Spit on a Stranger"
Courtesy of Matador, this is the lead-off track from Pavement's final album, 1999's Terror Twilight. Some fans poo-poo this disc because it wasn't as noisy/weird as some of the band's earlier material, but I like it quite a bit. Given his work with his new band the Jicks, you can tell that frontman Stephen Malkmus was going in a slightly cleaner, "poppier" direction that could be heard on Terror Twilight. And I like what he's done with the Jicks.

Lastly, some more politics. Despite being on vacation, the Majority Report blog is still up & running (courtesy annatopia), providing video for President Bush's MOV latest gaffe (1.1mb). It can also be found @ The Smoking Gun.

just a string of primary numbers

MP3 Sahara Hotnights - "Hangin"
A while back, my friend Jessica told me about seeing Sahara Hotnights in NYC, describing them as "AC/DC except w/hot Swedish chicks" or something to that effect. That sounded like an intriguing formula to me, so I picked up their balls-to-the-wall, hook-laden Jennie Bomb LP, which is plenty of hard-rocking fun. I picked up their new disc Kiss & Tell (check out the Pitchfork review, which I think is pretty accurate) while I was in NYC, and this is the album's final track. I have been digging the album thus far.

MP3 Pete Miser - "Scent of a Robot"
When I returned home to Mpls, I was pleased to see that Sumosonic 28, the latest compilation cd from the hip folks over at Heavy, had arrived. This set also came with a DVD featuring several cool short films about "speed" that were produced through Nikelab. You can view the shorts online over at the Art of Speed blog. One of the films included in this collection is from another NYU classmate of mine, Dave Ahuja, who created one of the coolest "animated" films I've ever seen back when we were in school. Check out his website, which features a bunch of his music videos. Music-wise, I chose to share this Pete Miser hip-hop track because songs about robots are nifty.

Listen to MP3 the press laugh at President Bush (via Majority Report), who may not know what the word sovereignty actually means.

Lastly, there was quite a bit of sex on last nite's episode of HBO's Six Feet Under. I laughed my ass off when David's boyfriend Keith, who was being seduced by fake popstar Celeste, responded to her instruction that she doesn't get "fu**ed in the ass" by saying, "Well, that makes one of us."

Get it? Because he's gay! How wonderfully witty!

BTW: I changed the banner up a bit, removing the KG photo & adding a logo designed by my pal Marc. I figured it was appropriate given the fact that we're in an election year. Let me know what y'all think - I love feedback.

i'm her cadillac, she's my rolls royce

At last, here's my pix/review of the Rocks Off boat cruise from July 29, featuring a double shot of Brooklyn-based rawk by RANA and Sam Champion. Sorry to keep some of you waiting...

Sam Champion:
Company Dance, Now Look At Me, Slow Rewind, New Song #1, All Of Our Tomorrows, Too Broke To Get Drunk, New Song #2, TV Fever

This was my first in-person Sam Champion show (my 16th for RANA), and I was pleased with what I saw - to say the least. Drummer Ryan Thornton (also of RANA) kept the rhythm in check as always, and frontman Noah Chernin was impressive on both vocals & guitar. I hadn't seen Noah rip it up on electric before, and he certainly held his own. Sean McCormick was subbing for usual bassist Jack Dolgen (according to Jay over @ Let The Good Times Roll), but given my lack of Sam Champion experience, I didn't know the difference - so I guess Sean did a pretty damn good job. I spoke with Noah a little while people were boarding the Half Moon, and he said that they were close to finding someone to put out their debut LP Slow Rewind, so hopefully it will be available for mass consumption sometime soon.

So Long Edgewood, So Long Shadow, Skin & Bone, Girl U Want (Devo), Charm Bracelet, Corrina (Taj Mahal), Bloodshed, I Waste It, Carson Daly, Loves It Automatic > Satisfaction (Rolling Stones) > Loves It Automatic, Silver Not Gold > Poop Georgette III, Cockroach, New Song #1, Speed Demon, Good Book, New Song #2, I'm Not Orfeo, Carbombed Again, Do You Ever Feel Ashamed, Buy Sell or Break, Whenever You Can, My One Dear Son > We Will Not Be Lovers (Waterboys), One Good Eye

E: Pop Life, Backstage Pass > "RANAROCK!" funk jam

RANA put on a great show as always, though their set did have its ups and downs. They opened strong with a one-two punch of "So Long Edgewood" and "So Long Edgewood" before whipping bassist Andrew Southern's "Skin & Bone" out of hiatus to the delight of many long time fans. "Loves It Automatic" featured a foray into the Stones' "Satisfaction", and an old school "Silver Not Gold" (which I was delighted to hear) segued nicely into a audience-participatory "Poop Georgette III". The new songs were both sung by keyboardist Matt Durant, whose vocal talents dominated the majority of the set. Guitar-god-in the-making Scott "Boots" Metzger got to sing a few tunes toward the end of the show, though he biffed on the second verse of "Backstage Pass" & plowed through to the chorus instead. Durant led a odd, sorta funky jam out of "Backstage" while sensually chanting "RANAROCK!" as the boat neared the docks to close out the encore.

While it was a bit disappointing/surprising that there wasn't any PBR at a Jake-organized event, overall the nite was quite a good time. Both bands played kick ass sets, and while it wasn't the best RANA I've ever seen, it was wonderful to see them for the first time since New Year's Eve. I'd also like to send congrats out to Ramie, who apparently found an investor that nite. And despite all the literal rocking back & forth on the deck of the Half Moon boat, I didn't fall down once nor did I get seasick. For those who are interested, there is also a Jambase review of this show you can check out.

Coming soon...pix & words about Scissor Sisters @ Tower, the legendary Bling Kong and (maybe) even more from my voyage to NYC!

do-re-mi innocent aaahhh!

I'll try to get around to the NYC recap this weekend or early next week, but today I must speak of Wednesday nite's A.C. Newman show at the Triple Rock, which I managed to make it out to despite having traveled back to Mpls that afternoon & it going until 2am. The late start actually allowed me to comfortably watch the latest episode of Rescue Me, the fantastic new Denis Leary show about FDNY firefighters on F/X, and The Daily Show before heading out to the venue. As I walked in, I immediately ran into Jim from How Was The Show? (check out his review of last week's Modest Mouse/Walkmen show @ 1st Ave), who I chatted with between sets.

MP3 A.C. Newman - "The Town Halo"
Before the main set began, Jim said that he really wanted to hear this song, which is the tenth track on Newman's great recent solo album The Slow Wonder. I don't know if it's my favorite track on the disc (I think "On The Table" & "Secretarial" (the first two songs played) may be mine, along with MP3 "Miracle Drug"), but it certainly kicks ass. "35 In The Shade" was another highlight during a pretty chatty set by Newman & his bandmates. I laughed the hardest when Carl (aka A.C.) pompously joked about how popular his other band was, how they had "been on the tv," and how we (the audience) needed to give him proper respect. Well, he's got mine.

MP3 The Neins - "Sunday Anthems"
While Rogue Wave was the more hyped opening act, I was more impressed by Vancouver's The Neins, though I only caught the last couple songs of their set. Mixing weird pop sensibilities, oddball lyrics & a little atypical instrumentation, they seem a bit like Starlight Mints meets the Unicorns. I picked up their Sunday Anthems cd, from which this is the title track, and I'm digging it thus far. It's available (sort of) through their website. Several members of The Neins sat in during Newman's set, so much so in fact that I thought they were simply in his band. Worth checking out, IMO.

BTW: All three bands had chick bass players. Kick ass.

ETA: Jim has his review of the show up over at How Was The Show.

and in bars drunk we knew it all

MP3 The Raveonettes - "New York Was Great"

The trip is over, and here's a taste. More details (& pix) to follow. The above Raveonettes track is the last song on their Chain Gang of Love album.