how 'bout my local news (who knew)

Channel 5 broke this story? I may need to start watching local news again.

Holy crap. My local ABC affiliate in Mpls has blown apart the right-wing "I didn't do it" response to the al Qaqaa explosives scandal. As I first heard mentioned on today's Morning Sedition, KSTP reporters embedded in Iraq were shown the al Qaqaa complex in mid-April 2003, and the explosives were still there. And they were left unsecured. And there's video footage.

The White House (and Drudge) has been spinning the "they were already gone" theory for the last couple of days, but now that isn't going to fly. Of course, Kos, Atrios & Josh Marshall are running with the latest development in this story, which so clearly defines the Bushies' incompetence during this whole Iraq debacle. Will they ever take responsibility for anything?

This is dominating the news in the final week of the campaign - and it's not going away. So, how is Bush going to excuse his way out of this one?

Oh yeah, & "America's mayor" Giuliani is blaming the troops (via Atrios).

ETA: I guess this story may actually go away. Can you believe this sh**?

Shouldn't this guy already be dead, not making new videos? (10.29.04)

f**k the curse, you friggin' idiots

One of my first real baseball recollections was of rooting for the '86 Mets. Whoops. What do you want from me? I was nine, and I had no idea they were coked up. But last nite, I was rooting for the BoSox all the way as they cruised to a 3-0 win & took the Series. Of course, the whole thing was really over a week ago when they toppled the evil empire, and the World Series was almost an afterthought. ESPN's The Sports Guy has been writing great material on the Red Sox's championship run, and I look foward to reading what he's got to say now that it's all over. My best goes out to my favorite superfan Kaitie, who is surely still celebrating w/her galpal (who'll be happy the baseball season is over) out in Cali. Congrats to the Red Sox nation.

MP3 Poison - "Nothin' But A Good Time"
It just seemed appropriate. From Poison's Open Up and Say...Ahh!

Music For Robots has a great little Boston-related post up. Check it out.

ETA: Aurgasm has the same track up as MFR, and Stereogum helps explain what-in-god's-name Drew Barrymore & Jimmy "I can't keep a straight face" Fallon were doing on the field in St. Louis last nite. Pretty damn lame, IMO.

Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling sprays champagne & prepares for surgery like a real man.

Now Massachusetts needs another victory come Tuesday. The Nation provides 100 facts & 1 opinion to help us all make the obvious choice.

the night is just hummin'

MP3 Pavement - "All My Friends"
Today brings the long-awaited (by me anyway) release of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain: LA's Desert Origins, the double-disc expanded re-issue of the classic 1994 sophomore album by indie rock's favorite non-stars, Pavement. I absolutely adored this album back in my teens, as I vividly recall listening to it while riding my bike to driver's ed (and yes, I know I shouldn't have been riding w/my headphones on), and it always reminds me of suburban summers. This is the first track on the bonus disc, and comes from the initial CRCR sessions from 1993 with original Pavement drummer Gary Young. Pitchfork gives the whole package a 10, and I would have to agree.

MP3 Pavement - "Here" (Peel Session Summer 1992)
As everybody & their blogger sister has already reported today, legendary UK DJ John Peel has died of a sudden heart attack. BBC News already has an obituary up (via SVC) for those in mourning. This rocked-out version of "Here" comes from a Peel session with Pavement, and appears on the band's 2002's expanded re-issue of Slanted & Enchanted: Luxe & Reduxe, which Pitchfork also gave a 10 btw. Both of today's tracks are courtesy of Matador. And Mr. Peel, you'll be sorely missed - much respect, y'all.

eminem gets out the vote, yo

MOV Eminem - "Mosh" video (46.6mb)

Majority Report & Daily Kos pointed me to a highly political music video from Eminem for his song "Mosh" (from his forthcoming Encore LP, coming out a little bit late on November 16). The animated video, which takes on Bush & strongly encourages getting out to vote, can be downloaded directly through or the above link, or you can watch it online here or here. You can read through the song's "f**k Bush" lyrics via Song Meanings. The video for Em's first single "Just Lose It" is currently in rotation on the MTV, but it would be nice to get this one on the air before the election. You can help out by casting a write-in vote to get it on MTV's TRL or Direct Effect.

Em will be this week's musical guest on SNL, with host Kate Winslet.

ETA: Pitchfork profiles "Mosh" in Wednesday's We Are The World.

i will be your screech & crash

Starting things off this week with politics & the approaching election, the big news today will likely be about the explosives looted from Iraqi stockpiles after the U.S. invasion, as reported on the front page of Monday's New York Times. If you recall, Kerry spoke about this issue during the debates, but it takes the media a while to actually figure out that some things are worth reporting. Of course, political bloggers were all over this story, especially Josh Marshall from Talking Points Memo on Sunday. Atrios and Kos also chimed in about the hundreds of tons of explosive materials that were left unguarded after the fall of Baghdad, which have undoubtably been used by insurgents to kill americans & others. What did secretary-of-defense Donald Rumsfeld have to say about the Iraqi looting (at the time): "Freedom's untidy. And free people are free to commit mistakes, and to commit crimes" (also via Atrios). I truly marvel at the incompetence. Don't all of you?

In other election-related nonsense, Majority Report & Oveis both tipped me off last week to an interesting poll about how ill-informed many Bush supporters are compared to their Kerry counterparts, as reported by IPS news. The report, conducted by the University of Maryland-based non-partisan research group PIPA, explains how a large percentage of Bush supporters hold incorrect beliefs about the existence of Iraqi WMD, the false Iraq-Al Qaeda connection & the negative global public opinion regarding the U.S. invasion of Iraq, despite news reports to the contrary. They even have misguided perceptions about many of Bush's positions, believing that the President actually supports international treaties such as the comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty or the Kyoto protocol on global warming when he clearly does not. So, are Bush supporters just willfully ignorant? Principal investigator Steven Kull attempts to psychoanalyze:
The roots of the Bush supporters' resistance to information very likely lie in the traumatic experience of 9/11 and equally in the near pitch-perfect leadership that President Bush showed in its immediate wake. This appears to have created a powerful bond between Bush and his supporters and an idealized image of the President that makes it difficult for his supporters to imagine that he could have made incorrect judgments before the war, that world public opinion could be critical of his policies or that the President could hold foreign policy positions that are at odds with his supporters.

Wake up America. Now, on to the music...

MP3 Jon Brion - "Knock Yourself Out"
Did I particularly love David O. Russell's new "existential" comedy I ♥ Huckabees? Not really, though it was amusing. Have I hyped said film on this blog? Yes, and several times no less. I couldn't help myself - the film's trailer was just too fun, clever & well-constructed. It also had the benefit of being backed by this soothing pop number from the it-film composer of the moment, Jon Brion. This song appears on the film's soundtrack, which includes both oddball score tracks along with several original songs by Brion. Pitchfork reviewed it last week, for those who are interested.

MP3 TV on the Radio - "Ambulance" (live 10.15.04)
A couple weeks ago, some of the guys from NYC "art-rock" darlings TV on the Radio appeared on Air America's Unfiltered & performed this accapella version of "Ambulance" (apologies for the lo-fi 64kbps sound, btw). This version is actually groovier IMO than the also very stripped-down version of this song that appears on this past spring's Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes LP, which just goes to show what a little beatboxing (along with some guitar-strumming) can do. Chuck D sounded like he dug it.

I spent way too much of this weekend watching my new dvd's of season one of the hilarious & addictive Arrested Development (which does very well on repeated viewings) and season one of the utterly absorbing The Wire (which is difficult to turn off). Both shows were shelved last nite to make way for game two of the Series, which is off to a nice start (as long as you're a Boston fan, anyway). The second season of AD will premiere on November 7, and The Wire's third season resumes next Sunday. Those looking to catch up on The Wire can tune into HBO all this week, as they will be replaying the first 5 episodes of the new season. "Tap in" & get hooked.

BTW: Pop77 is currently on hiatus. Come back soon, CP. I miss ya already.

whatever blue means to you

ATTN: NYC folk, change your plans tonite & get down to the Knit for the RANARock!

Big RANA update! Tonite at the Knitting Factory in NYC, my favorite Jersey rockers will be playing a big show to celebrate the long-awaited release of their second full-length album. RANA will be headlining at 10pm, giving all you New Yorkers plenty of time to find your way downtown after work to revitalize whatever joy the recent Yankee collapse may have sapped from you. Early arrivers can catch openers Secret Government @ 8pm and Super 400 @ 9pm. Everybody should be recovered from their post-CMJ hangover by now, & this event is not-to-be-missed IMO. Alas, I am stuck out here in Mpls, but just because I'm missing out doesn't mean you have to.

Details regarding the new album are limited:
17 tracks that span two years of this band.
we are printing a *very limited run at first (limited edition artwork),
and we'll see if our predictions ring true.

our predictions:
-this record is a monster
-this record will make you very happy
-this record was worth the wait

There's another RANA-related CD release show on Friday nite (10/22) in NYC, as keyboardist Matt "Durant" Trowbridge & friends will be playing at The Tank to celebrate Matt's first release under the moniker Leafcutter, entitled Casio Punk. It's a mastered collection of many of the work-in-progress demos Matt has been posting over at his blog, where you can purchase a copy online. Matt is scheduled to perform around 10pm, and the show is only $5. Come on out & show your support, friends.

Lastly, big-ups to Sam Champion (which includes RANA drummer Ryan Thornton), who were profiled last week by Gothamist. You might want to drop by their halloween show @ the Mercury Lounge NYC, where they will be covering another band's album in its entirety (Phish-style, but different).

MP3 RANA - "Eggo"
This heavy & powerful track was recorded in the summer of 2003 during the Athens Sessions, which were engineered by John Keane and produced by former R.E.M. drummer Bill Berry. "Eggo" features some searing guitar work by Scott "Boots" Metzger, and an intense vocal performance from Durant, whose lyrics explore the inner-struggle of jealousy with remarkable emotion & poetic insight. I saw them play this at the Knit back in spring of 2002, and it was absolutely killer. I get chills just thinking about it.

MP3 RANA - "Ring in the Sand"
Also from the aforementioned Athens Sessions, this song was also recorded for RANA's 2002 debut LP Here in the USA, but was not included on the album. This version is cleaner & more concise, though it does lack a particular guitar riff that's usually heard when performed live. "Ring in the Sand" is a charge-ahead rock song, used often as a set-opener or set-closer when it was first introduced back in 2001. However, its lyrics are notably reflexive & somewhat somber, with the bombastic "whatever blue means to you" chorus managing to be both anthemic & nostalgic all at once.

bonus MP3 RANA - "Need You Tonight" (live 4.12.01)
I first encountered RANA on April 12, 2001 at Wetlands Preserve (R.I.P.) in NYC, where they were opening for Minnesota-based jamband The Big Wu. The Wu were purely average (at best), and it was RANA that really took me by surprise & captured my attention. I vividly recall standing at the bar and hearing the first notes of this INXS track, from their 1988 album Kick. I was instantly amused, and I walked up to the stage to check out what was going on. RANA proceeded to stretch out the song to an unexpected length, rocking harder & more furiously than anything I had heard in some time. I was instantly hooked, have since been a diehard RANARock supporter.

do you believe in miracles? yes!

The Boston Red Sox celebrate a game seven victory at Yankee Stadium. For real.

Can you believe it? They actually pulled it off. Baseball's evil empire went down in flames Wednesday nite, as the Boston Red Sox won their fourth consecutive game to claim the AL pennant move a huge step toward potentially shattering the dreaded curse. Incredible.

My buddy Andy, however, was not rooting for the BoSox last nite, as he explained his logic for doing so prior to the big game:

Tonight's game is the greatest game ever played by two teams in any sport. Not for what might occur in the game, but for the platform on which it is being played.  Love the Yankees or hate them, it is imperative for them to win tonight.  If Boston wins, then everything changes. Babe Ruth, the game's greatest player, becomes a sidenote and 100 years of beautiful history are flushed down the toilet.  If you want Barry Bonds to be the new Babe Ruth, if you want your grandkids looking up to a guy that bent over and let another man stick needles in his ass, then root for Boston tonight.  If you believe in the harmony of the universe, then damnit you better route for the Yankees. If the Red Sox win, then the Yankees are no longer the Yankees, and all was for naught.  The Red Sox could go on to win 100 world series in a row, with Manny Ramirez walking halfway to second after each homerun. Future players will look like Johnny Damon and disgrace the game with their neanderthal appearance.  It will be OK to throw 72 year old men on the ground like Pedro did.  If this is what you want, go ahead, route for Boston.  If you want every world series to be meaningless for the next 5 years, route for Boston, because no one will remember who wins in the next 5 years, they will only remember that Boston won tonight.  Why is this game so important, why is this the greatest game?  One reason: Boston always loses, if they win tonight, then all the future games are meaningless in comparison.  If Boston won last year, who would care about this game?  It would be another ALCS game 7, like the one being played in the NL that no one cares about.  But if the Yankees win, then next year there can even be a bigger, more important game than this.  So choose wisely gentlemen, choose wisely.

While I see Andy's point, I have to disagree. I just love former-Twin & backup first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz way too much. My sincere congrats go out to the Sox & their long-suffering fans - especially my old pal Kaitie, whose emails I cannot respond to at the moment for fear of jinxing her team in the midst of their improbable playoff run. Now onto the Series!

your instincts aren't good enough!

This past Sunday, Matt over at Fluxblog posted another song by Seattle danceteria freaks United State of Electronica after seeing their enthusiastic live performance. After watching some videos from their shows in the A/V section of their website, I was reminded of Canadian improv house trio the New Deal, who I've seen on several occasions (including my last nite in NYC 5.31.02, which was immortalized in a now sold-out double live album). The tND shows I've been to were more like huge dance parties, and they were some of the most enjoyable nights I've ever spent out at a rock club.

MP3 the New Deal - "Moonscraper"
The New Deal know how to work an audience. Their shows usually begin with Dan Kurtz (bass), Jamie Shields (keys) & Darren Shearer (drums) sliding on stage as a DJ spins some appropriate pre-set dance music, with the band picking up the beat & the groove & never letting loose. And while the band has several "songs" that it will touch upon during the course of a set, the majority of the music is improvised, allowing the New Deal to feed off of the flow of the audience & keep the party rockin'. This track comes from tND's 2001 Receiver EP, which was put out a few months in advance of their debut self-titled full length for Jive Electro. While these were the group's first "studio" releases, the actual base tracks were were taken from many of tND's live performances, blending the energy of their shows with studio production techniques. The liner notes even boast, "no sequencers or samplers were used in the recording." At a little over seven minutes, "Moonscraper" may be a little longwinded, but it's good sh** IMO.

MP3 the New Deal (f/Feist) - "Don't Blame Yourself"
When tND took to the studio to record their second LP, they approached it much differently. While many of the songs were developed from themes that had developed during their relentless touring, the band wanted to be a little more concise & actually record all of the tracks in-studio. 2003's Gone Gone Gone LP also incorporated another element new to the group's recordings - lyrics & voice. Fellow Canuck Leslie Feist lends her lovely vocal talents to this more downtempo track, along with adding a little bit of indie cred to help fend off some of tND's potential "jamband" stigma.

After taking off most of 2004 to work on side projects and who-knows-what-else, the New Deal is getting back to their bread & butter by playing some live shows this fall. NYC folk looking for a good time over thanksgiving weekend might want to check them out at the Bowery Ballroom, one of tND's very favorite venues, on November 26th & 27th.

BTW: You can download all of U.S.E., the debut album from United State of Electronica, through Mannheim Worldwide. Aww yeah, IT IS so ON!

Also, you might want to check out this week's mix over at Pop77. It has a loose theme based on the Transformers movie, which I adored as a kid.

please stop, you're hurting america

For those of you who haven't already seen Jon Stewart's Crossfire appearance that I wrote about last friday, there are plenty of places to find it by now. Jay from Let The Good Times Roll was kind enough to point me to iFilm, who has streaming video. Both Wonkette and Daily Kos also have several helpful links on the matter, so anybody who wants to see it should be able to track it down at this point (unless you lack hi-speed, I suppose).

On last nite's episode of The Daily Show, Stewart spoke about the Crossfire incident throughout the opening segment, being witty & outstanding as per usual. The second segment featured a hilarious Rob Corddry piece about the curse of the Bambino that is worth seeing if you have a chance.

ETA: I'm Just Sayin' has video from last nite's Daily (via chromewaves).

Believe it or not, David Ortiz used to be a really ineffective DH. Now, not so much.

Speaking of the Yankees/Red Sox, for the second day in a row, designated hitter David "Big Papi" Ortiz came through in the clutch with an extra-inning game-winning hit. Amazing. Ortiz never performed like that in all his years with the Twins, which was why they let him go in the first place. Bizarre. Game six will take place tonite in the Bronx. Go BoSox!

Lastly, I'd like to recommend that anyone interested in the upcoming U.S. election read the cover story from this past weekend's New York Times Magazine. It's by author Ron Suskind & it gives a chilling (albeit a somewhat secondhand) look at how President Bush goes about the job of "leading" the free world. The NYTimes only keeps their articles available for a short time, so I'm also hosting the article for those of you who run into any difficulty with the above link (just click on Dubya below).

jon stewart rips crossfire a new one

Jon Stewart offers a bottle of truth to the corporate mass media.

Listening to the Majority Report this evening, I was alerted to Jon Stewart's appearance on CNN's Crossfire earlier today, which turned out to be anything but a casual stop on his current book tour. The host of the emmy-winning Daily Show got awfully confrontational with Crossfire hosts Paul Begala & Tucker Carlson, referring to them as "partisan hacks" and calling them to task for neglecting their duties as journalists. Stewart & Carlson got pretty testy with each other, with Stewart poking fun at Carlson's bow-tie & calling Carlson a "dick" before going to commercial break.

No, I didn't see it, though I wish I had. I try not to watch cable news whenever possible. You can read the transcript for yourself online, and/or check out what Alternet or have reported thus far. Wonkette has not one, not two, but three entries on the subject, & Atrios has two.

Apparently, Carlson & Begala don't understand what The Daily Show is all about. The Daily Show's "fake news" may take shots at politicians, but it's actually satirizing the news media. So when TPTB (the powers that be) over at CNN invited Stewart onto their "debate" program, they shouldn't have been entirely suprised that he, as a successful comedian & social critic, would actually choose to discuss his area of general "expertise" with the hosts. It wasn't Comedy Central's The Daily Show, this was CNN's Crossfire, which "examines the political and social issues impacting the United States" according to their website. Begala & Carlson thought their guest would just be a comedian plugging a book, but they forgot whose show was whose.

Jon Stewart probably didn't make many friends on Crossfire today, and we might not see him on CNN again, but he certainly showed some guts by standing up for something & calling the media out on their sh**. I guess a few emmys and a Peabody allows you to get away with being this honest.

If regular host & "douchebag of justice" Bob Novak (in the hospital with a busted hip) had been on the show, might Stewart have decked him?

ETA: Suprnova has a torrent to download the video (AVI 97mb click here).

stretch out your legs & dance w/me

MP3 Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - "Little Dawn"
Apparently, I've still got some Ted Leo-on-the-brain, but I'll try to make this my final Ted-related post for a while. I don't know if his new LP Shake The Sheets is my favorite album of 2004 (thus far), but it certainly has gotten me more excited than any other disc I've come across this year. Perhaps it's because of the upcoming election, and how much of the album sports a strong activist tone. "Little Dawn" doesn't seem to be politically-motivated, which helps keep Shake The Sheets from taking itself too seriously. I've read that Leo purposely wrote shorter songs for this album, as last year's Hearts of Oak featured several "longer" songs than Leo's punk background is accustomed to. "Little Dawn" is one of the exceptions on Shake The Sheets, as it clocks in at a little over five & a half minutes & covers plenty of territory, from its intense bookending intro/outro sections to the joyful main verses & elation-filled chorus. Trust me, it's time well-spent.

Shake The Sheets will be in stores this coming Tuesday (10/19), but for those of you who are impatient, it is already available for purchase & download from Audio Lunchbox. Audio Lunchbox is a great digital download site that focuses on independent artists & labels. Unlike the iTunes music store, the files you download from Audio Lunchbox are not restricted by DRM (Digital Rights Management), and you also have the option of downloading high-quality OGG files instead of mp3's at no additional price.

MP3 Heiruspecs - "A Tiger Dancing"
Also available at Audio Lunchbox is A Tiger Dancing, the new album from Mpls hip-hop outfit Heiruspecs. I saw this live band-backed group open for Radio 4 back in April, and was definitely impressed. This title track from Heiruspecs' sophomore LP, which is currently rating a 77 over at Metacritic, includes references to Anna Kournikova's lack of "game" & Hulk Hogan's very rippable tank-tops. And it's got a good beat - ya know, to dance to!

New Roman Times, the new cd from Camper Van Beethoven, and the new Tom Waits album Real Gone are both available through Audio Lunchbox as well. I've heard good things about that CVB disc, btw.

don't save a thing for later

I've been neglecting the blog this week for several reasons. I didn't feel like I had much to write about, and I may still be a little shell-shocked from watching my hometown Twins end their season at the hands off the evil empire last weekend, blowing a four-run 8th inning lead to end up losing 6-5. I'm rooting for the BoSox all the way now, but they're already in the hole 0-2, with history decidedly against them. Oy vey.

I've also been trying to catch up on my e-mail, which I've been saying that I'd do for weeks now, despite continued inaction. I've been feeling increasingly guilty for keeping up with the blog while ignoring my growing inbox, so I sorta took a break from one to attend to the other. And I finally put a dent into some of that long-overdue correspondence yesterday, but I've still got plenty more work to do on that front.

I decided to come back to the blog before the end of the week so I could share some of the goodies I've run across lately, like these free mp3 downloads from the good folks over at Music For America, or this video from The Go! Team, courtesy of their UK label Memphis Industries:

MOV The Go! Team - "Ladyflash" video (7.2mb)

20 Jazz Funk Greats currently has the title track from the new TV on the Radio single, New Health Rock. The band will be appearing this morning on Air America's 9am-12pm ET show Unfiltered, hosted by Daily Show creator Lizz Winstead, Mpls alum Rachel Maddow & Chuck D (read his interview w/Mother Jones). The band will likely be on during the final half hour.

The emmy award-winning Arrested Development will see the release of its season one dvd on Tuesday (10/19), but for those of you who haven't already checked out the funniest show on tv, you've got an extended opportunity to preview it tomorrow. FX will be airing a mini-marathon on Saturday (10/16) from 12-5pm ET. Tune in & get your laugh on.

Finally, I did get around to seeing I ♥ Huckabees, which opened here in Mpls last week. And yeah, I was disappointed. The trailer got me a little too excited about, it I suppose. The film may be a little too wacky for its own good, but more importantly it's just poorly constructed & edited IMO. I don't know if writer/director David O. Russell was going for a frantic tone to complement the characters' "existential" crises, but I found it to just be kinda sloppy. I ♥ Huckabees is fun & strangely likeable, and I laughed a lot, but overall I think the movie tries too hard & unfortunately comes up a little short. I am thinking about picking up Jon Brion's score, though.

keep on rockin' in the free world

Last week, I totally blew it by not tagging along with JRDN for the local Vote For Change concert in St. Paul. Apparently it was un-fu**in-believeable & I missed out big time. While I can't truly make up for that, I can tune in tonite to the Sundance Channel, which will be broacasting the final show of the tour from the MCI Center in Washington D.C. starting at 6:30pm ET.

The show will feature performances from many artists that participated in the 33 city swing-state tour, including Bruce Springsteen, R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, Jurassic 5, Dixie Chicks, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, John Fogerty, Keb' Mo', John Mellencamp & Babyface.

Sundance's broadcast will also feature National Anthem: Inside the Vote for Change Concert Tour, a behind-the-scenes documentary directed by legendary filmmakers Albert Maysles & D.A. Pennebaker. For those of you without the proper cable connection, the concert is also being webcasted, and can also be heard on many PDF radio stations across the country, including XM (ch. 200) & Sirius (ch. 18) satellite radio.

A few more political items today, & with any luck I'll blow my election-related load today & be able to discuss more pleasant topics as the week goes on (I make no promises). Majority Report alerted me to a gutsy speech given by democratic Ohio congressman Tim Ryan on the floor of the house last week, in response to a "internet rumor" about a possible reinstatement of the draft. Daily Kos came up with some quality video:

MOV Rep. Tim Ryan (OH) 10.5.04 (5.5mb)

Kos also pointed me to an amusing "live" response to last friday's debate by Wonkette. If you watched the debate, it'll make perfect sense. Oliver Willis also has video of what may be the President's most shrill moment of the nite, as he had no patience for moderator Charles Gibson:

WMV George W. Bush flips out 10.8.04

Yikes. This guy is the president? Of the United States of America? Is that how he deals with global leaders, or just anybody who disagrees with him? Take a moment & consider how frightening that is. Whoa.

policy speech? what policy speech?

If we can't impeach Bush, can we at least send him to detention (via Atrios)?

The second presidential debate is tonite, and it comes on the heels of a couple interesting days for the Bush administration. On Wednesday, they duped the cable news channels into carrying an hour-long speech President Bush gave in Wilkes-Barre, PA (where I saw stopped for a RANA event back on 6/1/02), claiming that it would be an "important policy" speech. Of course, he introduced no new policies, but instead used his stump to attack Kerry the majority of the time. Who needs policies anyway (via Oveis)?

Thursday brought the release of the Duelfer report (also via Oveis), which is supposed to be the definitive document about Iraq & WMD's. To no one's surprise, while Saddam may still have wanted to reconstitute his weapons programs, a decade of sanctions weakened his regime & prevented him from doing so. So doesn't this report undermine Bush's rationale for war?

Of course not! Dick Cheney is now grasping at straws, saying the invasion was justified because Iraq was abusing the UN's oil-for-food program (via Daily Kos). Kerry's appropriate response: "You don't make up or find reasons to go to war after the fact." Well, duh. Even Newsweek's Howard Fineman thinks Bush is getting desperate, and I'm inclined to agree.

As per usual, Jon Stewart summed it up best. On last nite's Daily Show (which featured a very civil interview with Bill O'Reilly), Stewart described the Bush response as such:
Some people look at a glass & see it as half full,
and some people look at a glass & say it's a dragon.

I fell out of my chair, I was laughing so hard. The Daily Show is the bestest.

ETA: Comedy Central has streaming video right here (10/12/04).

BTW: Their book is #1 on the NYT bestseller list (hardcover nonfiction).

MP3 The Go! Team - "Panther Dash"
I've raved about them here, and seemingly so has everybody else out there. UK's The Go! Team have one of the best, and most fun, records of the year on their hands with their debut LP, Thunder, Lightning, Strike. It just makes you want to giggle & jump around. It sounds like what a party should feel like. "Panther Dash" is the album's lead-off track, one of a few mostly instrumental songs on the disc, and it nicely sets the sonic tone for the rest of what's to come. I love it.'s free. Have a lovely weekend.

they told you who was who

MP3 The Concretes - "You Can't Hurry Love"
About a month ago, I posted the song "Seems Fine" by the Swedish band The Concretes, which appeared on that month's Heavy compilation. Well, it's also the band's self-titled LP, which also sports this upbeat track - which is not (as Pitchfork noted) a cover of the Supremes' classic, though The Concretes also features a song entitled "Diana Ross". While much of the rest of the album is a little more Mazzy Star-sounding, this track & "Seems Fine" shows that the band can also be effectively poppy & concise. The Concretes' website also hosts a nifty animated video for this track:
MOV (12.5mb)

MP3 Apostle of Hustle - "Kings & Queens"
Once again, I am retreading where I have already been, as I also posted two Apostle of Hustle tracks last month. But alas, their debut album Folkloric Feel is so fantastic that I can't help myself. I almost included "Kings & Queens" in my post back then, so it's a pleasure to be able to offer it now. Frontman Andrew Whiteman gets plenty of help from his Broken Social Scene bandmates here, including a vocal contribution from the lovely Leslie Feist. And I love the breakdown beat that comes in from out of nowhere towards the end of the song. Brilliant! (damn that infectious Guinness ad)

baseball playoffs killing my nerves

Leading 6-5 going into the bottom of the 12th inning last nite, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had the evil empire on the ropes, threatening to send the divisional series back to Mpls up two games to none. Apparently having little faith in reliever J.C. Romero, Gardenhire decided instead to send all-star closer Joe Nathan back on to the field - for his third inning of work. Big mistake, Gardy. Two walks, a big A Rod double & a sacrifice fly later, the Twins had lost their edge and the game, 7-6. Game three will be at the Metrodome on Friday, and I'll be going to game four w/my pops on Saturday. This sh** ain't over, people - not by a long shot.

BTW: I made some revisions on the blogroll. Check 'em out.

baby, we were born to run

CF Torii Hunter, winning pitcher Johan Santana & 2B Mike Cuddyer celebrate the victory.

The good guys came away with a 2-0 win in game one last nite behind some truly excellent pitching & defense. Game two of the best-of-five series will take place tonite in the Bronx. Radke will be on the mound.

It's Wednesday, but this week you can go get your Tom Waits fix elsewhere. bigrockcandymountain has four "rare" Waits tracks up for your listening pleasure. The new album Real Gone came out yesterday, and Pitchfork gave it an 8. Similarly, it's currently rating an 82 over at Metacritic. Go pick it up.

MP3 New Pornographers - "Graceland"
Thanks go to largehearted boy for pointing me toward the above New Pornographers song, which will be on the upcoming Matador At Fifteen compilation. Speaking of Matador, they've posted some more info about the upcoming Pavement 2CD re-issue of Crooked Rain Crooked Rain: La's Desert Origins. It will be mine come October 26. Oh yes, it will be mine.

Apparently, the local Vote For Change concert that I mentioned yesterday was just fantastic. Neil Young also made an appearance at the marathon show, which both my 'rents & my pal JRDN attended (and supposedly had great seats for as well). I stayed home & watched the dull-dull-dull VP debate, and in hindsight I clearly should have tagged along with JRDN. Watching Dick Cheney talk for an extended period of time is not something I'd do again. Ugh. At least the Gilmore Girls were entertaining.

While I'm on the subject of last nite's TV, damn that Nip/Tuck season finale! I can't believe they're going to leave us hanging like that. It looks like somebody's going to be needing lots more surgery next year. "My face! My beautiful face!" There's only two more episodes of FX's excellent Rescue Me left in its debut season, and the penultimate episode airs tonite at 10pm ET.

Here's a few pix from that democratic fundraiser I went to yesterday afternoon. Doesn't Franken look like a tough guy? Loosen up, Al.

johan santana = cy young (please)

That's three central division championships. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, people.

Tonite, my hometown Minnesota Twins come face-to-face with the evil empire in the first round of the baseball playoffs. So do I watch the game, or do I tune into the vice presidential debate instead? And what about the season finale of Nip/Tuck, or even the Gilmore Girls for that matter? Wow, I've really got some tough choices in store for me tonite.

Speaking of politics,'s Vote For Change Tour is rolling into St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center, featuring performances by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, R.E.M. & Bright Eyes with proceeds going to get-out-the-vote mobilizers America Coming Together. Also returning to his hometown today is Al Franken, who will be broadcasting his Air America radio show (12-3pm ET) from the Pantages Theatre in downtown Mpls.

I will probably be seeing Mr. Franken later in the day at a democratic fundraiser, where he will be appearing along with first daugter-to-be Alexandra Kerry & local heartthrob Josh Hartnett. There will also be a performance by Dan Wilson (of the Mpls band Semisonic, not the longtime Seattle Mariners catcher). My folks were generous enough to front me the donation fee, as they themselves cannot attend - though they will be rocking out with The Boss later on while I decide what to watch on TV.

MOV RNC remix - Keeping America Scared (5.1mb)

I heard about the above video on the Majority Report (via Atrios), who also pointed me toward an excellent article by journalist Naomi Klein entitled Baghdad Year Zero. It appeared in the September issue of Harpers, and is essential reading in helping to better understand how Bush & the neo-cons' failed economic policies in Iraq have fueled the current insurgency. It's a semi-long read, so you might want to set a little time aside.

In last week's post-debate post, I included some fiery commentary on the part of indie rocker Ted Leo, who thought that Kerry had blown it (though he clearly didn't, at least according to the conventional wisdom several days later). While I was attempting to get over nasty cold (currently in the mucous faze) over the weekend, I threw in my dvd of Dirty Old Town, which documents Ted's summer 2003 show at the Siren Festival on Coney Island, NYC. Besides the cold, I must have a little Ted Leo on-the-brain.

MP3 Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - "Shake The Sheets"
The title track from Ted's forthcoming album with his band the Pharmacists (which comes out in two weeks on Lookout Records) is remarkable, and IMO the best song on the disc. I tried my best to decipher the lyrics, but couldn't quite make them all out (please comment with your corrections):
I said
I wonder how it is I'm standing here
when war is raging everywhere under the sky
I feel defeated here by everything
cheated here by everyone on every side

I wanna take you to a quiet place
never ask the meaninglessness (to cry?)
when will we get (out of our shallow grave?)
find the time to breathe a sigh

I've been working too hard to be living in (late?)
walking all night till I'm chilly & (lazy?)
wasting the time I've been given to maybe
wait for the day of a (million?)

I wanna take it to the president
him & all his government (???)
I wanna sweep the halls of arrogance
sweep the walls of the excrement of these baboons

but I respect the prize, the covenant
I respect the process, I respect the rules
when will we find the cause which resonates
to shake the sheets & make us move

you've been working too hard to be living in (late?)
walking all night till you're shiverin' & (dizzy?)
wasting the time you've been given to maybe
wait for the day of a (million?)

and she said
roll out & make your mark!
pull on your boots & march!
go down & meet me where
you'll find me doing my own part

roll out your dented car
maybe it won't go far
but if you do everything you can
well babe, that's more than a start

and she said
go out & make your mark!
pull on your boots & march!
go down & meet me where
you'll find me getting ready

sometimes it's gonna hurt
sometimes you're gonna deserve it
but if you hold on to what you got
I know you'll keep it steady

so there's no end to work
so there's no end to (???)
maybe the answer's there
but I am going steady

so cut out your (morning fuss?)
I know you'll make it work
how you gonna save the world
when the world ain't ready

Damn. Ted vents his frustrations with the government, yet wonders what he really can do about it within his already busy day-to-day life, wanting it all to just go away. But the answer, as his friend tells him (notice the conversational aspect of the song), is a strong yet realistic call-to-arms for political activism. He acknowledges that it's hard & it won't always work out, but that the effort still matters. The song's final line, "How you gonna save the world when the world ain't ready?" that really hammers it home for me. It's like the gay marriage issue right now. Much of the country isn't ready for it to be commonplace in American life today. But in twenty years, the fact that there ever was a such a restriction on gay rights will be almost as shameful & embarrassing as segregation IMO.

BTW: Props to Info Typewriter for giving me a head start on those lyrics.

MP3 Ted Leo - "Ex-Factor" (live 2.12.99)
I would be hard pressed to find another track that could truly stand up next to "Shake The Sheets," so I thought I'd share this Lauryn Hill cover, which originally appeared on her 1998 LP The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. A while back, I found this live performace from 1999, which featured both a solo set (which this song comes from) and a full band set. While Ted doesn't hit all the high notes perfectly, he certainly shows off his considerable vocal range while he makes the valliant attempt. I wonder if it was this kind of sh** that eventually caused his vocal chord injury last year.

On one last note, Daily Show correspondent Rob Corddry is apparently also into Ted Leo at the moment, so I'm in decent company I suppose.

my suit is new, how does it suit you

I thought John Kerry did pretty well in the debate last nite, though the rigid format kept the two candidates from actually engaging in a real "discussion" of the issues. President Bush did make at least one thing clear to me - apparently, being president is a lot of "hard work." How many times did he refer to all the "hard work" he's been doing? Now I see why he spends so much time on vacation in Crawford, TX. He must be all tuckered out.

Indie rock superhero Ted Leo posted some of his thoughts/rants about the presidential debate on his website, and while I don't think Kerry did anywhere as poorly as Leo seems to think he did, I also wasn't watching it with my mind on how an "undecided" voter might view the senator's performance (keep your eyes peeled for dropping f-bombs):
September 30, 2004

I've mellowed a bit since I wrote this during tonight's debate, and since most of the media and polls seem to suggest that Kerry did a good job, I'll respectfully bow just this once to their authority (that's how rough times have gotten), but for the record, here's how I was feeling at approximately 10 PM EST... But before you read it, understand that I got so pissed because I feel like Kerry doesn't have to convince ME. So, presumably, he doesn't have to convince the rest of the half of the country who didn't vote for Bush last time, and who still by and large HATE that muther f**ker with a passion! He's got to convince the swing voters, and trust me -- they DO exist -- I just had a conversation with a sincere one today, and he's got to try to even win some of the peeps who went the other way last time. It is in this context that I was getting so upset...

Is help on the way?

I've been watching this debate for a little over an hour now, and I have to ask -- did Senator Kerry or any of his people prepare for this at all??? Doesn't he understand by now that you have to spell certain things out? George Bush is f**king killing him on the consistency issue! Was Saddam a grave threat, or is Iraq in relation to Afghanistan like Mexico in relation to Japan (circa 1941)? You and I and the Senator might understand that when he says he wouldn't start a pre-emptive war that didn't pass the "global test," he's thinking ahead a few steps to INCLUDE the safety of our "homeland" (to use the current slightly uncomfortably Nazi, but popular, term) among the "obvious" effects of having passed the "global test," but NEWS FLASH -- it ain't that obvious!! Rhetorically, forensically, you HAVE TO MAKE THE POINT!! No one is going to remember that Bush said the insurgents in Iraq are fighting "vociferously" (I mean, not actually being on the ground over there, I can't actually vouch for whether or not they're attacking with loud vocal accompanyment, but...). Whether or not Bush was lying, distorting, or whatever -- he made his f**king points, and in my opinion, Kerry did not make his effectively enough. Senator Kerry, we hardly knew ye. PLEASE -- I don't know what the f**k power we have to effect some change in John Kerry in the next month, but if you think someone in his operation is going to listen to you, BY ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY, PLEASE e-mail your suggestions to this man and his campaign because I believe we need him to win, and I don't believe we are winning. George Bush was EFFECTIVE in all his smugness, whether he was accurate or not. John Kerry didn't respond effectively to the constant reminders that he voted to authorize the president to go to war then started saying that it was the wrong war at the wrong time, and he didn't have an effective answer to Bush's challenges about how he would "win" the war now that we're in it. It's time for Senator Kerry to meet him in the trenches and stand the f**k up for himself -- defend his votes, defend his position, and yes, his apparent flip-flops! He's got to step up and beat this beady-eyed little fucker on his own terms. That beady-eyed f**ker somehow managed to be just smug enough to hammer his points home, but not smug enough to come off as the little bitch he usually seems to be. I dunno... I f**king hope I'm wrong -- exactly half of the people I'm watching this with think I am, so a-f**king-men -- they'll sleep better than I will tonight. But sue me for being a North East Liberal Elitist Prig, but I'm really pessimistic about how this is playing in "Middle America." To be totally honest, I'm not sure how it's playing with me. Don't get me wrong -- you can count on me to to vote against Bush and to not vote for Nader this time 'round, but John Kerry -- EARN IT, man -- you deserve it -- f**king ACT LIKE IT!!

Yowza. Ted's new cd Shake The Sheets, which not suprisingly contains plenty of political material, will be in a store near you come October 19.

BTW: Speaking of undecided voters, did anyone catch The Daily Show's Samantha Bee frustratedly (yet in good humor) cursing out a group of "undecideds" on last nite's live post-debate coverage? Hi-freakin-larious.

someday everything will come our way

MP3 The Glands - "I Can See My House From Here"
Earlier this week, Blair over at Music For Robots posted a couple of great tracks from The Glands, an Athens GA indie rock outfit that I stumbled upon a couple years back. I bought their self-titled album (2000) sort of by chance & it ended up being a very worthwhile purchase. This track, along with the two up at MFR, are from that disc, which I hope they will eventually follow-up on. I've heard that the group is still together, but I don't really have much more information on them. Anyone? Anyone?

MP3 RANA - "Livin' Was Easy" (live @ CBGB 11.30.02)
I actually found my way to The Glands by way of my favorite Jersey rockers RANA, whose blistering cover of this lead-off track from The Glands LP is a sometimes staple of their live events. This version was recorded during a wild two nite stand at CBGB's NYC in late November 2002, and both shows are available (along with lots of other live material) for purchase through Rockslide. Guitarist Scott Metzger just tears up the outro section, stretching it beyond the comfy confines of the original Glands tune.

In semi-RANA-related stuff, keyboardist/vocalist Matt "Durant" Trowbridge has been tweaking the whole music blog concept to serve his own creative devices. His site itsmatt has been up for over a month now, and he's been including mp3's along with his semi-daily personal postings. The music files are demos Matt has recorded himself using Apple's easy-to-use Garageband software, and while the tracks don't exactly sound the best, it's certainly an interesting artistic venture. As Matt stated in yesterday's comments: "Hey, they can't all be winners. I'm hopin for maybe one or two."

I'd like to give one last shout out before the weekend to my friend Angela, whose entertainment-themed blog The Brain Drain has been all abuzz now that the new fall television season in under way, giving Angie plenty to write about. Stop by & catch up with her daily voyages around the TV dial, and try not to let her Buffy obsession discourage you.

I'm going back to fending off this nasty cold. Cough. Cough.