r.i.p. thompson, you crazy bastard

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005), caricature by John Shakespeare

Before heading off the beddy-bye last nite, I thought I'd take a quick glance at the political blogs to see what, if anything, of interest had happened over the weekend. I took in a stunned gasp as Atrios tipped me off to the tragic news of writer Hunter S. Thompson's demise. Now I won't claim to be well-schooled in the work of Thompson, but he was a true original & I've always loved what I've read. He was also a regular contributor to ESPN.com, and you can check out all of his columns in the Page 2 archive. Lots of bloggers, including (somewhat randomly) R'n'R in the Real World, just for a day, Daily Refill & largehearted boy amongst others, are paying their respect to the late, great Doctor of gonzo journalism today, and so I will do the same.

ETA: Rox Populi has a nice collection of HST links etc (via moebius rex).

MP3 Big Brother & The Holding Company - "Combination of the Two"
I am a big fan of Terry Gilliam's visually overloaded adaptation of Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, which was quite the trip for me back when I saw it in 1998. I've seen it many more times since then, having read the book multiple times & soaked up more of historical context. Anyway, this Big Brother & The Holding Company track begins the film exposively, throwing the audience right into the thick of things with Duke & Gonzo barrelling down the desert highway, both whacked out of their gourds & in search of the "American dream." While the wordless crooning of Janis Joplin & Company may not be indicative of Thompson's manic verbosity, it does capture the wild, free-wheeling spirit with which Thompson wrote, the visceral rush he provided as he took his readers where they might not dare venture with his signature flare for the extreme & extremely descriptive. "Combination of the Two" starts off both the Fear & Loathing soundtrack, as well as Big Brother's 1968 major label debut Cheap Thrills. I'll have to find some extra time this week to re-watch all of the Thompson-related goodies on the extensive Criterion Collection special edition Fear & Loathing dvd.

MP3 Archer Prewitt - "O, KY"
Hunter S. Thompson was a child of Kentucky, which ended up being a bonding point between Thompson and actor Johnny Depp, who briefly lived with the good Doctor while doing research for his acclaimed performance as HST doppelganger Raoul Duke in Fear & Loathing & is slated to star in the upcoming adaptation of Thompson's The Rum Diary. This song is from Wilderness, the latest solo effort from The Sea & Cake member Archer Prewitt, and reportedly about the death of Prewitt's father. I heard it earlier this afternoon on The Current, and thought that the somber pop melodies of "O, KY" was appropriate today for a number of reasons, besides just being a great tune. Wilderness is currently out on Thrill Jockey records.

Speaking of 89.3 FM The Current, Chris Dahlen has written a feature about the station, its anti-format, and public radio in general for Pitchfork.

I bitched out on several shows this weekend, including Saturday's Les Georges Leningrad show at the Entry & the Rogue Wave / Comas / Vietnam triple bill at the Triple Rock, as well as last nite's Antony gig at the Fine Line. Saturday was eaten up by Rachel's golden birthday celebration (though her actual b-day isn't until the 24th), and an imprompto Sunday afternoon of boardgames stretched into the evening hours. So I'm thinking of skipping tonite's 24 & dragging myself down to the 400 Bar to see Shivaree, though I haven't made up my mind yet. How lazy am I? It would be fun to see lead singer Ambrosia Parsley, who sings the news on Air America's Unfiltered every week, and Frank Chromewaves certainly enjoyed seeing her. Perhaps I'll make up my mind around 5pm CT, when The Current plays an in-studio Shivaree performance & interview w/DJ Mary Lucia (go here to stream it).

BTW: When I call HST a "crazy bastard," I only do so lovingly, of course.

ETA: Markos Moulitsas - HST & Arrested Developent fan. Ka-blamo.

everybody knows it's me, ted hitler

It's a Friday grab-bag, people. Free-associate with me, now...

Even the widdle kiddies love The Arcade Fire. And what's not to love, huh?

That's right, folks! It's another obligatory weekly Arcade Fire reference! Kyle at More Cowbell tipped me to an appearance by every blogger's favorite Montreal indie "buzz" band on the children's web show Pancake Mountain. There's a one minute video excerpt of Win, Regine & company performing "Wake Up" with a group of kids at the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. Past guests on Pancake Mountain include Scissor Sisters, who were interviewed by a puppet (who takes a pot shot at Ashlee Simpson, btw) and The Fiery Furnaces, who lead the PM kids in an interactive performance of "Mouse House" that is utterly brilliant. For more Arcade Fire-related goodies, head over to bradley's almanac to check out a new video for "Wake Up" directed by Phil Ohs, and Pitchfork has a lengthy interview with frontman Win Butler by Ryan Schreiber on the six month anniversary of the release of Funeral.

Pitchfork also reported that the M.I.A. debut LP Arular, scheduled to drop this coming Tuesday (2/22), has been delayed indefinitely. Dammit.

WMV The Daily Show (2/16/05) - Stephen Colbert on bloggers (19.5mb)

I had been looking forward to seeing The Daily Show's take on the whole bizarre Gannon/Guckert fiasco (not work-safe), which broke while Jon Stewart & crew had last week off. I tuned in Wednesday nite to catch Stewart discussing the political bloggers' role in busting the story open, name-dropping Daily Kos and others along the way. Stephen Colbert calls out Atrios (happy b-day) during the particularly hilarious interview segment featured above, which was originally posted at United Left but was taken down due to bandwidth limitations. I hope they don't mind my repost.

ETA: Chuck over at Blogumentary has video of the full opening segment.

Last nite's O.C. - great music (Stars, KoC, Air, Lali Puna), lousy episode.

I appreciate all the great feedback from my Valentines Day write-up (I ♥ comments), and since I don't really have anything I've been itching to post music-wise, here are a few solid leftover tunes about heartbreak etc:

MP3 The Shins - "Kissing The Lipless"
Nothing new here, but hot damn is this still an amazing song. The lead-off track from The Shins' 2003 sophomore album Chutes Too Narrow always hits a little close to home with me, as I have unfortunately been on the other side of the song's narrator in the past, with disasterous consequences. This mp3, which I have linked to previously, comes courtesy of Sub Pop.

MP3 The Wrens - "She Sends Kisses"
This is another classic indie rock gem from The Wrens' 2003 (don't call it a) comeback LP, The Meadowlands. As Seth Cohen might say, this song is more about active agonizing than mere wallowing, as its heart-wrenching lyrics will attest to. Intense, bitter, horribly emotional. So friggin' great.

MP3 The Russian Futurists - "Your Big Brown Eyes & My Big Broke Heart"
While I would be happy never to hear that over-played Van Morrison song again, I have to admit that there is something about a brown-eyed girl. And while this song's lyrics sorta go all over the place, I like to think that it's somewhat representative of how love can be all-encompassing at times. This lovely bit of lap-pop comes from Matthew Adam Hart, aka The Russuan Futurists, who I featured in May of last year. Hart's new album, entitled Our Thickness, comes out May 3rd on Toronto's Upper Class records, who also provide this mp3. This track is off 2001's The Method of Modern Love LP.

hearts wrapped in blankets

I don't know sh** about love.

And I don't pretend to. Valentine's Day has never really meant anything to me, except that I could probably expect some chocolate hearts from my mom. I'm 26 years old now, and I've never "celebrated" Valentine's Day with a significant other. I'm not whining or complaining, just merely stating a fact. Besides, I'm far too messed-up to be involved with anybody right now, or anytime in the foreseeable future really.

MP3 Kings of Convenience - "Love Is No Big Truth"
Honestly, I have been so bitter & depressed over the last four years or so, it's not suprising that I haven't been out there on the dating circuit. Heck, I'm amazed my friends still bother to hang with me at times. Even before that, during my college days, my intense self-consciousness & general lack of self-esteem never made me a real winner with the ladies anyway. So I'm plenty used to being alone by now. I've got much bigger issues than a lack of companionship, believe me. And I'm not thrilled about them either.

In "Love Is No Big Truth," Eirik & Erlend, aka Kings of Convenience, have crafted what seems like an anti-Valentines song. Its lyrics speak of love being driven by genetics, as we are all "simple selfish beings." So much for true, selfless love. But the song, from last year's Riot on an Empty Street LP, is revealed to be something else by the end with the line, "Another view of what there is to it, getting me through it" followed by a repeated refrain of "I'll never need it again, not again, not again." Eirik & Erlend don't necessarily take this logical, more cynical view of love, but they are trying to convince themselves of it anyway in order to get through the heartbreak.

MP3 The Radio Dept. - "I Don't Need Love, I've Got My Band"
So I'm not out there meeting girls, but I do spend a heckuva lot of time fiddling around on this blog, which will have its first birthday in a little less than a month. I've never really kept a journal or anything, so this thing was pretty much started on a lark, but over time has become something I devote a good deal of thought & effort toward, something I care about.

But I also know that it's a little ridiculous & somewhat sad to feel that way about something inanimate, even if it happens to be clickable. I keep coming back to a particular Jenny Lewis line in "It's A Hit," when she sings:
Any asshole can open up a museum
Put all of the things he loves on display
so everyone could see them

Isn't that what this blog is? It's basically a collection of stuff that I like. So I'm that asshole, right? I try not to take any of this stuff too seriously, but yet I'm still spending hours upon hours pasting URL's & typing other nonsense into Blogger, not going out and you know, getting on with my life.

I suppose a blog is a way to express one's self, much like the titular "band" in this wonderfully fuzzed-out track from The Radio Dept. I got turned onto these Swedish indie-popsters through Mystery & Misery, 3hive, Pop77 and Bob Mould late last year & have been tracking down songs ever since. This song is off the 2003 Pulling Our Weight EP (read the PopMatters review), which apparently is difficult to find, so you might want to get it from the band's home label, Labrador (scroll down). The Radio Dept.'s debut LP, 2003's Lesser Matters, is also available from XL & Shelflife records.

MP3 Stars - "Look Up"
Even though I'm somewhat keeping to myself, I don't even know if I actually feel "lonely" anymore. It's been so long since I've met someone that I could be interested in, since I've had any kind of "romantic" feelings stirred up in me, that I've sorta become numb to it all. Heartache is no longer an issue. But I do miss being open to those kind of feelings. The pleasure I take out of all the other things I like has been dulled as a result, and I wish I could find something to be truly passionate about again. I used to enjoy being enthusiastic about stuff, or at least I think I did.

I envy the hopeful romanticism of Broken Social Scene pop-offshoot Stars. The blissed-out, heart-on-their-sleeve melodies of Amy Milan, Evan Cranley & company almost always bring a smile to my face. Stars' 2003 album Heart may be a bit cheesy at times, but its earnestness manages to win you over. "Look Up" is almost cinematic in how its chorus explodes out of each verse, exuding a kind of joy I'd love to reconnect with. The latest Stars LP, Set Yourself on Fire, finally gets a US release on March 8.

I'm still able to get in touch with my inner-romantic, though I do find it difficult at times. But I did I feel it while watching Tim & Dawn finally come together at the end of The Office. I felt it during the opening sequence of Eternal Sunshine, in the brief moment when Joel looks upon the beautiful, peacefully sleeping Clem before jostling her awake after a long drive, when she instinctually takes his hand in hers. It's what keeps me watching the ever-erratic ER after all these years, hoping that Carter & Abby will find their way back to each other. It's what fondly recalls the newness of Ross & Rachel during the first season of Friends (before they ruined them). It's what remembers watching Before Sunrise late at nite as a teenager, tearing up when Jesse & Celine share that intense embrace, as if they will never see each other again, before excusing their way out of it. It's what keeps me looking for new music to inspire me, keeps me going to see bands in search of a sublime experience, and keeps me coming back to this blog.

random notes for valentines day

My apologies for getting this up so late. It took a while to finally finish.

My best thoughts & wishes go out to Air America's Randi Rhodes, who is having surgery today. Here's hoping that all goes well & she gets well soon.

A (not so) fond farewell to Flip Saunders, long time head coach of my beloved-yet-woefully underachieving Wolves, who was fired over the weekend. Head honcho & hall of famer Kevin McHale reluctantly steps into Saunders' role, drawing the unfortunate task of reviving a team that's shockingly under .500 before the all-star break. Good luck, Kev.

Didn't watch 'em. Don't care. Happy Valentines Day. Hoobastank.

check yr lease, yr living in f**k city

A couple quick weekend notes before I get too pissed off...

Boston folk, head on out to Harper's Ferry tonite to catch a last minute performance by RANA (9pm), who are opening for Moon Boot Lover.

NYC folk, drop by the ill-fated Luna Lounge on Saturday nite to catch a free show by Brooklyn's Sam Champion (w/openers Frank Bango). Jay Good Times Roll & Loose Record will be continuing the "no cover" evening with an afterparty at The Hanger Bar (217 E 3rd btwn B/C). It'll be good times.

Last reminder: Before you go out, don't forget to Tivo Ted Leo on Conan.

And now I lose my temper. Chromewaves (scroll down) is upset too.

My pal Angie at The Brain Drain first alerted to me to the gathering threat to TV's best comedy series, Arrested Development. Word came down on Wednesday that the post-Super Bowl performance of American Dad, the new cartoon from Seth MacFarlane, was so impressive that it would take over the Sunday 8:30pm ET timeslot following The Simpsons, currently occupied by AD, come May sweeps. Oh yeah, and AD won't be on the May sweeps schedule. And Fox is trimming down its episode order to 18 from the usual 22, so the show's second (perhaps final) season will conclude in April.


Of course, the first place I went to find out more was The O.P., the source for all things AD. There is a lot of heated discussion going on at the site's boards, with people venting their frustrations & plotting out strategies to save the show. Despite all its accolades, AD still struggles in the ratings department & has not been renewed for a third season, so these recent developments have fans rightly worried about the threat of cancellation.

I am dumbfounded.

So is David Cross. Apparently, he learned about all this on the internet as well, and he went on Kimmel Wednesday nite & cursed out Fox (Defamer has more details). Golden Globe-winner Jason Bateman, who is hosting SNL this weekend (w/musical guest Kelly Clarkson), was on Conan last nite, but didn't get into the issue (though he did lament the show's lack of viewers).

Fox president Gail Berman put out a statement saying AD is not cancelled, but the skeptical folks at The O.P. think that it's "100% pure spin."

Arrested Development is the smartest & funniest sitcom on television, and in just a season & a half already ranks among my favorite comedies of all time. It has almost universal critical acclaim, and awards taboot. If Fox, who don't seem to care about the quality of its programming, really kills AD, I may just give up on the network altogether, O.C. & 24 be damned.

Can you tell that I'm upset? Because I am.

For the latest on all this nonsense: saveourbluths.com & H.O.O.S.

MP3 Mu - "Haters"
This one is for you, Fox. All this AD-cancellation talk has got me mad enough to start swearing my ass off in broken english like Mutsumi Kanamori, aka Mu. This furious & frightening electro track leads-off the new Maurice Fulton-produced Mu disc, Out of Breach (Manchester's Revenge). It doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but neither does my Fox-inspired rage.

BTW: Blogger has updated its comments system, so now you can enter a URL & no longer have to register to leave a comment. About damn time.

this is just a tribute

I only stumbled upon the news of Nick Kilroy's death by accident late last nite, while checking in on his GabbaPod blog after not having done so in a while. Beyond my huge appreciation for GabbaPod, I didn't know the KIN Records founder, who was instrumental in the success of Canada's Junior Boys. He was apparently a regular fixture over at I Love Music, where they are mourning & reflecting on his loss. Pitchfork has a tribute to Nick up today, and many have been chipping in their thoughts as well, including this poignant piece by Philip Sherburne. Check out Nick's photography here.

FWIW, I'd like to offer my condolances to his family & friends.

MP3 Junior Boys - "Last Exit"
I debated whether or not to include a song, but decided to go ahead & do so. This title track from Junior Boys' Last Exit LP is an obvious choice, but I'm going with it anyway. I thought about posting "Great Release" by LCD Soundsystem, which was recently featured on GabbaPod & also seemed appropriate, but I think I've already contributed enough to the LCD hype.

Rest in peace, Nick.

i'd sell your heart to the junkman

Here comes the obligatory weekly Arcade Fire reference! On last nite's 100th episode of Gilmore Girls, every blogger's favorite Canadians were name-dropped (along with Brian Eno & Super Furry Animals) as Rory was (gasp!) ripping cd's for her mother Lorelai. Creator, executive producer & writer/director Amy Sherman-Palladino can show mother-daughter bonding & piss off the RIAA all at once. Entertainment Weekly has a nice feature on the show in honor of it reaching its syndication magic number, and Quo Vadimus points to another good article from Time Out NY.

ETA: Stereogum caught the name-drop as well. Nicely done, Scott.

Album covers for M.I.A's Arular & The Decemberists' Picaresque (click to enlarge).

After donewaiting revealed the album artwork for The Decemberists forthcoming Picaresque LP, I did a little hunting around to make sure it was for real. After all, the cover had real live people on it, and didn't exactly look like something from Carson Ellis. Long story short, I stumbled across the band's publicists, 230 Publicity, who handle quite a few great independent artists, including The Hold Steady, Of Montreal, The Fiery Furnaces, Les Savy Fav, U.S.E., Ratatat and more. Their website features press materials & hi-resolution images for most of their clients, which are kinda interesting to peruse. 230 is also handling M.I.A. & have a pretty detailed bio for the budding superstar. 230's Fiery Furnaces page features an intriguing letter to listeners from the Friedbergers regarding last year's Blueberry Boat LP, which describes a concept of "music as failure" that clap clap uses to connect to James Murphy's work on LCD Soundsystem. Cool, huh?

For more on Maya Arulpragasam's North American debuts, check out this post from Sepia Mutiny that discusses some of the controversy surrounding M.I.A. & has loads of links related to her recent shows in Toronto, NYC & LA.

MP3 RANA - "Bloodshed"
My favorite Jersey rawkers RANA just finished their three week residency at Tribeca Rock Club in NYC (SBD recordings available via Rockslide) & finished off their recent run of events last Saturday at one of their favorite haunts, John & Peter's in New Hope, PA. That show was particularly notable because it was superfan Erik Swain's 100th RANA gig (and here's proof)! Holy crap, that's devotion. Or, as Swain put it: "definitive proof of insanity, depending on your perspective." After two blistering sets, RANA brought Swain on-stage during the encore to "hoarsely shout" this song, which is from 2004's What It Is LP. I posted a live version of this anti-war song (written during the build-up to the Iraq invasion) back in March '04, but in honor of Dr. Swain's accomplishment, I thought it was worth posting the album version as well. Kudos, Doc! Photo below by Rena Siwek, courtesy RANARock.com.

Best picture ever.

MP3 Tom Waits - "God's Away on Business"
Seeing as it is Wednesday, it must be time for some more Tom Waits. This dark & grimy track comes from 2002's Blood Money (a fitting compliment to "Bloodshed"), and features some gruesome-yet-amusing lyrics:
There's a leak, there's a leak in the boiler room
The poor, the lame, the blind
Who are the ones that we kept in charge?
Killers, thieves and lawyers

God's away, God's away
God's away on business, business


Godddamn there's always such a big temptation
To be good, to be good
There's always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby
It's a deal, it's a deal

God's away, God's away
God's away on business, business

Demented. Bizarre. I just love that guy.

Before you head out on the town this Friday nite (I'll most likely be at Grumpy's for Evan's b-day bash), don't forget to set your Tivo's & VCR's to record Ted Leo's appearance on Conan. It's not to be missed (heads-up).

i never ever stopped wonderin'

My apologies for the blog being so quiet of late. I just haven't had much that I felt like posting about recently, what with the chilly January doldrums & my generally boring existence & all. I'll try to do a little better, okay?

Patriots middle linebacker Tedy Bruschi was my pick for MVP. How cute are his kids?

Super Bowl, whoop-dee-doo. I watched the big game over at my friends Roni & Mike's place, where our small gathering of peeps stuffed ourselves silly & enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. I was even sent home with a home-baked loaf of challah bread. How 'bout that? My congrats to the Pats & all my Boston-native pals out there on their dynasty-installing win. After three NFL titles in four years & last fall's Red Sox exorcism, the city of Boston has little to complain about for quite a while, at least sports-wise. Despite what ESPN's the Sports Guy says, eventually it does get a little old.

Condolences to my old buddy Andy & all the other Philly fans out there.

MP3 Of Montreal - "Requiem For O.M.M.2"
This is the lead-off track from the latest album from the prolific Kevin Barnes & his Athens, GA outfit Of Montreal. The new disc, entitled The Sunlandic Twins, follows up last year's sublime Satanic Panic in the Attic LP nicely, with plenty of psych-pop hooks & blissed-out melodies to go around. I'm particularly fond of the use of cowbell in this song. The Sunlandic Twins is scheduled to drop stateside on April 12th via Polyvinyl records. For more Of Montreal goodness, check out the audio lounge at the band's website.

MP3 Feist - "When I Was A Young Girl"
At long last, Toronto singer-songwriter Leslie Feist will finally be getting a US release of her 2004 cd Let It Die on April 5th, nearly a year after its initial Canadian release via Arts & Crafts. According to a January profile by the Toronto Star (via Largehearted Boy), the Broken Social Scene vocalist will be getting a big promotional push by Universal that included a song used in a December episode (scroll down) of The O.C.. With her indie cred & Let It Die being an album any soccer mom could love, Feist may well stumble into crossover territory, a sorta pop Norah Jones. Hey, more power to her. This atmospheric & handclap-filled folk track, a traditional listed as "inspired by Texas Gladden" in the liner notes, is one of my favorites from Let It Die.

Finally got around to seeing The Aviator over the weekend w/the Rosens. Good stuff. Scorsese was in good form, if a little detached. DiCap was damn solid & Cate Blanchett was just divine. If it wins awards, I won't be upset.

the only man i can trust right now

Tony is back as of last nite's 24, and he's got his first season "hairstyle" if you can believe it. I have to agree with Chromewaves - just how did Tony get to Jack in like ten minutes? Events occur in real time my ass, Kiefer.

MP3 Spoon - "Something To Look Forward To"
Tony may be the only person Jack Bauer can trust, but I think it's safe to put your trust in Britt Daniel. As Pitchfork reported today, Daniel & his band Spoon (last seen back in June '04 & who can just about do no wrong) will release their next album Gimme Fiction on May 10 - just in time for the season finale of The O.C. It's been a while since 2002's fabulous Kill The Moonlight, and I, for one, cannot wait. Here's the long-awaited tracklist:

01 The Beast & Dragon, Adored
02 The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine
03 I Turn My Camera On
04 My Mathematical Mind
05 The Delicate Place
06 Sister Jack
07 I Summon You
08 The Infinite Pet
09 Was It You?
10 They Never Got You
11 Merchants of Soul

Cheesy as it is, this gives me something to look forward to.

ETA (2/2/05): Malkmus. Face The Truth. May 24. Heads up. Ka-blamo.

MP3 M.I.A. - "Amazon"
Yes, yes, yes. I too have happily jumped on the M.I.A. bandwagon. Genre-hopping Sri Lankan-born Londoner Maya Arulpragasam (aka M.I.A.) has become a favorite of Fluxblog (who has posted about her on four separate occasions), Catchdubs & much of the bloggerati over the past year, and her proper debut LP Arular is finally dropping stateside on February 22. And it's freakin' great. This track caught my attention in particular on last fall's Diplo mixtape Piracy Funds Terrorism, Vol. 1, and I think I like the Arular version even better. Pitchfork reported that a second M.I.A. mixtape was in the works, but I've heard nothing further. Sasha Frere-Jones wrote a profile on M.I.A. for The New Yorker back in November that's worth perusing.

This gal is gonna be freakin' huge. ETA: EJ from Scenestars agrees.

MP3 M.I.A. - "Amazon (Diplo mix)" via boom selection

If you haven't seen the wild music video for MOV "Galang" (17.7mb) yet, you've been missing out. It was directed by Ruben Fleischer, who has a bunch of other great videos (including Dizzee Rascal) up at his site.

ETA (2/6/05): Carl Wilson saw M.I.A. in Toronto & has a nice write-up. Fellow canadian pop (all love) has a long interview w/Maya & Brooklyn Vegan checks in with photos from her Knitting Factory NYC appearance.

Don't forget to catch The Arcade Fire on Conan tonite (via Daily Refill).