our bodies bigger, hearts torn up

Very little time (once again) this morning, but I wanted to get my pix up from last nite's First Avenue shows. JRDN & I first hit up the Arcade Fire / Wolf Parade / The Bell Orchestre tripleheader in the mainroom before going next door for another one in the Entry featuring an Aussie sandwich of Architecture in Helsinki & New Buffalo, with Philly's (I think) Dr. Dog as the tasty meet in between. JRDN missed Dr. Dog after getting a last minute hook-up at the Fine Line to catch the much ballyhooed Mpls debut of M.I.A.. I met local blogger Lee Dinosaur in Trouble (who recognized me, odd) at the first show, and I also ran into Kyle More Cowbell. Anyway, there's no time for a full recap now, but I'll get to it ASAP. FWIW, good times were had.

cause nothin's hid, from us kids

SPOILER WARNING (although it's already aired people, so relax)

Okay dammit, I'm sold. Veronica Mars - count me in.

Last nite's season two premiere picked up where May's jaw-dropping season one finale left off - kicking serious ass & powerfully setting up Veronica's senior year. While I saw the whole boyfriend switch coming, it was executed almost flawlessly & set up an intriguing scenario with the whole Veronica / Duncan / Logan dynamic, allowing the now-orphaned Mr. Eckles to return to his badboy ways again. What I did not foresee coming was the shocking (and nearly literal) cliffhanger ending. Wow. Poor bitter Meg, and the unfortunately named Mrs. Dumas - we hardly knew ye. Plus, who doesn't adore Papa Mars as vidincated celebrity hero? And Mrs. Casablancas - yowza. While Lost may have won the emmy, I'll be spending my Wednesday nites (8-9pm CT) tuned into UPN. You should be as well, so says Atrios.

Arcade Fire. Tonite. First Avenue. Sold out. No time now. More soon.

uproot it without tears & change it

As I write this, thousands are marching through the streets of Washington D.C. to protest the continued U.S. occupation of Iraq in the hopes of taking American troops out of harm's way & bringing them home. The march will conclude at the Washington Monument, where a rally & music festival will be held throughout the day & into the night. Artists include Thievery Corporation, Bouncing Souls, Le Tigre, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Steve Earle & many more, including the requisite appearance by Joan Baez.

Gold Star Mom & uber-anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan & many others will be speaking between musical acts (she posted her speech over at the Huff Post), and the event will be be broadcast via Free Speech TV (you gotta have Dish Network, doh) from 8pm-11pm ET. Amy Goodman & Air America's Laura Flanders will be co-hosting, with Laura also broadcasting her weekend radio show from the Washington Mall (and AAR's Randi Rhodes is also supposed to be in attendance). Today's march & rally are just part of a three day anti-war innitiative organized by United for Peace & Justice.

MP3 Thievery Corporation - "Marching the Hate Machines into the Sun"
Downtempo duo Thievery Corporation headline tonight's concert (prime-time slot). This track leads off this spring's The Cosmic Game LP & features Wayne Coyne & the Flaming Lips. The "marching" is appropriate IMO.

MP3 Ted Leo & the Pharmacists - "Loyal To My Sorrowful Country"
This polemic Ted Leo original was originally included as a solo acoustic track off 2003's Tell Balgeary, Balgury is Dead EP. This full band version was released last yeat as an iTunes exclusive EP entitled Sharkbite Sessions. After reading a fan's e-mailed concerns about the protest's call for military withdrawal, Ted shared his response on his website:

Hey ***** - I'm not sure exactly what answer you want to hear, so it would be hard for me to give it to you. You have to make the choice. Even if this protest was, in name, completely and totally about pulling the plug on this entire operation today, it could never be about just that, because we're not all as naieve as to believe that that could ever happen. This protest, like almost any protest, is not a monolithic thing. I believe that Cindy Sheehan, who will be speaking, would like to see a complete withdrawal immediately. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I don't. I am sure there are many others involved who will feel as you do, and as I do. I decided to lend my voice to it because I see it as a way to make a public affirmation that I disagree with the administration's policies in Iraq, from day one, straight up through today. Everyone wishes we could salvage something positive from this wreckage. Some believe we can, some believe we can't. Most believe that we won't under this regime and its strategies and priorities. My point is this: no one asked me what my commitment to a total withdrawal was as a prerequisite for my involvement, and I didn't ask anyone about theirs. There will be people calling for that, make no mistake about it, and there will be people calling for other things as well. You'll probably even hear fair-housing activists using the podium to attack Bush for spending money on the Iraq war while DC streets are full of homeless people, you'll probably see hippie dudes wearing "legalize marijuana" or "stop the drug war" shirts, you'll see people standing peacefully listening, you'll see people getting harassed for doing nothing, and you'll see people getting off on antagonizing the police, who then turn around and harass people for doing nothing. It's the way it always goes down. A massive block of divergent opinions on diverse subjects gather under the banner of one shared aim -- in this case, an end to the downward spiral of the Iraq war and all that it entails for people at home and abroad. There will be people there I think are jerks and idiots, and there will be people there who break my heart with their purity and goodness. It's America, and every protest or counter-protest is a cross section of America. Everyone will walk away feeling strengthened by something that they heard and frustrated by something else, but the larger point will be made, punctuated by, hopefully, hundreds of thousands of bodies caring enough about that one main point, to get out there and be counted. Conversations will be started, the media will discuss, maybe pressure will be brought to bear on Congress through its constituents, maybe somebody has to start listening. I feel good about helping that point get made.


Well said, as-per-usual.

MP3 Le Tigre - "New Kicks"
Yes, this song pretty much sucks. In fact, I hesistate to call it a "song" at all, since it's more of a protest re-mix. And yet it was the first single off last year's major label debut, This Island. However, the soundbytes it uses are taken from the pre-war protests on 2/15/03 - as are clips used in the rather lousy MOV music video (18mb) - so it too feels appropriate in relation to this weekend's events in D.C. The song may be crap, but the sentiment fits.

MP3 Bouncing Souls - "True Believers"
Finally, here's an energetic track from the Bouncing Souls' 2001 release How I Spent My Summer Vacation, a burst of power punk to cap things off.

FWIW: Apologies for neglecting the blog again all week. What's my damage?

another year of bluth family fun, me

A quick post before I bust ass to get to work...

Despite its unfortunate failure to defend last year's Emmy victory Sunday (fans are venting / comiserating over at The O.P.; more on the Emmys later), TV's best comedy Arrested Development returns for a third season tonite on Fox (8pm ET). Watch it, y'all. C'mon, you know you wanna.

MP3 Sufjan Stevens - "Come on! Feel The Illinoise!"
After dinner at Mouk's on Sunday nite, JRDN & I headed downtown to a suprisingly packed Sufjan Stevens show at First Avenue (blame The Current, who apparently has been playing him nonstop). Sufjan & the Illinoise-makers were solid and a lot of fun (cheerleading antics & all), though there was kind of a lull midway through the set. I only have two other minor complaints: they ran out of normal-sized (not small) t-shirts when I went to get one after the show, and they failed to play this song, the triumphant title track from the acclaimed Illinois LP. I very nearly posted this song back when the album leaked in April, but Keith TTIKTDA beat me to the punch by a matter of hours (I posted Sunday's encore "Chicago" the next day, after a rewrite). Now I get my chance.

Kyle F (w/gal Anna) at the Sufjan show. Kyle says I give good blog. Thanks, Kyle.

That's all I have time for this morning. BTW: Today I turn 27. Weird.

yr sanity & wits, they will all vanish

It's been weeks & weeks since the carnival sideshow that is NYC-based Gogol Bordello made a triumphant return to Mpls, and now at last here is the recap I promised y'all to the show that I previewed way back in July.

I've never gotten the very few bands like this: neither black nor green Negresses Vertes, strident pub politicos Black 47, squeezeboxing omnivore Kepa Junkera. Even before it jelled, however, I got this. Balkan immigrants flee some combination of thieving bureaucrats, bootstrapping hustlers, Yugoslavian genocide, and anomie. The underworld no-accounts of old Montmartre pursuing Eurotrash chic, they valorize their half-imposed marginalization by reaching out to fellow jetsam from other international backwaters where Islam is an everyday thing. Bootstrapping hustler Eugene Hutz formed a band in this subculture, which for all I know he invented first—rock, yes, but with its segmented groove and village dance rhythms very un-American (and un-African). This album is that band's statement of principle, cri de coeur, and ring grab—Hutz hectoring his way through a bacchanalian rant that's broken into songs that want to be slogans. Sixty revolutions per minute, this is my regular speed. You are the only life there is for yourself my friend. It is all connected through the Gypsy part of town. A

So says the Village Voice's Robert Christgau on the new Gogol Bordello record, Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike. Last week, sometimes-loathed (though not so much by me) indie "tastemaker" Pitchfork finally got around to reviewing the proper follow-up to 2002's Multi Kontra Culti vs. Irony (we're still waiting, Stylus / Popmatters / CMG / Marv). 'Fork writer Jess Harvell scored it a 7.8, which I only hope can help to create some increased chatter (and album sales) for the band - whatever it takes to get people to their live shows, where you can't help but be converted to the growing legion of demented, gypsy punk burlesque-obsessed Gogol Bordello fans.

Oh yeah, about that show...

The weekend preceding the "gypsy punk caberet" blowout was a bit of a headache, beginning with a grueling closing shift at the jobby-job Friday nite, followed by a Saturday/Sunday turnaround (close Sat/open Sun) that threatened to kick my ass long before doors opened at the Fine Line Sunday evening. Adding insult to injury, my sister Dana was visiting from NYC for the weekend, as was family from the west coast. Damn right I was irked.

Thankfully the weekend didn't end up being as exhausting as I thought it might be, and I managed to make it over to my aunt Dobie's house in St. Louis Park after work to see my cousins (as well as my sibs, who also dropped by) for at least a little while before heading back downtown for the show. My cousin Molly, back home after finishing up school this spring, expressed interest in seeing Gogol Bordello a couple weeks prior, and I was thrilled to have somebody to take to the show. We grabbed dinner at Pizza Lucé (missed the Lucé block party that same afternoon, btw) & headed over to the venue a little early, not knowing that there was an opening act.

BTW: Molly has since snagged a gig at NPR & headed it out to DC. Congrats!

On to the show. Local rockers Revolver Modele were a pretty dull bunch IMO (I didn't bother w/pix), though cousin Molly & I had a good laugh over the goofy antics of their booty-shakin', trying-way-too-hard lead singer. After RM left the stage, we killed time trying to assemble some paper hats out of this tour's Gogol Bordello newspaper" (there was a pattern & instructions - we weren't that industrious) but were unsuccessful, though others were able to pull it off nicely. As the setbreak wore on, cousin Molly & I planted ourselves up front, as I wanted to be close to the action (and avoid the drawbacks of being short of stature). I informed her that Eugene Hütz would demonstrate how a real frontman does his/her thing. True to form, Hütz was last to take the stage, as the rest of the band built up the tension with an extended opening to Gypsy Punks opener "Sally" leading up to his entrance. The band lead off with the first three tracks off their new cd, and wasted no time whipping the audience into a frenzy. Unlike the chaotic dancefest that was last year's show at the Entry, this Fine Line gig was populated with many people who preferred to simply push & shove (a weak form of moshing I suppose), the result of which unfortunately edged cousin Molly & I out from our staring place at the front of the stage, though we still were fairly up close (I wonder if the same thing went on at the much-ballyhooed April gig that I managed to miss out on). Nevertheless, the show was a sweaty, debaucherous good time & I think/hope cousin Molly was impressed (I did my best to keep her from being clobbered by the previously mentioned "moshers"). I suppose could go into more detail, but IMO the following photos do a far better job than I ever could with mere words:

In completely unrelated news, the Gilmore Girls are finally back tonite - HUZZAH! I admit it, I'm hooked. Popmatters has a spoilerific preview.