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(listening to: Various: Oh Brother Where Art Thou?)
Anyone who was been reading this site for some time will know that I have been reading Glue by Irvine Welsh for a long, long, long time. Eight months, or something like that. Well, on Saturday, I finally finished the book. It was actually quite good, I just read slower than anything else I do.
MP3 of the week: This is what happens when a song gets stuck in my head for weeks at a time. And I'm not even a big Guided By Voices fan.
(listening to: Adorable: Against Perfection)
Today's been one of those busy-in-the-AM and dead-in-the-PM days at work. Something I don't really mind, since relaxing on a Friday afternoon is better than working. Things have been enjoyable enough, listening to lots of Guided By Voices and emailing friends far away who are stuck in the same office predicament I am. Got the coffee buzz going so well the office banter somehow got tuned out.
I took the slowness of the afternoon to catchup reading all the sites I try and keep up with. Armando is back from Europe with photos, and I found this link to updside down pictures pretty entertaining.
Congratulations to not only my brother Andy, but to my friend's Rachel, Ben, and Jason, who are all graduating from college this weekend. I'll be basking in the sun and the reflection of thousands of purple gowns tomorrow at my alma mater's graduation ceremony.
So tonight I'm missing the Pinback/Crooked Fingers show to play an Amscray show over in the East Bay. Most of my equipment is not functioning properly, so I'm going to try and wing it with my backup gear. A little nervous about it, but by the time midnight rolls around and we take the stage it either won't matter, or I won't mind.
Have a good three day weekend, ya'll.
(listening to: Guided By Voices: Under The Bushes, Under The Stars)
Holy Fucking Shit. Elvis Costello was grand last night. We got there right before the opening band, American HiFi played. Talk about bland with boring sauce. They sounded like a weak, watered down version of Blink 182, who are themselves a weak, watered down version of Green Day, who are...you get the picture. Super blah.
But then Elvis came on, and I enjoyed the the regular part of my show from our seats against the back wall. He played some old stuff and a lot off When I Was Cruel. I actually liked the newer songs quite a bit live, the setting and the band (2/3 of The Attractions) gave new life to songs like "Spooky Girlfriend" and "15 Petals," and "When I Was Cruel No. 2." All in all it was quite enjoyable, but the real entertainment came for the encores.
Taking a cue from our friends, we tried to sneak down the middle aisle closer to the front. When security told us to turn around, we ducked down a row about 3/4 of the way to the stage. As the guard walked past us to tell some other people to get out of the aisle, we ran down to the very front, about four people back from Elvis' feet. So the band came back out and played a slew of old songs through three encores, including a rare balls-out version of "Pump It Up," and we had a blast. The show was *so* much better up front where we could see Elvis acting out the lyrics, his fine guitars (including one that had his name written in cursive in what looked like mother of pearl down the neck), and the great keyboard setup (including a theremin and a Hohner Pianet). He looked liked he was really enjoying playing the songs and empasizing lyrics, and I was trying to check out the analog tape loop machine he had setup to his right. They closed the whole show with what could be the best song I have ever seen a band play live, a perfect version of "I Want You" that had the large crowd absolutely silent. Near the end of the song he stepped away from the microphone and belted out the words from the front of the stage, and even though he'd been singing for a couple hours, the man's voice sounded perfect. Wow. Thinking of that moment still gives me the shivers. I was not disappointed, not in the least.
Thurday feels like Friday, just thinking about the three-day weekend makes me want to call in sick tomorrow.
(listening to: Mogwai: Rock Action)
Driving by downtown Berkeley this evening, we saw the four(!) tour buses for Elvis Costello & The Imposters. I'll be at the show tonight, luckily it's in the East Bay so I don't really have to worry about parking or sitting in traffic. I've never seen Costello, so I'm sure it will be a mighty fine treat, and, considering the cost of the tickets, I expect him to come out into the audience, mix me a drink of my choosing, and then sit on my lap and play my requests. "Tokyo Storm Warning" anyone?
(listening to: Sly & The Family Stone: Greatest Hits)
As promised, here's my review of the Ugly Casanova album. Having a word limit was very difficult this time, it was hard to explain exactly *how* I think this album succeeds. Fans of Will Oldham, Slint, Papa M, Califone, Black Heart Procession, or Modest Mouse should go down today and drop their hard earned cash for Sharpen Your Teeth. You don't hear recommendations like that from me often, now do you?
Coming Soon...hopefully: My thoughts on the Frank Black show, my soggy Sunday, and a couple
words about the new Star Wars. Maybe it was the Jack Daniel's mixed with Diet Coke, but
it wasn't *nearly* as bad as I was expecting. Now, lunchtime.
(listening to: Bola: Mauver EP)
MP3 of the week: After the busy weekend, I wound up on the couch looking out the window
at the rain drying up, listening to Gram Parsons singing, and watching the cat sleep in the
line of sun streaming through the window. Sometimes the resting is the best part.
(listening to: ...And You Shall Know Us By The Trail Of Dead: Source Tags & Codes)
Spent the morning cleaning up at some thrift stores in the suburbs. Today may have been my most successful day of clothing shopping ever, I seriously found lots of stuff that I was looking for, and a stack of good t-shirts.
For those interested in getting to some Red House Painters stuff, this guy has MP3s of just about every album available on his website. Act fast and go crazy, ya'll. Time to eat some soup.
(listening to: Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers: The Best Of Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers)
Friday and payday again, getting ready to hit up the city for some Greek food and a couple drinks, and an all in all good time. The week's been full of practicing, playing live, and recording, so it feels nice to get a day off to just relax and take in the good weather before the rainclouds and wind set in this weekend. Tomorrow is the Frank Black & The Catholics show, and Sunday I'm bidding my brother adeu (before he heads off to Los Angeles for good) at the Giants game over in San Francisco.
The daily photo has been out of commision for a few days, seeing as I've spent minimal waking hours actually at home. We're back in action now with a live shot from the show on Wednesday. Word.
(listening to: Various: 1-2-3-4! Punk & New Wave, 1976 - 1979)
The show last night was really, really weird. For one thing, the place was packed with people after the early SF Giants game, and the bar/restaurant was heavily understaffed and overworked. The bass player from the Red House Painters was our soundguy, but he was also the bartender and waiter, so there was basically no attention paid to the bands at all. That, and a bottle of High Life was the same price as a pint of Anchor Steam. What the hey? Overall, I was pretty dispapointed at how the new ownership treated all the bands the entire night.
We played a so-so set, I screwed up the first couple songs, including our cover of Superchunk's "Throwing Things," but I guess in the long run I couldn't have hoped for things to go much better. The weird thing is though, when you're playing a loud-ish rock show and people are talking in the audience, it's not all that big of a deal. But when you're playing more lo-fi acoustic stuff and people are *still* talking, it's near impossible to hear yourself over their chatty chatty ways.
After the set I watched most of Charmless, and then in a fit of yawning headed off to the van to take a nap while the final band played. With no jacket or blanket I curled up in the loft and tried to sleep, but probably just overanalyzed the evening too much. Loaded the van all groggy and made my way back across the bridge, confused more than anything as to how the night was spent.
Born To Run...for elected office!: I wish I lived in New Jersey so I could help elect Bruce Springsteen to the Senate. What a great country.
(listening to: The Kinks: The Kinks)
We watched the first part of the Beatles anthology last night, and it was cool to see all those old country/skiffle/rock & roll acts who influenced the group while they were young. I was particularly struck by the voice of Jimmie Rodgers. Although his career only lasted six years, many people say he was the beginning of country music. Now I have something else to buy this weekend after I get paid.
Those in the SF Bay Area should check out a special Amscray show tonight at the Hotel Utah. We'll be playing semi-acoustic, with some new songs, some re-worked old songs, and a couple covers. You can take your earplugs out for this one, kids. Oh, and since I won't be able to watch, everyone must will the San Jose Sharks to victory for me. Word.
(listening to: The Kinks: The Kinks)
I didn't feel the earthquake, which means I've gone 25.66 years living in California without feeling so much as a minor tremor. My body must be strangely numb to moving ground or something. However, I *did* watch the tail end of the Sharks game, and their overtime loss was pretty bad news.
(listening to: Boards Of Canada: Geogaddi)
Because it's fun to point out copy-editing errors, when did Portland become a state? This the first review of Sharpen Your Teeth I've seen, look for mine in one week's time.
(listening to: Gram Parsons: Cosmic American Music)
MP3 of the week: This is probably my all time favorite song for singing in the car. When I got my first automobile at the age of sixteen, I had one tape that I played over, and over, and over again. Side A was Green Day's Kerplunk, which I labeled by tracing the cover of the record onto a piece of paper, then taping it to the cassette. On the other was Sugar's Copper Blue, to which I taped an empty McDonald's sugar packet that read "Pure Sugar." Damn right.
Early yesterday evening we heard some strange sounds while lounging around in our room. It sounded like meek thunder, kinda far off, but getting closer. I checked the weather reports, nope, clear skies. I checked the news radio and news websites, nothing. I started getting worried about falling bombs or exploding bridges or something, so Miss Rodeo America and I hopped in the car to investigate the matter. The sounds seemed to get louder, and we traced their origin for a few blocks until we turned a corner by the large school playground, and there, behind a gigantic palm tree, was the unmistakable cascading light from fireworks over the bay. Feeling better about the world and knowing that danger was not approaching, I poured a glass of wine, put on a Bill Monroe record, and watched the stars start to twinkle.
(listening to: Cat Power: Moon Pix)
(listening to: The Kinks: The Kinks)
Help! I'm Stuck In New Brunswick!
A couple weeks ago, I asked people to choose the one record they'd take with them if they were stuck in a far away place for the rest of their life. A lot of people complained, some changed their minds, but many were actually able to choose. I own exactly 5/10 of these releases, but thanks to your response, I plan to increase by record collection by the number five. Here, in no particultar order, are some fine pieces of music. All those who responded will get a CD sent from me as a thank-you for thinking hard (I know it hurts sometimes).
If you missed the boat, feel free to send me an email with your addition to the list. Be sure to include where you live, because, well, that just makes things that much more interesting.
I always pick the wrong games to go to. Miss Rodeo America and I went to the baseball game on Tuesday evening, but we missed the excitement of last night's naked running man. See, and who said the East Bay didn't have it all?
Last night was a night of rest, drinking beers on the couch and watching three hours of VH1's Top 100 One Hit Wonders. That's the first sixty songs. We had a good time trying to figure out what their other single was, the followup to their one hit. I also found out that Young MC, Tone Loc, and Biz Markie song titles all run together in my head, I can't figure out which song belonged to which artist. Weren't the late 80's and early 90's confusing? I hope Jesus Jones' "Right Here, Right Now" is on the list, perhaps I'll get to watch the other forty songs tonight.
(listening to: The Velvet Underground: Loaded)
MP3 of the week: New stuff from Papa M that features a photo of him standing on a rooftop with New York City burning behind him. Enjoy.
I'm off to Santa Cruz for Cinco De Mayo festivities, it's a sunny day (again) and I'm looking forward to the drive. Look for the I'm Stuck In Moncton feature coming this week. Now go drink some Pacifico and avoid that yellow water called "Corona."
(listening to: Jim O'Rourke: Insignificance)
The Personal +/- of the last 24 hours:
As you can see, my +'s are now in control, and I'm feeling damned good.
(listening to: Super Furry Animals: Radiator)
Amscray News: We started overdubs last night, holed up in the chilly and small kitchen at the Amscray house, recording equipment on the table, and keyboards and wires taking up most of the rest of the room. The raw tracks sound pretty damned good, but recording all my parts could take awhile due to the unlimited amount of sounds I can make and then deciding which ones are right for which songs. It's a time consuming process which tries my patience and my abilities, but I think I'm up for the task. Tonight we go back to work.
Have I mentioned yet that we're going to the Minnesota State Fair this year? I hear they carve Miss Minnesota's bust out of butter. There, I can survive eating only foods on sticks. It will be hot and muggy, and it will be wonderful.
PS: Sorry this site was down all night, I goofed.
(listening to: Aphex Twin: Drukqs)
The Shins were great on Friday night, we scored a couple fine seats right before their set, so I had a great vantage point looking down at the band. They played almost all of Oh, Inverted World, a few odds and ends off singles, as well as a Flake Music song and a Jesus And Mary Chain cover. It was nice to see a band having a blast onstage, loving the packed sold out audience on the last stop of their tour. I bought a couple CDs, Miss Rodeo America got a t-shirt (supporting the artists, yo), and all in all had quite a good time. Charlie took some pictures at the show which made up for me leaving my camera at home. Oops.
The rest of the weekend was wonderfully busy, took a trip down to Santa Cruz for a bit on Saturday, saw my friend's new fly apartment on a huge hill in Oakland, hitting up San Francisco for some new shoes (pictures later, I have to brag), playing some music this afternoon, and finally watching the 1968 film Bullitt where Steve McQueen chases people all around San Francisco. Not a bad weekend if I do say so myself.
MP3 of the week: New stuff from Doves that rocked my socks off while driving to get dinner tonight. Simple and grand, just like the beginning of Spring in California.