...we've got the means to make amends. I am lost, I'm no guide, but I'm by your side. (Pearl Jam, Leash)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Ryan Adams: Halloween

Can't believe I almost let this day pass without posting the best song ever to have Halloween in the title.

This was released on the Love Is Hell, Volume 1 EP as a bonus track in the UK (and as a promo single). It was also the first Ryan Adams song I ever recall hearing (or actually listening to). I love the little tinny piano jangle in the background --it sounds like something out of a Rolling Stones song-- and the wry lyrics can't be beat. Enjoy!

Halloween - Ryan Adams


AOL, like, totally wants to go to the next Cold War Kids show with you

I am a little confused by the AOL Music Indie Blog. The first time I heard of it, it just sounded like a non-sequitur to me, like a math equation that does not compute. AOL = indie?

They are using their gigantic corporate conglomerate muscle and huge subscriber base to draw these great podcasts from a wide variety of (mostly) smaller independent artists.

I suppose I could just enjoy and keep my mouth shut, but I just have to admit my hesitancy in having AOL be my source for, like, a Josh Rouse interview. Isn't that what smaller labels and independent radio stations are for? The performances are great so I can't complain, but I have to admit that the concept kind of rubs me the wrong way.

I know, I know - get over it, and listen to these:

RECENT PODCASTS (the links are to mp3 of podcast) -

M. Ward
(performing Chinese Translation, To Go Home, Paul's Song)

Cat Power
(performing Love & Communication, John John, Satisfaction, Ramblin' Man)

Noel Gallagher
(performing It's Good To Be Free, Whatever, Slide Away)

The Lemonheads
(performing No Backbone, Why Do You Do This To Yourself, My Drug Buddy)

Nada Surf
(performing 8 songs -- now that's just crazy talk: Concrete Bed, What Is Your Secret?, Always Love, Hyperspace, Blizzard of '77, 80 Windows, Happy Kid, Blankest Year)

José González
(performing Crosses, Deadweight on Velveteen, Lovestain, Heartbeats)

Josh Rouse
(performing Quiet Town and Givin' It Up)

Jamie Lidell
(performing Game For Fools, What's The Use, Multiply)

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Eddie Vedder & surfer Laird Hamilton on Iconoclasts this week

As previously mentioned here, this is the week that Ed Vedder will be featured in the Sundance Channel's show Iconoclasts, which pairs him with another "leading innovator in their field," surfer Laird Hamilton. The two will discuss their passions and share some waves.

PREVIEW (8 minutes) - nice placement of "Given To Fly" which just feels like a surfing song and a couple of songs from the new album, as well as Ed on uke:

I am still too cheap to have the Sundance Channel, but I have another surfing movie I can watch instead, thanks to Netflix.


Who won that Ben Folds contest?

So who did win that contest for the autographed copy of Ben Folds' new album? I was thinking the same thing, especially after I got my own copy in the mail this weekend and enjoyed listening to it. I could definitely appreciate the remastering in several of the songs - drum crescendos were crisper, and I noticed sounds I hadn't heard in the original. My copy is, of course, not autographed (come on, it's lifestyles of the obsessive and carpal-tunnel afflicted in blogland, not the rich and famous and privileged).

The superspecial winner of the poetry contest was . . . "Kev"! His simple poem echoed very closely my own trigger into a freefall of darkness and money-spending called: Visiting The Record Store.

Kev wrote:

i cant go down to the record store,
im afraid what i might do
the last time i went to that old place
i stayed the whole day through

i cant go down to the record store,
if i do, my girlfriend says she will just go
shes jealous of bruce, ryan and bob
pearl jam, ben kweller, wilco

for the things that i see at the record store
are just too tempting for a boy like me
fuel for friends i know you can save me
by sending me that special cd

How can I resist? Thanks for composing, everyone. Runners up (who get absolutely nothing) were Ryan who used a gazillion Ben Folds song titles in a story/Mad Libs type thingie, and Aaron who composed "rebuttal haikus" to each of the previous entrant. Unfortunately, Aaron lost because "bee-yotch" is actually two syllables.

"Rent-A-Cop" - Ben Folds
(Lyrics: "I’m ‘trolling food court for girls, Yeah, it’s the best job in the world, They know they’re safe with me, They love my little mustache, They love a man in uniform.")

Buy the album


Monday, October 30, 2006

Monday Music Roundup

This week the sixth food group becomes Very Small Candies of Different Varieties. So far I've sampled some Nerds, some Twix, a few Almond Joys and a tiny box or two of Milk Duds (my favorite). Thank god this only comes once a year or you'd have to hoist me out of the house in a specially designed lift for the very obese, after removing the doors from the hinges.

A newspaper reporter from New Hampshire contacted me the other day for a story she is writing on the shrinking Fun Size candy as we know it (she found my previous post on this travesty). While I am pleased that this "important" issue is getting some coverage in the media (!), she had some extremely deadpan journalistic questions to ask me on the phone. The very very best one was: "Do you believe that these candies now accurately represent the size of fun?" There was a beat of serious silence on the phone line, and then I burst into laughter, for which I immediately apologized. Because she was not joking as I had thought.

How big, exactly, is the size of fun?

"Every Day Is Halloween"
(Ministry cover)
The Postmarks
Okay, well let's just get this one out of the way. Halloween is tomorrow and so most Americans are busy doing things like scooping the slimy innards out of pumpkins to make jack-o-lanterns, and hastily assembling costumes out of what is left in the thrift stores and on the picked-over racks. You? You are cool and collected, listening to this hazy, jangly version of a Ministry song. This is the first of a series of free "seasonal downloads" from Miami's The Postmarks' MySpace page. Their debut album comes out January 2007 on UnFiltered Records.

"To The Floor"
I mentioned this sexy little album last year; Shrift is a duo composed of Nina Miranda (from Brighton-based Smoke City) and producer Dennis Wheatley. This trip-hop song is a spun-sugar pink confection with a faint '80s sheen to the floating female vocals, but with an updated twist. More than anything, it reminds me of the Phoenix track in Lost In Translation, and I do believe this song would fit like a glove in the Tokyo nightclub scenes with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johannson. Listen to this and I defy you to say otherwise. From this year's Lost in A Moment album (Six Degrees Records).

"Black Magic"
Jarvis Cocker
This song is off of former Pulp frontman (and reigning titleholder of pleasantly-smarmiest voice in England) Jarvis Cocker's upcoming self-titled album, coming out next month in the UK. The title of this song should really be "Crimson and Clover, Pt. 2" because it is a huuuuge rip off of that stick-in-your-head psychadelic hippie '60s singalong -- but that's not to say it's bad. I actually find it quite enjoyable. And I think we can agree that perhaps this song has a better title than this summer's "Cunts Are Still Running The World."

"Nevermind The Phonecalls"

Earlimart is originally from Fresno, California, and now relocated to the smoggy hipness of Los Angeles. Pitchfork recently unveiled this, the first of three tracks off their upcoming unnamed 5th full-length album. Earlimart's last outing, 2004's Treble & Tremble, was often compared to the work of frontman Aaron Espinoza's late friend Elliott Smith. Espinoza says, "It's tricky. I'm never ashamed of my relationship with [Smith] or his effect on me or my life or the band. I could never think that's a bad thing if people want to put us in the same sentence with him or something . . . and I wouldn't ever say that the album wasn't influenced by him, but it wasn't meant to be a tribute thing." I can hear those threads in this track, but it is more up-tempo pop with a clean & catchy feel. I like it a lot.

"Blue Hotel"
Willie Nelson
Who would have thought that Willie Nelson would have one of my favorite album covers so far this year? Maybe Ryan Adams is rubbing off on him, making him sleek and stylish for the masses. Wait, Ryan isn't sleek and stylish. Nevermind, maybe not. But Ryan did produce Willie's new record Songbird and penned this tune off of it (hear Ryan's original version here, live). Ryan and the Cardinals also played on the album. I think Willie is a national legend but also an acquired taste, like a good strong whiskey on the back porch.

Please let me know today if you have any trouble with these links - it's my first attempt at the new EZArchive madness. Update: All files are now Savefile. Arrgh!

Stay safe, goblins.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

New album forthcoming from John Davis of Superdrag

Judging by the volume of emails and comments I received about my recent post on the unearthed Superdrag EP, many of you guys hold a special place in your heart for the sweet power-pop sounds from John Davis and crew, and rightfully so. In case you didn't know, John Davis released a self-titled solo album (2005, Rambler Records) that is seriously good and highly recommended, complete with delicious harmonies, soulful piano and distorted guitars.

John Davis has become a committed Christian in recent years following his struggles with alcohol and some seriously "scary visions" (excellent interview here). While his solo debut is not a religious record, per se, it is a searingly honest and earnest work that delves deep into issues of redemption and grace. "People put Christian music into such a category" Davis said. "I tried to give the songs an older, rootsy feel, a real back-to-basics exploration." [ref]

Stream some of the goodness from his debut album easily by opening his website: www.johndavismusic.com. Notable favorite tracks in my book are the Beach Boys-inflected "Stained Glass Window" and "Salvation", the fuzzy wall of guitars in "Nothing Gets Me Down," and the rousing old-time gospel piano of "Jesus Gonna Build Me A Home." Serious stick-in-your-head goodness. You can download demo version mp3s of every song on his first album in the Media section of his page, as well as some unreleased alternates. Rad.

John Davis was back in the studio during August this past summer recording his second solo album. He recently posted a studio journal on his MySpace blog. It reads in part:

Hello Friends,

I guess it's been close to a year since my previous blog; most likely they'll never become any more frequent than that. I figure the world can do without 'em. But it's been a couple of months now since I returned home from recording sessions for my next record, so I thought a brief summary and a photo blog might be overdue.

I couldn't be happier with the record we walked out of there with.

So---where should I begin? I recorded at 606 in Los Angeles, a private facility owned by the Foo Fighters, with my friend Nick Raskulinecz. Nick's from Knoxville, TN, like me, and our friendship goes back about 15 years. He recorded the first real Superdrag demo, Stereo 360 Sound, he did The Fabulous 8-Track Sound Of.... , assisted on Regretfully Yours and Head Trip In Every Key, and co-produced and engineered In The Valley Of Dying Stars, which is generally considered to have been our finest hour as a band.

(Nick steers the ship)

Until this opportunity came up, I hadn't worked with Nick since 2000. In the meantime, he had done records for Foo Fighters, Probot, Queens Of The Stone Age, Danzig, Ash, Casino, and most recently, Slipknot side-project Stone Sour. His client list is testimony enough to his level of talent. Imagine how honored and blessed I felt to have been invited to come to 606, not only to record my new album, but to re-connect with my friend.

By God's grace He bridged the gap of 6 years perfectly, and for the duration of the session I really felt like we had picked up precisely where we left off. Yogi Watts and myself showed up on August 3 ready to work. We tracked and overdubbed the record top-to-bottom in 15 days.

(This is what a finished record looks like)

(I worked this '70s Ampeg Dan Armstrong about half the time)

(Nick rips. No toms.)

I've posted a couple of the unmastered album tracks on my page---they're available for download if you're interested. Thought that might be a nice goodwill gesture. I hope it will suffice until I'm able to find a permanent home for this record and make it available to you. My trust is in Christ's faithfulness and goodness, and not the works of men, who shift and change like shadows.

With Love Always,
John Davis

Judging by the picture above, the tracklist of songs on the new album is as follows:
01. "(Say You're) Satisfied"
02. "Walk Away"
03. "Paranoid"
04. "
Never Changing" (YSI alternate link)
05. "I'm At War With Myself"
06. "History"
07. "
Scared (Of What I Might Find)" (YSI alternate link)
08. "Chant Down Babylon"
09. "
Tell Me I'm Not Free" (YSI alternate link)
10. "I Need Someone"
11. "Lamentation Vs. Laughter"
12. "Everybody On The Ground"

Hyperlinks above connect you to the aforementioned demo versions of these songs from his MySpace. Sounds good to me.

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Hot dang! Audio from Trent Reznor's Saturday set at the Bridge School Benefit 2006

Well, my trolling through the world of the internet has finally yielded a good quality recording of one of Trent Reznor's sets at the recent Bridge School Benefit show.

You need to hear his face-melting set; you can read my review here. I reiterate my unbridled desire for Trent to embark on a small-venue tour with these kinds of acoustic reinterpretation of his songs, because they seriously blew my mind.

NEW FILES! Updated 11/2, good quality. #2 and #3 are especially recommended. Unfortunately, I couldn't find #9, "Hurt," which was a popular one, so I have re-upped the link to the older, lower-quality version of Hurt from the last set I discovered.

The Frail
Something I Can Never Have
La Mer
Adrift and At Peace
The Fragile
Right Where It Belongs
Hurt (lower quality)

Simply amazing.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Like an L.S. Lowry painting come to life

I posted something once before with a similar title [see: Like the Musee D'Orsay come to life] --because I love seeing intelligent and creative interpretations of art set to music.

I nearly minored in art history (which is a fancy way of saying that I love wandering around in old museums but was a bit too lazy to finish the upper-division coursework for the minor), and often "see" music in a visual way, so whenever a band can create something that reminds me of a painting, I am all over that action. Oasis has a new animated video for their b-side song "Masterplan." It's mostly a jaunt through hometown Manchester with the boys, but the cool thing about it is how it resurrects the best paintings of L.S. Lowry into an industrial landscape in motion.

L.S. Lowry was also from Manchester, England, and lived from 1887 to 1976. Most of his paintings were muted landscapes of the industrial areas where he lived, often populated by so-called "matchstick men" (fairly simplistic, slim, homogenic folk) with an almost primitive and flat representation of perspective. There's a certain autumal beauty to the tones he uses, and a charming air about his works.

Here's one of L.S. Lowry's paintings -- "Coming Out Of School" 1927, Tate Gallery:

Now watch what Oasis does with the same stylistic idea. If you are familiar at all with some of the more well-known works by Lowry, you'll see that many of his paintings are represented in the content of this video (i.e. Man Lying On A Wall, Fairground At Daisy Nook). Oasis worked with Lowry's estate and received their blessing on the endeavor, which they hope will bring "a fresh new image" to good ole' L.S.

The song itself is lovely and I think it's a nice touch how the original 5 band members walk (well, Liam struts) past actual Manchester landmarks. Good on Oasis for giving props to a fellow Mancunian through their video, possibly even sending a few kids scurrying to crack open an art history reference book. Watch:

Oasis is busy workin' it in support of the release of a greatest hits collection (Stop The Clocks! It's out November 13!) and Noel Gallagher is set to appear in NYC at the premiere of the new tour documentary Lord Don't Slow Me Down (CMJ FilmFest, November 4th).

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Kings of Leon: Bonus Live Tracks

The more I listen to Kings of Leon, the more I come to think that they may be one of the best things to happen to family musical groups since The Partridge Family, or maybe Jack & Meg White. Consisting of three brothers and a cousin (all in their early 20s), this Tennessee rock band is making a name for themselves through a few quality releases and, most recently, a tour with Bob Dylan. They've got a loose Southern-garage rock feel to their music with a classy and restless edge.

Kings of Leon has worked with whiz-bang British producer Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Ben Kweller, Counting Crows, Ray LaMontagne) for all three of their releases: 2002's Holy Roller Novocaine EP, 2003's Youth & Young Manhood (which sounds like the title of a bad After-School Special), and the most recent Aha Shake Heartbreak (2005), which was recorded at Johns' Three Crows Studio in Los Angeles, using The Beatles' old Abbey Road mixing desk. Wahoo.

The Australian version of Aha Shake Heartbreak came with a bonus DVD of 5 live songs recorded in Belgium. Here are the audio rips of these energetic tracks. They play like they mean it:

"Taper Jean Girl" (live) - Kings of Leon
(YSI alternate link)

"The Bucket" (live) - Kings of Leon
(YSI alternate link)

"Soft" (live) - Kings of Leon
(YSI alternate link)

"Molly's Chambers" (live) - Kings of Leon
(YSI alternate link)

"Four Kicks" (live) - Kings of Leon
(YSI alternate link)

And here's a bonus just because I can:

"Slow Night, So Long" - Kings of Leon with Eddie Vedder
Live in Seattle, 4/25/05

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A Glass And A Half In Every Heather

I tell ya people, this having an actual life that takes time away from my blogging is really a pain. That being said, I've been busy and it's been a while since I've done a sort of Odds & Ends post, but there's several good things rattling around in my brain today that I thought I'd share.

Plus it's Blizzard 2006 here in Colorado so no work, no schools, no nothing except being a homebody all day. I was going to post a few great sets of music, but EZArchive seems to be migrating to a new system and may be unavailable for 24 hours. Bah.

۞ The first diversion of the day is the Advertising Slogan Generator where you plug in your name and it makes you your very own slogan. Mine is above in the subject line, and it's awesome. What's yours? I keep hitting refresh and laughing out loud.

۞ The charming Mr. Tim Young has assembled a fantastic Contrast Podcast #30: "A Song I Like By A Band I Don't." I had several discussions about my possible submissions last week when I was on vacation, but ultimately didn't get my stuff together in time to submit anything. I had some good ideas, though (sure, sure).

۞ I posted about the Brokedown Melody soundtrack last week, and got the news today that there are 2 song streams available (thanks "Craig"!) -- one for the Eddie Vedder track (without the annoying AOL voiceovers every time he stops to take a breath) and the other for one of the 2 unreleased Jack Johnson tracks:

"Let It Be Sung" - Jack Johnson with Matt Costa & Zach Gill
STREAMS: [.asx] [.ram]

"Goodbye" - Eddie Vedder
STREAMS: [.asx] [.ram]

۞ Fuel friend and fellow blogger Bruce makes XPN Radio in Philly one of the coolest stations on the air. They've got a few great live performances this week for your streaming pleasure:

-TODAY: (Oct. 26) at 2PM EST, Lindsay Buckingham interview and performance on World Cafe at www.xpn.org
-FRIDAY: (Oct. 27) at 12pm EST, it's Sean Lennon live in concert on www.xpn.org and www.npr.org.

۞ Speaking of streaming, the new Damien Rice album 9 is streaming in full at A-O-Hell (AOL). I have a little window open here and intend to listen to it very soon. I want to give it the full attention it deserves.

۞ Chad over at Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands is a huge Elliott Smith fan, as anyone who has ever spent even a little bit of time with him likely knows. In observance of the Oct 21 anniversary of Elliott's death, he has posted a lovely and heartfelt tribute piece. Recommended reading with soundtrack.

۞ Howie Payne was that guy from The Stands (who put out a pair of kicking albums), and since they've broken up I have been keeping an eye on his solo MySpace page. Finally there are some new streaming songs from him, and they sound great -- bluesy & rolling.

۞ Everybody's doing it: Robert Schneider (Apples in Stereo) is set to release a children's album, according to You Ain't No Picasso. Kids these days are going to grow up never having to listen to bad music, and that's clearly the first step towards world peace.

۞ A few of you astute and kind readers have sent me a recent Chris Cornell set from Sweden, with a fantastic blend of solo, Audioslave, and cover songs. J over at Sweet Oblivion has now saved me the time uploading it, he's got it for ya. Nice set, how 'bout that Michael Jackson cover?

۞ Aquarium Drunkard has ripped some vinyl audio for us from his much-beloved Bill Withers at Carnegie Hall LP, and it makes me love Withers (and A.D.) even more. Check out the warm snap, crackle and pop of these tracks.

۞ Finally, Lore Sjöberg over at Wired.com has penned the funniest article I've read all week: MySpace, Now With Random Crap. He muses, "I don't really know what to do with my 319 new online chums, compatriots and cronies . . . I think you just collect them, as they collect you. It is the 21st century, and we are all each other's Hummel figurines. I think MySpace should take a hint from collectible figure games like HeroClix, and find a way to let you make your friends fight."
Read the entire thing here

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

One more dream denied

Crap, now I'll never be a Boy Scout:

Boy Scouts Can Now Earn Anti-Piracy Badge

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Bridge School Benefit love

In 1985, Pegi Young (Neil's lady) helped to start a school in the San Francisco Bay Area for local children with severe physical and speech impairments (their son Ben is affected by cerebral palsy). The Bridge School helps to remove expressive barriers for these children through augmentative and alternative means of communication with the world around them.

The nice thing about being associated with a respected member of the musical community is that The Bridge School received the seed money needed to open, as well as ongoing financial support for the last 20 years, with an annual star-studded, quality benefit show organized by Neil & Pegi. The Bridge School Benefit has had some amazing artists over the past 20 years.

I've gone to as many of these shows as I could afford, and have seen more phenomenal acoustic performances than I can even remember. This year it was a happy & nostalgic coincidence that our family vacation to California to see family lined up with the 20th annual benefit show weekend. I was able to stay one extra night so that I could attend the Sunday night show after seeing the lineup this year: Devendra Banhart, Gillian Welch, Death Cab For Cutie, Trent Reznor, Foo Fighters, Brian Wilson, Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, and Neil Young.

There was not one artist going into this show that I didn't want to see -- we all know that often with festivals there are one or two duds that you could care less about, but for me I was curious to see everyone, so I spent the 15 minute set-change breaks running to get what I needed so I could get back to catch each artist's performance. As I started the beautiful, warm, sunny afternoon at Shoreline I had a space on the lawn, then some kind and fantastic stranger walked up to me and gave me his single ticket in the seats for unknown reasons. So that was a huge bonus and one of those fine things that just reaffirms your faith in humanity. Thanks "Tom" (from your e-ticket)!!

After the usual 2-song opening dealie with Neil and Pegi Young, Devendra Banhart took the stage with his newly-christened band "The Bridge" (wonder how he came up with that?) which included Scottish folk musician Bert Jansch on guitar. Banhart was more rocking than some of his folksier and warbly works I've heard off his latest album Cripple Crow ("Quedate Luna," "Luna de Margarita"). He seemed to channel a bit more rock, in the vein of The Black Crowes, and overall I liked him. He looked a bit overwhelmed with the massive crowd -- I'd like to see him in a smaller setting.

Gillian Welch is a giant of the bluegrass/country/folk scene, and I get the feeling that she is very well-respected among her musician cohorts. Regrettably, I have not been super familiar with her work beyond her collaborations with Ryan Adams and her contributions to the O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack (I do a mean lullaby rendition of "Go To Sleep Little Baby" from that collection, a song that she performed at the show with the help of longtime musical partner David Rawlings and Petra Haden). She was confident and rocking, with a gospel tune in the mix, as well as a handful of her own songs and I believe a Neil Young cover (maybe "Country Girl," it's hazy).

Death Cab For Cutie may have converted me from hesitantly standing on the sidelines into a full-contact player/supporter/fan. I thought their set was really lovely and sounded great. Their cover of Graham Nash's "Military Madness" with Neil Young was fantastic, and Ben Gibbard started the show with a solo "I Will Follow You Into The Dark," which is an undeniably poignant & beautiful tune. Some of the other song choices may have been a little questionable (a note about the Bridge School shows: children from the school sit on the stage as a special audience), such as the "second most depressing song" in their catalog, "What Sarah Said" ("There's no comfort in the waiting room, just nervous pacers bracing for bad news . . . who's going to watch you die?").

There was a bit of discomfort (or should I say, a sense of heightened awareness) listening to those lyrics being sung in that setting. Every year there is a conflict that I see of artistic freedom: the artists aren't there to do a kiddie show, and yet there those little ones are, sitting there watching with their parents, ears and eyes wide open.

Speaking of that very conflict, Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) was up next. And he summarily blew my mind, moreso than any artistic act I have seen in the last several years. I cannot express how transfixed I was. I have been an unabashed Nine Inch Nails fan since I discovered Pretty Hate Machine in the mid '90s, a disc that I think still sounds fresh and innovative and lyrically honest (brutally so). I wasn't sure how Reznor would possibly fit into this acoustic setting. But he gets major, major props from me for meeting the challenge and using the opportunity of the setting to try something new. Get this: he comes on stage with a string quartet and a piano. The only percussion is little egg shakers. He has arranged 5 of his songs into orchestral pieces, and it was freaking *#%!! amazing. (AUDIO HERE)

He started out at the piano with a reinvention of "Something I Can Never Have," almost unrecognizable at the start but then those familiar lyrics kick in and all that raging earnestness and nihilism is there, floating atop gorgeous strings and various dischordant sounds from striking the inside of the piano. He stands in front of the mike for the second song, holding the shakers and kicks into a steady rhythm. Not sure where he's heading and then he whispers the opening lines: "Hey pig..." Fantastic. He also completely nailed "The Fragile" and "Hurt" (little blurry video clip here that gives you the idea). Mr. Reznor goes down in my book as an absolute genius for that set and I wish he would do a full tour like that. Amen for continuing creativity and not being content with staying musically static.

I seriously could have just seen Reznor's set and gone home happy, but luckily there was more to come. I've never seen the Foo Fighters live before but thought that their set was great. Dave Grohl is an affable frontman ("Don't invite me to your party," he warned, after "clumsy Dave!" tripped over a microphone cable). After starting with "Times Like These," they performed a nice rarity that Dave wrote on the spot a few years ago during a BBC interview, "Skin and Bones." Even though the set was acoustic, Grohl headbanged his way through some ferocious strumming on the acoustic guitar, and drummer Taylor Hawkins tightly bashed and banged his way along. I thought it was notable to see Pat Smear perform with them again (he's a bit of a legend in my book) and Petra Haden was sizzling on the violin and mandolin.

The bittersweet version of closing song "Everlong" was riveting -- I never really listened to the lyrics before but ouch, they're good and really shine in that arrangement. Dave recounted the story of a few years back at the Bridge School Benefit when they performed "Everlong" for the first time in such a stripped setting and Dave returned to his trailer and cried like a baby after it was over.

Brian Wilson was a bit puzzling and disconcerting. I was greatly anticipating his set, hoping for some of that same acoustic creativity that Reznor displayed. I know he's not in the best health (I believe he has suffered a stroke?), and the bright and loud performance tried its best to camouflage that through amped up backing vocals, a huge band, and lots of assists on his microphone. Wilson seemed to often get lost in space or stare off into the distance. He was wearing a long-sleeved baggy white t-shirt and blue running pants, looking as if he had just come in from a sedate jog, or maybe practicing tai-chi in the park. He just ran through the standards, which were fun and I admit I sang along to pretty much every word, but something was lacking overall in the energy of authenticity. Neil Young joined Wilson to play organ on "Good Vibrations" which was full and gorgeous.

Pearl Jam took the stage next for their 7th year performing at Bridge School, and it is always great to see them. Perhaps I am biased, but I love how they dig deep for a great set of eclectic tunes. They started with an impassioned cover of Dylan's "Masters of War," followed by a soaring acoustic version of "Gone" off the new album. I was mightily hoping for "Parachutes," which they had busted out Saturday night but it was not to be. The full setlist was:

Masters of War
Around The Bend (hurrah! great song)
Thin Air (another hurrah! video @ end)
Lukin (ha)
Throw Your Hatred Down (with Neil Young, WATCH VIDEO)

Every time that Pearl Jam plays the Bridge School, they dedicate a special song to a Bridge student named Maricor who has become a friend of the band. She always looks so embarassed, yet overjoyed. Saturday night it was "Crazy Mary," and the night I was there it was the sweet gem "Thin Air" ("and I know she's reached my heart, in thin air"). PJ honored another song request from one of the male students who, as Ed said, "likes it a bit rougher." He then aggressively launched into "Lukin," a one-minute hard punk song from 1996's No Code. I laughed. The closer with Neil Young (from their joint 1995 album Mirror Ball) was impassioned.

Dave Matthews Band bored me to tears. I'd say I am a DMB fan, in the sense that I have their albums and they've written some crackingly good tunes over the years. But I felt his performance was just so standard and a little too indulgently jam-heavy. It was like your average DMB concert, instead of taking advantage of the setting to bust out some rarities or other acoustic gems. The songs they picked were just the radio hits, "Crash," "Everyday," "Jimi Thing," etc. Each was stretched into 10-15 minute jams, during which I found my mind wandering. If I could have handpicked a better set (presumptuous! I know!) I would have voted for things like: "Say Goodbye/#41" "Pay For What you Get," "Busted Stuff" or "Lie In Our Graves" and a few covers. Neil Young joined him at the end for an almost 30-minute version of "Down By The River."

How was Neil Young's closing set? Rumored to be with Elton John? Donno. My parts were freezing (toes numb, nose cold) and I was exhausted so I actually bailed early. I'd seen Neil already several times during the day with the other artists and sleep beckoned to me mightily.

Here are a few select tunes from Bridge School years past (links re-upped 11/12/06):

2005: Drinking Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee - Jerry Lee Lewis

2004: Hey Jude - Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Eddie Vedder et al

2004: Harvest Moon - Neil Young with Eddie Vedder

2003: I Am Mine - Eddie Vedder
(the album version of this has been one of my favorite PJ songs lately)

2003: Teardrop (Massive Attack cover) - Incubus

2002: Dear Chicago - Ryan Adams, night 1

2002: La Cienega Just Smiled - Ryan Adams, night 2

2002: Street Spirit - Thom Yorke

2002: After The Gold Rush (Neil Young cover) - Thom Yorke

2001: All Along The Watchtower (Dylan cover) - Dave Matthews Band

2000: O Maria - Beck

2000: Nobody's Fault But My Own - Beck

1999: Nothing As It Seems - Pearl Jam

1999: Stay (U2 cover) - Smashing Pumpkins

1999: God Only Knows - Brian Wilson

1998: I Shall Be Released (Dylan cover) - Neil Young, Sarah McLachlan & Phish

1994: Let Me Sleep - Pearl Jam

1993: Splendid Isolation - Warren Zevon

1992: I Am A Patriot (Steve Van Zandt cover) - Pearl Jam

How 'bout a zip? ALL THESE SONGS, ZIPPED

Some of the best news from the event was that in honor of the 20th anniversary, the Bridge School plans to offer a selections of songs from that last two decades for download on iTunes starting November 14. If they offer anything from Trent Reznor's piece de resistance, I will download them as quick as lightning. It will be interesting to see what they select to make available, they have ample high-quality fodder.

Great music for a great cause, gorgeous day. Yay Neil & Pegi!

WATCH: PEARL JAM, THIN AIR (should work now)

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New EP from The Format on iTunes today

You may perhaps recall my fervent love for The Format?

I wanted to pass along the news that their new EP And Now I Hope You're Alright: Live In California was released today via iTunes. I am currently feeling a bit of a penny-pincher following our lavish week of spending in California, but the samples sound good and they put on a killer live show, so this is one I shall be buying soon.

The EP contains the following 6 songs:
"Dog Problems"
"This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us" (Sparks cover - thanks Phil!)
"Inches and Falling"
"Faith In Fast Cars"


Monday, October 23, 2006

Monday Music Roundup

Sleepless greetings from somewhere in limbo between California leaving and Colorado arriving. True story: I am supposed to be catching a few slim hours of shut-eye before my superbly early flight in the wee hours of Monday morning, but the couple in the hotel/motel room next to me are going at it so loudly that I (and surely several neighbors in either direction up and down the hall) can't sleep. Gotta love priceline.com motel finds for the best buck. On the bright side, I now have the gift of knowing that my neighbor is a "bad girl" as I keep hearing over and over, and that's something special that I can cherish. Room 526 at the Pacific Inn, I'm talkin' to you.

I'm up late and fairly glowing following a rich and fantastic afternoon spent at the Bridge School Benefit concert today, which had some fine, fine moments (and some not so fine, but that's to be expected with a grand festival bacchanalia). Scintillating reflections on that shortly. But first, here's a handful of new tunes that I've found noteworthy this week. I really wanted to post something from the new Shins album, but apparently SubPop would then be all over me like white on rice (every blogger that posted it seems to have been contacted now to take it down. Fair enough, but it is quite a fine sounding disc I will say.)

"The Rat Within The Grain"
Damien Rice
I cannot remember where I found this (maybe here) but it is one of my favorite Damien Rice songs to come down the pike in a long time. From his upcoming release 9 (Heffa Records, Nov 14), there is almost a nostalgic folksy sound to this tune that makes me think of riding along on a train, looking out the window. I would deem this a definite travelling song, and highly recommend it. Update: Not on the new album, but I think a b-side on the single for "9 Crimes".

"Here Comes Ruby"
Daniel Hutchens
My friend Justin over at Aquarium Drunkard is currently living the blogger's dream (well, my blogger dream, anyways) by creating his own music label, Autumn Tone, and releasing his first album from Athens, Georgia alt-roots-rocker Daniel Hutchens. I have yet to give the entire album (Lovesongs for Losers) a thorough and proper listening, but I liked this song the first time I heard it. Hutchens is well-respected in the American South, yet largely unknown outside those circles -- but maybe not for much longer. This song is simultaneously playful and rootsy, a warm blend of Americana and Southern rock. Justin says, "This guy is a national treasure, and I'll stand on Steve Earle's coffeetable in my Jack Purcells and say just that." I'd like to see that. Check out his site for lots more from Hutchens.

"Bad Girl"
Ben Taylor
This find was courtesy of Scatter O Light, which recently pointed out some free downloads of demos and unreleased Ben Taylor songs (including some interesting covers). This song's newly penned, about how Ben needs a bad girl to help him stop dreaming of someone else. Although I picked this song out days ago, I have to chuckle a bit now. Ben, I have a suggestion for a special someone for you. Check out the new Ben Taylor EP available on iTunes called Deeper Than Gravity (October 3, Iris Records) which includes a lovely acoustic version of one of my favorite songs of his ever, "Nothing I Can Do."

Josh Rouse & Kurt Wagner
And speaking of EPs, I have been spending some quality time lately with the forgotten 1999 Chester EP from Josh Rouse and Kurt Wagner (of Nashville rock/country/soul band Lambchop). A joint effort from two fine musicians on 5 little songs which follows-up nicely to Rouse's debut album Dressed Up Like Nebraska, but with a slightly darker edge to them. I think it is an essential collection for the Josh Rouse fan, showing an interesting facet of his musical development.

"The Only Place I Can Look Is Down"
The Bishops
Twin brothers from London (paired with a Scottish drummer -- collectively they average about 21 years), The Bishops are yet another buzz band from the UK (NME darlings) with a straight-up Kinks/Clash influenced sound. Their debut EP is becoming available in the States this week from California-based indie label I Am Sound Records. It's more fun retro-goodness circa 1966. Listen to a few more from them here.

(Funny - United Airlines just called my cell, flight is rescheduled for noon. Neighbors have fallen into a seemingly exhausted slumber. So, goodnight!)

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Soundtrack goodness from a mountain house

I am sequestered for part of this weekend up in the lovely Northern California mountains near Sonora, so not much fanciness planned for this here bad boy. I do, however, need to announce the winner of the Marie-Antoinette soundtrack contest which ended yesterday.

It was a tough choice because all of your entries were passionate and wonderful and made me want to sit in a theater and watch films with all of you -- just for the musical discussion value.

The suck-up who called me classy started things off on a nice foot, and I loved every person who mentioned Richard Linklater and Dazed & Confused (adored that film). I never knew that Linklater "created mixes for each of the characters in Dazed and Confused and sent them to the actors before production so they could get a feel for their character."

I have not actually seen Vanilla Sky or Moonlight Mile, but now based on your descriptions I think I must. And I loved your variety of nuanced choices: Jon Brion, Ennio Morricone, Michael Mann, Peter Coquillard. All gave me something new to consider & appreciate.

The most mentioned person was Cameron Crowe, whom I wholeheartedly support: Tony K. said of Elizabethtown, "Cam painted a canvas with largely unknown acts proving how much incredible music there is out there that we are unaware of" (amen!), and another commenter noted, "I think he makes movies just so he can make a soundtrack." Loved your waxing poetic on his movies because I absolutely feel the same way.

Quentin Tarantino ("Tarantino soundtracks have the feeling of an old mix-tape that a boy would make for a girl he was trying to get with") and Martin Scorsese ("It's one thing to play a catchy song over a scene or compile a hip soundtrack, but to actually take a popular song and use it to CHOREOGRAPH a scene as effectively as Marty does... well, it's just genius") were close runners-up in terms of frequency of mentions, which are surely warranted.

But for some reason I am going with Aikin as my winner with his interesting comment for the Trent Reznor produced Natural Born Killers soundtrack. Here was an entry out of left field that I had completely forgotten about, but remember loving for all the reasons he mentions. The songs wove a creepy and unsettling feeling with the use of pretty songs like Patsy Cline's "Back In My Baby's Arms" or Dylan, juxtaposed with plenty of NIN and Jane's Addiction and even Dr. Dre.

Plus, aikin used the sentence, "There're a lot of weenies in this fire," when he started his discussion of this soundtrack's greatness, which is a phrase we definitely do not use enough. So congrats to grand poobah winner Aikin for an interesting selection. I've emailed you to get a mailing address.

Thanks everyone for playing, and this contest was waaay too hard to judge. I could have chosen any of you as the winner. Whew.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Vs. Track by Track

I've been waiting for a reason to post this for a while, and I was too busy yesterday cavorting in the sun to stop and recognize the 13th anniversary of the release of Pearl Jam's sophomore album Vs. That's a good landmark date for posting this (and how is it possible that the album is 13 years old?! That makes me feel really old. Let me sit down for a sec).

A friend of mine across the pond was just buying Vs. and wrote to me asking for a few of my favorite tracks and why. Well, that's certainly a loaded question with me, isn't it?

I sat down to write about the album for him, and this is what flowed out. Let me walk you through it, as this is one of desert-island discs, hands down, favorite Pearl Jam, in my top 5 CDs EVER. You may *not* love it, but damned if I don't at least try to convert you.

Go and Animal are two of the tightest opening tracks ever paired. They flow seamlessly into each other, churning and hard-hitting. The drumming throughout this album is savage and tight, so aggressive and right on point by Abbruzzese. Go starts fiercely and doesn't let up, in fact it even builds after Mike's blistering solo at 1:44, with everything just lunging in unison to the white-knuckled end. Then right into Animal, one of the best 2 pairings of songs ever - so much so that I find myself thinking of them as one song, and it has been known to happen before that I have quoted a lyric from one thinking of the other. Caught me. Maybe because they tell the same kind of story for me - Go being perhaps about someone trying to escape, die, get away "I pulled the covers over him, should've pulled the alarm..." and then the wrenching angry wail in Animal, "WHY would you wanna HURT me?!"

Vedder's voice is right on target with the caged screaming on this album, probably moreso than Ten and any other album they've released since Vs. I'd rather be with an animal.

Daughter is thoughtful and sure, poor little girl, alone, listless et al, but I usually skip it. Although I have always appreciated the line, "She holds the hand that holds her down . . ."

Glorified G was one of the first songs that I practiced drumming all the way through to, and the percussion is far and away for me the crispest, sharpest, most interesting part of this song. It's a bit more lighthearted and spaciously-paced than some of the others, with a beat that is almost pop. Plus a very gnarly guitar riff and some good-natured ribbing in the direction of a gun-happy America. The bridge at 1:45 is a cleaning-out and refocusing to the two strongest elements in the song -- the drumbeat and the guitar wail -- with Vedder proudly announcing in a bit of sotto voce, "Kindred to bein' an American."

Dissident -- I love the droning guitar, reminds me of a mosquito or a bee. A little overplayed for me as well, but he sure does let it wail on "escape is never the safest path." Overall, though, this is not my fave track either on the album. Tough song to sing in concert (even though Vedder still nails it).

W.M.A. is such an adventurous work in terms of the percussion. I appreciate the foray into a different kind of song, using African rhythms and a non-traditional structure. Kind of a think-piece, can you say that about a song? No anthemic chorus like you get on so many PJ songs; instead a slow build and a focus on racial inequities in law enforcement. I love it when it all builds around 2:26 and the background vocals come in with the sharp "cha-cha-cha" and Vedder's voice cracks through a scream with "POLICE stopped my BROTHER again," I appreciate the cynical ethnocentrism in the line "Jesus greets me, looks just like me," and the imagery of betrayal and handwashing with "Do no wrong, so clean cut. Dirty his hands it comes right off."

Blood is just a full out punk thrash bloodbath, but the verses possess a certain restraint in front of the wah-wah wall of guitars. I once made a mix of snippets of verses and lines in PJ songs about blood (there are a lot) and this song was the beginning and ending of my homemade mash-up. There's a double entendre line where he sings, "Painted big, turned into, one of his enemies." If I recall correctly, the liner notes write this as "Paint Ed big, turn Ed into, one of his enemies." This was during the whole "deal with fame" period. I love how Blood just completely disintegrates at the end. Just falls apart from the thrashing. But does it really?

Rearviewmirror is the best track on the album for me on most days. The way it builds, the steady drumbeat. It's your car engine, it's the lines passing on the road, it's a steady pace as the protagonist starts out on his "drive today" . . . "time to emancipate." As the rage builds, as the memories come flooding back "I couldn't breathe, holdin' me down..." the song builds until the frantic, driven ending - at which point the song cannot stop. It's got too much momentum behind it, going somewhere that can't be stopped, it inevitably must explode. It just keeps you hanging there, clinging on until that moment. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up with the final lines of "saw things . . . saw things . . . saw things . . . saw things . . . clearer, clearer . . . once you . . . were in my . . . REARVIEWMIRROR!"

I see little fireworks.

At the end of Rearviewmirror, it is so intense and Abbruzzese (the drummer) had some persistent wrist problems. If you listen carefully, after he furiously reaches that last cymbal crash, he hurls the sticks against the wall, where you can hear them clack to the floor. Listen to this through from Dave's point of view, picture him just pounding away on the drums (starting at 4:08) as Mike wails on the guitar, feel the tension and the pain as he hammers through, sweat pouring off, and the final action of hurling the sticks against the wall before the song itself is even all the way done. Rock n roll, baby.

Rats I've never been able to pin down. I remember in high school my friend Shannon calling it "Eddie's little wank-off piece" and I don't exactly know what is going on with it. I mean, a song about rodents and their culinary habits and defecation locales? References to the Michael Jackson song "Ben?" ("Ben, the two of us need look no more....") about -- I've heard --- a boy and his pet rat? Musically, it is a swaggering, bluesy rock piece with a GREAT intro, and I like Vedder's low growl. But beyond that it was always lost on me.

Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town. While I do like this song, I've always thought this was a bit too nice, too restrained, too pretty of a song to put here on this album, which for the most part is pretty blistering. I'm all for mixing it up a bit, but sometimes Daughter and Elderly Woman sometimes feel too sedate for me (and maybe, even moreso, I grew tired of hearing them all the time on the radio, like in my dentist's office). I love the songwriting here, the words - "cannot find the candle of thought to light your name, lifetimes are catching up with me . . ." -- Evocative of creating some distant reality in some small dusty general store in a small town, running into someone you knew a lifetime ago. And who can deny that great chorus (which is even better in concert) - "And I just want to scream . . . HELLO . . . My god, it's been so long, never dreamed you'd return . . ." As many times as I have heard this song, standing in the midst of 30,000 people screaming hello also gives you the chills.

Going from Elderly Woman into Leash is like jumping from the steamy hot tub into the swimming pool - it's bracing, and they always seemed an odd dichotomy to me, placing them back to back. Leash is hard hitting, but melodic as well and I always forget that until I hear it again. I just remember the screaming and the rage. The churning feeling of this song, and the build, is also similar to opener Go. I do love the purity of youth captured in this song, and the anthem to losing yourself in the music, the moment (long before Eminem did). This entered my life when I was 14, and although I was generally a pretty happy kid, every teenager needs a rallying cry, a musical moment that defines you as OTHER from the previous generation, and for me this was it.

Indifference is absolutely ASTOUNDING, one of those tracks that slips by unnoticed because it is understated and at the end of the album. From the sedate, mollified opening lines -- rolled off the tongue over a smooth bassline . . . "I will light the match this morning so I won't be alone. Watch as she lies silent, for soon light will be gone..." It's like you are lying on your back in bed, watching the first golden sunbeams JUST starting to illuminate the room. The start of the song has always carried the feel of just waking up. But then the lyrics grow steadily more interesting for me, because even though he is still singing in the same easy rhythm (although with a bit more potency here), there is quite an urgent sentiment being expressed, "I'll swallow poison until I grow immune. I will scream my lungs out til it fills this room . . ." I associate this song in my mind with Kurt Cobain, even though it was written before he died. I know that Kurt's death made Vedder question, a bit, the seeming futility of the idealistic quests he was undertaking, I think at that time Vedder felt the weight of the world on his shoulder -- the thrust into the 'Messiah of Rock' spotlight -- and this song was part of his questioning of his changing role.


More than you asked for? Give it another go. And turn it up loud.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

New from Brushfire Records: Brokedown Melody soundtrack

Just got word from the folks at Brushfire Records (Jack Johnson's label) that they are finally releasing the soundtrack from the 16mm surfing film A Brokedown Melody (2004). Johnson's other surf films have had very interesting, well-put-together soundtracks (see the write-up of Sprout here) so I am looking forward to hearing this one as well.

Notable 'round these parts is the inclusion of a nice little ukulele ditty with Ed Vedder which, as I recall, played over the closing credits. A friend of mine once said I'd do backflips for this but I was never able to find a version of it until recently. And I'll admit, I fairly did.

"Goodbye" - Ed Vedder
This version from 3-15-02 in Los Angeles, the first live performance

Here's the full tracklisting of the album, which includes the usual suspects (Jack Johnson, Matt Costa) and some notably interesting inclusions (M. Ward, Kings of Convenience, The Beta Band):

01. The Cave - Culver City Dub Collective
02. Breakdown (film version) - Jack Johnson
03. Know How - Kings Of Convenience
04. We Need Love - Johnny Osbourne
05. Transfiguration No. 1 - M. Ward
06. Let It Be Sung - Jack Johnson/Matt Costa/Zach Gill
07. Goodbye - Eddie Vedder
08. Needles In My Eyes - The Beta Band
09. Heart (Things Never Shared) - Doug Martsch
10. The Road - Matt Costa
11. Vuelo Al Sur (Koop Remix) - Astor Piazzolla
12. Home - Jack Johnson

It's available for pre-order now and comes out November 14, to coincide with the theatrical release of the film. Speculation is flying fast and furious that this would be the perfect song for Vedder to bust out at the Bridge School Benefit this weekend, which I am conveniently in-town to attend. I wouldn't mind hearing this one live at all.

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A tale of two cities

From CNN, re: Colorado
"In the West, a wintry storm began to move out of Colorado on Wednesday after dropping more than a foot of snow in the mountains, snarling traffic and hampering the search for two missing hunters in the northwest corner of the state. Up to 13 inches of snow fell in the mountains and foothills along the Front Range, slowing traffic and downing power lines that sparked tree fires in Colorado Springs. The storm brought the first significant snow of the season to Denver."

Meanwhile . . .

Ahahahahaha! Picked a great week.

Win the new one from Ben Folds: supersunnyspeedgraphic

Ooh, I love these kinds of albums. Ben Folds is set to release supersunnyspeedgraphic on October 24th, a collection of songs from Ben's internet EPs, b-sides, and his animated film work (Over The Hedge). All are apparently sonically different from the old versions - rerecorded, remixed or remastered. Pre-order it here . . . OR try and win it. Yep, I've got one signed copy of Ben Folds' new album to give away to the person who writes me the best poem in the comments. I don't care what kind/format/topic, but bonus points, as always, if you make me laugh.

Here are streams of two of the new versions of songs on the album:

[.asx lo] [.asx hi] [.ram] [.mov]

"Learn To Live With What You Are"
[.asx lo] [.asx hi] [.ram] [.mov]

And I smiled to see that it has a new version of this song on it, just a fantastic little tongue-in-cheek ditty from the Sunny 16 EP (2003). This would be ideal as anyone's theme song:

"There's Always Someone Cooler Than You" - Ben Folds

Like you've got nothing to prove
No matter what you might do
There's always someone out there cooler than you

I might just get up and dance
Or buy some acid-wash pants
When you don't care then you got nothing to lose"

AMEN to that, brother.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Superdrag/The Anniversary: Split 7" EP

A few nights ago I was browsing the record bins at Streetlight Records in San Jose (an excellent little independent record shop) and I was realizing how much I love EPs. They are so . . . digestible. Just 4 or 5 little songs, a nice collection or introduction or sidetrack from whatever else you may already have from that artist. They are just perfect.

I recently came across a little 7" of Superdrag and The Anniversary, a joint effort from 2001 with each of them contributing three songs. It was the first in a similar EP series from Vagrant Records, and is a stellar collection of pop songs that showcase some fine (and thoroughly enjoyable) songwriting with a pleasant & catchy mid-'60s feel.

One to enjoy, for sure:

Take Your Spectre Away - Superdrag
The Emotional Kind - Superdrag
I Guess It's American - Superdrag

O Lady Butterfly - The Anniversary
Anias - The Anniversary
Up In The Sky - The Anniversary

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Fun is getting smaller, people

I'd just like to take a moment to mourn the passing of the "Fun Size" candy bar as we know it.

With Halloween coming, we picked up two large bags of chocolate delicacies at Sam's Club last weekend, in preparation for the costumed masses that happily descend on our house in suburbia.

Now, I may (or may not) have opened said bag of candy in advance and behind closed doors, you know, just to sample the wares and make sure nothing is poisoned. I was shocked and chagrined to see that fun is apparently getting smaller, with Snickers and Milky Ways (and maybe more -- who knows how far this travesty has spread) now tinier than ever, mysteriously shrunken from the candy I remember by about 1/3. I thought I was crazy until my friend Jenn recently commented on the same abhorrence, reassuring me that I'm not completely nuts yet.

You don't just go around messing with Halloween history, M&M/Mars Co.! Is nothing SACRED anymore?

Little Things (acoustic) - Bush
(Heather hearts Gavin Rossdale)

I Want Candy (Kevin Shields remix) - Bow Wow Wow
(from that Marie Antoinette soundtrack you can enter to win here til Friday the 20th)


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