I AM FUEL, YOU ARE FRIENDS

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

Friday, November 30, 2007

Dan le Sac hits Colorado; will bring Scroobius Pip

Somehow Colorado made the top list of only 4 U.S. cities that Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip are hitting in December (full dates below). I find this unclassifiable duo from London to be nothing short of intriguing, and I will eagerly go to their show if only for a much-needed change of pace -- "Thou shalt not make repetitive, generic music" indeed.

Even though it's been seven months since I first posted their video for "Thou Shalt Always Kill" (dubbed by NME as their Track of the Year despite the fact that the song slams their fine publication), I'm not even close to sick of watching it yet:



The other day I was putting the Nestle Coffeemate creamer (my weakness, my vice, my morning requirement) back in the fridge and I swear I near-audibly heard the voice of the Scroobius Pip dude like a celestial conscience saying, "Thou shalt not buy Nestle products." Thing is, I know he's right, I believe I read that their stance against Nestle stems from unethical formula-promotion campaigns that harm breastfeeding and public health/infant mortality in developing countries for the sake of profit, so we are on the same page with that travesty. But I still like my Toffee Nut creamer. And I have a feeling that that, in a nutshell, is why this civilization is going to hell.

Thou Shalt Always Kill - Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip

TOUR DATES: DAN LE SAC VS. SCROOBIUS PIP
Nov 30 - EKKO, Holland
Dec 1 - Clash, Holland
Dec 2 – Rotown, Holland
Dec 5 – Bumper, Liverpool
Dec 6 - The Aftershow @ Sankeys Soap, Manchester
Dec 13 - Supreme Trading, New York, NY
Dec 14 - Mercury Lounge, New York, NY
Dec 15 - Fox Theatre, Boulder, CO
Dec 16 - The Belly Up Aspen, Aspen, CO
Dec 17 – Spaceland, Los Angeles, CA
Dec 18 - Dim Mak Tuesdays @ Cinespace, Los Angeles, CA
Dec 21 - Filter Magazine Xmas Show @ Camden Barfly, London
Jan 19 - Out to Lunch mini-festival @ The Black Box, Belfast
Jan 26 - XFM Spiced @ Glasgow Box, Glasgow
Feb 8 – Marignan, Brussels

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fools rush in (where angels fear to tread)

During the hellishness of living in a war zone, what can music possibly bring to the equation? Through its primal power, can it be a hand to reach out and pull us away?

When the Bosnian War and the siege of the city of Sarajevo was unfolding in the early Nineties, I never could wrap my mind around the ethnic cleansing, the infighting, the murders of civilians under the auspices of war. It all seemed so very far removed from my world (despite my grandmother being full-blooded Yugoslavian).

After just finishing Bill Carter's book Fools Rush In, it still doesn't make full sense to me what was causing the bombing and sniping and destruction between neighbors Serbs, Croatians, Bosnians, Bosnian-Serbs, Bosnian-Croats, Bosnian Muslims - like one of those spin-the-wheels color combination games -- how many combos can we come up with that can kill each other? Then again I don't know how much sense it made to anyone involved, inside the city or outside looking in (or outside ignoring it).

Bill Carter is a twenty-something from the West Coast who begins his journey into the Bosnia region as a man unmoored. From his earliest memories of abuse at the hands of a terrifying, nauseating, damaged father, he begins his book by telling of his lifelong gravitational pull to places half a world away. He remembers getting a map of the world in National Geographic magazine as a child growing up in California's Central Valley:

"I stuck the world, measuring three feet by five, on the wall next to my bed with a few strips of tape. At night, on the top bunk, I would secretly stretch out across the world. If I extended fully I could put my toes in the jungles of Sumatra, my navel at the tip of Argentina and my head in the Indian Ocean. Most nights I would place an ear against the the map, my hot flushed cheek touching the imaginary cool deep waters of the Pacific Ocean. I think I was listening for the sound of breaking waves. Instead most nights sounded the same."

When he reaches his early twenties, he finds a temporary harbor of amazing intensity in Santa Cruz in the arms of a girl named Corrina who fills exactly one year of his life with fervor and heat, understanding and laughter. His writing about his relationship with her held my nerve endings up against a white-hot flame, reminiscent of how Rob Sheffield wrote about Renee in Love Is A Mix Tape only with more grit and sexual honesty.

After losing Corrina, Carter's trajectory spins him to a war zone on a humanitarian mission. I felt like he was searching to numb the pain inside of him by immersing himself in even greater pain around him. Life in the seven-mile-by-one-mile oval of land in the heart of Sarajevo is under siege -- a killing zone from snipers in the hills and in the tall buildings, shooting at anything that dares to move. But Carter finds that people do dare to move; they dare to play blues music and rock 'n' roll in clubs where you have to duck your head and run from the incoming shrapnel to get in the dusty side door. They dare to hold art gallery openings and go dancing. They share meals in their homes (away from the vulnerability of the glass windows), they laugh, they make love -- and live in the moment because tomorrow may actually never come.

As Carter says in an interview on Dutch television, "When I got there, it didn't take very long for me to realize that this place was ... timeless. When you entered Sarajevo, in that war, you entered a time zone. There was no past, no future. The past is gone, it's obliterated. The future is how much longer I have to sit here with you before a bomb comes in the window. So what we have is right now. I was living right in the moment, which was a huge relief for me."

Carter fills his days with distributing food through a French group called The Serious Road Trip, lives in a bombed-out office tower in the center of Sarajevo, and they occupy many nights sitting around drinking cheap Eastern European vodka mixed with powdered lemonade, trying to make some sense of what is going on all around them. Carter's journey in this book is honest, and reeling, and confessional. All the foreigners in this story seem, to some degree, to be trying to find a home and a purpose and a community on the other side of the world.

Carter's hesitation mixes with the brashness that we are so prone to in our twenties; the hubris pressed hot against the earnestness, with the passions all bleeding red into our uncertainty. One other Serious Road Trip member remarks to Carter one night, "I am beginning to believe the worst part of being here is knowing this might be the best thing I ever do in my life. I mean I'm only twenty-six. What am I supposed to do for the rest of it?"

Dealing with the death all around them, Carter appraises his own pale flesh in the mirror one night and writes, "Sometimes I think it is easy to forget we have blood in us until it starts to leak out." He loses friends and acquaintances to the war, and in between his humanitarian work he photographs the people he meets and the horrors (and joys) that he sees each day.

Then one night he arrives upon a whim that can only be described as ludicrous, but that plays out into a surreal reality. Carter wants the world to know what is going on in this strip of land that seems to have been forgotten by the international community, rendered invisible by the political double-speak and the obscurity of another war, another country. Not my problem. For some reason he thinks of U2. He thinks that U2 might understand and sympathize with what is happening in Sarajevo because of the parallels between their own Irish history and their passion for social justice. And amazingly enough, Carter calls it right.

A big part of this story then also becomes the relationship he forms with U2 from the center of this bombed-out city, and the way he is ultimately able to connect the Sarajevans and their stories with hundreds of thousands of European concertgoers attending the ZooTV Tour in 1993 via live satellite. The Edge and then Bono relate with what Carter is experiencing and filming, and the result becomes the award-winning documentary Miss Sarajevo, for which U2 pens a song by the same name. The double-edged sword of pop celebrity here becomes an asset through which people begin to take notice of the slaughter, setting into motion a chain of awareness and events that seem to ultimately help quell the horror in Sarajevo through NATO action.

Carter's book is about a quest for redemption; for a people, for a city, for himself. It's a riveting read on so many levels, saturated with feelings and uncertainties that I could absolutely relate to even though I've never lived in something like he describes. I was encouraged how one confused, passionate, grieving, flawed twenty-something started a rumble about an injustice in this world, even as he struggled with so many things. He captures a rare joy in this story. And plus, the book mentions Pearl Jam two times, so you know, it's clearly worth it for that alone. Pick it up here and read a U2-related excerpt here.

Sunday Bloody Sunday (live in Sarajevo) - U2
The Sarajevans invite U2 to play Sarajevo and Bono seems ready to go in immediately, but is reined in through the obvious security concerns. It takes four years, but they eventually come to Sarajevo in 1997 on the PopMart tour

Miss Sarajevo (live in Milano) - U2
Bono sings the Italian lyrics here instead of Pavarotti; a gorgeous song with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights read over the ending

Angel - Pearl Jam
This is just a Heather-addition, a song not mentioned anywhere in the book but one that fits this story as perfectly as if it were part of the official soundtrack, on so many levels. Listen to it as accompaniment to reading, and tell me I'm not crazy


[all photos credit Bill Carter]

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

One last gasp at warmer days

So, did I tell you I am going to Hawaii in January? Yaay. A relative is getting married on Kauai so I'll be boarding a plane for eleven million hours and then living the island lifestyle for a good six days or so. Meanwhile in Colorado . . . little flurries of snow tentatively started falling last night (winter seems to be delayed this year which is okay with me) so I am bracing myself for colder days from now until then. Before we launch into December and Christmas music and all that, here's one last track for sunnier days.

Island Style (with Jack Johnson) - John Cruz

John Cruz is a legendary Hawaiian slack-key guitarist/musician, and this duet is the closing track on the new Brushfire Records compilation album of laid back live cuts from their roster of, well, really laid back artists.

Thank You, Goodnight: Live Tracks from Bonnaroo and Vegoose
is available directly from Brushfire Records store, as well as from your local indie brick & mortar record store (find your nearest at Think Indie).

THANK YOU, GOODNIGHT TRACKLIST
1. Take You There - G. Love and Special Sauce
2. Wasting Time - ALO
3. Staple It Together - Jack Johnson
4. Songs We Sing - Matt Costa
5. Color Of Your Blue - Money Mark
6. Constellations - Jack Johnson
7. Hot Cookin' - G. Love and Special Sauce
8. BBQ - ALO
9. These Arms - Matt Costa
10. Island Style - John Cruz (Featuring Jack Johnson)


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CONTESTS: Brit Box winner, plus some Sex & Drugs & Rock n Roll

The Brit Box competition was fierce and heavy, neck and neck. The randomly-selected winner from all the wonderful entries was a "vklj" who said that Common People changed his life. Here's to hoping the Brit Box is more of the same for you, vklj, and please be in touch with your mailing address.

I have a new contest to launch today. Have you heard the quirky, snarly, danceable-punk Cockney perfection of the Ian Dury song, "Sex & Drugs & Rock and Roll"?

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the entrance of this song and phrase into the lexicon of great English contributions to modern culture, Demon Edsel is issuing a numbered limited edition 7" single on orange vinyl of the song with a "specially colourised version" of the original picture sleeve (wherein he is looking oh so Lou Reed, if you ask me). The b-side to this 7" is "Close To Home," a recording from January 1977 which was only ever issued on an NME cassette in 1981, and has not been re-issued since. Sah-weet!

I have three of these nice little 7"s to give away. Leave me a comment if you would desire the goods.

Sex & Drugs & Rock And Roll - Ian Dury and The Blockheads

STREAM THE LIVE VIDEO:
Real or Windows Media

On the same label, also check out the re-issue of Ian Dury's first album under his own name, New Boots & Panties (two things we can be grateful for in this mad, mad world). The CD reissue is paired with a DVD that captures Ian Dury & The Blockheads live on BBC's Sight and Sound In Concert series, recorded at Queen Mary's College on December 10, 1977. It's a rare performance that has been languishing in the BBC vaults (along with who knows what all else good stuff) for nearly thirty years.

Ian Dury on MySpace

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Who am I, where am I, and no more Polish women

1) I'm finally back but I am sick. Dang airplane recycled air.

2) California was excellent. In addition to all the wonderful Thanksgiving-related things, I adopted the spirit of appreciating what CA offers that CO doesn't; I got some really cute chocolate-brown corduroys at H&M in San Jose that I am wearing today, and I found a wrap dress that I want to wear every day. Plus, Trader Joe sent me on my merry way with cocoa almonds and some two buck Chuck. I could be in love with that strapping Trader man.

3) My high school reunion was the weirdest thing I think I've done yet. To see all those faces in one room - walking into that was strange. And great.

Since I can't even get my head clear enough to attack the hundreds of emails waiting for me, here are some random odds and ends that jumped out at me today, for you, since I miss you all:

۞ The new Nine Inch Nails remix album is out: Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D (took me a while but hey look that spells out "Year Zero Remixed," which is what I think I'll call it in polite conversation). After getting out of his relationship with Interscope and going all free-agent, sounds like Trent has some new innovative ideas; he's posted tons of master tracks from his songs at remix.nin.com and invites his fans to play with them and share their results. If I had any idea how to do that, I would, but for now I will settle for listening to The Faint (whose song "Posed To Death" is on my very favorite running playlist) remix "Meet Your Master" --

STREAM - "Meet Your Master" (Faint Remix)

I think it sounds pretty good. If you think you could do better, try your hand at it over on http://remix.nin.com/


۞ Black Crowes announced details today on their new album Warpaint, due March 4th. It's their first new studio record in seven years, since Lions was released on V2 in '01. Since V2 is no more, this album will be out on the band’s own newly formed Silver Arrow Records, and the new lineup includes Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi All Stars on guitar.

You can read the full tracklisting here.


۞ I stumbled across a raw demo version of The National's "Slow Show" over on Sixeyes. Now, you know how I feel about The National; My friend described this song perfectly when he wrote to me, "the national writes songs to drive through the darkness listening to, they are the best late night/early morning band i've ever heard, 20 years from now when they remake almost famous they are going to be playing fake empire or slow show in the bus scene instead of tiny dancer." I thought that was lovely. So go see what you think.


۞ Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers
are heading back into the (Mexican) studios in January with the creative mission to write, compose, and record an album in 8 days . . .

According to their MySpace blog, Roger, P.H., Steve, Nick, Jason Boots with his video camera, and the talented Clif Norrell (producer of Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy and No More Beautiful World) will be relocating for the week to a house in Rocky Point, Mexico, and I am excited to hear what is to come. Roger told me a near-mystical story once about how the song idea for "Leaky Little Boat," (one of my favorites) sprung unexpectedly from the fertile beaches of communal Mexico living, so let's hope that same inspiration is present come January. Read Roger's latest story of white-knuckled traffic travails and the details on the album here.

۞ New tour dates announced in 2008 for Ryan Adams (and then while you're at it go over to the MySpace try and figure out WTF is going on with the Axl Rose-channeling on the streaming new Ry song "Sexual Fantasy")


۞ New tour dates announced in 2008 for the Foo Fighters (and they've got that new video for Long Road to Ruin that reminds me of the adolescent days when I used to follow General Hospital - a dark secret)


۞ The Fader Magazine has a really interesting article on New York rock in "the years to be hated" (early 2000s) and includes some cool silent black and white video footage of The Strokes shot in the style of Andy Warhol's Factory screen tests.The article talks about the Strokes in their genesis days (lower-case g), and also bands like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, !!!, the Rapture and DFA. The article has several punch-fantastic photographs in it, but this absolutely gorgeous photo instantly became one of my all-time favorites - that saturated hue, the skyline, that perfect time of night, all lovely and blue.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Augie March with a lush orchestra

Holy sweet fantastic, this is gorgeous. I already liked Augie March a lot before hearing this set; they managed to wow a midday tent-full of jaded music executives at the Boulder Records & Radio conference last August, coming all the way from Australia to play their hearts out with passion and earnestness. My brother, who is generally much cooler than I, tells me that in the land down under they are megastars, and I think their album Moo, You Bloody Choir is excellent. They are starting to get some well-deserved notice here.

Already literate and lavish, their songs become absolutely something else in this setting. "One Crowded Hour" makes me want to climb inside of it even more than before. What an elegant, evocative, soaring song.

AUGIE MARCH
WITH WESTERN AUSTRALIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
@ KINGS PARK 2007
[thanks jay!]
BROADCAST ON JJJ RADIO

Lady Time (orchestra intro)
This Train Will Be Taking No Passengers
Mother Greer
The Honey Month
One Crowded Hour
Men Who Follow Spring The Planet 'Round
Bottle Baby
O Song
Song In The Key of Chance
Stranger Strange
Brundisium



ZIP: AUGIE MARCH WITH ORCHESTRA

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving trio of tunes

Happy Thanksgiving, kids. I do miss being pleasantly busy in my own kitchen all day today; it's just been the last two years that I've ever first attempted to make my own turkey feast, and both years the big ole bird turned out really well with my fancy/creepy butter spice rub under-the-skin technique. I thoroughly enjoy the whole massive domestic culinary endeavor.

This year I'll be an accessory in someone else's kitchen, helping out where I can. Let the working and eating and thanking begin, and may all of you who are celebrating enjoy the day as well. I started reading Fools Rush In on the plane yesterday; good fodder for perspective.

Thank You (with Robert Plant) - Pearl Jam (10/5/05)
It's Cool To Love Your Family - Feist
Thanksgiving Song - Adam Sandler

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

going home

So disorienting being back on this familiar spiderweb of streets, driving through the night under a glare of yellow streetlights in a borrowed car. Every exit off the freeway, every intersection, every half mile here has a story I could tell you. Some neighborhoods have dozens of stories that tumble into my mind unbidden and all want to talk at once. As often as I seem to keep finding myself back here for one reason or another, it still isn't exactly home anymore after two years on a new frontier, and yet it always will be home. This contrast puts a weighty, sharp, tangled knot of corded grey-white inside of me. Being back in the area I grew up in feels a bit like that dream you have where you open a door in your house and there's this whole dusty wing that you forgot about with rooms and hallways and little alcoves that look so inviting, yet are silent from disuse. Am I the only one who has this dream? It always plays out in my sleeping brain that I walk through that creaky door and everything feels oddly familiar and exciting, yet unloved for so long that the strangeness is unavoidable. In the dream, I always tell myself, "You know, I totally forgot this part of the house was here. I gotta remember this." What do you do with that? I wonder if this peregrine journey will ever stop feeling this way.

Home.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Fuel/Friends turns two years old today!

[that's the two-year-old me on the right, celebrating something with my sis in fine style - I think it was a cousin's birthday]

Two years ago today I started Fuel/Friends, mostly on a lark, to talk about my passion for music and all the other good things in this world. My how we've grown, and what fun we've had these last two years. I sincerely appreciate each of you guys who stop by each day to see what I have to say, and the attention that you pay to both my writing and my musical selections. It's pretty much the raddest thing in the world to get to do this, so thanks.

Following the tradition I set last year, here are twenty great songs featured here during Year #2 that everyone needs to take a closer listen to. I know that keeping up with all the music I unearth for your listening pleasure is akin to drinking out of a firehose sometimes, so I've scrolled through my archives and picked some of my favorites that are worth another spin if you missed them the first time around.

TWENTY FROM YEAR TWO
Emily - Stephen Fretwell
Oh, Emily, you slay me. This selection was from a mix sent my way by dear reader Chris in England, and I think I may have listened to this song more than any other this past year. This slowburn stunner is sublimely sad and slightly bitter, one of those bruised and rueful moments of clarity about someone you love(d). But somehow it sounds so winsome, I can't get enough. One reviewer thought (and I echo), "Emily was actually a great, bleak pop song and one of the most beautiful ‘f*ck you’s’ I’ve ever heard whispered on daytime radio." [original post]

My Third House - Kings of Leon
I was baptized into the KOL cult in May witnessing their live show in Denver. I was on the receiving end of a headbutt that drew the taste of blood into my mouth, and when I hear this relentless song, I think of that. Since then I have also noticed an eerie similarity in the lazy instrumental bridge with talking in the background - sounds like DMB's great song "Lie In Our Graves" to me. Take that for what it's worth. [original post]

Your Favorite Thing - Sugar
From my Love Is A Mix Tape mixtape, this song has become my favorite of the bunch because it distills perfectly that essence of the happy days of wholeheartedly loving music that are detailed in the story.

Lonely No More - Magnet
Starting with a high and lonesome harmonica, combined unexpectedly with big band thumping drum-major beats, this one gets my attention from the start -- and then the perfect pop Buddy Holly melody sticks in my head for hours. I ♥ it with a vengeance. [original post]

Lose Myself - Lauryn Hill
From the unlikely source of an animated movie about surfing penguins comes one of the finest Lauryn Hill tunes, oh pretty much ever as far as I am concerned. Something about this introspective yet old-school funky song, I just cannot get enough of it. I find the skittery stop-start beat in particular to be irresistible. [original post]

The End Of The World - Ash
Here's a soaring tune that I want to sing along with and be listening to if it is, indeed, the end of the world. Tinglingly good, I love the epic feel of the key changes (I am a sucker for those); for some reason this line gets me: "Can't hardly see the stars, there's too much light pollution . . . That's the catch, it's such a beautiful confusion." [original post]

Wings for Wheels (early Thunder Road) - Bruce Springsteen
Part of the Memorable Moments In Music series I wrote on for WXPN, this legendary Springsteen show at Main Point in 1974 captures the nascent glory that is Thunder Road being performed for the first time. I could also read the corresponding Jon Landau piece about Springsteen in this era on a weekly basis and not tire of it. He says: "But tonight there is someone I can write of the way I used to write, without reservations of any kind. Last Thursday, at the Harvard Square theatre, I saw my rock'n'roll past flash before my eyes. And I saw something else: I saw rock and roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen. And on a night when I needed to feel young, he made me feel like I was hearing music for the very first time." [original post]

Hardcore Days and Softcore Nights - Aqueduct
I completely missed this one when it first came around in 2005 (maybe because I don't watch The O.C.) but when I heard it this past year, it hooked me instantaneously with its insane, thumping beats and I've listened to it since then on repeat. A lot. You will love it -- and although the title sounds like it should be the definitive soundtrack to a porn flick, the lyrics are actually tame and a bit cryptic. That is to say I have no idea what he's talking about. [original post]

Bring It On Home To Me - Sam Cooke
Someone just bring it on home to Sam already, with this post of cover versions that I had so much fun assembling. Because no one, no one comes close to tapping the power of the original for me, let's listen to it again. Even though it's self-flagellating sad sap fare, it always sounds like slow dancing barefoot on a dusty front porch somewhere. A flawless song.

You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb (alternate version) - Spoon
Similar to Britt Daniel's eerie, echoey contribution to the Bring It On Home post, this song sounds like it was recorded in a grain silo or a metal shed somewhere, a huge, vacuous, cold metal shed. Yet it's a cold, vacuous shed you wanna dance in because the beat here is shuffley, clappy cool. Combined with Britt Daniel's falsetto, it's my favorite Spoon song this year. [original post]

Electricity + Drums - The Apparitions
Every once in a while out of the dozens of songs that kindly introduce themselves to my eardrumsto in a week, something stands out in a big way -- the sort of song that makes me stop what I am doing and say, "What the heck IS that?!" This fantastic song from The Apparitions [from Lexington, Kentucky and Washington D.C.] has been absolutely at the tip-top of my playlists for the week. It reminds me of a catchier version of "Rehab" without all the beehive hairdos, the overdoses, and the belligerent behavior. [original post]

Scar That Never Heals - Jeremy Fisher
Dude, hand me a tambourine. The song that I heard raves about off this album from Canadian Jeremy Fisher is track 3, "Cigarette," which boasts one of the best choruses of the summer. But this song is the opening track, and is just so filled with infectious '60s/'70s pop goodness -- think Monkees meet Neil Diamond's "Cherry" in a modern and non-cheesy way that absolutely makes you want to sing along. [original post]

Take Care of Us - The Star Spangles
I've been a fan of these gritty NYC rockers for about two years now [previous post], but I've been out of the loop and their newest release Dirty Bomb (2007, Tic Records) slipped right past me. The Westerberg-meets-Clash blend percolates to a perfect urgent richness on this newest effort -- it's addictive, catchy, rough-edged rock. The cascading backup harmonies are just the icing on the rocker cake. [original post]

Sunday Morning - k-os
Appropriate for the New Year's Day when I first posted it -- I wrote that this one's fun and fresh and feels like something you should dance around to (if you, unlike me, have any feist left in you after last night and especially -ugh- this morning). A slaptastic backbeat and repetitive lyrics that sound like they are droning at you from very far away, this is infectiously catchy. It's got the class of an old soul deal remixed with modern hip hop beats, from Trinidad-Canadian k-os to help you start your year off right. [original post]

Sister Christian Where Are You Now? - Jesse Malin
This is a b-side off Malin's new Broken Radio single (UK), and has that same anthemic rock and roll sound as the rest of the excellent Glitter In The Gutter album. Aside from some incongruous time-shifting in his lyrics here (he is alternately born in 1973, 1984, 1968, 1932) he also manages a few vivid couplets like, "foolin' around in the dark / back from college with carnal knowledge" and talks a lot about rocking - keep on moving, keep on grooving. Brightly shimmering guitar riffs and a ferocious rhythm makes this the first anthem of my summer. [original post]

The Devil Never Sleeps - Iron & Wine
There are some songs from Iron & Wine that just devastate me in the best way possible; I think Sam Beam is an amazing songwriter. I thought I knew him, kinda had his sound pegged as the perfect soundtrack to activities like moping, looking out a window at the grey clouds, or falling asleep. So get ready for the sounds on the new album Shepherd's Dog (Sub Pop) -- the songs are just as wonderful, but with a heck of a lot more spitfire and pluck. This one sounds like something from another time, floating out the window of a neighbor's house into the humid summer night. The devil never sleeps because he went down to Georgia and is dancing to this. [original post]

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart (live 9/1/07) - Wilco
And ahhhh, this was the year I truly discovered Wilco for my own, and had my face personally melted by them in concert, by the original goodness and soul-wrenching virtuosity of their music. This was the second song of their first night in Denver (I've watched the video of it about 15 times) and it was during this song that I realized I was really in for something special with them; I think it was right around the time he pointedly sang, "I want to hold you in the Bible-black pre-dawn." Like whoa. [original post]

We Will Become Silhouettes (Postal Service cover) - The Shins
This is one more from a guest post, this time a Chris from North Carolina instead of from England. He feels that this song is better than the Postal Service original, and I am inclined to agree that it is more enticing and crisp somehow. The bonus is that it also made me pull out my Postal Service CD again and it's been in my car ever since. So it's a win win win situation. [original post]

Night Windows - The Weakerthans
I have a penchant for sharp lyrics, and this is an area where Canada's The Weakerthans [previous post] stand out. Their incisive, introspective feel will probably remind you a little bit of Death Cab For Cutie if you haven't listened to The Weakerthans before; they are a richly nuanced group that I really enjoy. This song could undeniably be the most perfect summer night driving song ever recorded. You can almost see the yellow lines flitting past, feel the warm summer wind rushing in the open windows. [original post]

The Hustle - Marah
I wrote that this tune had been comfortably been living on my iPod for a good two years or so without receiving my full unabashed love -- until now. At first I thought this urgent, perfectly ebullient song was maybe Westerberg because of the yowly crack to Dave Bielanko's voice, with delightfully jangly rock guitars. I now love the bright burn and swagger of this song, it's a new favorite. [original post]

ZIP: TWENTY FROM YEAR #2

Go ahead and sing along to that Marah line, "I’m-a leave the hustle one day when I can’t do it no more good." That is also incidentally the theme song to this blog, when people ask me how long I'm in it for.

But ya know, I think I got some 'good-for-the-hustle' left in me, for quite a while longer yet.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

Ah, MySpace, why do you sucketh my time so?

Bleary eyed, I am emerging from a quickly-passed hour on MySpace to begin writing this post on Sunday night; I've been looking up people I went to high school with because my 10-year HS reunion is this Friday out in Campbell, California. Yes, our class (1997) was a little lazy and we didn't get anything organized until now, about 5 months after the actual anniversary date of the blessed graduation day. We all vowed to K.I.T. and never change and stay sweet (S.W.A.K. of course); I am pleased to report that we have all, in fact, changed.

Looking at people's profiles, sometimes it's shocking to stare at a face and then suddenly like one of those 3-D pictures where the image jumps out at you, go "Oh my gosh! That's ____!" All these far-flung jobs, babies, spouses, organizations, not to mention new haircolors, different sizes now, better fashion sense -- all these things should make Friday night a total mind trip. I am looking forward to it.
Well, that and the karaoke.

I feel like I should go make a 1997 high-school memories playlist, but won't subject you to it. New tunes:

Arm Twister
The Tripwires

Like a rough-edged Beatles track lost in the vaults, or something from a Sunday drive with Chuck Berry (who they also cover on their album) this pleasantly powerpopped-out track from Seattle's The Tripwires features a lot of connections to bands we love 'round these parts. Members of the Minus 5, The Young Fresh Fellows, Screaming Trees and REM cooperate here to make some mightily pleasing sounds. Count me a fan of the crunchy guitar, the layers of harmonies, and the pitch-perfect '60s rock sensibilities. Makes You Look Around is their current album, just out last week on Portland's Paisley Pop label.

Like A Vibration
The Whigs
Stream the new plugged-in album version: Windows [Lo] [Hi]
Quicktime [
Lo] [Hi]
or if you need an mp3
Like A Vibration (live on MOKB)
Oooh, these guys rock. I wrote about The Whigs last year with their fantastic song "Technology", when they were a wee unsigned fledgling band. Now they've gone and hooked up with ATO and are prepping to release their first album with them, Mission Control, due January 22. Definitely stream the album version of this song -- kinda like a Replacements-meets-Pavement yowly-howly vibe here, all fuzz and aggression, but with a strong melody. In order to stretch and include them in the mp3 roundup, I got the acoustic live version above too from Dodge's awesome in-studio session with The Whigs earlier this year. The Whigs will be heading out on tour with Johnathan Rice and The Redwalls in the next few weeks.


We Don't Talk Like We Used To
Elliot Randall

This dude opened for Roger Clyne at the formidably barn-like Slim's this last weekend in San Francisco, and he's also on the new KFOG Local Scene CD along with Fuel-favorite Ryan Auffenberg
[KFOG's podcast on Elliot here]. My friend Brad Kava at the Mercury News said of Randall's 2007 album Take The Fall that it "flies below the radar but could take off at any minute... A little bit country, a little bit Elliott Smith." This cut is a slowburn little gem of bittersweet harmonies that reminds me of Ryan Adam's duet tunes with Norah Jones like "Dear John." In fact, whoever's doing backing vocals here sounds a lot like her. Lovely and sad, tear in your beer stuff. Note: Elliot is definitely not the same grizzled guy with a similar name from Steely Dan; according to this Elliot's MySpace, we share a birthday three years apart -- he just turned a mere 25 on August 19. Sounds like he's lived more than just those years, don't it?

Wave of Mutilation (Pixies cover)
Joy Zipper

There's a fantastic new Pixies covers jamboree out on the very cool, always vinyl-loving American Laundromat Records. These are the same folks that brought us the 7" vinyl series and the High School Reunion soundtrack covers album. This new covers album Dig For Fire: A Tribute To The Pixies features artists well-known and otherwise, but the variety just serves to highlight how well the original songs were constructed. This version of "Wave of Mutilation" loves being done by a girl-fronted band, all loud and fuzzy like the Breeders' second coming. Joy Zipper is a guy-girl duo from NYC and I dig em like The Raveonettes -- absolutely go check out their song "Go Tell The World" on their MySpace. Yum. Other artists on the Pixies comp that I've written about before are OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mogwai and Dylan At The Movies. ALR also has an interesting-sounding album of female artists covering Neil Young due in early 2008. I am never let down by their offerings.

Changing Your Mind
Bob Schneider

Lest you think I gave ole Bob the short end of the nasty stick with my recent show review, allow me to suggest this soul-flaying unreleased tune from him. This just goes to show that when he's good, he's really good. This pure, achingly vulnerable track is one that he performed in Denver, and listening again to the full studio treatment of it just does something to my heart. I also located a live mp3 of that song I quoted at the end of the show review, I'll be adding that up shortly. So worth delving into.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Win a new Brit Box compilation, and listen to the re-formed Verve in Blackpool

New contest! This one tails nicely on the heels of my anglophile's paradise post last month about the Britpop movement. If you find yourself with some UK-centric leanings in your musical selections, here's a new box set you might wanna throw down for.

The Brit Box: U.K. Indie, Shoegaze And Brit-Pop Gems Of The Last Millenium is out this week on Rhino Records, collecting 78 songs out of Britain from 1984 to present that celebrate "the essence of cool."

I have one box set to give away! In rad packaging, you'll get:

-DISC ONE: 1984-1990. Early modern British influencers like Stones Roses, Happy Mondays, Jesus & Mary Chain, The Smiths, Primal Scream
-DISC TWO: 1990-1993. The hazy shimmer of the shoegaze movement is traced through acts like Ride, My Bloody Valentine, and The Telescopes
-DISC THREE: 1994-1995. Britpop explodes in a crushing supernova. Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Elastica etc.
-DISC FOUR: 1995-present. Where we're going - Ash, The Verve, Super Furry Animals, Mansun, Placebo and more

The 80-page liner note booklet comes with with interviews, memories and essays from Creation Records founder Alan McGee, seminal producers Stephen Street and Alan Moulder and an assortment of artists. Full tracklist here.

To celebrate the release of this box set, vLES (a "virtual Lower East Side" web community set up by MTV) has some special programming this week. Brett Anderson of Suede will be on MTV's Subterranean tonight to talk about the Brit Box, and on Monday vLES will have an online "Britpop Round Table" streaming from the Bowery Ballroom with Rob Sheffield from Rolling Stone (who wrote this excellent 'lil book), Rob Dickinson of Catherine Wheel (who I tragically omitted from my last Britpop post) and John Hagelston from Rhino Records. Check here for a full list of the other Brit-centric programming this week.

So, they offered me one box set to either keep, or for contesting. Do not ever say I don't love you: leave me a comment to win my promo copy of the Brit Box set!

And to wrap up the last contest before we move it along: Aikin from Licorice Pizza was picked as the random winner of the NYC DVD set. Thanks for all the wonderful stories.
* * * * * * *

Speaking of awesome music wafting from across the Atlantic, how 'bout that re-formed Verve? They've now hit the road, back together in the original lineup, and just completed six shows earlier this month in the UK.

Since the odds of them coming through the U.S. seem to be about the same odds I get on a Stereophonics tour, I have to satisfy myself with reading what folks said about the experience, and trolling YouTube for hazy cellphone video clips. From the moment they first took the stage on Night One in Glasgow, they've been playing some seriously rad sets. This vantage point makes me tingle (from the second night in Glasgow):



And listening to this boot from a few nights later at the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool does nothing short of give me little frissons of excitement up and down my spine - hear the crowd sing along with Sonnet, or the wild roar that greets Bittersweet Symphony.

THE VERVE
LIVE AT THE EMPRESS BALLROOM
BLACKPOOL NOV 6, 2007

[Thanks to taper: Pete Bullock]

This Is Music
Space and Time
Gravity Grave
Weeping Willow
Life's An Ocean
Sonnet
Sit And Wonder (new song)
Velvet Morning
Already There
Stormy Clouds
Let The Damage Begin (b-side)
On Your Own
The Rolling People
The Drugs Don't Work
Bittersweet Symphony
A Man Called Sun
History
Lucky Man
Come On

ZIP: VERVE BLACKPOOL SHOW


And a bit of scene-setting from someone lucky enough to be there:

I was at [the Blackpool show] - arrived just in time to hear 'Mad Richard' announce 'This Is Music'... It was great to finally see the band in their original conception- no extra guitarist, no string section.

What was even more impressive was the fact that so much 1st & 2nd album stuff was on the set...even ON YOUR OWN & MAN CALLED SUN (personal faves). One could argue that a mediocre, crowd satisfying 'last album' set would have been enough. But could you really have seen Nick McCabe agreeing to re-form for that kinda live package???!!

Must say [the Empress is] the best venue for this type of gig. Ok the acoustics are not entirely set out for rock bands but the surroundings always make gigs at the Empress very unique. There's also that 'outta town' mentality where a band has purposely avoided the more suitable venues within the vicinity (Manchester Apollo/Uni, Liverpool Uni) and gone with the face of Seasides past 'Blackpool'-not to mention the sprung floor!...magical!

Overall a grand night had by all...now lets see how the bigger gigs go next year!

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Oh, you think you're so perspicacious

Did I ever tell you that I got an 800 on the verbal part of my SATs? No? Well let me tell you this now: post-college-placement it has absolutely no relevance to normal life (well, okay maybe more relevance than the math section) -- except now.

Now I can hone my mad wordsmithery skillz even further using this addictive website called FreeRice.com where you answer vocabulary questions, try to figure out what progressively harder words mean, and each success you have donates ten grains of rice to a hungry person through the United Nations. Pretty cool! But allow me to dispel two myths posited by a friend of mine in regard to this site:

1) He says you need to play all day to feed one person a decent meal. Not true. Will someone please guesstimate how many grains of rice make a hearty bowl next time you're stir-fryin some dinner and report back to me how much of a dent 10 grains can make? It expands when you cook it.

2) Picking the wrong answer does not, in fact, take rice away from a starving family.

Color me confused, Bob

Right before Austin, Texas singer-songwriter Bob Schneider took the stage in a packed Denver house last night, I was talking to a nice 20-something accountant named Kristen about what we expected from the concert (both of us Bob first-timers). I told her that I didn't exactly know what was to come because Bob seems to vacillate between two disparate musical extremes.

A friend of mine made me two Bob Schneider mixes last year, one of all his best album tracks (songs like "Come With Me Tonight" [my video], "God Is My Friend", "I'm Good Now" [my video] and "Big Blue Sea"). The other CD was full of his random outtakes and b-sides, with decidedly a more playful twist. The b-sides mix often wandered into rap territory, silly rhymes, salty language, crowd-singalongs, etc. I was wondering how he was going to integrate the disc one tunes with disc two last night.

The show ended up uncomfortably trying to straddle both types, and I found it to not serve either aim as well as it could. On the one hand Bob has these amazingly compelling, honest, searching tunes of alt-pop perfection, where his strong clear voice fills the room with evocations like "just want to shine as bright as brooklyn on a saturday night / just want to scream until i drown," and then the very next song is about a mummy (yes, as in spooky dead Halloween mummy) who can't get no play walkin down the street, and then a tune about (kids, cover your ears) "Tittybangin" and its mass appeal for a variety of practical reasons (heavy flow --yes, he sings that-- or not wantin to have a new baby brother). Sure, we chuckled, but the vast incongruity threw me.

So the wacky parts felt like an R-rated Dan Zanes (children's troubadour). Like maybe the best option would be to bring your 15 year-old kid brother to the show, and he could hold your beer and laugh at the tittybang jokes while you go to the bathroom, and then while the serious and gorgeous songs are playing, he could be amused by the (not lying) girl who ran up next to me, casually said, "Can I just sneak in here? I need to flash Bob" and then proceeded to do so, the full kabooms right there in his line of sight. The 15 year-old would like that. But the rest of the audience seemed split by the two different shows going on; half there to party, half there to see his music. Bob's got a lot of talent, I was just unclear where he was going with it all.

He did move me with his "grown-up" songs, if we wanna call them that. He played a tune which I can only find one lone reference to online, but he hit it out of the park last night.

Something about the way the lyrics of the short chorus hung in the air just sliced me; we all wish the world would do what we wanted it to do, and we all know when we make that plaintive request that it never will.

I wish I was a baby bear sleeping in the brown
Winter grass in April while the sun was going down
And I wish my shoes were empty
And I was still in bed
With you there beside me with your dreams inside your head

Oh I wish the world would do what I want it to
And I wish the wind would blow me, blow me back to you

I wish your Mom was ugly and your Dad was ugly too
Cuz then they couldn't had a girl to be as beautiful as you
And I wish I was a tight rope walker with legs made out of gold
Cuz I'd hold you in my golden legs and never let you go

Oh I wish the world would do what I want it to
And I wish the wind would blow me, blow me back to you

I wish I could see Jesus shining in the sky
So he could finally tell me everything was just a lie
And I wish I knew that God's love was all I'd ever need
I'd cut my candy teeth for fun and let the good times bleed

Oh I wish the world would do what I want it to
Oh I wish the world would do what I want it to
And I wish the world would blow me, blow me back to you


UPDATED: Hear it here

[more pics]

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Empty campaign promises

Hey, this was a pretty cool surprise:

Looks like Fuel/Friends has been nominated in the Hey! Nielsen (yes, the TV ratings people) / Billboard.com Best Music Blog Contest which went live Monday. There are a bunch of great blogs listed, many of my faves, and you can vote for more than one [registration required].

So head on over and clickity-click your right to vote if you like!

Don't bother to pack your bags, or your map

Weezer's "Blue Album" has found its way this week from the center console of my car (where I keep a wide assortment of discs forever orphaned from their cases, if they ever had cases) and via random fumble while keeping my eyes on the road, into my CD player. I am pleased to report that this album will forever sound good to my ears. Lately "Holiday" has been on repeat (and may, actually, be a perfect song), but the whole album is a blissfully fuzz-laden slice of 1994 to me.

The Weezer camp has some new projects coming up that are on my radar.

Frontman Rivers Cuomo will be releasing Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo on December 18 via Geffen. On their website, Rivers reports, "This is a CD of my favorite home demos from ’92 to ’07 featuring a lot of never heard before songs, a few covers, a few songs from my unfinished rock musical 'Songs From The Black Hole' and my original demo for 'Buddy Holly'".

I am very excited about the Rivers solo stuff. Dude is a prolific songwriter, you can't even keep track of what all he's written and performed and leaked over the years, unless you have vault-like memory. This'll give you an idea. All I know is that some of the demos and unreleased stuff that I've heard are as good as anything that Weezer actually released, so we should be in for a treat next month.

Then in April, Weezer's sixth studio album will be coming out, currently untitled and also very hush hush about the content. We know it's finished, and it's being mixed, but other than that, we can only conjecture in hushed tones what might lie therein.

To stoke the possibly-dormant fires of your Weezer fever, here's a handful of demos & miscellany that I've unearthed from my iTunes for today's playlist.

You Gave Your Love To Me Softly (Angus soundtrack)
Lover In The Snow (demo)
Worry Rock (Green Day cover)
The Sister Song
Come To My Pod (Songs From The Black Hole)
Let's Sew Our Pants Together (Kitchen Tape)
Thief, You've Taken All That Was Me (Kitchen Tape)
My Evaline (b-sides)
Mykel and Carli (b-sides)
Jamie (DGC Rarities, Vol. 1)

I also just noticed that Weezer bassist Scott Shriner guest-starred with The Scrantones at, um, The Office Convention. I don't know about attending any convention for a TV show (as much as I love said TV show) but I'd totally join the Scrantones on a world tour. That is, if Scrantonicity II didn't want me.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Jump magic jump, Magic dance, magic dance

I watched El Labyrinto Del Fauno (Pan's Labyrinth) last night, which made me think of other favorite labyrinths of my past.

The question came to mind: which is scarier?


or?


Magic Dance - David Bowie
As The World Falls Down - David Bowie


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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

NEW CONTEST: So that next time you're in New York you know what the heck you're craning your neck at

It's New York Week next week on the History Channel. That means when you decide to take a break from your relentless rock and roll lifestyle, you'll have something better to watch than Cash Cab (lovin it like I do) as you sink into your couch.

Since I am feeling fond of all things New York-related lately, I am going to TiVo this action (it starts November 19th). There's a big contest going on over at their website where you can get whisked off for a 4 day history-themed tour of NYC, including cool stuff like a private tour of The Met, a tour of the Top Of The Rock on the GE Building/"30 Rock", tickets to Les Mis, a shopping spree at Macy's, lodging at the Roosevelt, and dinner at Ruby Foo's, etc. Not bad.

Enter the sweepstakes by Nov 22nd at the History Channel NYC site.

FUEL/FRIENDS CONTEST: I thought we'd also set up a consolation prize pack here since your chances are like a billion-to-one on that biggie trip:

I have one box set of DVDs from the History Channel on Landmarks of New York to give away. It will school you on the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Chrysler Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Empire State Building.

To win this educational diversion, leave me a comment. If you are feeling inspired, please tell me an NYC story. It can be an anecdote or vignette that actually happened to you (like when I saw Vanessa Williams brunching, that was fun). Or tell me a fun music-related tale you heard that took place in New York. Either way; I'll consider you entered. Leave me a way to get a hold of you if you win, and I'll pick a victor this weekend.


NEW YORK TUNES, TAKE 2
If This City Never Sleeps - Rosie Thomas
Hard Times In New York Town - Bob Dylan
Chicago New York - Scrabbel
New York City Cops - The Strokes
Chelsea - Counting Crows
Wake Up In New York (with Evan Dando) - Craig Armstrong
New York Girls - Mooney Suzuki
Train Under Water - Bright Eyes
I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City - Harry Nilsson


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Humble blogger makes good for kiddos this Christmas

I love being a part of the exciting medium of blogging, and am always proud of my fellow bloggers when they do something cool related to the actual production of music, like Aquarium Drunkard's Autumn Tone Record label, and now It's Hard To Find A Friend's Caleb Palma, who has curated an original indie-rock Christmas album called Peace on Earth.

I know, it's yet a little early for jingle bells, but we gotta get the word out on this -- especially since all the proceeds of Caleb's compilation go towards Toys For Tots (which delivers toys to needy kids on Christmas morning)! How rad is that?

The album is only $7 for high-quality digital download, and features a solid list of bands and musicians, including Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla, American Music Club, Rosie Thomas, Via Audio and many more. The tunes include never-before-released covers, some new original songs, and a couple "non-holiday exclusives to keep the grinches happy."

This preview mp3 is from The Long Winters, and starts with the scene-setting lyrics: "A studio apartment in a dull part of Seattle, a string of lights suspended by a thumbtack in the drywall..."

Sometimes You Have To Work On Christmas (Sometimes)
- The Long Winters



FULL TRACKLIST: PEACE ON EARTH
1. Prayers & Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers - Shepherd's Song
2. Quiet Company - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
3. Great Lake Swimmers - Gonna Make it Through This Year
4. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin / Sweetwater Abilene - The Wheels Are Off
5. Chris Walla - Coventry Carol
6. David Karsten Daniels - In The Bleak Midwinter
7. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
8. The Winston Jazz Routine - Through the Snow
9. Via Audio - My Boo
10. The Long Winters - Sometimes You Have to Work on Christmas (Sometimes)
11. TW Walsh - Drop the Bomb
12. Ohtis - American Christians
13. Aaron Robinson - End of the Year
14. The Cotton Jones Basket Ride (Michael Nau of Page France) - White Christmas
15. American Music Club - Please Please
16. Johnny Bertram - Merry Christmas (You Won't Get What You Want)
17. Rosie Thomas - Christmas Time is Here
18. Sleeptalker - This is Christmas

Stream some other tunes below, and go buy it for the kiddos!

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Monday, November 12, 2007

11/12/1997 :: The Honking Seals play the Catalyst

November is a good month for all my uberdork Pearl Jam anniversary celebrating. Ten years ago tonight, I was in my own personal upper echelon of sublime, unbelievable, kept-pinching-myself heaven:

Pearl Jam was in the Bay Area to open for the Rolling Stones and decided to play a secret show at the garden-lovely Catalyst Club (capacity 600) in Santa Cruz, billing themselves as The Honking Seals. In the Fall of 1997, I had just started my freshman year of college. In those early days of the internet, I was on a PJ listserv called Long Road and first heard about the show upon returning back to my Graham Hall dorm room after my 11:45am Wednesday class. I clearly remember feeling my heart splash up into my throat as I read the posting about the rumored show taking place that night. I immediately grabbed my keys, cleared $200 from my meager savings account, and drove over Highway 17 to the club. There was already a day-old line outside when I got there in early afternoon, and it was sheer mayhem with media (I'm so mentioned here) and everyone drawn like moths to the flame of excitement in this fairly laid-back beach town.

I don't think I have to specify that it was a fantastic show. Seriously - 600 people? How could it not be. I remember feeling shock and disbelief when I actually convinced some apathetic girl that she wanted to part with her ticket. Until that point, I had always felt with certainty that since I was pretty young when the band first formed that I would never get a chance to see them in a small club setting. I really did have to keep pinching myself all night.

The performance was crackling with energy from the band, radiating up from the audience. It was the first PJ show in almost a year, and three tunes from the yet-unreleased Yield were played for the first time that night. "Do The Evolution" peeled the crud off my soul with those blistering guitar riffs while Ed danced this little modster dance. I remember "Wishlist" as being so plaintive and wistful (with different lyrics in that early incarnation), but simple almost like a lullaby, and unlike any other song in their catalog. "Given To Fly" was nothing short of a religious experience when that line "a wave came crashing like a fist to the jaw . . ." broke for the first time, soaring over that tiny hot club.

Plus, November 12 is Neil Young's birthday, so Ed called "Uncle Neil" on a big cell phone that he had up on stage, and we all sang happy birthday to him. At the end of the night, as I leaned forward from the front of the balcony, Ed wandered over to the side of the stage. He looked up directly at me, and in a moment of what can only be described as sheer suavity, I waved at him. He smiled at me, and waved back.

That was a good night.

Given To Fly (11/12/97 premiere)
Wishlist (11/12/97 premiere)
Do The Evolution (11/12/97 premiere)
Happy Birthday to Neil Young (11/12/97)

[this audio is okay, minus the a-hole talking about 5th grade over Wishlist, etc]

So by the way, tonight I am pretty much the antithesis of my devil-may-care "get me to the show" rockergirl personality from ten years ago; instead of heading up to the Hold Steady in Denver, I am trying to stop a nascent sore throat in its tracks by drowning it in Airborne, orange juice, tea, and those little mini probiotic yogurt shakes. Yeah. Rock on.

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