Saturday, September 24, 2011

Song of the Day: "Paradise"

How many new versions of "Yellow" will the new Coldplay album contain?

We have to wait until October 24 to find out.

Or someone has to go to Pirate Bay or a fan site that's streaming it or something. Basically make an effort if you really need to know.

I'm just planning to figure it out based on the new Snow Patrol album. Since it'll be new Snow Patrol-1 version of "Yellow" (it's math in action).

Song: "Paradise"
Artist: Coldplay

Friday, September 23, 2011

"And I'd sit and listen and watch the fire till the cobwebs filled my head"

It's Mary Kay Place's birthday (again). For a full birthday post, see here. Otherwise, here she is singing with the late great John Denver.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "Advice"

Danielle Oliver's debut came to my attention through the magic of the inter-webz (it's not a dump truck!), and Danielle Oliver herself follows not too long after when she appears at the Kenton Club next week. She's there Thursday, September 29th at 9:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.

No, for reals, it says 4:00 p.m.

[UPDATE: And that was a typo. Just heard from her peeps that the show is Thursday night at 9 p.m., like a proper rock show--vampires and hipsters welcome!]

Now a matinee rock show has a lot of appeal to me, but not on a work day. Maybe some of you unemployed types can tear yourself away from Anderson Cooper and your box of wine for an hour. There's a Sunday matinee in Seattle at the Comet, if you also see the appeal of a matinee and live there.

  Danielle Oliver: Advice by rebelagenda

Song: "Advice"
Artist: Danielle Oliver

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Joan Jett

Chances are if you're doing something, I think you're doing it wrong. There is also a chance I think you're doing it right and everyone is an idiot for not realizing how great you are. But mostly you're probably doing something wrong. And in the case of Joan Jett, it's the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame that's doing it wrong.

Actually the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is doing it wrong with girls in general. By my quick review of inductees (just looking at performers, not sidemen [who are ALL men], early influences or non-performers), less than 10% of the inductees are girls. And that's counting Tina Weymouth, Maureen Tucker and 5 girls with Martha Reeves & The Vandellas! Interestingly enough, there's a girl among the members of the Grateful Dead, but none among the 9 inductees from Earth, Wind and Fire or the 16 inductees from Parliament-Funkadelic. That's fine, except when you consider that Heart, Pat Benetar and birthday girl Joan Jett aren't in.

I'm not even a Joan Jett fan, I'm just stunned that someone so significant to the rock music of the early 80s (which, cough, people have told me about) doesn't get the respect she deserves (this applies to Jett and Benetar, frankly). At least Mattel gave her a Barbie doll (here).

I have only a hazy notion of The Runaways, the seminal all-girl rock band Jett was part of in the late 70s. In fact it took reading their Wikipedia entry to realize that Micki Steele is Michael Steele of The Bangles. Small world, no? Here's their biggest hit, "Cherry Bomb":

"I Love Rock & Roll" was #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart for 7 weeks. It is Billboard's #56 single of all-time (per Wikipedia, which also said that Elizabeth Warren and her daughter wrote erotica together--not always accurate is all I'm saying). While Joan didn't write the song, she did release the album on her own label, so hopefully she saw some cash from that.

She made a movie with Michael J. Fox. I never saw it, but it happened. Some say she was pretty damn good in it. Bruce Springsteen wrote a song for it. It goes a little something like this:

Now am I drunk, or did I hear that Jett was "dating" Mike Ness from Social Distortion at one point? Nah wah, right? Right?

I leave you with Jett's cover of Sunny Curtis's "Love is All Around":

Happy birthday dude! Rock on! And Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, get that shit together.

Song of the Day: "July"

I heard this track from Steve Goldberg and the Arch Enemies yesterday for the first time. I made an semi-intelligible note for my files and I added "GOOD" at the end to make sure I didn't lose track of this one. They're a Philly band and this new EP, The Flood, appears to be totally self-funded and promoted.

If this track is a good indication of the sound, I'm in! And many of you might be getting a copy for Christmas, Kwanzaa or St. Smithen's Day. It's got a great retro sound with bright musicality and harmony. It's practically glowing, and I mean that in a good way. Just listen for yourself; I recommend some sun block, at least for the first time.

Song: "July"
Artist: Steve Goldberg and the Arch Enemies

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"These rivers of suggestion are driving me away"

R.I.P. R.E.M.
“To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening.”
I'm pretty sure this is so Pete Buck can spend more time stalking me.

I felt like we would run into him at every other show in Atlanta or Athens, so when I ran into him, like literally, at The Crocodille in Seattle, when I was living there in 1999 (SEE ALSO: Party like it's 1999; Space: 1999) I thought "you again?!" I had no idea he lived in Seattle or that he married the owner of the club.

And then he showed up at the Decemberists show here a few weeks ago.


I have a love/hate relationship with "South Central Rain" (aka every Emory frat boys favorite R.E.M. song, also called "IT'S MY SONG! IT'S! MY! SONG!" until whenever "The One I Love" was released), but the hate was never about the song, just the crowd I found myself with. But the minute I hear the guitar open the track, I'm 18 again. Except with less acne.

Here's to the R.E.M. reunion tour in 2016. Maybe even with Bill Berry!

And Pete Buck, stay out of my trash cans.

What was that about country first?

Oh, right, cunt-y first. Apparently Republican Congressional leaders (sorry, "leaders") would rather endure a mega-shitty economy (as that might help Republicans defeat Obama in 2012) than risk an improved economy courtesy of the Federal Reserve (DISCLAIMER: not affiliated with the Federal Government). Details here although sorry for the Murdoch-affiliated link.

Dear Chairman Bernanke,
It is our understanding that the Board Members of the Federal Reserve will meet later this week to consider additional monetary stimulus proposals. We write to express our reservations about any such measures. Respectfully, we submit that the board should resist further extraordinary intervention in the U.S. economy, particularly without a clear articulation of the goals of such a policy, direction for success, ample data proving a case for economic action and quantifiable benefits to the American people.
It is not clear that the recent round of quantitative easing undertaken by the Federal Reserve has facilitated economic growth or reduced the unemployment rate. To the contrary, there has been significant concern expressed by Federal Reserve Board Members, academics, business leaders, Members of Congress and the public. Although the goal of quantitative easing was, in part, to stabilize the price level against deflationary fears, the Federal Reserve’s actions have likely led to more fluctuations and uncertainty in our already weak economy.
We have serious concerns that further intervention by the Federal Reserve could exacerbate current problems or further harm the U.S. economy. Such steps may erode the already weakened U.S. dollar or promote more borrowing by overleveraged consumers. To date, we have seen no evidence that further monetary stimulus will create jobs or provide a sustainable path towards economic recovery.
Ultimately, the American economy is driven by the confidence of consumers and investors and the innovations of its workers. The American people have reason to be skeptical of the Federal Reserve vastly increasing its role in the economy if measurable outcomes cannot be demonstrated.
We respectfully request that a copy of this letter be shared with each Member of the Board.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, Rep. John Boehner, Sen. Jon Kyl, Rep. Eric Cantor
Crassly attempting to forestall recovery is business as usual for Republicans these days (seriously, Obama + good economy... none of the wind-up toys they call candidates has a chance), but here's what I find interesting: "the American economy is driven by the confidence of consumers and investors and the innovations of its workers." Here I thought the American economy was driven by tax cuts to job creators (sorry, job "creators"--you can't see the air quotes but they MUST be there because tax cuts haven't returned jobs in over a decade).  Hey look, I'll let Colbert illustrate that last point:

Song of the Day: "Deep Six Saturday"

As you probably realize by now, this blog is mostly about ways in which I am either surprised or confused. Or pissy.

And always with the typos.

Anyway, when bands from 20+ years ago show back up on my radar I am surprised. But when a solo artist does it, somehow I'm not. I'm happy that folks like Marshall Crenshaw, Don Dixon, and Janet Jackson manage to make a living as musicians instead of having to manage a Jiffy Lube or, in the case of Janet Jackson, merely owning 186 Jiffy Lube franchises.

So when I ran across a track from Tommy Keene recently it evoked what can be best described as a satisfied nod from me. Not surprised, not confused, not pissy... just pleased. And really pleased when I heard 3 tracks from this new album (you can download 2 of them free here [including this track] and another one free here [OMG, you can even get "the hit" free there too]). It's solid power pop and I am still giving a satisfied nod.

Or head bob.

Wait, what if it's a tic?

But the other thing that I've run across in his discography is a collaboration with Robert "this is a song..." Pollard of Guided by Voices. It will be fun to watch Eric obsess (and then excitedly tell me all about this album he's discovered).
  Deep Six Saturday - Tommy Keene by Redeye Distribution

Song: "Deep Six Saturday"
Artist: Tommy Keene

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Erin

It is still, technically, her birthday (I am pretty sure the 20th is her birthday).

As you know, Erin is a Buckeye, and she's been providing me lots of options for my upcoming visit to Columbus OH. She highly recommends the university's art museum, the Wexner Center.

Wexner Center/COTA/Warhol Bus Shelter from Wexner Center on Vimeo.

But she failed to mention this:

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum: Virtual Tour from Billy Ireland Cartoon L&M on Vimeo.

I searched their database for "Bullwinkle" and now I'm down the rabbit hole, as one of the search results has a title that makes me want to read an actual book: Reinstating Modernity in Social Science Research--or--The Status of Bullwinkle in a Post-Postmodern Era (Peter H. Kahn [KAHN!!!!!!]).


Disclaimer: I am probably not going to read an actual book. Certainly not any time soon.

UPDATE: Wait, I am traveling soon, that's when I'm most likely to read actual books. Stay tuned!

Back to Erin. We recently discussed Royal Crescent Mob. I'm sufficiently old to have played stuff from Omerta at the radio station in college... when I was 8. You are all excused from knowing RCM. If it's on the test, it will be for extra credit only.

And to placate Finn, here's some cowboy music:

Okay, I'm going to bed. Here's the someecard I made for her:
Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

"So I'll sing you a new song, please don't cry anymore"

Today is Alannah Currie's birthday, and while I had every intention of merely posting the video for Thompson Twins' "Hold Me Now" I felt I would be remiss if I didn't also mention this.
Alannah is thriving as a hybrid taxidermist/upholsterer. No, for reals. She is Miss Pokeno (here) and she is on the forefront of The Armchair Destructivist Movement (here).

No, for reals.

This isn't like the artist info about Anna Domino making a line of leather hats (although that may have actually come to fruition).

Alannah is a vegetarian, and the animals used in her pieces are either roadkill or died naturally. It's not clear how many animals may have (cough) been accidentally hit by her, totally unintentionally, late one night in the winding hills of New Zealand (fox [swerve], deer [swerve], golem [thud]). Still, kudos to her for reclaiming otherwise useless roadkill.
 "I'm making chairs to confront ideas of what comfort is"--Alannah Currie (for reals)

And with confrontational chairs, I give you her biggest hit with the Thompson Twins and I will take my morning shower.

Thompson Twins-Hold Me Now by adiis

Happy birthday dude. Rock on. Or don't. As an artist you wouldn't necessarily have followed those instructions without at least considering how your own interpretation could be brought to life.

Song of the Day: "Revelations"

Devon Williams/Euphoria
Before yesterday I was unfamiliar with Devon Williams and his former band Osker (they are melodic punk, FYI). I ran across this track and got swept up in it.

I don't know how representative this is of his new solo album Euphoria, but I'm willing to find out (and my birthday is coming up...).

Actually I'm now a huge fan of Devon's after reading 2 quotes in his (well, Osker's) Wikipedia entry (here):
  • "Punk is doing what you want despite the infiltrators, outside of the skateboards and shoes and hair and patches and the diets and the tattoos. I am Devon and I have 5 close friends, the rest of the world is divided into the helpers and the clueless."
  • [On former bandmate Dave Benitez] "The split between Dave and I is astounding to me. I always thought we were the next Simon and Garfunkel. I thought we would be our generations Hall and Oates ... Of course, I plan on killing Dave."

Song: "Revelations"
Artist: Devon Williams

Monday, September 19, 2011

"And i thought about a calico bonnet from Cheyenne to Tennessee"

Joshua Tree National Monument: Come for the UFOs; stay for the homemade cremations.
Today marks the unfortunate anniversary of Gram Parson's death back in 1973 at age 26. And while I could spend a lot of time on his music, it's how he came to be part of the Joshua Tree National Monument that's kinda fun.

In the late 60s Parsons picked up a habit of tripping on psychedelics and wandering off in the desert searching for UFOs... as one does.

After musician Clarence White was killed by a drunk driver, Parsons told a close friend (Phil Kaufman) that he wanted to be cremated, and his remains scattered in Joshua Tree. However Parsons neglected to inform his stepfather.

And then Parsons OD'd.

I'll let his Wikipedia entry take this one home:

To fulfill Parsons' funeral wishes, Kaufman and a friend stole his body from the airport and in a borrowed hearse drove it to Joshua Tree where they attempted to cremate it by pouring five gallons of gasoline into the open coffin and throwing a lit match inside. What resulted was an enormous fireball. Police chased them, but according to one account they "were unencumbered by sobriety" and the pair got away. The two were arrested several days later. Since there was no law against stealing a dead body, they were only fined $750 for stealing the coffin and were not prosecuted for leaving 35 lbs of his charred remains in the desert.
I was going to add that would make a great movie, but someone's beaten me to it.

"Return of the Grievous Angel" is the song that first introduced me to Parsons. The lyrics are great, and I find the part about the king leaving the bible belt for "some desert town" to either predict Elvis in Vegas or, quite possibly, it's actually explicitly written about Elvis in Vegas and I'm just hazy on the chronology of both events.

Lucy Kaplansky forgoes the somber tempo and gives the song a spirit that I haven't heard in any other cover (which means this might be like Paul Young's version of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" but, you know, maybe not).
  The Return Of The Grievous Angel by rebelagenda

Rest in peace dude.

Notes on the Emmys

I thought the opening number was a little long and not quite engaging, but it still had its moments. I said to John that it was obviously not written by the folks who write great opening numbers (like Adam Schlesinger and Marc Shaiman) but I was wrong (see also: Liza Minelli's Tonys), it was written by Schlesinger. And apparently Alec Baldwin was the original "President of Television" but walked when Fox cut a Rupert Murdoch/voice mail hacking joke.

I was rooting for Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell, so those wins were expected (duh). Steven Levitan's wife Krista should host, or at least present, at next year''s awards. Oh, and the adults all need to put themselves in the lead categories next year so the kids have a shot at nominations.

I didn't think Jim Parsons did anything to warrant a second win, but Big Bang is still one of my favorite shows, so I'll take it. Sorry Steve Carrell.

I don't watch Mike & Molly but I did watch The Gilmore Girls and Samantha Who? so I'm happy for Melissa McCarthy.

Charlie Sheen. Yikes. I expected him to be part of the opening number, to be honest, so I wasn't surprised to see him present. I was just surprised to see him look sad bad. Was that a hair piece? Does he just need a haircut really badly? And how fucking hard is it for him to fake an apology?

[UPDATE: Apparently Fox censors were busy yesterday, not just pissing Alec Baldwin off but in cleaning up language in one of the Lonely Island songs and in some of the allegedly-witty banter. After Ashton Kutcher hugged Jon Cryer and said, “I don’t think you are a troll!” Kutcher's next words were edited: “But what the fuck do I know. I married Demi Moore.” Thank you John!]
 As I don't watch dramas, I'll say that I generally like Margo Martindale (although I don't think I ever knew her name), so the sense of genuine enthusiasm for her win makes that one "feel" alright. Ditto Kyle Chandler and Friday Night Lights' win for writing. Of course with FNL it's a two-voice badgering effort encouraging me to watch.

Julianna Margulies is the funniest woman on television!!! She proclaimed it and I agree.

Need proof? Just look at the outfit she wore. Packing material and coasters! Fantastic!

Also she has a hot husband.

Michael Bolton... a highlight included Michael Bolton. BTW, Bolton is an Emmy nominee from back in 2005, original song for some Lifetime movie about domestic violence. The year before Toni Childs won an Emmy for an original song from a Lifetime movie about domestic violence, so it's probably a good thing "Dick in a Box" came along to lighten the mood.

Yes it's getting old that Amazing Race and The Daily Show dominate their categories. Other shows should try to suck less (although officially I think The Colbert Report is as good as TDS [if not better]).

Did you hear that Kate Winslet only needs a Tony to have a full EGOT? Yes, I'm sure you did. Did you hear that Maggie Smith only needs a Grammy to have a full EGOT? I mean aside from just now.

Greatest moment of the night? Jane Lynch introducing the cast of Entourage.

Runner-up? Krista Levitan's reactions to her husband's acceptance speech.

Happy Birthday Becky

Why the theme from Enterprise? Why not?! Or fuck you! Or the cake is a lie!

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

"I looked at his face, and I saw Victor"

It's Nile Rodgers's birthday, and if you want a complete birthday post, go here. This song, from Grace Jones's 1986 album Inside Story, was coproduced by Rodgers and Jones. It's been stuck in my head lately and I like that it really stands apart from their usual oeuvres, although to be fair Jones has always had a nice breadth to her work. She's just so rarely this subtle.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on and get well!

Song of the Day: "House for Sale"

Sir Nick Lowe is back with his thirteenth solo album. It's getting solid reviews, although I haven't heard it yet. I can't tell you how much or how little this track is indicative of a new sound or just a low key track.

The reviews seem to suggest it's a decidedly more downbeat album and they all seem to say that it works for him. That his songwriting is as good as ever and this may be him hitting his stride.

I have no idea. But I'll let you know when I hear it.

Song: "House for Sale"
Artist: Nick Lowe

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Sir June Foray

I've knighted her today. She is the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Natasha Fatale, and The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle are an important part of American pop culture, and among my all-time favorites.

Animator Chuck Jones said that Foray isn't the female Mel Blanc, that Blanc is the male June Foray. Take that patriarchal expectations.

Foray does not have any Emmys (or other EGOT credentials). She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and an award named after her at the Annie Awards. And at 94 she is still working (on Cartoon Network's The Looney Tunes Show)--normally I'd say that's awesome, but instead I'm going to say that somebody out there could really use that job. It's a shame that the economy is so bad that I'm asking June to sit the next few opportunities out so somebody else can get a break, but here we are.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "Meant to Be"

You might know Tommy Stinson from The Replacements.

Or you may know him from the most recent line-up of Guns 'n Roses (yes, he does play on Chinese Democracy)!

Or you may know him from the current line up of Soul Asylum.

But you may not. And this track is from his second solo album, so none of those group affiliations is really important now.

But The Replacements and Guns 'n Roses=impressive.

Song: "Meant to Be"
Artist: Tommy Stinson