Friday, December 29, 2006

My Year in Review

Over the course of this year I have had the opportunity to see some outstanding concerts, meet new people who share the same passion as I do about music, and shed some light on my opinions and thoughts about the world of music in the creation of this blog. I'm disappointed that I've not been able to update this site as often as someone like Heather's, but satisfied that I've had the ability to reach out to so many viewers.

Instead of doing a top ten albums or top ten artists of the year I have decided to create a list of the best song heard live from each of the concerts I attended this year. Some of these artists appear twice (311 and Pete Yorn.... an odd pair), and I will include a short recap of each show. It's been a great year, I've seen an outstanding lineup of bands, and now it's time to share what I feel is the highlight of each show.


Black Rebel Motorcycle Club played at Mississippi Nights in St. Louis back in February. Their studio work is outstanding, but they've got major issues with the sound engineers while touring. At first I thought the venue just didn't provide a good live sound, but I've attended two other shows since then that had wonderful acoustics. The sound was so bad that the only recognizable song I could tell was played that night was Ain't No Easy Way, so this is all I've got.

March 11, 3/11, 311

Five guys, one Elvis impersonator, twenty-man drumline, SIXTY-FIVE songs......... all in a day's work. Known as 311 Day, the city of New Orleans has adopted March 11 as 311 Day for the last few years. But since Hurricane Katrina took its toll on the city, the band took a short drive up I-55 to the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis. After being inside this venue I am convinced it is older than the Colosseum in Greece. My friend Steve and I have seen 311 a few times before but had never been to a 311 Day show. The show was a whopping five hours long. Steve's favorite song is Gap. It's a rarely played, relatively unknown, short, simple, song with a decent blend of pop and punk. Five songs into the show Steve decides to brave using the facilities. First song played after his departure? Gap. I sang away with an empty seat next to me while others around me wondered how I knew the song so well. It takes me back a few years whenever I hear it, and that's why it's my choice of this show.

Pearl Jam/My Morning Jacket

I was at work in the middle of running cameras for the 10 o'clock newscast when I got the phone call. Brennan and Tyler were at Pearl Jam, Night #1, Chicago. I couldn't tell what song was being played in the background but I did hear "Ha ha ha, we're rocking out to Pearl Jam tonight and you're stuck at work! Sucker!" Now, I had no intentions on making it to either show because I couldn't afford it, didn't ask off from work, and didn't ask anyone else if they were interested in going. But when I got that phone call everything changed. Less than twelve hours later I was on the road. I bought tickets that morning, so of course I didn't get priority seating from my Ten Club membership. Instead I got one hell of a view..... from behind the stage. My Morning Jacket opened and rocked. Flat-out rocked. Of course they played One Big Holiday, but the best of the bunch was Off the Record. I got to see Hammond B-3'er Boom hanging out with the guitar techs during songs he wasn't involved with, drummer Matt Cameron has two "personal assistants" sitting behind him throughout the show, fetching water or drumsticks, and I got a great view of guitarist Mike McCready's guitar closet. It's huge. The most vivid highlight of the show seeing a girl behind me who seemed uninterested in the majority of the show instantly explode; screaming every syllable to every word of Crown of Thorns. I posted the video clips from my digicam on Youtube. Here is Elderly Woman, Insignificance, and the end of the show. (Yes, I cheated and layered the audio from the bootleg with the video from my camera. Or do you think you would like to hear distorted garbage instead?)


Just a few days later I was in St. Louis to see HIM. HIM is a heavy metal band that play ballads, smoke lots of cigarettes, and drink heavily. If you've ever seen Viva La Bam or anything Jackass related there is a good chance you've heard something from these guys. The opening act, Aiden, will be remembered for having the lead singer with the ability to swing his microphone cord all over and not hit anyone onstage, including himself. Unfortunately, HIM's lead singer, Ville Valo, smokes too much and had to end the show early because he had an asthma attack. Only nine songs were played, but I did manage to hear what I wanted. Right Here in My Arms isn't too harsh on the ears.

Black Crowes/Robert Randolph/Drive-by Truckers

The only show I attended in the month of June was all I needed. It was the trifecta of great American rock and roll. The Black Crowes were in town, with The Drive-by Truckers and Robert Randolph and the Family Band as supporting acts. DBT played a short set of only eight or nine songs, with The Day John Henry Died being the highlight. Even though it wasn't as powerful as their Bonnaroo performance from a year earlier it still drew a caring response from the crowd. Robert Randolph soon followed, playing long extended versions of Going in the Right Direction, Nobody, and several others. The biggest jam of the night was Squeeze. The Black Crowes came out with a roaring Virtue and Vice. Soul Singing, A Conspiracy, Jealous Again, and even The Seeker were stretched from their normal durations into nine to ten minute long jam sessions. Their setlists are short because the songs are rarely less than six to seven minutes, so the chances of getting to hear one particular song that isn't a radio hit are pretty rare. During a long transition from Ballad in Urgency into something new, I realized I was about to hear Wiser Time. Make fun of me, call me a weirdo, whatever... but I often think of the phrase "fourteen seconds to sunrise". No one ever tracks it down to the second. They do, and I love every second of this song. (pun intended)

Pete Yorn

During my day in University City (St. Louis) to see Pete Yorn, I met some of the greatest people I've ever met on the day of a concert. Blueberry Hill was the venue, and I spent much of the afternoon soaking up the A/C, watching the Cards game, and drinking beers with regulars and newbies like myself. We complained about the game and the heat, but were anxious to see some Yorn. Earlier in the day Pete finished up an in-store performance at a record shop down the street and was signing autographs afterwards. As he signed my cd liner I asked him to play Undercover. Before he handed my new piece of rockabilia back to me he looked at what he had just written, as if he was studying the name he just signed. Later on that night he explained his actions in the middle of the show. "I had a friend ask me to play a song earlier today, and after looking through my setlists from all the other shows I realized I haven't played it yet. So here's a rare one... this song is called Undercover." He didn't say my name out loud (that would have been really cheesy, a guy dedicating a song to another guy), but he spotted me in the crowd and gave me a nod. I gave an approving reply. I want to thank the person who took a picture at the same time as I did. Their flash provided excellent lighting for a great shot.

311/The Wailers/Pepper

This show was my least favorite 311 show. It was chock-full of their radio friendly songs and offered little variety. Perhaps seeing them play over 60 songs last time creates high expectations from that point on. Keeping the ball rolling, I have to pick a favorite song from their setlist.... so.... You Wouldn't Believe will do. I got to see Pepper, a Hawaiian band with a rough So-Cal sound reminiscent of the Sublime days. They garnered a loud ovation and cleared off the stage to make way for The Wailers. Great rasta-reggae music from a legendary band. It was pretty hard to avoid the contact-high after they hit the stage! (another pun intended)

V.A.S.T./Mardo/Murder Happens

I've done this review already. It's right here. I will tell you the best song Jon played that night was Three Doors. Download it NOW. Don't ever give Mardo a dime of your hard-earned money because they are arrogant assholes who don't deserve the attention, let alone the royalties. Supporting Murder Happens would be like supporting the goth-kids hanging out at the mall so they can go to Spencer's and buy the newest Slipknot poster.

Pete Yorn/Minibar

I'd rather focus more on Minibar than Pete this time around. I did a little bit of a review last month and was much more intrigued by his supporting band. Minibar consists of Simon Petty on vocals, Tim Walker on guitar. Sid Jordan plays bass while Malcolm Cross smashes away at the drums. I didn't realize until this night that Minibar is more than just a band that plays around Pete, but they've got two of their own albums. Trouble is, these albums are scarce and difficult to get a hold of. From what I heard them play this night, they have a crafty way of blending a soft country ballad with an upbeat rock song that has every muscle in your body pulsing to the beat. I can't tell you the name of a single song they played that night. But I can tell you that when they came back out to backup Pete, they gave every ounce of energy to Alive. This show was partially blurred by lots of draft beer so this review won't be much clearer than the one I attempted the morning after.

Old Crow Medicine Show

The review I attempted for this show has proven to me that I just need to keep it simple and provide the high points of the show.

What did I love the most about this show?

The bands' opening song, Tear it Down. Pure acoustic energy. It gets the crowd fired up fast. I loved the age gap in the audience. Beside me was a man in his mid 60s, another well into his 70s standing in front of me with a tall draft beer in hand. I loved seeing the couple that brought their six-year-old, wearing headphones to protect his ears so he can enjoy fine live music like this for a long time coming. I love the fact that I could have taken my grandparents to a concert and we all would have come home satisfied and thirsting for more. I love the fact that Kevin Hayes' played his guitjo with such intensity he had to step away from the mic two or three times per song to silence the howling feedback. I loved seeing the guy wearing a Dimebag Darrell shirt because it says hey, anyone can like these guys. I loved the song on their new album, Let it Alone. I love the chorus line:

let it alone

let it alone

if it don't concern you let alone

if you don't know say so

mind your own business and let it alone

And finally I love that they ended the show with a cover of Dire Straits' Walk of Life, with the cheesy electronic keyboard replaced with an accordion.


While standing in line for this show my friend Tyler spotted Andrew, the lead singer, standing in front of his bus and talking on his cell phone. Having had a few drinks in his system already, Tyler urged me to join him in going over to say hi to Andrew. I reluctantly agreed and we made our way over to greet him. I "pounded knuckles" with him as Tyler told him they were going to be awesome. He seemed annoyed. Anyway, there was an opening band that nearly put me to sleep and I can't tell you their name. The Silversun Pickups, intended to be the second act, bailed out for some reason. That meant the first band got to play an extended set, which was really unfortunate. Wolfmother came out and the crowd exploded. They open with Dimension, scream through their entire album, and even play Communication Breakdown. Colossal was the highlight for me though. It was full of keyboard solos, long electric guitar breaks, and a moment with Chris Ross playing bass and keyboards at the same time. Wow.


That does it everybody. I've met some great people on this blogspot community that I feel like I've known much longer than the six months I've been doing this. To Heather, Kraig, all of my friends in South America, thanks for keeping me motivated to make something out of this blog. It keeps my writing skills fresh. I'll sign off the year with one song from a show I dearly wish I COULD have seen. Ryan Adams, August 2. It is the inspiration behind the little quote below this blog's title. This is it, everybody, this is it. Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

"There goes my hero"
In a rather dangerous attempt to gain popularity and become a legend at his high school this kid has exemplified everything I think about Christmas. He is my hero.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Visit to Hollywood.
I just spent a week in California, covering literally every city with a population of 300,000 or more. Monday night is the focus of this blog entry though. My mom and I got tickets to see the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Boy was I excited to see the list of who would be on. Not only my TV crush Jenna Fischer from The Office, but the one and only "I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane"..... Samuel L. Jackson. Oh, and some cook named Ming Tsai too. Don't berate me if I don't know who this guy is because I still don't know who the hell Rachael Ray is either.

Anyway... something very odd happened throughout the taping of this show. All you've got to do is look at the episode list on Ferguson's CBS site. When the show starts up I see the "tonight's show" graphic showing Edward Norton, Jenna Fischer, and some comedian. I'm confused already. Is it Ed or Sam? Whatever... I'll find out eventually. Here's something you may not be aware of.. the Ferguson show you watch on TV doesn't have the same guests that are taped that day. But if you want to see all three of these segments you'll have to watch three different nights.
Jenna: Monday
Ming: Tuesday
Sam J: Thursday
Now Craig's wardrobe was indeed changed for each guest, talk about knowing what you're going to wear for the rest of the week! Monday's show on TV consisted of Edward Norton, and Jenna Fischer. I suppose Ed's was taped last week, or earlier in the day?
So, the thesis of this random post is when you watch late night TV and the previous guest is not sitting next to the current guest on the set.... it's probably split up the way I've just explained. Weird, huh?
A new addition to the blog.

My friend Michael likes the way that the blogspot sites are set up. They are clean and organized most of the time, and he has offered to contribute various reviews of films and music. It will be a hearty addition of what my blog has become. So this is the first film review....

I have rented and just finished watching two documentaries on DVD, both of which were highly entertaining. They have nothing in common, aside from speaking with or referring to more popular or current musicians who make an appearance to reveal how these two men influenced them in their work.

Leonard Cohen first crossed my radar when "Pump Up The Volume" was released. He had his second round of "15 minutes of fame" around that time; articles in Rolling Stone, mentions by comedians on TV, featured in Entertainment Weekly. My roommate Dave, Jewish like Cohen, played "Everybody Knows" on Columbia's public radio when he next had a chance. We actually made up a chart on our chalkboard in the apartment and kept track of how many times we heard about him in popular culture for about a month.

On the soundtrack, Concrete Blonde does "Everybody Knows", but in the film, it's Cohen's cigarettes-and-gravel vocals that take the film to its pinnacle. Watching U2 reduce themselves to Cohen's band, even singing "oohs" and "doo wah wahs" for him is magical; all four members are totally enthralled by Cohen's presence, even though he admits he "can't carry a tune."

Most of the film centers around a tribute concert performed in January 2005, which at first seems obnoxious -- I wanted to hear Cohen himself. But this tactic redeems itself in that his influence is properly magnified by today's artists who are more direct in explaining Cohen's appeal. Leaving the final act for Cohen to take the mic seems fitting, as he has the bulk of the film to explain his life and where his lyrics come from. This is necessary to flesh out the life of a man who is an ordained monk, lived in Chelsea Hotel with beatniks and Janis Joplin, had the reputation of a lady's man (and still does, even at age 72), but who "laughed bitterly during the 10,000 nights I spent alone", as he puts it.

It's obvious that the singers who pay tribute, and especially Bono, have taken Cohen's philosophy of music and art and life and beauty and tried to the best of their abilities to not stray from that path. Although this is at its core a concert film with a low budget (some of the musicians are interviewed on the day of the show, while Bono and The Edge are cornered in a hallway), it's worthy of the 105 minutes it takes up on DVD at your local Blockbuster.

My favorite moments in this tribute are from Teddy Thompson, who covers "Tonight Will Be Fine", all songs by Rufus Wainwright, although he initially gives the impression that Elton John is nearly as hetero and uptight as Billy Graham, and actually, Rufus' sister, Martha, who seems like she might just be the craziest fuck you could ever have if she could just wrap those legs around your neck and crack your head like a walnut. (Think Famke Janssen in 007's Goldeneye.)

On the other end of the spectrum, there is "The Devil and Daniel Johnston". Raised in West Virginia to strict Christians, this is the tale of a kid who was undisciplined in everything except his art. While Cohen sought out the "regimes, the regimens", the orderly, Daniel acquiesced to every artistic urge he ever had. In his youth, Daniel ignored all attempts to be "converted" to religion, and spent all his free time, and even his schooldays, doodling, playing music, writing songs, and basically just fucking off. Much to his parents' dismay, he seemed hellbent on being "an unprofitable servant of the Lord".

After escaping with the circus and landing in Austin, Texas, Daniel's life changed. While he scammed his way onto MTV, and into a career as a singer/songwriter (besting Stevie Ray Vaughan in a local poll for year's best), he also began to crack under the pressures his parents had for years laid upon him.

While officially diagnosed as bipolar, his behavior could easily be mistaken for schizoid. Talking of the Devil come for him, and prosletyzing to audiences, he became over the years a man-child -- and a legend. When I first saw him perform live in this documentary, I wanted to laugh, but I couldn't. Afterwards, researching his Pearl Jam connection, Eddie said of Johnston "he is not to be mistrusted." I think this sums up Johnston about as well as anything in the film. Daniel's sincerity, his laser-beam focus on creating and being artistic, even on becoming famous, is rare. While others may deal with the consequences this extreme behavior causes in their lives, Daniel is mostly oblivious. Drugs, mental institutions, and even his parents and friends take years to correct the imbalances in his chemistry. Even today, as an adult, he gives the impression of being slightly retarded, and completely eccentric.

What is most unnerving is his place in popular culture. His drawings are hung in art museums -- they're drawn on regular notebook paper. His songs are covered by Beck, the Flaming Lips, and even Pearl Jam -- who did Walking The Cow at Bridge School in 1994. Eddie played Daniel's version of this song early in the setlist for Self-Pollution Radio.

Now his parents take care of Daniel, and his dad takes him to China and South Africa for performances. In Austin, the mod kids forego the statue of Stevie Ray Vaughan and have their picture taken by the record store Daniel frequents, the one where he painted his "Eyeball Frog" mural in 1994. The same Eyeball Frog that Kurt Cobain made famous by wearing it on a t-shirt for several weeks, including at the MTV Music Awards.

Two men, opposites in nearly every aspect, with far-reaching effects upon the musicians we hear today. Both incredibly sincere, and focused. Yet you couldn't find two catalogs of songs more unlike each other.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Report: Recent Wednesday Felt Like Thursday
The Onion, December 6, 2006 Issue 42•49
NEW YORK—An informal study of U.S. citizens has revealed that a recent Wednesday, specifically November 30, was intuitively and subliminally perceived to be a Thursday by office workers, retail personnel, and any others who had occasion to give thought to the day of the week. "I don't know why, but it was a total Thursday kind of day," said Sue Seversen, an assistant program coordinator at Minnesota General Services who theorized that the change from daylight-saving time or the recent drop in temperature could be to blame. "All day I kept thinking that at least tomorrow would be Friday. But then I'd realize it wasn't. Too bad." Over 90 percent of those misperceiving the day also professed some degree of disbelief that Christmas was almost here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Concert Review: Old Crow Medicine Show

The setting is Mississippi Nights and Laclede's Landing in downtown St. Louis. There are people lining up outside only twenty to thirty minutes before showtime. When I make my way inside I head straight for the chairs at stage right. The crowd is diverse to say the least. There's man old enough to be my grandfather sitting beside me, a metalhead sporting his Dimebag Darrell shirt, and even a couple that brought their 5-6 year old son.

The show starts a few minutes late, but I know it's not going to take away from the show. They start with one of my favorites, Tear it Down. The vocals are so fast and loud that the banjo is a bit hard to hear even though it has its own microphone. With the way the crowd hollers and yells their approval after one song I know this is going to be a great show. Even the metal thrasher dude is happy. Blackeyed Susan is next with crisp and bold vocals. Two songs into the setlist you can already see the hair flying off of Ketch's fiddle. Another great reaction from the audience as Big Time in the Jungle. Big Time is a much slower song than the first two but it doesn't slow the dancing crowd at all. A song about a "cold wind blowin through town" is next with strong harmonica and a strong influence of blues is forced. The next song is for the ladies... the old Woody Guthrie tune, Union Maid! What a pleasant surprise! Apparently it's on OCMS's new album Big Iron World, which I bought at the show, so obviously I didn't have the chance to listen to it yet. I forgot I knew this song, but it's been awhile since I listened to any music from my grandparents' record collection. The only lyrics I could muster up were "stick it to the union".

not done yet... I've still got about twenty songs left.... but I'm hungry and need nutrition.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Concert review #2: Pete Yorn
Another long night. Another Pete Yorn show. I had a blast once again, and there were a few surprises in store. First off, the Blue Note is the best venue for concerts that I've been to and for those keeping score at home like I am, I've been to dozens of places. Here's my list. Anyway, the night started off by getting the chance to meet someone I just mentioned in the last post. Since that last post I've learned that Jeff Sweatman, radio personality for KBXR, has shocked the world by moving on and taking a new job on the east coast. As soon as I got inside I saw Liz, another BXR-ite, and asked her if Jeff was around. He was standing just a couple feet from me. We spoke briefly about his move and I wish him the best of luck.

The tickets, as pictured above, say 7PM. When I see 7pm, that's what time I expected the show to start, not what time the doors opened. Whatever. After talking with Jeff I headed up the stairs to meet up with the other three friends that left me behind in the lobby, expecting them to be sitting at one of the many tables and chairs in the balcony. WHAT?!? The tables and chairs are gone! They've converted everything over to levels of permanent rows and seats, and that's a bummer. I guess this happened about a year and a half ago, but it's been awhile since I was there. Onto the show.

When I saw Pete play last July Minibar was just there as a supporting band. I was clueless to the thought they had a lead singer and rhythm guitarist. Their ranking as an opening act of the shows I've been to this year rank at the top in a tie with My Morning Jacket. Sensational guitar work paired with strong vocals and that drummer that worked his ass off again. I regret not having enough money with me to buy their CD.

Pete comes to the stage and opens with I Feel Good Again. He also played For Us, Undercover, and LOAC (Life on a Chain) soon after. He tells us some story about helping his friend move and then sings Closet as a tribute. The crowd was just as responsive as they were in St. Louis, only the Blue Note doesn't offer as much of an intimate setting as Blueberry Hill's Duck Room. There were girls dancing all over the place, guys jumping around and shouting the lyrics back, word for word. There was a pretty rowdy section at stage left too... not pushy or violent, but the cheering from that part of the floor was just little louder than the rest. On Your Side was a tribute to Sarah.

Somewhere through the rest of the setlist Crystal Village, Strange Condition, and The Man are blended in. I would have written out a setlist, but had a cup in one hand and a pitcher of beer in the other the entire night. He ended with Suspicious Minds, prompted me to catch up with two of my friends that got lost in the crowd. Erin and I danced our tails off. Thanks girl... love ya. While stopping in Kingdom City for caffeine and burritos I met two girls that were on their way back to St. Louis. They remembered me from the StL show! Then they told me the reason they recognized me is because they said I was wearing the same shirt at the last show. What an observation! It certainly wasn't planned, but after thinking back they are right.

Something tells me this isn't my best writing. I'm still worn out from the two-hour drive back home and then going to work at 5AM. Thankfully it was only for a couple hours. I don't believe I could write reviews for a living if they had to be done within 24 hours of the show. I'll probably edit this post just so I can add a couple pics later. I think I'm going to go back to bed too.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Four-pack of the Month
This month's selections are derived straight from the one radio station I would sell my vital organs to hear on a daily basis, KBXR. They are the only station I've found that was worth listening to online... they stream 24 hours a day! When you hear their motto "Columbia's QUALITY Rock", who cares about the grainy internet sound quality, it's the music quality you're after. No Nickelback, Buckcherry, Good Charlotte. You rarely hear the same song twice in three hours, and even the commercial breaks are tolerable. So thank you Simon, Jeff, Liz, and Spencer, for playing what I want... no... NEED to hear. Lots of emphasis on QUALITY.

Let's start with Shawn Colvin. I've liked her for a long time, although the only music I've heard came from A Few Small Repairs (and YES, the album name came from memory!). If the album name or HER name for that matter don't ring a bell, just listen to any Adult Contemporary station and you'll soon hear "Sunny Came Home". Blah.. It's a good song, but "You and the Mona Lisa", and "Nothin' on Me" were so much better. The world threw her to the wolves quickly after this album, much like Paula Cole and Meredith Brooks, who along with Colvin are still writing and making music. Her new album is titled These Four Walls. I heard Colvin's new song, Fill Me Up, and it's not bad at all. Reminds me of Kathleen Edwards, who rocks my world. Give it a listen, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Fill Me Up

Next up is a band that I've never heard until tonight, and I'm instantly attracted. The Hold Steady have a sound so reminiscent of Thin Lizzy that I did a quick Wikipedia search to make sure Phil Lynott didn't father any budding musicians before his death in 1986. Anyway, they've got a hip new song from the album Boys and Girls in America called Hot Soft Light.

I've always liked Robert Randolph and the Family Band. They're a mulitcultural funk and soul band from somewhere in the south. Their concerts are lively and full of long steel guitar solos which I will never grow tired of hearing. I got the chance to see them open for the Black Crowes and the only thing that disappointed me in the performance was that Robert walked onto a stage in St. Louis wearing a New York Mets Jersey. Bad Robert Bad. Anyway, they've got a new album called Colorblind, with the single Thrill of It to turn the album's sales up a notch.

I didn't get to watch the game. I missed the hype, the story, everything about it. Working in the media, being a music and sports junkie, I failed in seeing the return of the New Orleans Saints to the Superdome. I love me some football, I admire the music that Green Day and U2 have both released in the last few years. No, I'm not going to believe that Billie Joe or Bono are going to save the world, but I do believe they are making some damn good music that just happens to be relevant to today's issues. I cannot seem to track down the Wake Me When September Ends-The Saints Are Coming-Beautiful Day track in its entirety, but this should do just fine. For those that don't like live music, here is U2 in the studio; The Saints are Coming. For those that don't mind a little crowd reaction, here. The Saints Are Coming - Live

Watch this video - it's powerful. moving. raises every hair on my body every time I even think of the title of the song.

Could Bono have made a better transition from "Saints" to"Beautiful Day" with the line "after the flood all the colors came out"? That's poetic and I like it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Youtubing experience

This is so cool. The biggest reason for posting this is because the second album cover is the album I just mentioned a couple days ago in my little profile in the upper right corner of this blog.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Real Fan

Earlier today at school I saw a kid wearing a Boondock Saints t-shirt. I've been in a few classes with him before and asked him how long he'd been a fan of the movie. It was the typical "This is my favorite movie of all time because I knew about it before it became big." Uh huh.

I attempted to stump his superior knowledge by telling the story of how it was released on DVD, then went out-of-print, then was available on VCD only, then re-released on DVD with the cover that everyone has in their living room. If you have this movie, you most likely paid ten bucks for it out of the bargain bin at your local big box retailer.

I'm not trying to sound like a Lord of the Rings or Star Wars dork, but dammit.... why are some people so stuck in their ways? So to prove my whole theory right, here. This is the original cover, so rare that when the movie was out-of-print it was fetching over fifty bucks on Ebay. I would know because I was one of the many impatient people who couldn't wait any longer.

Take your whole "big crusher guy theory" and shove it! I just hope you're not waiting for the second Boondock movie to be released. The Chicago Cubs will win the World Series before that happens.

Striking Similarities

Right now there's a man named Phil Hare who is running for the 17th Congressional District here in Illinois. Throughout his campaign he seems to talk about what he's done, is doing, and will do, more than he is bashing his competitor. I have not been able to concentrate on his ideas because I've got money that he's the twin brother to Tom from Office Space. Here's the evidence.

Alright. Who is who?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My Four-pack of the month.
Okay, it looks as if Fileden, my beloved host for the music I want you to listen to, has decided to cooperate with me.... for now.... So I now introduce something a bit on the lazy side. I have seen many fellow bloggers post five to six new songs on a weekly basis and call it a weekly six-pack, maybe doing it on the same day of the week. Not me. I'm going to do a six-pack when I want, and can't even guarantee that it will have six songs. Let's try once a month.

This is a package of songs dedicated to recent covers.

Jamie Cullum - When I first heard All at Sea back in 2004, I couldn't get enough of this guy. Who can with that a raspy voice with a smooth blend of piano. Over the summer I was in a sporting goods store while fulfilling my frisbee golf habit, and I heard a song playing over the Muzak. I was confused because I recognized the voice but knew it didn't match the version I've heard and been in love with for over five years. After checking out I went straight to school to figure out this musical mystery. Jamie Cullum covered Doves' "Catch the Sun" on his Catching Tales album. In the liner notes Cullum admits he was a little nervous about not just covering this song, but including it in his album. He feared people wouldn't take it seriously because of how current the song is, even though it's six years old. I don't think he made a bad decision at all. You won't either by taking a few minutes to listen. Catch the Sun

Speaking of piano playing dudes, Ben Folds has always shown his witty and creative side by littering his nerdy-piano songs with minor tirades of profanity, and this one tops 'em all! The tempo in this version is slowed down drastically from the version Dr. Dre threw down during his days "in the LBC". I've never heard such an offensive song sound so serious. Bitches Ain't Shit

As you all know I am a Pete Yorn junkie. I've recently discovered that Nancy Sinatra covered Don't Mean Nothing, from Yorn's Westerns EP. You'd swear that she simply borrowed the music and laid down her own vocals, but there are a few differences.
The Pure Prarie League is an old country-folk rock band from the 70's. The only song I know from them was covered a while back by band that has been known to fit a similar description as the PPL. Listening to Counting Crows for an extended period of time can become a bit cumbersome, but give them a listen as they sing Amie.
Let's try this again........

Okay, so all of a sudden Fileden is back up and running the way it was intended. My only guess is that once the bandwidth is exceeded my mp3s become images, not music. Whatever. Downloading music from this blog resumes...........................


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Blogging. And how much it sucks.

I enjoy blogging when things work. WHEN THINGS WORK. I don't get paid to do this, there's nothing in it for me if I post a few songs I think are worth sharing, except for the small piece of mind that I've possibly influenced someone into a new artist. That's about all the gratification that exists.

About a week ago, fileden wiped out all music I had posted on my blog because they're "images only" now. No notice to pack up camp and make a switch. 90% of the music on my blog was hosted by them. I've fought with EZArchive for the past week and it just doesn't make any sense to me.

I really don't want to throw in the towel because I've got so much more music I want to share with all FOUR of you, but if I can't find any other options as painless as Fileden WAS... I quit.

Ask me again in five hours and maybe my opinion will have changed, but I'm just really frustrated and pissed and ranting right now. Isn't that what blogs are for?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Simply titled: My First Concert Review

Wednesday night was one of the most entertaining nights I've had all year. I drove down to St. Louis' Creepy Crawl to see V.A.S.T. (that's Video Audio Sensory Theater for those keeping score at home), fronted by Jon Crosby. His best known work occured back in 2000-01, when his single Touched made its way onto The Beach soundtrack. So while standing in line I meet a few decent people, as well as the storytelling people. The guy standing next to me claims he met Trent Reznor's mom at an art exhibit in Alton, IL (semi-suburban St. Louis). He then goes on tell those standing in line that Trent was the first member of his family to not follow tradition and work for the "family business", Reznor Heaters. According to this Wiki article, the business left Reznor ownership in the 60's, while Trent was born in 1965. He couldn't have taken a job with the company if he wanted to! I hear other various rambling stories that are eerily similar. Let's fast forward to the getting into the show.

The Creepy Crawl isn't that bad of a venue. Kinda Creepy, and a first-time visitor like myself felt like something could Crawl up my leg anytime. I introduce myself to a couple of strangers, Jeremy and LaBonna (sp?). We chat for awhile before the first band comes up. Get ready for Murder Happens. Sounds scary, but I remember Rick Dees saying that Savage Garden was more garden than savage. At least the name of the band fits well with the name of the venue. Taking a deep breath here.... Murder Happens is fronted by a petite little girl in a pushup bra and neon pink hair. Her whining is worse than any crap you've heard from Kittie, or your average garage-death metal band from South Dakota. Three or four songs into the set I notice a guy up on stage that is not only playing guitar, but it looks like he's screaming into the mic.... screaming in the Slayer kind of way. His screaming is apparently supposed to complement her whimpers of hating her parents, school, and life. Turns out nobody realized he was part of the vocals because his mic wasn't turned on. At all. When they're finished I refuse to acknowledge their presence because they suck that bad. I order another Miller High Life and hope the next band may provide a little more entertainment than whatever that was onstage just a few minutes ago.

Mardo. Retardo. Keyboardist is a white kid with a Ben Wallace kind of 'fro. Wolfmotherish. Lead singer looks like Jim Morrison on a three-year meth frenzy, buggy eyes and all. I hear a drummer, but can't see him because he's either a midget playing a midget drumkit or he's actually lower than his bandmates. I settle on the latter. Their sound isn't too bad; it's a decent blend of Jet and Silvertide... good toe-tapping rock n roll. After a few songs the lead singer brags how he's cool and hip because he's from Bakersfield, CA. His arrogance is giving me the impression that if everyone in Bakersfield is like him, that town is full of dickheads. Couple more songs go by and he sees a tall kid standing in front of me and decides to call him out. Something along the lines of "What the F are you Fing looking at?" I like to call ths personality trait the "big-guy complex" The Big-guy complex is when a small puny guy with a chip on his shoulder makes an attempt to be the alpha-male and call out an innocent bystander who is at least 12 inches taller and 60 pounds heavier. So the big guy escalates it and tells him to shut up and play a freakin song. Namecalling ensues and I easily figure out the lead singer does this at every show. It's his way of saying "Hey. I'm obnoxious." They finish up and I am happy to know I'll never see that piece of crap on lead vocals again.

V.A.S.T. is coming soon, and I await their entrance anxiously. A few lights are turned off which means the band is ready. When the band comes up a rather heavy-set guy in a black cowboy-mountie hat, Trenchcoat Mafia-style coat, and a rough, unshaven lumberjack look that just doesn't look like Jon Crosby, who I remember having a groomed, stocky build like a Marky Mark type. The band starts playing, the voice is distinct, and it's official: Jon Crosby has gained about 100 lbs and hasn't shaved in a month. Whatever his physical appearance tells us, it doesn't take away from his roaring voice as he flies through Turqouise, Thrown Away, Free, Touched, Pretty When You Cry, and a few others. Throughout the show the little girl from Murder Happens is squeezing from the back of the crowd to the front, and then to the back again. Back and forth all night. Many times I had to resist the urge to kick her in the back of the head Chuck Norris style and mop the floor with her strawberry Kool-Aid hair. Regardless, the band is solid all the way through, and the guitar work doesn't stray too far from the sound of the album.

Somewhere between Mardo and V.A.S.T. a couple comes up and invites Jeremy, LaBonna, and me to the afterparty. The way I look at it, what the heck, I don't have to be home anytime soon, and I wasn't planning on going straight home anyway. As soon as Jon is done playing all of us meet outside in front of the CC. I follow the carful of new friends to a very nice 7th floor studio apartment with a good look of the downtown sector of St. Louis. Hellos, names, handshakes, and jokes are exchanged as we get settled in for a few cocktails. I think the guy hosting the party is named Ben. Anyway, about 45 minutes go by and the band shows up, along with about a dozen other groupie-looking folks who are just along for the free booze. Jon goes straight for the vodka and brews up kamikazes. That's Big Jon on the right.
I let all the other folks harass and smother Jon with autographs, photos, and toasts while I chat it up with Michael, a black guy with a faint British accent who played bass for Jon. We share a few jokes like everyone else and mingle with some other folks. I eye Jon across the room smoking and checking out the skyline. I greet him, thank him for coming to StL and end up talking with him for well over 25 minutes. I check my watch and decide I've been here long enough. It's time to go home. Jon is a talkative guy who seems to show a genuine interest in the people he plays for. We talked mostly about life in the Midwest and how much slower it is compared to the hectic times in California.

My favorite freak of the night goes to the kid in his early twenties, shards of metal stuck in various places on his head, fighting 50-60% baldness with a poor attempt at a combover, head to toe in black except for some weird looking pantyhose looking sleeves that have a "cool" spiderweb design that centers around his elbows. Second is the girl wearing some hooded gown who I instantly envision looking like Dwight from The Office in his Sith Lord Halloween costume. And yes, she kept the hood over her head the entire night. I'm far from perfect. I've had my fashion phases while growing up too but it cracks me up to see folks make a career out of this goth look.

After all of this I must say I recommend seeing them if you get the chance. Show up late to avoid the opening "acts", and ignore the weirdos. You will stink of stale cigarettes and your shoes will stick to whatever you're walking on so shower before naptime.

And here's a video of the Worst Dancer contest, judged by Michael at the afterparty. I really hate the word afterparty. I feel like I should be talking about Nelly or Black Eyed Peas.

Now it's time for the goodies. This song is for the goth crowd. "Hand me my nose ring! Show me the mosh pit!" Ben Folds - Underground

V.A.S.T. music can be bought here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Farewell Andy.

Last Friday began a series of several strange days for me. The story begins from about a year and a half ago when we were in an English class, talking about good sources vs. bad sources used in research. He brought up the Jesus Christ Superstore while I mentioned Landover Baptist's site as sources that may be entertaining, but not quite eligible as a good source. We joked about it after class and he wanted to exchange numbers and hang out outside of school sometime. I didn't want to, but I did anyway just to be nice.

He'd call me at the most inconvenient times, and I'd never answer the phone. He just wanted to hang out and drink a beer. I always thought of him as a decent kid, but for some reason I was being an asshole and didn't want to bring any more friends into my circle. I was perfectly comfortable with who I socialized with. From there on I'd run into him at school and he would constantly ask me what my plans were for the weekend. I always seemed to have a full schedule that wouldn't accommodate an hour or so to play a round of frisbee golf or invite him over to watch my Drive-by Truckers DVD.

I ran into him last week and asked what his plans were for the weekend, even though mine were dedicated to work. He didn't offer much of a response.....

Saturday I pick up the paper at work and on A-2 I read he took his own life Friday afternoon. I've spent the last 4-5 days in a very confused manner. Could things have gone differently if I would have answered the phone and listened to him every once in awhile?

So Monday I went to his visitation. The only time I ever took time out of my schedule to pay him any attention. I greeted his family and his girlfriend, told them the kindest words I could come up with, and left. Later that night I fell asleep on the couch and woke up to applause. Leno was coming back from a commercial break, and he introduced Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie. Half-asleep from my deep sleep, his song struck a nerve and has been plastered in memory ever since.
The lyrics don't really fit the equation, but it's possible they would have if I wouldn't have been such a jerk and avoided him for so long. Trying to find reasons for the way I feel about this has been tough. One part tells me that it would have happened anyway, other part says if I would've offered an ear that he'd still be roaming the halls at school right now. It's too late now, but I'm sorry for being an asshole Andy.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Yorn on Leno

Okay okay, so that's not Pete Yorn with Jay Leno. I looked all over and couldn't find a pic of the two together. That's a pic of Pete (of course) with his BROTHER Rick. Apparently Rick is into the movie and film industry the Pete is in the music biz. Not only did I find that pic, but I found his performance on Leno. It's yours for the takin.

For Us

Thursday, September 14, 2006

For those of you going crazy downloading all of my Pete Yorn goodies....

Please email me or leave a comment if you are collecting his in-store shows. I'm trading what I've got for what you've got. Here's my list:
*5-6-06 Minneapolis, MN @ Electric Fetus
*6-20-06 Claremont, CA @ Rhino Records
*6-23-06 Long Beach, CA @ Fingerprints
*6-28-06 Austin, TX @ Waterloo Records
*6-30-06 Lawrence, KS @ Kief's
*7-1-06 St. Louis, MO @ Vintage Vinyl
*7-2-06 Madison, WI
*7-6-06 Columbus, OH @ Singing Dos Records
*7-7-06 Louisville, KY @ Ear X-Tacy
*7-8-06 Buffalo, NY @ New World Record
*7-10-06 Rochester, NY @ Record Archive
*7-12-06 Boston, MA @ Newbury Comics
*7-13-06 Baltimore, MD @ Tape and Record Trader
*7-19-06 Birmingham, AL @ Laser's Edge
*8-9-06 Richmond, VA @ Plan 9
*NJ Vintage Vinyl
*Denver, CO @ Twist n Shout Records
Also have:
7-11-05 Grand Rapids, MI full concert
That's all for now.... g'night.
Wolfmother b-sides

These guys just flat out rock. I cannot stress enough how well they've brought the 70's rock sound back; unlike that crap The Darkness WAS. A friend of mine has dropped over $50 in import singles just because the artwork is done so well, but I'm greedy and just want the contents.... the music! So here's a few more b-sides to add to the collection.

The Earth's Rotation Around the Sun

Dimension (Live at Big Day Out)

Love Train


Now it's time to rant. The latest cold front has forced me to start driving my car again, and I'm pissed. I bought a scooter last March, and saved a ton of money while getting 130mpg. Refusing to accept that summer is coming to an end, here's a few tracks I meant to post back when I was celebrating the fresh, warm temperatures.

The Busters - Summertime
It's a fun ska riff that drives the Europeans mad. The Busters are the arguably the best ska band to come from Germany. The song is from their Live From Montreaux album.

Incubus - Summer Romance (Anti-Gravity Love Song)
Don't really know why I picked this song. I listened to alot of Incubus a couple years ago, but I've lost interest lately as their fanbase went from rock-alternative guys with those goofy gauged ears to a bunch of screaming 14-year old girls that can't believe that guy up on stage can play a guitar and sing at the same time.

The Sundays - Summertime
This band was a pop-friendly band of the '90s. Harriet Wheeler's voice has a high tone to it, similar to Natalie Merchant or Jewel but not as annoying as that girl from Sixpence None the Richer. Their only other hit I am aware of was a cover of the Rolling Stones' Wild Horses. Their website hasn't been updated in ten years. Check it out sometime.

Chuck Prophet - Summertime Thing
Whenever I hear this song I think of sitting on the back deck, drinking a few beers on a hot July afternoon with my closest of friends. Odd that I never played this song around any of them, but whatever.

Don Henley - Boys of Summer
A classic that has been covered more times than I can count, and still can't match Henley's version. Glad to see he's still writing music, and even gladder that he hasn't resorted to Disney songs like Phil Collins.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Coldplay - X&Y B-sides
More b-sides and some Yorn.

I've just hit the jackpot (again) with some pretty HTF stuff. It cost me two fingers and my St. Louis Cardinals wristband, and hopefully you'll appreciate it. So here's a few of the bonus tracks from Pete Yorn's latest album, Nightcrawler, which you'd have to buy FIVE of in order to get them all. Thanks a lot Sony.... jackasses. If you want the others, you've got to visit my friend Heather's site here.... HEY! Don't bitch at me for not putting all seven up on mine! Keep in mind I made sacrifices for the good of Yorn-kind. That being said, here.

Shallow (Friends)

Go With It

The Party

Top Of The World

Can't Hear Anyone

And while you're at it, download some b-sides from Keane or Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Keane - Under The Iron Sea

He Used To Be A Lovely Boy

Let It Slide

Maybe I Can Change

The Iron Sea (Magic Shop Version)

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium

Mercy Mercy

End Of Show Lyon (Live)

Whatever We Want


Friday, August 04, 2006

It's me again.... with more YORN!

On my way to the 311 show last Tuesday, I stopped back at Vintage Vinyl to pick up the Pete Yorn in-store show from about a month ago. And of course, it is being made available for your downloading pleasure. Share and share alike.

Strange Condition

I Feel Good Again



The Man

For Nancy ('cos it already is)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Christmas in July

A couple of weeks ago I gave the internet a Christmas present in July by offering Pete Yorn's hard-to-get EP for your downloading pleasure. Although I'm into Festivus more than the whole Christmas extravaganza, I've decided to put up my favorite holiday songs.

Local H - Disgruntled Christmas (highly rare)

Weezer - Holiday

The Format - Holly Jolly Christmas

My Morning Jacket - One Big Holiday (live at Bonnaroo 2005)

Pearl Jam - Someday at Christmas

Bob and Doug Mckenzie - 12 Days of Christmas

Third Eye Blind - One of Those Christmas Days

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Those poor Cubs.

Not only am I a lover of many kinds of music, but I am also an avid St. Louis Cardinal fan. Over the last few years there hasn't been much internet-media satire toward the Cards because well, they've been a very successful team lately. On the other hand, the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis' long-time rival, has become an easy target for laughing and poking fun at. I'm not complaining either.

Here's a couple excerpts from my last issue of the Sporting News.

And if that isn't enough, trusted news source The Onion recently wrote a story about Cubs pitcher Mark Prior. Here's the text.

Disabled List Offers Mark Prior Two-Year, $8 Million Extension
June 29, 2006 Onion Sports

CHICAGO—Mark Prior, the right-handed pitcher who has spent the first few years of his career on the disabled list, is now considering accepting a recent two-year, $8 million offer from the DL that would keep him not playing through the 2008 season. "I couldn't even imagine the DL without Mark Prior—over the years, he has become the face, stiff right elbow, strained subscapularis muscle, and inflamed Achilles tendon of our organization," said Kirk Gibson, manager and longtime former member of the DL, which is currently rebuilding by claiming young arms such as Kerry Wood, Ben Sheets, and Mike Maroth. "We firmly believe that Mark's best injuries are still ahead of him." While Prior's agent says the pitcher is exploring his options, experts predict that it is "inevitable" that Prior will return to the DL and, with the loyalty he's shown in the past, likely finish his career there.
Ahh.... I love it! So here's to more drunken rambling from commentator Ron Santo, more disabled list visits from Kerry Wood and Prior, and more competition for last place in the N.L. Central by our Chicago Cubbies!
As I'm typing this right now the Mets have just backed up my point by hitting TWO grand slams in the same inning against two different pitchers for the lowly Cubs.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

cKy - Stay together for the kids

Seems singerguitarist Deron Miller of punk-metal band cKy (Camp Kill Yourself) is going through some battles right now. While playing a show on June 24, Miller blacked out, threw his guitar across the stage, and walked off... prompting the band to do so as well. After researching this incident, Miller has posted a message on the front page of their site. He has admitted to having an alcohol problem and is going to seek treatment. After reading it and pages upon pages of posts of their message board I can only imagine how difficult it really is to differentiate work from play. These guys play their asses off every night, and then party until the next show begins. Hangovers are hangovers no matter who you are, and I have no idea how a band like this can play hundreds of shows a year with the headache of last nights' boozefest weighing in so heavily. Don't waste your time reading the posts on the message board, as they are chock-full of twelve-year old skaters who only know of the band because their older brother has some old tapes of Jackass on MTV. Lots of hatin'. Their target audience may be a few years younger than me, but they are still a great band to see live. Throw on your Chuck Taylor's and drop a twenty to see them.... after Deron's recovery. Best wishes Deron.

96 Quite Bitter Beings

Familiar Realm

Close Yet Far

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Just went to see Pete Yorn yesterday, man...what a show! He is one the most polite musicians I've met. Seems very humbled by the number of fans who like his music. I was a complete scavenger after the show and robbed a used drumstick and a couple of guitar picks. I bought his only-available-on-the-acoustic-tour 6 song EP, and would like to share it.

1. The Man - link fixed!

2. Never My Love

3. Don't Mean Nothing

4. The Good Advice

5. Lions

6. The Golden Road

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Third Eye Blind

These guys just played "Semi-Charmed Life" during the halftime show of ArenaBowl's version of the Super Bowl. The choreographics consisted of a bunch of twelve-year olds doing a normal on-field cheerleader dance. What's funny is that they were dancing away while Stephan Jenkins is singing about how "she comes round and she goes down on me" and "doing crystal meth will lift you up until you break"..... funny.
Reminds me of the time Aerosmith sang "Pink" at the Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards..... don't know the lyrics? Anyway, 3EB has been rather dormant the last couple years, but they have released some new material. Here's a taste.