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Sunday, January 30, 2005

You are forgiven

Songs in my head:
"A Quick One (While He's Away)" by the Who
"Good Times" by Jim O'Rourke

No kickball today on account of rain. Rats. Good time for blogging!

Here's a weekend overview:

Friday night, after I got off the afternoon shift, I went to my favorite local pizza place. For about $7.50, it's all-you-can-eat with all kinds of great-tasting pizza. Well, due to the fact that it is right next door to a popular singles club, they want to make sure that clubgoers don't park in their parking lot. So after I find a parking space in front, I get out of my car. I'm then approached by a parking lot patroller asking if I'm going to the club. For some reason, I got really offended. I told the patroller in a very stern voice that I was going to the pizza place. I walked off in a huff. Now, I have never been into the club next door but to me, I don't think it would be a place I'd like to go in. I'm not somebody that likes to go "clubbin'." I'm not a fan of going to a big place that plays music that doesn't appeal to me, "having a good time" by wearing clothes I wouldn't wear and talking to people that I wouldn't want to talk to. If I'm going somewhere, it has to have a purpose that has meaning to me. So after finishing up a couple of plates of pizza, I went home.

I got home and got really excited by what came in the mail: more Netflix movies and the new issue of Alternative Press. I watched Some Kind of Monster later that night. As a fan of Metallica since my late middle school/early high school days, I have listened to them less and less since then. I've always appreciated them doing their own thing and their music still holds up. This documentary is a really moving portrayal of what it is like to be in a band. Yeah, there are the egos, but the relationships between them (strained or otherwise) keep it going. The film doesn't bastardize these people nor do they present them as untouchable. I've heard some people say it's funnier than This is Spinal Tap. I didn't think it was funny at all. Luckily, it's not super-tense all the time. It's very easy to follow and just flows very well. Highly recommended even for the non-Metallica fans.

During my shift yesterday, I got a call from Goose. He was in Houston for his father's wedding. Apparently the reception was going on at the same place where they filmed a scene from Rushmore. It was the scene at the pool where the Blume twins have their birthday party. I'm jealous.

I saw Aloha last night and was very much impressed. Prior, I had only heard of the band's name since they were on Polyvinyl. I always think of that ESPN broadcaster that used to say, "And aloha means goodbye." Anyway, I wanted to go because a) it was a band my friend Jeremy wanted to see b) what little of their music I had heard had pianos, marimbas, keyboards and arresting melodies. They delivered a strong set that was not too short but not too long. I'm now a fan.

Friday, January 28, 2005

The Drowners

Songs in my head:
"The Drowners" by Suede
"Love is Hell" by Ryan Adams

As of late, I've really been enjoying Ryan Adams' Love is Hell album. I know it's a really dark record: so dark that even the upbeat songs are sad. However, given all the rainy and chilly weather we've had here, it's been a good soundtrack for it. Ryan always has more songs in him and after reading this, I'm looking forward to a few new releases from him this year.

On one hand, this article is very simple. On the other hand, it's very right-on.

Here is more ammunition for my book.

Here is some info about the next three Cure reissues. I know somebody that will be very excited by this news.

I plan to see Aloha tomorrow night in Denton. I don't know much of their stuff, but what I have heard sounds very good.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Rosemary, Heaven restores you in life

Songs in my head:
"Evil" by Interpol
"Filthy Way to Lose Yourself" by Retisonic

Good news for those that bought Wilco's A Ghost is Born: just like what they did with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, they are offering a free download of the bonus EP that will be on the overseas version of the album. It's not available for download on the band's official site just yet, but there is some tracklist info here.

Punknews.org has the good word about Horace Pinker's next record.

After reading this, I get the feeling that Fiona Apple is in a similar situation to what this woman through a few years ago. Look what happened to her career after she got out of it.

I heard a song by this band a few months ago in a record store. It was just one song from their debut EP and I liked what I heard. It reminded me of shades of Dismemberment Plan-like freak-outs and Braid's melodicism. However, I keep reading in publications like NME and Pitchfork that they are more in the vein of early-to-mid-80s post-punk like Gang of Four and Wire. Huh? Maybe I need to listen to more tracks by this band . . .

Carl "A.C." Newman checks in with some info about the next New Pornographers record.

Pitchfork has some pretty solid info about the next Ben Folds record.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Here I am, comfortable

Songs in my head:
"And the Rest Will Follow" by . . . and you will know us by the trail of dead
"Caterwaul" by . . . and you will know us by the trail of dead
"Will You Smile Again" by . . . and you will know us by the trail of dead

Yesterday was a very good day for music that I like. I picked up Worlds Apart, I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning and Digital Ash in a Digital Urn yesterday. Sounds impossible, but I feel Worlds Apart is many notches above what TOD has done before. The overall sound is clear and powerful. This time out, they don't sound like they're playing at the back of a hall. They've moved on from just build-ups to explosions to softer parts. Melodies that tug at you are all over the place. As for I'm Wide Awake, I really enjoy it upon first listen. It's not as bombastic as Lifted, but it just works. Digital Ash is a different-sounding record than what I usually listen to, but I like it. I think of it like Kid A: much more electronic-based but not with moronic, cold beats on repeat.

For what it's worth, there's a quick article on Trail of Dead on MTV.com.

Pick up any major magazine or newspaper and you will read an article or review for Bright Eyes. Punknews.org has a very good review of the two new records. I echo Colin's opening lines: "I love punk rock. I love the do-it-yourself ethic, the anti-establishment mentality, the self-sustaining independence. What I don't like is the mentality that if you listen to punk, you must confine yourself to the bands that use three chords or less. So while the fashion punks in their denim, leather, and mohawks spit at an act such as Conor Oberst's Bright Eyes, it's their loss."

Punknews.org has info about the forthcoming DVD release of the Ramones' End of the Century documentary.

It's a little super-picky in spots, but DVD File has a very cool review of the forthcoming Donnie Darko: the Director's Cut DVD.

Jo Rowling's new baby is no longer unnamed. No, it's not Cho, Petunia or Hermione. It's Mackenzie, according to Reuters.

The first volume of the Burn to Shine DVD series was released yesterday. Dischord has this blurb on their news page: "Available this month on Trixie Records is the first installment of the "Burn to Shine" film series, produced by Brendan Canty and directed by filmmaker Christoph Green. The DVD features live performances by The Evens, Q and Not U, Ted Leo, Medications, French Toast, Bob Mould, Weird War and Garland of Hours, all filmed in a house in Bethesda MD prior to it's demolition. The DVD is available from January 25th the states and Europe and from the Dischord webstore around the same date. A second installment is to follow soon, featuring Chicago area bands such as Shellac, Tortoise and Wilco. More information is available at http://www.trixiedvd.com/ "

I find this book very interesting because it is tongue-in-cheek. I wonder where they would file it in a bookstore. Arts? Sociological satire? I think this is worth investigating . . .

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Serious, serious now

Song in my head:
"Serious" by [DARYL]

Here are the nominees you've been waiting for!

Turns out one of my favorite authors gave birth to a baby girl on Sunday.

Watch out for Fountains of Wayne portraying the Hollies on NBC's American Dreams. Here is more info.

I watched Miller's Crossing last night. I thought it was a well-developed story and looked beautiful. However, (Matt, start typing your hate e-mail or comment) I found the gangster lingo and the nicknames to be a little confusing. I got the basic plot down but maybe I need to refer to the book I have on the Coen Brothers for more info.

You mean to tell me that this record has yet to be released across the pond? And I thought us Americans had it bad with hoping for a US release for the new Manics or the new Idlewild records.

Speaking of the next Idlewild record, Chrome Waves has some info: "Jack Rabid of The Big Takeover has confirmed (though a contact at Capitol) that Idlewild's Promises/Warnings has NO North American release date, despite what I've read and reported. Apologies to anyone who had March 8 circled on their calendars to camp out at their local record store. Hopefully it won't be too long in coming after the UK release, or Capitol's Canadian division will import a bunch of copies for our consumption before a proper domestic version is released, as frequently happens. Sometimes there are perks to being a colony!"

Monday, January 24, 2005

That's not the way it feels . . .

Songs in my head:
"Operator" by Jim Croce
"Have to Say I Love You in a Song" by Jim Croce
"Pounding" by Doves

I'm still a little bummed about Hey Mercedes breaking up, but I'm proud of them for doing it for so long. I look forward to their final EP on GTA. I'm glad "Warm Chords" will be on it. Maybe a live version of "That's Right, I Said It" will be on there too . . .

I don't know how we did it, but we played two games of kickball with a total of eight people. Having two teams of four meant that some people stepped up to the plate twice in an inning. Maybe our turnout was low because of the fact that yesterday's high was in the lower 40s. However, it was mostly sunny. I've said it before, but it feels like you're in a Wes Anderson movie in that kind of weather. Good times.

Pitchfork has a great interview with Q and Not U. I love this quote: "Dischord to us is about freedom. And most relationships between bands and labels are about control, and it's a struggle."

Pitchfork also has a review of two of the three records I will be picking up tomorrow.

Over the weekend, I watched A Decade Under the Influence. I think I have a better understanding of why the movies in the '70s were so unique compared to the movies of the '80s. Of course, the post-Vietnam/post-Nixon vibe was a large factor, but there were a lot of small factors too. The doc covers a lot of those smaller factors very well. As a sidenote, after listening to William Friedkin talk, I'm curious if he's the voice of all those Honda TV commercials . . .

Rolling Stone has an interview with Paul Weller. Always good to hear from the so-called, "Modfather."

I started reading Fargo Rock City over the weekend. It's very hard to put down: I read the first thirty pages in my first sitting. Well-written and very funny, this is a really great discussion about '80 pop-metal.

Journey got a star on the Walk of Fame yesterday.

I heard the new Doves single, "Black and White Town," on the radio last night. I really dug it and I'm glad to know that the next record, Some Cities, will be released in the US a week before the UK gets it.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

It's been a blast

I remember the first time I read about Braid. It was spring 1998, as my freshman year of college was wrapping up. Between the monthly trips to the local Bookstop, I read Alternative Press religiously. I forget which issue it was, but I remember reading Aaron Burgess' article on Braid and their newest release, Frame and Canvas. I think what really caught my eye was seeing their friendly expressions on their faces. I thought Damon was the frontman because he looked a little different from the other guys (the usual test of deciphering who's who didn't apply). I think I became very interested after reading that their sound was inspired by Jawbox and Shudder to Think. Reading about how much they toured also sounded exciting.

Just my luck, the only locally-owned record store in the Kingwood/Humble area had a copy of Frame and Canvas. Without hearing a note, I picked it up. I still remember hearing the opening of the record (with the hum and distorted drumbeat) in my '92 Toyota Camry. I think I got to listen to the first four songs before I got home. I was not let down and continued to follow the band through college. I often visited their Prairienet.org website to see what was up in their world. Reading Bob's updates was always very interesting. The fact that he saw 365 movies in one year seemed really cool. I tried doing that, but only got around to 120.

When Braid announced that they were breaking up 1999, I was bummed that I didn't get to see them play live. Adding insult to injury, I found out years later that they played an acoustic set in Kingwood in 1998. Luckily there were three posthumous Braid releases in 2000: the live You're Lucky to Be Alive, and both volumes of Movie Music.

Then the line-up for Hey Mercedes was announced and I was very curious to hear their stuff. Shortly thereafter, the band's four-song EP on Polyvinyl arrived in the mail at KTCU. I really dug it even more than what I had heard of Braid. I wanted to hear more. I found a site that had MP3s of Hey Mercedes' first show and I downloaded all of the songs. The sound quality was not very good but getting to hear more songs like "That's Right, I Said It," "Save a Life" and "Let's Go Blue" made me really excited about their upcoming first LP.

The band set up this thing called Are You Wearing a Wire, which was kind of online journal, on their webpage. This was a blog before blog was a commonplace word. I always enjoyed reading whatever was posted on it by Bob or Todd (from recording updates to touring experiences to working at a temp agency). It wasn't trivial or redundant stuff, it was just what these guys were going through.

I saw Hey Mercedes play three times in Dallas (with Saves the Day, No Motiv, and Dashboard Confessional at Deep Ellum Live in 2001, with Koufax and Schatzi in 2002 at the Galaxy Club, and with Sense Field at the Gypsy Tea Room in 2003). Every time they played, it was always a great show. These guys were very sincere and friendly, just how I thought they were. Before I saw them in 2003, I downloaded an unmastered copy of Loses Control. The record wouldn't be in stores for a few months, but I spent a lot of time listening to this not-so-great-sounding copy. When they played the in tea room, they played a lot of new material. I knew almost all of the words and I sang along. Standing in front of the stage, I just let go. I couldn't help it. I loved the record and couldn't wait to get an official copy. Talking with Mike and Bob for the first time, they recognized me from the set. Both were very appreciative of the support.

Loses Control was my overall favorite record of 2003. The songs flow so well and I felt a very strong reaction to certain lyrics. The line, "Quality time with the unkind/is better than being alone" seemed to sum up quite a few experiences during the year. I still think highly of the record.

When I got the idea to write this book last March, I figured I should talk to all of Braid's members and Mike from Hey Mercedes for the Braid chapter. They came through Dallas and Houston in July and I had the pleasure of interviewing them. I got to talk to Bob, Chris, Todd, Damon and Mike at great length about their experiences of growing up with touring and recording. All five understood my project and were very gracious to tell their stories. "This is so awesome that you're doing this," as Damon told me. Hearing that line still brings a smile to my face.

Seeing the news that Hey Mercedes will be ending later this year, I'm still bummed. However, experiences that make a strong impact on you don't leave your memory.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Hey Mercedes 2000-2005

This is very sad news.

And all the boys and all the girls . .

Songs in my head:
"The Drowners" by Suede
"New Generation" by Suede

After making a Suede singles anthology mix CD, I decided to move my Suede records from the 'L' section to the 'S' section. Here is why: Suede was always Suede, but in the US, they had to be called the London Suede. Apparently there was this artist in Washington DC that claimed the name Suede first. So the London Suede it was. But as far as the American Suede, I have never heard or seen a record in a shop. Putting two and two together after seven years, I decided to make the move.

This was mentioned on the Shaun of the Dead commentary track by Edgar Wright, but I had to check it out to make sure it was true. The actor that plays the disgruntled roommate of Shaun of Ed's (Pete) is also the actor that supplied the voice of Darth Maul.

Listening to Wes Anderson's commentary track on The Royal Tenenbaums last night, I realized that the actor that plays young Richie Tenenbaum is John Turturro's son. He was born while his father was filming Barton Fink.

This may be totally untrue, but I found this on a Ben Folds fansite. Songs for Silverman is the new album title? A re-release of Whatever and Ever Amen with bonus tracks? Could "Mitchell Lane" (a fantastic b-side from that era) be on there? Could the version of "Song for the Dumped" in Japanese be on there? Shall wait and see . . .

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Come Pick Me Up

Songs in my head:
"Hello Hawk" by Superchunk
"Cursed Mirror" by Superchunk
"Good Dreams" by Superchunk

Last night, I wrote and laid down a bassline for "Four Corners" in a little over an hour. The last time I played a bass, I didn't realize how effectively bass players like Bruce Foxton, Bruce Thomas, Sterling Morrisson and Peter Hook played. I still can't play like them, but I try to emulate their approaches. Jason coached me on ideas and I think what I came up with sounded good.

More info about the upcoming Ian Curtis biopic is on NME. Jude Law may work as Curtis, but I think they should find an unknown. It's one of those cases where it's better for Ian Curtis to be the spotlight, not some well-known actor. You never know: Jamie Foxx nailed Ray Charles down . . .

Remember the Eels? They're now on Vagrant Records. Read all about it here.

Here is some very cool info about Ash's upcoming American release of Meltdown. I will be picking this up for the bonus tracks and the DVD, thus making it the third version I will have of this record. I have the single album version and the version with a bonus live record. I'm not usually this completist on bands but when a band you love only releases records in their homeland, you go the distance. Plus, you never know if their records will ever get released in the US.

Speaking of which, I ordered the Manics' Lifeblood yesterday. I have looked all the net for a US release date and put two and two together. It's not going to happen anytime soon. CD Wow had it for $16 and some change (shipping included!). Speaking of which, the word is that the American domestic release of the 2CD/DVD the Holy Bible reissue is March 1st. Yes, I think the record is a little too dark at times, but I think it's really good. I'm looking forward to hearing the US mix and seeing the DVD . . .

David Yates will direct Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Read the little blurb here. Who is David Yates? Click here for his bio.

The Mars Volta's website has relaunched. Frances the Mute will be released on March 1st.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I want to ride my bicycle . . .

Songs in my head:
"Bicycle" by Queen
"You're My Best Friend" by Queen

I have a friend named Mark that is really into music. So much so that I would not be surprised if he would have to move into a bigger place to accomodate his ever-growing vinyl/CD/video/DVD collection. To those that think I'm a little too much into music will think he should be admitted to a mental ward. To those that understand the power of music, you know that music is not just some cheap and disposable thing to put on in the background. Every week, Mark sends out an MP3 via e-mail of a song that rocks his world. You never know what he'll send, but it's almost always a good track. It may be brand new, a few months old, a years old or many years old. Always something I look forward to every week. Now he's expanded his discoveries to the web on this website.

Let the hype on the Rakes begin!

What is the deal with band gear getting stolen, especially in Texas? Camper Van Beethoven got their stuff stolen again!

The newest installment of the Onion's Commentary Tracks of the Damned: Say It Isn't So! Former TCU student Chris Klein chimes in on his take on the movie.

Speaking of the Onion, this article's headline says it all: "Watching fewer than four hours of television a day severely inhibits a person's ability to ridicule popular culture."

You know you've read a good book on a band when you decide to get more records out of their back catalog. I picked up the Manics' b-side collection, Lipstick Traces, last night. Lots of great songs are spread across the two discs. Some of the ones that stood out upon first listen are "Forever Delayed," "Prologue to History," "Dead Trees and Traffic Islands," and "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head." I've heard very good things about their newest record, Lifeblood, but I doubt that it will be released in the US. Hello, CD Wow . . .

MTV.com has this great article that debates whether or not American Idol is hurting music. My attitude is: it's a TV show with an effective way of marketing young singers. It's selling records but it's not hurting music. These are artists meant for the pop music crowd, not for the people that want something new, radical or arty. It's meant to be an accessible way of introducing the next possible superstar. It would be a whole different show if it was called Credibility Idol. Understand that Pop Idol, the British version that inspired the American version, is still big business in England and the UK. Yet bands like Manic Street Preachers and the Libertines still sell well and make good records. In other words, its influence is not hurting the overall music scene's influence on those that listen to it. Don't worry folks, those taking shortcuts to fame will pay for it when their new record doesn't sell a lot of copies and he/she blames everyone else for its "failure" (record label not promoting it is an often used phrase) and wants to know why he/she doesn't have credibility. Sounds harsh, cynical and biased but just ask this guy about his experiences with American Idol.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Cigarettes and Red Vines

Songs in my head:
"Red Vines" by Aimee Mann
"How Am I Different" by Aimee Mann

Richard Kelly's next film, Southland Tales, has a rather interesting website.

I don't mean to rag on this band, but when I read this article, I just cringed at the artist/label naivety. I found this quote especially scary: "We don't know what [the new record label's] long-term recording plans are yet, but we know we'll be heading out on a quick U.S. tour pretty soon, and then, of course, we have Ozzfest." Think I'm out of line or blowing smoke? Just ask one of these guys.

Still no word on a release date for Ben Folds' next proper solo record . . .

I don't know if iTunes has even considered this, but it would be very cool if they sold imports. I don't know if there is something about import taxes or whatnot, but I think it would be beneficial. I did find the Ordinary Boys record (which has not been released in the US) on iTunes for $11.99 though. How about more Manics records than just Everything Must Go? How about Suede's A New Morning or Singles? So on and so forth . . .

I finished Everything last night. All in all, a good and well-informed story on the Manics. Did have some reservations with it and I am applying them to my book . . .

Hope to get more writing/revising today, along with doing errands and laundry. Don't know if I can do all three at a time.

Monday, January 17, 2005

See me age nineteen . . .

Songs in my head:
"Even If You Don't" by Ween
"Either Coast" by the Reputation
"We've Been Had" by the Walkmen

Kickball kicked my butt yesterday. My ankles are sore. Just pointing my feet up (as in, while walking) is not fun at the moment. But this is all the good pain: I had a lot of fun. I actually caught a pop fly, but my sunglasses broke upon impact. No big deal: I found a replacement (the exact same size, brand and color) at Target last night.

Speaking of Target, they have a new TV commercial using the Concretes' "Say Something New." Pretty cool song and commercial if you ask me.

Pop Matters has this very cool article about indie bands' songs used on TV commercials, TV shows (especially the OC) and movies. For all the cynics about this form of marketing, just remember that this band was once featured on this show. By the way, that band's next record is called At War With the Mystics, according to NME.

NME reports that Ikara Colt has split up. I don't know if Epitaph will release the band's second album in the USA.

When I read articles like this, I get inspired to write about the British hype machine. At least for right now, it's brought up in the At the Drive-In chapter. Sure, they get very excited about bands but once a band loses some of its surge, they move on to other bands. I know, I know, we see this in the American press too. However, from an American point of view, the press across the pond seems to go absolutely nuts about a new band every few weeks.

I think I'll pass on watching this show this season. Sure, you want to cheer on the underdog, but what is the real prize of the show? I'm thinking of David Brent's character trying to cash in on his "fame" in the Office Christmas special. I don't know if I'm becoming too cynical, but researching for this book has made me see through a lot of marketing and hype we read and see every day.

Just as I'm thinking I'm too cynical about this stuff, I see the going rate for this record. Not even a Stevie Nicks duet could save this one.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

When I'm in the crowd, I don't see anything . . .

Songs in my head:
"English Rose" by the Jam
"In the Crowd" by the Jam
"Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen

Yesterday was a crazy afternoon and evening with problems on the roadways. I always use the adage that I'd rather talk about them to others rather than sit in the back-up of them. Kev rang me up and provided a very useful tip as he was heading north. To use Sam Elliott/Big Lebowski-talk, it was much-obliged.

I ended up not going to the Granada last night. I went to the Cavern to see [DARYL]. The Cavern is small and the stage is almost nonexistant. A trio could play it no problem. But when there are six people in the band, you have to be crafty. Three set up on the stage and the other three set up in front of the stage. In other words, they were eye-level with the audience. When you have an animated band on the same ground floor as you, it's special. I've always had this bizarre feeling/fear of having a guitar tuning peg hit you in the face or on the head. It didn't happen last night, but I was right in front of the band. They played for a long time (as in, good) and even threw in some cover songs (something I'd never seen them do). They did a Ned's Atomic Dustbin song and Hum's "Stars." Very cool and off-the-cuff. These are the kinds of shows you remember . . .

I think we're playing kickball today. Shall wait and see . . .

Friday, January 14, 2005

Don't Stop Me Now

Song in my head:
"Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen
"Motown Junk" by Manic Street Preachers

Call it effective advertising: I am very tempted to get this because of their songs used in this movie.

I'm in the final stretch of Everything. I have about forty pages left. Since it was published in 1999, it stops at This is My Truth Tell Me Yours. I wonder what Simon had to say about Know Your Enemy . . .

No definite plans for the weekend. May go to this tsunami relief show at the Granada Saturday night. I haven't seen Centro-matic in a while . . . .

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Dawn of the Shaun

Song in my head:
"Operator" by Jim Croce

Two mornings of Jim Croce songs in my head. Nice start way to start the morning.

"Remember my name/Fame/I'm gonna live forever . . . "

I watched Shaun of the Dead yesterday. I give it high regards. Very funny, very touching and very cool with all the George Romero, Sam Raimi, John Carpenter movie references. It really does live up to its tagline of "A romantic comedy. With zombies."

Jeff Guin at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram wrote this great article predicting things to come in the next two Harry Potter books. I know, I know: it's all speculation. But speculation is part of the fun about reading Jo Rowling's work.


One of the longest-running alternative rock stations in America flipped formats yesterday: WHFS is now a Tejano station. No worries about people forgetting its power as a rock station. Since it was an important FM station (especially in the 1980s and 1990s) and had ties in with the Washington DC music community, WHFS is brought up in a couple chapters in my book. Bill Barbot of Jawbox and Dave Marsh (who, along with programming and production duties, had a Sunday night show on the station in the 1990s) chimed in with some great quotes a few months ago.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

That's not the way it feels . . .

Songs in my heads:
"Operator" by Jim Croce
"Photographs and Memories" by Jim Croce
"You Don't Mess Around With Jim" by Jim Croce

Last night was the first recording session for our next album. The overall plan is to record the basic tracks on the four-track at our practice space and then record the rest on a friend's eight-track. We got a solid drum track and acoustic guitar track for "Four Corners" an hour after we all realized that my original drum track wavered too much in tempo. We first tried laying down a drum track and then the guitar, but I sped up and slowed down too much. So Jason did an entire take on the guitar (he tapped his foot so his tempo wouldn't waver). Then I played my part in one take and we had it. The lesson learned: the next time you hear somebody say, "I got it in one take," add at least two hours of trial and error.

NME got to hear some of Coldplay's next record.

Why is it I get the feeling that this band is the next "everybody's talking about this band" band? I haven't heard their music but after seeing a mention in Rolling Stone and now this, I have a feeling that this may be the case for at least the next few months. Not that I'm hedging bets or anything because the ratrace of who may be the next big band is just like a dog chasing its tail.

When I was down in Houston for the holidays, brother Matt told me that this cherished record was recently reissued. I saw a copy of the "reissue" at Best Buy yesterday and was happy. Of course now they play up the Maroon 5 angle on the packaging. I still think highly of Kara's Flower's music . . .

I think I may have heard about this band maybe once or twice in the last eight months. Now I keep hearing all these people talking about them because they recently broke up. Hmmm: what's the deal about appreciation coming only after a band breaks up?

This week's installment of the Onion's Films That Time Forgot: Splatter University. I don't know if this film was ever appreciated.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Memory Lame

Songs in my head:
"Memory Lame" by Jim O'Rourke
"Picture Book" by the Kinks

NME has a lot of info about New Order's next album, Waiting for the Sirens Call.

Pitchfork sheds a lot of light onto Yo La Tengo's forthcoming retrospective. It will be out in March and I will definitely pick this up. I've been a casual fan of the band for quite a while. Maybe this comp will help me jump headfirst into their back catalog.

This band has a rather long and hard-to-remember name. Longer and harder-to-remember than this band's name.

We watched Fellini's La Strada last night. Really cool movie. Not the most cheeriest topic and tone, but still very effective and enjoyable. I'll shut up now so I don't start sounding like that guy in Annie Hall that rambles about a Fellini film . . .

One of my favorites films from 2004 is released on DVD today. Now I can enjoy this movie at home without having that bonehead who sat behind me in the theater.

As a fan of DVD commentary tracks, I find this site a wonderful read.

Ever wonder, "What's that song in that commercial?" Click here.

Ever wonder, "Why are they trying to do an Americanized version of the Office?" I'm hearing some rumblings that it will make the TV airwaves soon. I haven't seen any spots for it though . . .

Even though I live in Dallas, I tend to read Fort Worth Star-Telegram first and then the Dallas Morning News. I rarely go out to Fort Worth these days, but I'm still interested in what goes on. It's not that far away from Dallas . . .

Frank Black had his first child on Friday. Here's the info.

Monday, January 10, 2005

We've Been Had

Songs in my head:
"Either Coast" by the Reputation
"We've Been Had" by the Walkmen
"Ladies and Gentlemen, We're Floating in Space" by Spiritualized
"Life On Mars?" by David Bowie
"Rebel Rebel" by David Bowie

Had a really good Sunday. No flag football but I took the dog for a long walk in the afternoon. Maybe it was too long: she was pooped afterwards and didn't really get off her pillow for the rest of the day. I couldn't help it: the weather was amazing. Sunny, warm but not muggy. Like a Spring day, only in January.

After seeing it on Christmas day, I still can't get moments from the Life Aquatic out of my head. There's the slow motion part with "Life On Mars?". There's Seu Jorge and his acoustic renditions of Bowie songs in French. Then there is final scene, which according to the the IMDb, is an intentional nod to the final scene in Buckaroo Banzai, one of my favorite movies as a kid. I don't know if I should see it in the theater again or just wait for the DVD. Hopefully Criterion will be issuing it just like they did with Rushmore and the Royal Tenenbaums.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Please Drive Faster

Songs in my head:
"Please Drive Faster" by Braid
"Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)" by the Four Tops
"Sister Surround" by the Soundtrack of Our Lives

Did a little research and found out the two people in my dream are not married in real life. I just don't understand why these people turned up in a dream. I had not seen either one in years. So this is what having sinus congestion does to your brain . . .

I picked this up last night just for the At the Drive-In performance. There are a lot of great bands and performances on here (Ash and Foo Fighters especially pop out), but seeing "One Armed Scissor" is a great reminder as to why this band was just so incredible. I already jotted some notes in paragraph form last night . . .

We saw The John Sparrow again last night. The Shapes opened with a mostly acoustic set since Chuck couldn't play with them, but it was a nice alternate view. TJS kicked a lot of ass and even more than last weekend's performance. I was right up at front and the feeling/danger/excitement of possibly being hit by a mic stand or a guitar tuning peg was in full effect. In other words, I had a very good time.

Ian Curtis' life will be made into a movie, reports the NME. Start hedging your bets as to who could play him . . .

This guy is the new Lex Luthor for the upcoming Superman movie. Start imagining him without hair. . .

Friday, January 07, 2005

Somebody shake me, wake me, when it's over

Songs in my head:
"Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)" by the Four Tops
"MacArthur Park (Part II)" by the Four Tops

This morning I dreamt that I was back in Kingwood, walking by an auto store/car wash. In a glass window I saw a face I had not seen in a long time: a girl I knew from elementary school named Cheryl. I didn't really know her very well but she seemed very thrilled to see me. I soon was to find out after our greetings: she's married to an old friend of mine named Jeff. He walked in and said hello. I thought this whole meeting was random but what was crazier was that the two of them were married. Anyway, I'm next at the office where they worked (which looked very much like the office that I used to work in) and I see an old co-worker of mine with a military-style haircut (short on the top and clean-shaven on the side). Then I woke up with the Four Tops' "Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)" stuck in my head. I think I might want to listen to Billy Joel's "Scenes from an Italian Restuarant" later this morning specifically for the 'Brenda and Eddie' part.

NME has details of the forthcoming double album from the Foo Fighters.

The housemate and I were talking about Kids Incorporated last night and now I read on NME this morning about Eminem's next single, which samples former Kids Inc. star Martika's hit, "Toy Soldiers." By the way, whenever you see the Black Eyed Peas perform, know that "Fergie" used to be a cute little non-ghetto fab blonde named Stacy on the show. Here's the proof.

Is this a sign of other things to come? I find this line very interesting: "Klein noted that CNN will return to true reporting and useful information, and eschew the opinion, discussion and rhetoric that has shaped the news landscape for the past several years."

Jim DeRogatis has a nice little article about Jimmy Chamberlin (Smashing Pumpkins/The Last Hard Men/Zwan) and his new record. I heard a track at Freebirds a few weeks ago and it sounded pretty cool.

After taking a couple of weeks off from reading Everything, I've picked it up again this week. It's hard to put it down: having heard a lot of stories through the grapevine about Richey Edwards, it's nice to read some clear and concrete info about his "departure." Makes me think that Richey was a much more interesting person to read about than say, Pete Doherty.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

I'm Afraid of Everything

Songs in my head:
"I'm Afraid of Everything" by Braid
"Motown Junk" by Manic Street Preachers

Ashlee Simpson just doesn't get any respect.

My six-year-old cousin wants to know how she can "sing on the radio" (as in, be a famous singer). I have yet to sit down with her and tell her there is a difference between wanting to sing and wanting to be famous because of singing. Yes, I'm paraphrasing Bruce Campbell here, but it's a valid point. Taking shortcuts to stardom often leads to a lack of credibility (something you'll need in order to have a long-lasting career). I'm not sure if she could understand what I mean if I told tell her to listen to Blood on the Tracks, Pet Sounds, OK Computer or Grace.

Kev reports of iTunes selling silence. cNet has the whole story.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Sunshine the Werewolf

Song in my head:
"All Downhill from Here" by Jim O'Rourke

Yesterday I wore shorts because it was 68 degrees outside. Today, it's remained at 46 degrees all day. Go figure.

Monday night, while I was at my weekly pilgrimage to Freebirds, I heard "Sunshine the Werewolf" by the Dillinger Escape Plan. I know they have XM on their loud speakers but they usually have the classic alternative or modern rock stations on. This was a very interesting thing to hear while I was chowing down on a Monster chicken burrito.

Last night, the band got back together to practice. I think the last time we played together was in August, in other words, it was a long time. It was great to play drums again but the months of no playing made me a little stiff on rolls and beats. Whatever: we plan to record a lot of the new songs we've been working on for the last year. I haven't recorded in ages and I haven't recorded using my new drum set. Shall be interesting.

This morning, I got my copy of the quarterly alumni magazine from my old university. Is it me or is my urge to first read the back of the issue to see what my old classmates are doing weird? They usually list updates if someone has recently married or had a child. I'm not sure if "'01 graduate working in DFW radio writing a book on post-hardcore/whatever-you-call-it-core" is the most engaging thing to read. Maybe it is.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

I was on your side Bill . . .

Song in my head:
"Wedding Bell Blues" by the Fifth Dimension

Three cheers for Kev! The mix of honey and tea has taken away the scratchy throat for the time being.

One of my favorite documentaries, Hype!, is now available on DVD. It's a great look at what the early 1990s Seattle music scene was but it's been kinda hard to find in stores for the last few years. I wonder if there is any bonus material on the DVD . . . .

Ever wonder whatever happened to Daniel Johns of Silverchair? Click here.

Size of Your Life

Songs in my head:
"High as the Moon" by the Get Up Kids
"All That I Know" by the Get Up Kids
"Forever Got Shorter" by Braid
"Jesus, Etc" by Wilco
"Size of Your Life" by the Promise Ring
"Heartlight" by Neil Diamond

I'm up earlier than normal this morning because of my darn scratchy throat. Shall be taking Kev's advice and looking into getting some honey from the grocery store. Still, nothing else in my body is sore. Sometimes I talk just too much. Maybe this is a good thing. Having a scratchy throat doesn't stop me from writing though!

Well, I finally caved in: I got a MySpace account. Yes, after months of dismissing it as a cheesy waste of time, I now feel it's a great thing to have. No, I'm not trying to find love through this, post sad/poorly-lit pictures of myself, complain about how my life sucks, politics suck or how I feel about sports teams. This is a great networking tool and the main reason why I signed up for it is already paying off. I think you'll know why later in the year. Yes, it's book-related.

Wilco will be on Late Show with David Letterman Friday night. I think Josh will be taping this.

Vince Neil reportedly said a naughty word on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and it went out uncensored over the air. I don't know if Josh taped this or not.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Don't need to talk to my doctor . . .

Songs in my head:
"When My Baby's Beside Me" by Big Star
"Down the Street" by Big Star
"The Ballad of El Goodo" by Big Star
"Thirteen" by Big Star

Guess which record I listened to this morning? It wasn't Columbia or the Big Star Story . . .

Either I talked too much this weekend or I ate too many dry fruits and nuts but my voice is dry and scratchy this morning. Vanilla tea and cough drops are on the menu until I can get some OJ.

Jim DeRogatis comes through again with an interview with Guided By Voices' Robert Pollard.

So after watching the Extended Edition of The Return of the King with the cast and director/writers commentary tracks on, I finally watched all 4 hours and 10 minutes sans a commentary track. I had to split it up between Saturday night and Sunday morning (yes, cue your chants of "loser" now) but I thought it was great. The stuff that was removed from the theatrical release was for pacing but for the fans, the more character development, the better.

Mike keeps teasing us with some new Hey Mercedes news.

Here's a record that's been making many appearances in my CD player as of late. Just like Turn on the Bright Lights, the more I listen to it, the more I want to hear it. My rationale is this: if Turn on the Bright Lights is a "night" record (as in, it's perfect at night) then Antics is a "morning" record (as in, it's great for the morning). While I'm thinking about it, my favorite Sunday morning record is The Velvet Underground and Nico (maybe because of the first songs' title or because of it being all over the place).

I still need to get this guy's solo record. When I was in Houston a few weeks ago, brother Matt played me a few tracks and I was quite impressed.

I haven't done this in a while, but I went ahead and ordered both of Gatsby's American Dream's LPs and their EP without hearing every single track. I really dig their stuff and I'm looking forward to their Fearless debut which is due later this year. I don't usually jump headfirst into a band's back catalog after hearing a few MP3s, but I really dig what these guys are doing.

I have not watched a single episode of 24 (cue the chants of "You've never seen 24?") but I wonder: do the characters ever sleep? This is the fourth season, so that makes 96 hours of no sleep, right? I know not every season is continuous but do they sleep when the season is over?

If Wes Anderson's intention was to spread the gospel on how great David Bowie's 1970s work is, it's working for me. I had very limited exposure to Bowie's work (some Ziggy Stardust, Diamond Dogs and Aladdin Sane) but after hearing "Life On Mars?" in the Life Aquatic, the housemate's copy of Best of 1969-1974 has been getting a lot of spins in my CD player.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Life on Mars?

Songs in my head:
"Mystery Hours" by the New Pornographers
"Life On Mars?" by David Bowie

First post of 2005. I will turn 26 this year and I plan to have my book finished. At this time, I have no resolutions for the new year. A few years ago I tried to do what Bob Nanna did and see 365 movies in one year. No such luck: I think the most I've seen in one year is around 80.

New Year's Eve was interesting: I had the Dismemberment Plan's "The Ice of Boston" in my head off and on through the night. We saw the Deathray Davies play at this rather large pub-style place across the street from the Hard Rock Cafe. They played two sets and a lot of songs sounded familiar even though I had not seen them play in about a year. Before they played, I heard a rumor that may be very true about one of my favorite local bands breaking up. I don't know if I'm in denial, but I don't believe it just yet. Anyway, we then went to a place in the Fair Park area for nonstop upbeat 1960s R&B music and lots of dancing on the dance floor. The music was incredible even though I was unfamiliar with a lot of the songs. It was one of those, the first time you hear it, it's great. I even heard the original version of "Tainted Love." Then came the John Sparrow from Houston. They were a very cool old school Mod garage rock band. Their drummer was all over his kit, throwing himself into every beat. Very cool.

Happy 2005