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Showing posts from March, 2008


In an ongoing attempt to understand why I'm interested (and not interested) in hearing new records by long-running artists, I present a timely example. Tomorrow sees the official release of two albums by bands that were huge for me at certain points in my life. R.E.M. releases their fourteenth album, Accelerate , and Sun Kil Moon releases their third album, April . Despite some glowing reviews of Accelerate , April was the one I wanted to hear. But I wonder why, as I wasn't expecting Mark Kozelek to pull out some bold record that drastically differs from his solo work, Red House Painters or Sun Kil Moon. And plus, why give a cold shoulder to R.E.M.? Let me compare my stories. I was too young for R.E.M.'s formative years as I was four when Murmur came out. I watched MTV's Rockumentary on the band plenty of times in the early Nineties, but never ventured far into their back catalog. Instead, I followed them closely between Document all the way to Up . '91's Ou

Until next week . . .

In hopes that the turnaround period between manuscript to book is short, I'm having to a lot of work I didn't forsee, including reformatting the entire manuscript. Since this will take a few days (and I want to do one more look-over of the chapters), blogging will return next week.

A Little Time

There are times when I question my habits in discovering great local bands. I argue that I love who I love and choose to see them frequently. If I happen to be exposed to an exceptional band via a slot on the same bill, there's no problem in that. If a friend who understands my tastes in music gently recommends me a band, I'm inclined to check them out. Otherwise, I just don't have the patience to listen to MP3s from bands I've never heard of. I'm busy enough listening to the bands I love (national, international and local) over and over. So when I come across a band that blows me away, it's a nice surprise. A recent case in point is Denton's the Marked Men . I've heard about them for years, mainly due to the fact that I know the brother of one of the band members. He might have played them for me before in his record store, but I can't remember. Hearing "A Little Time" on Sound Opinions this week, I'm very, very interested in catching

Stumblin' Man

Maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places on the Internet, but I tend to hear more about proposed/in-development DVDs, movies, books and CD reissues more than the actual products. Where's that four-disc Ryan Adams box set? Hell, where's that Replacements box set? What about Bottle Rocket on Criterion? I've just learned to not get all excited until it comes out. But I've also experienced getting excited about stuff that I didn't know existed or heard was worth checking out. Case in point, a relatively recent post on Buddyhead mentioned a documentary on TAD. Reading the words, "is actually more about the whole Sub Pop scene than it is about TAD," piqued my interest. Watching Busted Circuits and Ringing Ears over the weekend, I found it to be a great look at the critically-acclaimed/lauded by popular bands Seattle four-piece. It's pretty straightforward, well-shot and is full of great interviews with band members, Nirvana's Krist Novoselic and

Nothing an eight ball, a porn star and a tattoo parlor can't handle.

Last night I took in another viewing of Southland Tales . This time, it was on DVD and I had a friend with me: Nick. I still distinctly remember him coming over to my place four years ago with his copy of Donnie Darko , wanting to watch it with me. Now I was returning the favor since he missed seeing Southland Tales when it was out in theaters. I can't think of another time when I saw a movie for the second time and had a distinctly different interpretation of it. I enjoyed the movie after my first viewing, but just like when I saw Donnie Darko for the first time, I wasn't sure what all exactly happened. This time, I felt like somebody hit me over the head with a Nerf bat over and over again. Rather than be annoyed by this jarring nature, I must say I liked the movie even more. If anything, I found the movie to be about people claiming to want major social and political change, but their own greed undermines everything. The one character that isn't greedy (and more import

Well, age will flatten a man.

It happens every year following the Academy Awards ceremony: all sorts of people see one of the big award-winning films for the first time and express sheer bafflement. "What's so great about this movie?" they ask. It's like they were tricked into seeing something supposedly great, but found it appalling. For me, all of this is kind of funny, but not in a snobby way. I think the first time I saw this kind of reaction was when an older cousin of mine urged our great aunt to see The Piano . Aunt Jackie was a wonderful lady -- full of heart and humor, a great painter and someone with lots of stories to tell. But I don't seem to remember her talking about the kinds of movies she liked. Somehow she saw The Piano and from then on, she always said some sort of variation of this: "I saw that movie The Piano and I thought it was stupid ." A few years later, while visiting some old family friends in New Orleans, Barton Fink was brought up. But it wasn't bro

This is Agent Cookie reporting . . .

There are certain measures of how far pop culture goes. If "Weird Al" Yankovic has done a parody song of a song, it's gone pretty far. If Sesame Street has done an homage to it, it has gone far. Thanks to the wonderful world of YouTube, here's the Monsterpiece Theater segment paying homage to Twin Peaks .

The 13th

So, my trip down to Austin last week yielded some mixed results. On one hand, it had its spontaneous moments, but they were moments around frustrating roadblocks. If you'd like to read some thorough wrap-up stories of the big shows and surprises, start here and here . For my own perspective of eight hours of South by Southwest (with the good and not-so-good), read on. -The ride down was nice: cloudy, warm and pretty peaceful. Getting word that the free parking lot under 35 was already full at 11am: not-so-good. -I hoped I would park in the same place I did last year (a tall parking garage with a $7 fee, good until 2am, only a block away from 6th Street). However, by noon it was already full. So I parked a few blocks south of there for $10. The catch was, as the parking attendant told me in broken English: "good for only eight hours." -So I meet up with some friends who don't live in Texas and proceed to meet some more people and enjoy some free Tex-Mex. I realize in

On a holiday

I'll be Austin for the rest of the week for SxSW. For now, here's some bits and pieces: -I spent two hours today printing out galley copies of POST . As strange as it sounds, holding all 213 pages in my hands made think, "This is really happening." Plus, I also thought, "Man, this is like a telephone book." -If you haven't heard anything from Trever Keith's solo record (his first release post-face to face, Viva Death and Victoria Manor), it's available for streaming on his site and here's an MP3 of the first track.

Caught in a pattern

Once again, Zen Habits comes through with a great article . This time it's on making time for personal goals. Eleven useful tips are laid out for those who are trying to find the time, but I wonder about people that have all sorts of it. Almost too much time on their hands. And what about those that have that along with a regular routine? Where's the spontaneity? I know a little too much about routine. My job has set hours, so I can thankfully arrange my life around it without many surprises. There's time to nap, write, play music, exercise, watch DVDs and go out to shows. As nice as it is to have time to do all those things, I can't help but think I'm regimented to a time schedule. If I nap too late in the afternoon, falling asleep at night will be more difficult. I must take advantage of the nice weather, so I have really no excuse to pass up some late afternoon running. There seems to be a time and place for everything, including spending time with friends and f

The Reason(s)

A book I hope to read soon is Carl Wilson's entry into the 33 1/3 series . I have yet to read any of the 33 1/3 books (which take a look at critically acclaimed records like 69 Love Songs and Murmur , among many others), and I'm well aware that Wilson's topic is definitely not on a celebrated album. Maybe that's why I want to read it. I've read enough about why Pet Sounds is great (I own the album and have come to my own conclusions). Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love , however, is a different story. Wilson's book "documents [his] brave and unprecedented year-long quest to find his inner Celine Dion fan, and explores how we define ourselves in the light of what we call good and bad, what we love and what we hate." I'm all eyes and ears on this one. Why this is the case is that my experience with Let's Talk About Love about ten years ago taught me a lot. Working at Best Buy when Dion's album, as well as the Titantic soundtrack,

You bastards, why are you torturing me like this? Why?

Like Terminator 2 and the original Dawn of the Dead , I think the Evil Dead trilogy (specifically the first film) has been reissued a record number of times on DVD. Why exactly that's the case, I'm not sure. (I've heard rumblings it's about rights changing hands after companies being bought, thus making it go out of print, but I've never heard an official word.) Anyway, it's with this in mind (as well as my store-bought copies of the trilogy back in 2001 on my shelf) that I decided to spring for the recent 3-disc , "Ultimate Edition" of the original Evil Dead . From what I can remember, Evil Dead has been reissued no less than four times. The version I've stuck with for so long has the film in pan-and-scan with two commentary tracks. Other editions came with the film in matted widescreen and one with a Bruce Campbell-produced documentary called Fanalysis . I was lucky to rent a copy of the film with the Fanalysis documentary attached as I didn&

Don't Take Anything Personally

Some words of wisdom I'd like to program into my brain: if you look at the actions and feedback from others with your reflection in almost full view, it's almost impossible to not take things personally. As of late, I've taken a lot of stuff personally, and I must say, it makes me angry. Whether or not I'm angry at myself or others, I don't really know. It might be both. I find it very difficult to distance myself from someone who's sharply criticizing something I've done and constantly uses the word, "you." I know there's a big difference between criticizing the work and the person, but it's hard to know which is which in the heat of the moment. If anything, my wild imagination thinks this person is going to hold a grudge and never forgive what I have done. This is not just some disagreement; this seems like disapproval. I can recall in college making a slight half-joke about a recent show to a reporter, not really thinking what I said was

This Time Tomorrow

I may have a large collection of CDs, but that doesn't mean I know (or have heard) every single song on them. That's probably why I've recently become embarrassed I didn't realize I already had certain songs in my collection. Taking in a recent screening of The Darjeeling Limited on DVD, I noticed (and liked) the Kinks songs on its soundtrack: "Powerman" and "This Time Tomorrow." Since "Powerman" by title sounded familiar, I checked my CD shelf. Turns out I had it, along with "This Time Tomorrow," on my copy of Lola vs. Powerman and the Moneyground -- an album that I've listened to exactly once. Another instance involves a song I've had stuck in my head off and on for months: Desmond Dekker's "Israelites." I forget where I heard it (maybe the Smoke?), but I was convinced it was by the Crusaders (????). Seeing the song listed in an interview with Michael Emerson, I immediately pulled up the iTunes Music Sto