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Archives for 04/23/2006 - 04/29/2006

Saturday, April 29, 2006

EMP Pop-Con 2006: National Treasures on Guilty Pleasures

posted by on April 29 at 3:49 PM

Yesterday afternoon I got myself to the Experience Music Project for part of the first full day of the 2006 Pop Conference. I couldn’t stick around for as long as I would’ve liked, but the time I spent there was dreamy. This year’s thesis question—“What forces are at work when we like something we ‘shouldn’t’?”—is dear to my heart (my first play was about my tortured obsession with the art of then-homophobe-du-jour Axl Rose) and the gang of artists and writers EMP’s corralled to discuss the theme is impressive. Strolling around yesterday was like going to pointy-headed music heaven, with a parade of people sporting nametags I recognized from bylines (Blender guy! Spin girl!) and the previous night’s keynote speaker Stephin Merritt hanging out in the cafe. (As anyone who’s been exposed to my Stranger writing is aware, I love Stephin Merritt. However, there’s no denying that he bears a strong resemblance to David Sedaris. They’re both brilliant and hilarious and gay, and they both chain-smoke. Has anyone ever seen them in the same room, at the same time?)

Back to the conference: I attended the 4pm panel “Aural Correctness,” featuring one of my favorite living writers, Robert Christgau, who’s been hashing through the minutia of contentious art for decades (from Johnny Rotten to Professor Griff to Marshall Mathers) and who yesterday took on the crack-happy new strain of gangsta rap, as produced by Young Jeezy, L’il Wayne, and the Oscar-winning Three-Six Mafia. It was deeply entertaining, and surprisingly emotional: Recounting preparations for his father’s funeral, the crusty old Dean choked up a bit. It was a lovely thing to see, especially in the middle of a high-minded, equivocal paean to crack-slingin,’ bitch-slappin’ gangsta rap.

However, the definitive Christgau moment came seconds after his introduction by moderator RJ Smith, who praised him for “making the Village Voice what it is.”

“What it was,” Christgau growled, to applause.

The EMP Pop Conference continues through tomorrow at Seattle Center.



Friday, April 28, 2006

Junior Brown. Crocodile. Tonight.

posted by on April 28 at 5:08 PM

Junior Brown is playing at the Crocodile tonight! This is truly exciting. You see, Junior Brown plays the guit-steel, a guitar that did not exist until the idea came to him one night in a dream. It’s a double-neck guitar, but while one neck is the standard six-string, the other neck is a steel guitar! Fuck yes. You can’t get better than a steel guitar, in my opinion. He really rocks out on this thing. It’s just great. I wouldn’t miss this show for the world”¦ except it costs $28, and, unfortunately, that’s just too damn much for me. However, those of you with a love for honky-tonk and rock ‘n’ roll, and with an extra $28 in your pocket, should by all means go.

Nuestro Jam

posted by on April 28 at 4:21 PM

As I am a fourth-generation Chicano, when I first read about “Nuestro Himno” and went through its Spanish lyrics, my interest was piqued, and I thought Finally—something distinctly American under which the various Latino sub-cultures in this nation can unite. The lyrics, while only mildly poetic, are nonetheless impactful and clean enough, considering they are poetically approximated from the English.

Now I’ve heard the actual recording. And I hate it, though this has nothing to do with it being in Spanish or adopted by Spanish-language radio stations. Gone is the majesty of the traditional interpretation. No rich harmonies or blasts of brass or rap of determined percussion. The song is a frothy showcase of layer on layer of indulgent improvisational vocal melismas, with the grand and simple melody only lightly sketched. The castanets and dribbles of guitar would make it a lullaby if it weren’t for the synthesized and MIDI-triggered flailings of the ending.

Imagine instead a more traditional version of the song sung acappella by scores of Latino Americans—our proud, broad vowels ringing through the streets of Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, and Houston. Only then—when we sound the anthem from our own mouths—can this truly be “Nuestro Himno.”

The power of “The Star Spangled Banner” is almost entirely musical, afterall. For those Americans who even know the English lyrics, the only words in the main verse that are pertinent to the principles of our nation are in the last stanza (“… the land of the free and the home of the brave.”). The rest is dedicated to a symbol that (let’s not pretend here) isn’t nearly as sacrosanct as it was two hundred years ago. No, it is the rhythmic impulse and the stepwise chord movement—open, rugged and natural as the American landscape—that make our national anthem work. The American spirit is in the music, and that spirit was not abandoned even by Hendrix’s version, the which contained (musically speaking) a measure of the struggle and freedom to which the musician Pitbull speaks in the Houston Chronicle article.

When that spirit and those rhythms and harmonies are abandoned for the banalities of Fruity Loops-produced pop, what is left is something altogether un-American—something that does not endure and does not take part in the divine dialogue with the Universal under which these States were federated.

For those of you who can read music (or at least get the general idea), you can click here view an old sheet music printing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in a mostly unadorned arrangement. It only makes sense that the music should be this severe; the tune of our anthem was originally a drinking song. If you’ve ever done karaoke drunk before, you’ll already know: the fewer notes, the better.

Glovebox In-store Update

posted by on April 28 at 3:35 PM

Australian band Glovebox will be playing Silver Platters Saturday April 29 at 4 pm, not 5 as noted in this week’s Data Breaker.
Here’s the blurb:

Fronted by saucy songstress Mishka, Australian quartet GloveboX peddle extroverted electronic pop that could segue smoothly with Brazilian Girls, Hot Chip, and VHS or Beta tracks at some beachside soiree. GloveboX’s self-titled debut’s a frothy trifle that has enough fuzz-toned guitars to rope in rock fans who aren’t reflexively dance-club phobic. With Voyager One, Climber. High Dive, 513 N 36th St, 632-0212, 10 pm”“2 am, $6, 21+; also at Silver Platters, 9560 First Ave NE, 524-3472, 4 pm, free.

Britney’s havin’ a baby.

posted by on April 28 at 3:34 PM

According to this week’s Us Magazine, Britney Spears IS pregnant with baby Sean Preston’s little brother or sister. She’s said to be four months along and due October 2nd or 3rd.

God save us all.

Neil Young’s New Record

posted by on April 28 at 3:10 PM

My mother recently asked me why there weren’t more rock artists writing anti-war anthems these days. She has a point—aside from Green Day’s American Idiot, Barsuk’s Future Soundtrack for America and the Rock Against Bush compilations, there hasn’t been as much noise from the music community as I would have expected (perhaps it’s all being written in basement practice spaces right now). However, leave it to Neil Young to document his unsurprising opposition to the war. It’s called Living WIth War and it’s currently streaming here. Even non-rocking Mr. Savage will surely appreciate songs titles like “Let’s Impeach the President.”

“Nuestro Himno” Climbing the Charts and Rattling the Right

posted by on April 28 at 1:35 PM

NPR just did a great piece on the Spanish version of the national anthem that is getting widespread airplay on Spanish radio stations. The translation, which includes contributions from Wyclef Jean and Pitbull, has been adopted as the signature song for the immigrant rights’ movement. Along with Bush, conservative talk radio host Frances Key Howard (a distant grandson of the song’s composer, Francis Scott Key) is already denouncing it. The reporter astutely points out that this is not the first time “The Star-Spangled Banner” has been reinterpreted for dramatic political effect (a moment in music history I truly wish I had witnessed).

Skatepark benefit this weekend!

posted by on April 28 at 12:40 PM

I wrote about it in this week’s Underage column, but I didn’t want anyone to forget that there’s a great benefit show at Neumo’s on Sunday with the Ruby Doe, Bullet Club, and the Senate Arcade. The show will raise money for a new, 10,000-square-foot skatepark to be built in the South Park neighborhood.

Grindline is designing the park (see all the awesome work they’ve done across the country on their website, www.grindline.com), and construction is set to begin in June. The goal is to have it open this time next year. More info about River City Skatepark is available at their website, www.rivercityskatepark.com. Sunday’s show starts at 7 pm and costs $8 at the door. It’s all ages.

Ice Cube Can Take a Joke; His Fans Can’t

posted by on April 28 at 11:20 AM

It’s funny: Ice Cube’s art is largely based in humor, yet I’ve noticed many of his fans lack that important quality.

Samuel L. Chesneau, The Stranger’s hiphop columnist from 2003-2004, has voiced his displeasure with this week’s article on Ice Cube, “Rhyme Pays—Again.”

The travesty of your article on a hiphop legend Ice Cube was a disgrace. I’m seriously offended at Mr. Bruce’s poorly written article when you have other more qualified writers available to do an objective piece. Since Jennifer [Maerz] left the music department is a fucking joke, please stop unqualified writers from thinking because they snorted a few lines with a dealer that rocks a pair of Bapes sneakers and a Goods hoody that they actually know something about our culture that the Stranger continues to exploit and sugar coat for the Capitol Hill audience. You have qualified writers on your staff (even former staff) at your disposal, use them and keep these clowns from writing about our community and culture.

The first sentence amply demonstrates Chesneau’s dubious grasp of the English language. Later, Chesneau makes the common and misguided assumption that Stranger writers do blow;. I don’t know why this perception exists, but for the record, I hate the stuff and so did former music editor Jennifer Maerz. (Furthermore, Shaun Bruce, the author of the Cube piece, lives in Austin, Texas and doesn’t know Capitol Hill from Phinney Ridge.)

Then this self-appointed defender of hiphop’s honor has the nerve to say, “You have qualified writers on your staff (even former staff) at your disposal”¦”¯ Sam, you got canned because your work ethic was lackadaisical at best and your prose dull. Your bitterness is as unbecoming as your writing.

For those who want a more reverent take on Ice Cube, check out Larry Mizell Jr.’s My Philosophy column. I informed Mr. Mizell that we would be publishing a humorous piece on Ice Cube and that he was free to weigh in how he wished. Next time Cube plays Seattle, I’ll run a sober, hyper-analytical critique of his distinctive use of metaphor and simile. Then y’all can slam us for taking the man too seriously.

Ice Cube’s a phenomenal rapper, an occasionally inspired actor, and one of the funniest guys ever to spit into a mic. Let’s be frank: he’s talented, but not flawless, and he’s not above some good-natured ribbing. The puzzling thing is, for such a witty individual, he sure draws his share of woefully humor-deficient fans.

Please Kill Him

posted by on April 28 at 9:12 AM

Watching the slow, staggering demise of Pete Doherty has been infuriating and heartbreaking.

I saw the Libertines at the Croc in 2003, and it was one of the most transcendent shows I’ve ever seen. (I wrote about it for The Stranger here.)

Even back then, Doherty was living on the edge of the edge, but who would’ve guessed how bad it would get? Or that he would survive long enough to make sure things got worse and worse?

Stunning new low: The photos of Doherty apparently injecting drugs into an unconscious female lying on the floor of his flat, printed in today’s The Sun.

This new twist won’t kill him, but it could get him sent to prison, which could kill him, or could save his life, for another few minutes.

Full story here.

It Takes Two

posted by on April 28 at 4:46 AM

Two items from IMDB:

Sony BMG Hits Back at Crowe

Music executives at Sony have hit back at Russell Crowe, insisting they never led him to believe they would offer him a record deal. The Oscar-winning actor launched a scathing attack on the record company this week, claiming they put him through a six-month “process” before passing on his band. Crowe was furious that he and his band The Ordinary Fear Of God, didn’t even manage to get a meeting with the record label bosses. A Sony spokesperson insists there were meetings and that a rejection was purely a good business decision on behalf of the company. A Sony representative says, “There have been meetings with Russell Crowe, but in regards to the quality of our large roster, we didn’t take up the opportunity.” Crowe has been touring with his band in his native New Zealand and Australia in recent months, playing gigs ranging from clubs to the recent MTV Australian Video Music Awards. The actor told a Sydney radio station that he thought the band’s performance at the MTV awards would seal the record deal with Sony. According to the Gladiator star, music executives told him, “All you’ve got to do is play that song at the MTV Awards tonight, and rock that, and you’re home and hosed.” Crowe claims a Sony representative became interested in the band last November, but the potential deal fell through just after the MTV Awards. Despite being told at a meeting he was all but assured of a contract he says, “Less than 24 hours after the meeting and a six-month process, ‘(They said) absolutely not, we would (never) think of releasing you, we have too many artists and we want to service those.’”


Snoop Released Without Charge

Rapper Snoop Dogg was released from a London police station yesterday evening after he escaped charges over a brawl in the city’s Heathrow Airport. The hip-hop star and five members of his 30-strong entourage were arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of affray and violent disorder when a fight broke out in Terminal 1’s British Airways business lounge. According to reports, the star’s entourage reacted angrily when they were turned away from the First Class lounge, where they were hoping to wait before boarding a flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. During the incident, seven police officers were injured. After spending nearly 24 hours in police custody, Snoop - real name Calvin Broadus - was released on bail from Heathrow police station, but was forced to cancel his Thursday performance at the Freedom Day celebrations in South Africa. The rapper’s attorney Peter Binning says, “Snoop has been released on bail. He will return at a later date.” Meanwhile, British Airways have banned the rapper and his associates from flying on the airline. A BA spokeswoman explains, “Given the nature of the disturbance they have been banned from traveling with BA for the foreseeable future.”


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Nirvana’s Drum Kit For Sale?

posted by on April 27 at 4:47 PM

Lord knows whether this Craigslist posting has any validity, but if it does, someone could become the proud owner of one very expensive and very beat-up drum kit.

More Mon Frere!

posted by on April 27 at 12:47 PM

While interviewing Mon Frere over dinner at Ballet for this week’s music piece, Fall Out Boy was played three times over the course of an hour on the Top 40 radio station the restaurant was tuned in to. That got us talking a bit about music trends”¦ that eventually turned into downright shit-talking. There wasn’t room in the article to print all of the funny bits the band said about other artists like Nick Lachey and Avril Lavigne, and even themselves, so I thought I’d post a few extra clips here for those of you wanting even more from the Mountlake Terrace trio.

On Nick Lachey
Kyle: I think Nick’s playing the divorce out just right.
Nouela: He has his own reality TV show now!
Kyle: I know. I heard that this girl I went to school with knows a girl that gave him head on Superbowl Sunday or something like that”¦ Oh, Nick Lachey”¦

On Britney and Kevin:
Dustin: Britney Spears is an alien.
Kyle: I watch that Kevin Federline video of him in the MTV studio all the time. Have you seen that!? It’s so good. The song is called is called “PopoZao,”¯ he’s starting to get into it, but then he starts full on dancing, but he’s sitting down.

On Avril Lavgine:
Dustin: She’s got nice hair.
Kyle: Well put!
Nouela: Yeah, she has great hair. She has a nice asscrack, seen it a lot.
Dustin: Isn’t she like, 12?

On Sum 41
Nouela: I met Sun 41 once.
Megan: Were they assholes?
Nouela: No! They were surprisingly very nice.
Kyle: Because they’re Canadian.

On their song “Clever Boi”¯
Nouela: Can we talk about the spelling of “Clever Boi”¯ on our album? It’s “B-O-I”¯ cause I thought it’d be funny. But no one else thinks it’s funny, they just think it’s retarded. It was supposed to be a joke.
Kyle: If Avril Lavigne can do it, why can’t we?

On each other
Dustin: Nouela was making fun of me yesterday for wearing fangs at the merch table. (Mon Frere gives out free vampire fangs at their shows.)
Nouela: I make fun of you for everything, you can’t just call out one thing”¦ you were skanking to Speaker Speaker, I didn’t say anything then!
Dustin: I was trying to get kids to dance! They were just standing there!

Stranger Delegates at the Indiecratic National Convention

posted by on April 27 at 11:20 AM

highfidelity.jpg
Stranger contributors Kurt B. Reighley (left) and Matt Corwine
Tonight kicks off the fifth annual Pop Conference at the Experience Music Project.

This year’s theme is “guilty pleasures” — or, in crit-speak, “Loving Music in the Shadow of Doubt.”

Doubt casts long shadows over music criticism. Think about it: “guilty pleasures” imply that not all pleasure is guiltless. For people who have taken it upon themselves to be full-time guardians and historians of rock music, I suppose your approved guiltless pleasures would be listening to Yo La Tengo and reading Pitchfork. Everything else is up for debate.

Well, the debate starts tonight, and by God we are going to get this shit settled by Sunday, no matter who gets hurt.

At 2:00 on Saturday, long-time Stranger contributor and Border Radio columnist Kurt B. Reighley will put on his tweed blazer and tell you about the sophisticated schmaltz of the Hi-Los. At 11:00 on Sunday, I will school you on the total awesomeness of the Super Mario Bros. theme.

Appearing alongside us are lesser music industry figures like Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields, Drew Daniel of Matmos and Soft Pink Truth, and some guy called Robert Christgau.

Abstracts for our talks after the jump.

Continue reading "Stranger Delegates at the Indiecratic National Convention" »

Best Punk Song Ever

posted by on April 27 at 10:54 AM

Wire’s “Mr Suit.”¯ So damned economical (85 seconds), so damned swift, so damned righteous, so damned uplifting. Check it out on the recently reissued and great-sounding “Original Masters”¯ version of Pink Flag on Pink Flag Records. And while you’re at it, score Wire’s classic second and third albums, Chairs Missing and 154. Look for a feature on these timeless gems in next week’s Stranger.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

An Unexpected Benefit of Working at Home

posted by on April 26 at 4:30 PM

If it wasn’t for the re-run of the Colbert Report playing in the background as I was writing today, I wouldn’t have heard about last week’s pay-per-view sĆ©ance, conducted in effort to communicate with John Lennon. What I can’t determine, however, is whether I’m struck more by the idiocy of the attempt or the insensitivity of the act.

Refused DVD! Out now!

posted by on April 26 at 4:24 PM

I have been waiting months, years even, for the release of the Refused DVD Refused Are Fucking Dead. Turns out, it was quiety released yesterday, April 25! How the hell did I miss that!? The collection of live footage and interviews with the highly-influential punk band is supposed to be really amazing. Has anyone seen it yet? I’ll be going on a hunt for a copy tonight, so I’ll let you know how it is tomorrow. In the mean time, a trailer is available on their Myspace page.

Moog Porn

posted by on April 26 at 3:06 PM

Because you want to know about the synths used on the Apocalypse Now soundtrack.

DEMF Vs. Mutek

posted by on April 26 at 2:23 PM

For fans of world-class electronic music, late May/early June presents something of a dilemma: which festival do you hit—Detroit Electronic Music Festival (AKA Movement) or Montreal’s Mutek? (Or do you skip both and go to Barcelona for Sonar, big balla?)

The lineups for both events are strong every year (some artists play both), with Detroit leaning more toward hedonistic dance music and local talent (of which there’s plenty, young and old) and Mutek favoring more cerebral, abstract fare (though Mutek’s microhouse/minimal-techno posse sure can throw down when they want to), as well as panel discussions and seminars on new cutting-edge gear and other issues pertaining to digital music and video creation. Mutek has the advantage of being based in the beautiful city of Montreal, while Detroit has the benefit of being where my family lives, saving me money on lodging.

Looking at DEMF and Mutek’s 2006 lineups, though, it seems like the former is copping the latter’s style (Richie Hawtin, Ark, the Orb, Krikor, Superpitcher, Pantytec, Klimek, Dandy Jack, Dan Bell, Speedy J, and Alex Under? Holy shit, maybe I’ll have to go to Detroit after all). But I’ll probably end up going to Mutek for the third year in a row, because its bills are more consistently up my alley and I won’t need to drive a car to get to the venues, as I would in Detroit (doing my part for the environment, even as I vacation). Where are you planning to go, if anywhere?

Doll Makers

posted by on April 26 at 1:02 PM

It’s not a done deal, but word from the Makers’ camp is that they’ve landed the opening slot of this summer’s New York Dolls tour. Regardless of what you think of their Thunder-free reunion, that’s a pretty apt pairing, I’d say.

Daniel Johnston: The Rock Opera

posted by on April 26 at 12:45 PM

The production is named after Johnston’s 1983 album, Speeding Motorcycle. I just hope he gets some royalties—seems like alot of folks are releasing tributes and documentaries, but the guy is living pretty lean, financially-speaking. Read more about the opera here. Via Pitchfork.

On a related note, when I interviewed Johnston for the paper a few years ago, he sent us artwork to use for the cover, which we paid him for. Granted, that ain’t much, but I thought it was nice.

Look, Mom! I’m a podcast star!

posted by on April 26 at 12:10 PM

I’ve posted before about Never Forget, a local podcast by a few music geek friends of mine, and now I’ll gladly do it again because this week I’m the co-host! I had never done a podcast before, and it was a lot of fun to pretend like I was doing pirate radio like Christian Slater in Pump Up the Volume (great movie, by the way).

For a whole hour, we play a bunch of great punk rock and make fun of each other and Pete Wentz. Here’s the playlist:

piebald - location is everything
possum dixon - we’re all happy
fifteen - inventions
hoover - TNT
meneguar - house of cats
lungfish - cleaner than your surroundings
mclusky - to hell with good intentions
team dresch - fagetarian and dyke
zero zero - true zero

So check it out by going to www.neverforgetpodcast.com. And apologies in advance for babbling, I tend to do that. Anyways, give a listen and let us know what you think! Your feedback keeps my heart beating.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Bonnie joins Buck up yonder

posted by on April 25 at 4:47 PM

Bonnie Owens, one of the most underrated women in country music, passed away yesterday morning—almost exactly a month after her first husband, Buck Owens. (She was also married to Merle Haggard.) If you are looking for a suitable way to honor her memory, in addition to any of Bonnie’s own fine recordings, one might also wish to check out “Queen of the Coast,” Laura Cantrell’s homage to Owens, found on her 2000 debut CD, Not the Tremblin’ Kind.

Big Brother Is Bouncing You

posted by on April 25 at 3:24 PM

It’s billed as “the future of nightclub security.”¯ According to an article in by Patrick Sisson in XLR8R, BioBouncer is an “electronic face book”¯ based around “a system of unobtrusive cameras that uses 2D and 3D facial recognition technology to identify unwanted or troublesome customers.”¯ The system doesn’t collect personal data; it simply captures facial images. Sisson continues:

BioBouncer is a simple setup. A pair of video cameras scans and analyzes patrons and checks them against images in the club’s database of problem customers. These customers—who were kicked out for causing trouble or violating club policy—had their pictures captured by trigger cameras at the exits and added to the system’s database. When they try to re-enter the venue at a later date, BioBouncer picks their photo out of the database and alerts the owner and security personnel (via a computer screen or wireless message), and the real-life bouncers get to work.

New York-based BioBouncer founder Jeff Dussich of JAD Communications and Security wouldn’t comment on when and where the system made its debut, but he notes that club owners from the U.S., Germany, Italy, and New Zealand have expressed interest in it.

Does BioBouncer make you feel safer or is this going too far to keep out the riff-raff?

Friday at the Old Fire House.

posted by on April 25 at 3:19 PM

On Friday night I went to the show at the Old Fire House featuring Schoolyard Heroes, Mon Frere, Speaker SpeakerSpeaker Speaker, and Paris in Arms.

I had never heard Paris in Arms, and to be honest I don’t remember much about their set except for the fact that the two frontmen were both wearing baseball shirts. One guy was #3 for the Atlanta Braves, and the other was #12 for the Cardinals. I wonder if that was done on purpose.

Anyways, next was Speaker Speaker. They’re a current favorite of mine, if you couldn’t tell by my childish need to constantly talk about them like a girl with a grade school crush. It was a homecoming show for the boys, who had been on the road for about two-weeks prior. And despite their no doubt exhausting 12-hour drive from Montana earlier in the day, the Big Shot winners were in fine form, obviously excited to play to a room of familiar faces. (For the record, Speaker Speaker also happily reported that the tour was “amazing.”¯) They played the hits from their three-song EP, Again and Again (which some kids were even singing along to!) but they also played a handful of songs that will appear on their upcoming full-length, which they’ll record with J. ROBBINS in June. Yeah, that’s right. J. Robbins. J. Motherfucking Robbins. From Jawbox. And Burning Airlines. And Jawbox. That’s awesome. Anyways, their unreleased material is a bit less poppy and fun as what you’re probably used to, but it’s still great, a little more mid-era Jawbreaker—still raw, but catchy. And Colin even starts screaming on one song. I dunno the name, but it’s great. One of my favorites. The band also recently added another song on their Myspace page, “Dad Will You Pick Me Up.”¯ Go here to listen if you need a fix.

Mon Frere opened their set with a heavy keyboard riff, and as the crowd raised their hands to clap along with the beat, one girl pushed through everyone to get closer to the front and squealed “I feel like I’m going into battle!”¯ She sorta was. Kids in Redmond love to start the dance pits, and they had a hell of a circle going during most of the show. As a sidenote, Mon Frere releases their debut full-length, Blood, Sweat and Swords, on May 2nd. I had dinner with the band Saturday night to talk about the album, future plans, and Fall Out Boy, and that story will be in this week’s paper. They’ll also be playing a free in-store show at Ballard’s Sonic Boom on the 2nd to celebrate the release of the CD. I’ll remind you about that again later, though.

The best part of the show (although the whole thing was pretty fucking fun) was seeing Schoolyard Heroes. Now I’ve seen that band 867 times (or somewhere around there) and while they didn’t play any new material (which I hear they have! More on that later”¦), they did shock everyone by playing the always-requested/never-played song off their first record, “Boyfriend.”¯ They NEVER do that, despite fan’s incessant pleading. Kids went nuts when the band interrupted “Bury the Tooth of the Hydra and a Skeleton Army Will Arise”¯ to surprisingly break into “Boyfriend.”¯ It was really great. Also during the show, vocalist Ryann Donnelly (donning an adorable ruffly white party dress), dropped the mic (which I’ve never seen her do, despite her constant thrashing around) after she accidentally stepped on the chord. She recovered by throwing her body on to the stage and just singing from there. Almost looked like she meant to do it. Later, she also spit some water on the crowd, who appeared to love it. Another first!

After the show, Kyle from Mon Frere got his ass handed to him at the Foosball table by Danny from Speaker Speaker. Kid’s got game.

Who did you see this weekend?

Everybody Wants Some

posted by on April 25 at 11:29 AM

I just returned from a delightful long weekend in beautiful Austin, Texas where the temperature hovered around the mid-’80s and low-’90s the majority of the time. I thrive in hot weather (as long as it’s, you know, a dry heat), so I was dreading coming home to chillier environs. Happily, this was not the case, and on the drive to the office this morning, I enjoyed that classic pleasure of rolling down both car windows and cranking the Big Rock for the first time this spring. In this case, I chose to revisit last year’s My Morning Jacket release, Z. As I am prone to, I played it into the ground when it first came out, so it had to be put down for a while—but this morning it sounded fresh and exhilarating, creating that heady, teenage state that makes you want to blow off work and find a bar with a broad tequila selection and a killer deck.

There are some bands and records that always fit this ritual perfectly. I find the hefty guitars and lascivious intent of early Van Halen to be particularly appropriate, especially their debut and Women and Children First. There’s also much to be said for the reliability of the Cult’s Rick Rubin-produced masterpiece, Electric. So, gentle rocker readers, do share: what record makes you want to put your speakers on the deck and dig that Webber out of the garage?


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Life before (and after) “Mickey”

posted by on April 23 at 11:28 AM

If you, like the nitwits at VH-1, have only ever associated choreographer/actress/singer Toni Basil with her lone ‘82 chart hit, “Mickey” and its inescapable cheerleading video (which now looks shockingly fresh given the primitive technology of the time), please direct your attention to the following quote (added emphasis my own) from the liner notes of the recently reissued My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts, the historic collaboration between Brian Eno + David Byrne, recorded ca. 1979 and 1980:

“At one point in L.A. we were hanging out a bit with Toni Basil, whom we both admired as an innovative choreographer and street dance facilitator. Her appearances on Soul Train with the Lockers were unforgettable, and the group she was working with and organizing at that time, The Electric Boogaloos, was making some of the most amazing and innovative dance we’d ever seen. They all put the arty avant-garde world to shame - they were funky and robotic at the same time, a combination that somehow seemed apt for those times.

At one point Toni had an offer to do a TV special featuring those dancers, and for a short while we imagined our record could be the soundtrack.”


Huh? That chick with the age-inappropriate pigtails and pom-poms inspired Byrne and Eno? Oh yeah. In fact, she’s had a mind-bogglingly cool career.

Continue reading "Life before (and after) "Mickey"" »