Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 In Review: Top Ten Singles

#10 Russian Futurists "Hoeing Weeds, Sowing Seeds"
#9 Radio Dept "Heaven's on Fire"
#8 Villagers "Becoming a Jackal"
#7 LCD Soundsystem "Dance Yrslf Clean"
#6 Hot Chip "Take It All In"
#5 Jonsi "Boy Lilikoi"
#4 Dr. Dog "Shadow People"
#3 Delta Spirit "Salt in the Wound"
#2 Broken Bells "The High Road"
#1 National "Bloodbuzz, Ohio"

i really loved the "Teenage Dream" cover from glee. it was knocking on the top ten. Katy Perry is a great songwriter. there i said it.

2010 In Review: Top Ten Albums

#10 Vampire Weekend Contra (this wasn't on the list until i saw shawn bopping to the commercial that used "Holiday," then i re-listened and realized how fun it is. This kicked Caribou off the list)

#9 Sleigh Bells Treat-hated the show, but this disc gets better each time i listen

#8 Atmosphere To All My Friends, Blood Makes The Blade Holy: The Atmosphere EP- it may just be an EP, or a collection of eps, but this is really good, music and lyrics.

#7 Twin Shadow Forget- i just keep playing this, damn the influences

#6 Frightened Rabbit Winter of Mixed Drinks

#5 Broken Bells

#4 The Drums

#3 Yeasayer Odd Blood

#2 Menomena Mines

#1 National High Violet (this would have been #1 regardless of the bonus disc, but every one of those b sides could have been on this album.)

We Interrupt This Program for the Following Announcement

Sorta kinda new year's resolution to cut back on the cheapo/fetus picking. i really don't need to go every week. maybe once a month is enough...and gad knows the amazon selling is getting time consuming (albeit quite profitable...think i made 1600 bucks off a 2700 investment...better than the market, plus the music!)

but the resolution is so tomorrow. today we feast:

a couple fuzzy warbles from andy partridge (vols 3 and 6)
david holmes let's get killed (dunno why i dig him so much)
belle and sebastian write about love (super cheap, i couldn't pass up a cd copy)
slowdive pygmailion (this completes my recent slowdive binge)
slade keep your hands off my power supply (reliable seller for $7)
men without hats collection ($5!!!)

2010 In Review: The Shows

Now onto the main selections of the year.

First off, is worst show of the year. and no, it's not going to be mumford and sons. nor is it going to be broken social scene (i was loving them right up until they decided to give us a little extra)

My worst show is easily the Julian Casblancas show at First Avenue last spring. I don't want to relive my ire and get worked up all over again by rehasing. Bad show. one of the worst i've ever seen. i'm so glad you were there to share the pain with me, ben.

Now on a happier tone, top five shows of 2010

#5. Crowded House. Minnesota Zoo. gorgeous night. wonderful setting. great songs and performers who genuinely seemed to enjoy the moment.

#4. National. First Avenue. 3rd time seeing them. great show as usual (and the antlers were awesome too) Bon Iver guested (and grabbed matt's ass, shocking matt a little). highlight was having 1200 people sing along to "conversation 16"

#3 Menomena. Varsity. I could rave more and rail about how they deserve a bigger crowd (i could say the same for frightened rabbit) but hopefully, they will put out one more album and tour before everyone finds them so i can enjoy another stellar show.

#2 Yeasayer. First Avenue. My da passed away shortly before this show. and of course, we had the memorial on the same day as this show. It wasn't really a question of not going, although the whole evening is a blur. I know the lyrics meant something else entirely, but i almost started bawling during the "...stuck in my mind, all the time" part of "One".

#1 Fanfarlo. Cedar Cultural Center. an utterly charming band. great songs, wonderfully sympathetic playing by a band on the verge who seemed thrilled and amazed that the audience was so into them. Trust us, it was we who were the delighted.

In The Light They Both Looked the Same

Arcade Fire (with Calexico)
Roy Wilkins
September 22, 2010

This was going to be a tough one. Lots of baggage going into it. The arcade fire/lcd soundsystem show 3+ years ago at the Roy is one of my favorite all time shows (top five, probably #5). The ICC hadn't seen them before, so i really wanted this to be a knock your socks off kinda show so he could know the cathartic joy of which i'd repeatedly spoke (taunted). And I'm not totally in love with The Suburbs (Neon Bible was more uneven, but it soared higher) so i was a little worried about how the show might translate. So it was really hard to not have heightened/unrealistic/confused expectations for this one.

I needn't have worried.

Oh sure, i got drenched going into the Roy. And as much as i like Calexico on record, the cavernous Roy is NOT the place for them. Their sound was muddy and the mix just didn't work. I was counting songs and wishing them off the stage (although in the proper venue i'd go see them again). and of course, our meeting spot was inhabited by a loud know it all and his even louder know it all (what i assume was his) father. (dude, i'm so glad your brother went to college with win's brother...please tell me again, and again....btw, your wife/girlfriend seems kinda embarrassed by you and your fawning over that high school classmate)

But Arcade Fire were just as phenomenal as they were 3 years ago. Dynamic, energetic, passionate, they believe that rock and roll can save your mortal soul (or fire it up as the case may be) and make you dance real slow. And for 90 minutes i even liked the Suburbs songs (ok, i've cottoned to more of them than i had before the show, although i haven't listened lately....) I love how they destroy their instruments on stage with their furious playing (well...maybe it isn't exactly their instrument they are destroying what with all their promiscuous instrument switching), i think they would be wonderful to see just standing naked under the autumn moon, pounding on rocks and tearing out grass and howling like demented monkeys.

Primal and urgent and full of truth and beauty they are. There aren't many bands i'd want to see more than once or twice. I'd go see arcade fire anytime.

I Fell In Love Again

Sufjan Stevens
Orpheum Theatre
October 16, 2010

I don’t think I’d ever sat in the front row of a concert before this one (I was close enough to the stage to get sweat on by peter garrett but I don’t think that counts). I don’t go to that many sit down shows, and I’m definitely not that lucky, so no big surprise there. But four front row seats for Sufjan? I guess it helped that the show was announced before All Delighted People AND The Age of Adz were announced, and it was a fanclub pre-sale, but still I got completely shut out for the 400 bar show (and Shawn was even helping) so even with the show at the Orpheum, I wasn’t even hoping for first five rows. Somebody is cashing in karma points.

But you might exclaim, two cds of new material (how can it be an ep if it’s 60 minutes, you might also ask)? I can’t digest, you protest. Plus he’s going to focus on that isn’t he and we won’t be able to sing along (and weep when we hear the first notes) of all our favorites, and isn’t it a departure in sound for him (all electronic and dancey)? What good is Sufjan if he isn’t doing his state songs or his acoustifolk stuff?

Well…let me start off by saying, I too am I’m not totally on board with the new stuff. I think his folky stuff is his sweet spot musically and those plunky banjo songs….well…there’s a reason oreos are delicious. But still, I applaud his artistic yearning and he’s definitely earned my respect and willingness to follow him on his musical journey. Also, I was warming considerable to the sound even before the show.

However, some of your fears were realized. He played mostly the new stuff (with a couple of seven swan tunes thrown in and a couple favorites in the encore) playing almost all of The Age of Adz over the course of the 2 plus hour show. I think he did help me turn a corner on the new songs, the arrangements were less fussy than the recording and he definitely put a lot of intensity in a few songs (rocking out at a level folks would not expect…especially on Vesuvius.) He had a nice big band with him (although he did play solo acoustic for a couple lovely songs...highlights for me) Too Much (I think this was the one with the funky and by funky I mean super nerdy choreography), Heirloom, The Owl and the Tanager and Get Real, Get Right were some of the highlights for me. And just to make everyone happy, he pulled out Chicago for the encore, so everybody got their big singalong.

Admittedly, the show was a work in progress as Sufjan and the band worked out live arrangements on the fly, missing a lyric here and there, and a number of false starts and do overs. I could see where some folks would be annoyed by that, but he has such a charming, unpretentious manner, that I felt more like I was watching a private, friendly spontaneous rehearsal, rather than a stuffy IMPORTANT alternative icon show, so those warts just enhanced the show for me.

(and ok, I’ve been saying Sufjan incorrectly for forever. But I’m not gonna help you out, you’ll have to figure it out on your own…maybe when you are sitting in the front row and your significant other catches you in a mistaken pronunciation)

2010 In Review: Worst Album

I think we are in agreement on this one.

Brandon Flowers: Flamingo

It would be easy to say Duffy because i almost didn't even include that in the MHD, but it's not like i expected to like her, or that i think she has any talent, plus she's given me an over the top vibrato i can mock mercilessly, so there's that.

But hell...i like the Killers (i even like a couple songs off the sawdust leftovers disc, and the christmas singles are good) so who would have thought this album would be so awful, boring and pretentious (all at the same time). i mean, c'mon...a springsteen-ian treatise on the losers of vegas? but you don't really have anything to say? plus, you (BF) barely know how to write about yourself, much less real people (and i'm pretty sure you aren't that in touch with the real people/vegas losers.) blech, i'd rather eat pickled beets. and the music sucks too. (although i still sorta wonder if i should have seen him at first ave this fall...i mean...he's gotta fill a set, right? is it wrong to expect a killers song or two?)

I Admit. Sometimes, I Say Too Much (or I've Got to Scratch This Itch of Mine)

Varsity Theater
September 23, 2010

You know how i said "Wow" about Mumford & Sons in the most negative manner possible? Flip that over and apply it to the Menomena show at the varsity. and then multiply it; 2x, 3x, 4x, whatever you feel comfortable with, and i'd agree. All those mumford fans should have been at this show if they really wanted to see "the goods". Jeez, i get goosebumps just reliving the show in my mind as i type away. (although i am realizing how Modest Mouse Queen Black Acid is) Great album to tour behind (mines), great song selection, (within the songs themselves and throughout the set list...was just a great mix of crowd pleasers, teasers and squeezers building up to the finale) amazing dynamics/chemistry between the band members (i guess it helps to have three unique singers, he said overly obviously) Seriously, every song was a gem (most of mines was played and lots of friend or foe...something for EVERYONE) i could go on, but i don't think i need to. again...just go check them out. EXCELLENT!

btw.....only one encore song? sheesh. (and what was with the singerdrummer? too much queen black acid?)

(oh yeah, i might be coming around on the suckers--the opening act...sorry)

(double oh yeah...Adam, do you REALLY have to shout crap from the audience? I hope Chad's band coalesces and i can go to the show and shout non-non sequiturs)

2010 In Review: Soundtrack

I'm sure you are sick of belated concert reviews.
Let me get to what you really want to read.
My 2010 top tens....

And the award for favorite soundtrack of the year goes to.....

The I Am Love soundtrack. Perfect complement to the movie ('s practically a character itself) but it works quite nicely even without the visuals. Love it, course i'm a sucker for that kind of repeated single note stuff.

Runner up is the True Grit soundtrack. It is pretty great too.

And shockingly, i don't really have a worst soundtrack this year. there are a bunch of them that didn't really do much for me, but nothing struck me as out and out awful (although the Tron:Legacy soundtrack was a disappointment, how can you have Daft Punk do your soundtrack and then make them NOT be Daft Punk...sigh)

I Really Fucked It Up (or it’s not me, it’s them)

Mumford & Sons
First Avenue
October 29th

This was probably my most eagerly anticipated show of the year. And I kinda fucked up tickets because I can’t tell the difference between eastern and central time. So big ups to Rhi for being so kind to trade me her extra two for my extra two to front row sufjan. But wow. What a disappointment. I waited a bit on this one (kinda cos I’m lazy and kinda cos I wanted a little distance before I wrote about it). But still…wow….what a disappointment.

Where to begin…..

I’m not blaming the band for the power going out midway through the set. Act of god and all, and I dug them playing some (truly) unplugged songs in the interim (even though I couldn’t hear much…I think it was the Wagon Wheel cover). And it wasn’t the crowd either (although they were pretty damn drunk and obnoxious…but I kinda expect that at these mainstream masses shows). Maybe a little bit of too much adulation has made them a little big for their britches? Hard to say where ego overwhelms, and I’m not quite sure they’ve gone that way yet, but though close, I’m not sure they’ve gone all KoL yet.

What made the show a drag was some bad song sequencing (c’mon guys, these are your songs, how can you not know what works together in terms of pacing a show?) way too much noodling between songs (killing any momentum they made have built up in spite of the haphazard sequencing) and the biggest sin of all….too much chatter from the head mumford. I shouldn’t go into the “discussion” about politics with the audience member, but sheesh dude… ain’t billy bragg, keep the politics out of it, you’re having a hard enough time playing the songs. Also, their harmonies are lovely, but I don’t need them to break into an extended choral sequence every song to show it off (the songs are pretty great…why not just service them instead of servicing yourselves?) Dunno. I was kinda hoping the power would go out again and we could all just go home. And that’s a bummer feeling to have at a show. I can’t recommend any of the song performances. I definitely won’t need to see these guys again (but all you drunk obnoxious folks staggering up the ramp can have at it).

BTW, i'm listening to Sigh No More as i write this...i still really like that album so at least the live performance didn't change my mind about that.

c’mon and get the minimum!

Broken Bells
First Avenue
December 6, 2010

i have had a picture of james mercer staring at me from above my desk for at least three different jobs now (all the same company so don’t be all job whore judgmental on me). not always the same picture mind you, i’ve definitely gravitated to the bearded current guise, but always mr mercer in some shape or form for quite a while now. he looks on with silent shy encouragement on good days, bad days and days that are just a function of watching the sunshadow move across my computer screen. couple obvious reasons for my fandom. the shins really ushered in the 3rd era (or 4th depending on your math) of music for me (and perhaps the prime of all eras); the indie years, he’s devastatingly appealing to me (the ICC is soooooo wrong, and it’s not just the beard) and he just seems like a terrifically thoughtful, classy and charming guy (those videos with the kids reviewing broken bell tracks cinched it for me).

so yeah, couldn’t wait to see broken bells when they finally got around to getting up to the MPLS. and i guess i was pretty predisposed to love the show, regardless. thankfully, they did not disappoint.

not the most chatty guy (dangermouse even less so) with little more than “hi how ya’s doing” and “you’re a great crowd” (and not in that smarmy julian casablancas kind of make me want to hit him way). but they were all definitely into the show. lots of fun little jam intros (but not to jam if’n ya follow me) tight crew. short set, but satisfying. highlights of course, the high road, merilyn fields (how could this not be on the album), a KILLER vaporize, october. got a nice version of insane lullaby (from the dark night of the soul), a neil young cover, plus the most shins-ish, your head is on fire.

dunno what it says, but i keep hearing the fade on THE HIGH ROAD differently. sometimes loss, sometimes laws, sometimes love....depending on my mood. i love that song.

Is It Really the Moon?

Drums/Surfer Blood
October 13

I’ve had a cough for a couple weeks now. About half the time I cough (and yes, I do turn my head, less so to be polite, more so just to get lucky) I’m pretty sure I’m coughing out smoke balls from the Drums show at the Varsity. Definitely a great show full of all the the trappings of the 80’s (a good thing, I would say). The aforementioned fog machine, so dense at times you could barely see the Drums’ singer, much less the players on the side, some heavy duty lasers (I wonder if complimentary Lasik procedures become part of their tour), and bass heavy throbbing georgio moroder like disco beats all combined to create a quite memorable show. The ICC commented on how different the live show was from the debut album (and earlier ep) and I’d have to agree, but I dig both equally well. (perhaps the sound of the live show had something to do with the guitarist for the band leaving shortly before they hit Minneapolis, although live, they sound a lot more like leader, Jonathan Pierce’s previous group, Elkland. Whatever it was, it was definitely working and I really loved the show and was sorry that the set was so short. Pretty much every song (again, less surf beat than the album and more love to love you baby arrangements) was a highlight, but if you held a strobe light to my head, I’d have to say “Skippin’ Town”, “It Will End in Tears” “Book of Stories” (personal fav) and “Let’s Go Surfing” were highlights. I really can’t wait to see these guys again.

Surfer Blood (ostensibly the headliner) were a bit of a surprise. I guess I should read news clippings, because I had no idea the band leader was a 12 year old boy.
Ok, I exaggerate. He was 15.
Ok, So he was probably legal, but looked younger (portrait. Closet. Just saying)
Sure “Swim” is the hit, but the album is pretty good (albeit in a post grunge-alterna rock kind of pose) and they did a great job adding just the right amount of spice and muscle to the live presentation. Maybe paled a little bit after The Drums (not sure they were the right fit musically with the drums and I was suffering a little bit of a musical induced comedown) but they tore through their set with energy and intensity (although the album is a little too mid-tempo-ey) and had me on my toe tips as well (and not because I was trying to look over anyone, the show was sadly, quite sparsely attended). “Harmonix” “Take It Easy” and “Twin Peaks”, my favs from the disc, were my favs from the show. Good one though and another band to keep an eye on.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Let's Get It Wrong

ok. so there were three critical pieces of music that bridged me from college to the world beyond. The Woodentops Giant (had no idea who they were, but found a used copy of the album at the wax museum in dinkytown and i was feeling daring), Robyn Hitchcock Element of Light (courtesy of Mike Orr) and the Jazz Butcher Fishcotheque (think i’d heard “Get it Wrong” on the radio and stumbled across a cassette tape of the album at the minneapolis public library). Their import can not be overstated. i have no doubt that hearing these three albums—actually two albums and a cassette tape (and playing the crap out of them) is the difference between me still being invested in new music today versus me acting like U2 are the greatest band ever. They were my gateway drugs into college/alternative (i hate that term, btw) and evenmoreso, my continuing journey into the past and future of pop music.

Certainly, the music provided a security blanket for me as i was transitioning from my safe little college world and striking out on my own. This was new (and pretty damn good) music and kinda adventurous compared to the safe and community selected and approved stuff i had been listening to (insert your U2s, your Midnight Oils, your Bodeans et al here). Here was my manifesto to the world, “Look out world, I’m not rolling over. I’m gonna keep on rocking (yes, i cracks me up to write it too), even after college was over (“i’m not, i’m not, i’m not growing old”)”. I made new friends, heard new music, and went to shows (repeat steps 1 and 2) from my connection to these three albums. and of course, there was a lot in the music itself hit the spot whenever I needed it.

Robyn Hitchcock is pretty inescapable (which sorta amazes me cos he’s such an oddball) and he’s been at my side for most of the journey (kinda lost track around the post globe of frogs era, but only for a few years) and although the woodentops are very dearly departed, Giant and Well, Well, Well (even wooden foot cops) stay in pretty regular rotation with me. But the jazz butcher? I know Pat Fish has continued to record, but other than that Excellent collection, he’s pretty much regrettably fallen off my radar.

so i was delighted to find a copy of The Jazz Butcher’s Fiscotheque at cheapo yesterday. granted, i choked a little at the price ($19.99) but i quess i can eat beans and mac & cheese for christmas week. I literally wore out this cassette tape (with apologies to the walker library) by playing it over and over and over for my three week check out term. (or maybe i checked it out again, it it was the second time i had it on loan that i wore it out, i can’t remember). i dunno why i didn’t put it in the player as soon as i got back in the car (well...i was listening to a barry manilow cd...) but here i am at my computer and i’m not playing it yet. it really has been nearly 25 years since i last heard it. (might have heard “get it wrong” on a compilation disc somewhere in the interim, but that’s it). what if i don’t like it anymore? what if i find it’s really not all that i had thought it was? what if it was the time and place and not the music. i dunno. i’d hate to have carried this fond memory of the music all this time to find that...well, it was just a meaningless fling held firm by fond remembrance only. hmmm. filter of the past, bright light of the present, cold hard snowy truth. ok. courage. here goes.....i’m putting it on now....

Friday, December 10, 2010

Feeling Low

I'm pretty excited about the impending blizzard (drive safe everyone and stay home if you can). Made me want to crack open the christmas music (wasn't sure if i'd feel like christmas this year..still not sure, but this is a start). First up: Low Christmas. Lo Lo LO!

ps: i picked up the tron legacy soundtrack. i had the feist cd/dvd in my hands, but then i wondered, do i REALLY need this???? answer: no, not for nearly $30. i couldn't find the freezpop disc....and i didn't want to ask at the counter cos the only guy available was the "too drunk to pee on his own" clerk. thoughts on tron:legacy....why did they have to get all composer-ey?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Get 'Em Before They Are Gone


glad we saw them when we did. but if this means more handsome furs, i'm only mildly bummed.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gobble, Gobble, Bobble

i couldn't come up with a top ten, but here's a few of my least favorite things (songs):

Eye of the tiger Survivor (plus i can never get it out of my head)
We've got tonight Sheena Easton and Kenny Rodgers (skreechy, skreechy, skreech)
Old time rock and roll Bob Seeger (this was the last dance in one of my junior high dances. ugh.
Been caught stealin' Jane's Addiction (i hate these guys, not sure why, probably cos they suck
Tears in heaven Eric Clapton
Babe/the best of times Styx (could be any of their ballads, they are all awful
The girl is mine MJ and Paul Mac

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sexy, Sensual and......Sloppy

Billy Bragg
September 8, 2010
Cedar Cultural Center

You'd think that waiting forever would make this a breeze to write up. But i'm still of two minds about this show.

On one hand, it's billy bragg, lads! I've been a fan since i checked out a crappy cassette of Back to Basics from the minneapolis public library way back when. And other than seeing him play out in the cold in front of coffman union when i was a freshman in college (he was his firebrandy best--even though i didn't know him from adam---i just figured he was a student) i'd always been meaning to see him in concert.

on the other hand, he was entirely too casual and lackadaisical for a packed house and a $25 ticket (does anyone else see the slight irony of a kinda pricey ticket when he's touring solo?---just askin', just sayin'). got your super wobbly start, with stops and starts on songs, forgotten lyrics and a really really awful out of tune voice (nobody would think he has a great or even good voice, but this was bullfrog being stepped on bad). repeated bids to pick up merchandise (i know the economy is bad, but et tu, billy?) and although you expect politics from mr. bragg, suddenly it didn't seem so much politics as lectures and even a little hectoring...i want righteous anger and indignation, not peace, love, understanding and a fifteen minute discourse on being good to your neighbor (clearly he hasn't seen my 60 year old downstairs neighbor come flying out of her unit in a rage---and her see through nightie). (ooh, just realized how much my politics have changed over the years) hell...even his accent was bad. for this i left the couch? (oh yeah, some tall a-hole decided to come late and sardine his way to stand right in front of me..."i gotta stand somewhere." grrr)

but then you got your positives. mr. bragg (regardless of the topic) is still an utterly charming story teller (if i'd let anyone lecture me, he would be the one), and after a cup of tea (at least i think it was tea) his voice more or less came back to a reasonable facsimile of the creak (not croak) we know and love. and really, the loose ramshackle nature of the show certainly had an off the cuff charm, like he was in your living room instead of the cedar room.

and the songs, the songs, the songs. i guess the songs made the difference.

my favs:
a new england
tank park salute
the new brunette,

i really liked the pressure drop songs too. (memo to self, see if those are still on the bragg website)

so what am i saying? i dunno. not sure if it was worth $25. (more like $18) just guess there's a little caveat emptor with him and that was a bit of a surprise. so.... go if you wanna go, let him be who he wants to be, do whatever?

High on Violet

I picked up the expanded version of the National's High Violet yesterday (7.99 at the fetus, how awesome is that?) 2 b-sides (Walk Off and Sin-Eaters--this track really should have been on the album proper), 2 unreleased tracks (Wake Up Your Saints--boozy, shambling and glorious
and You Were A Kindness--we heard this performed at first ave in august), an alternate version of Terrible Love (not a remix, so my distaste for remixes remains in place) and three live tracks (the version of Bloodbuzz, Ohio is a nice change-up from the High Violet version) what a great bonus for music fans (i just assume everyone who is a music fan is a national fan.)

Listening to the ep (and then another run through High Violet) i am again struck by how the National are the musical equivalent of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Instead of documenting the debauchery and decline of the elite of the Roaring Twenties, the National are brilliantly detailing the endless tail eating demise of the Jay and Daisys of today's comfortably complacent.

Note how i'm listing song titles...

Monday, November 22, 2010

AI vs Glee

Is it too much to ask glee for some original music? instead of a billy joel greatest hits episode, how about if mr. joel writes a new song for the show? and for the record, i'm pretty glad that Glee has delivered the death blow to American Idol. there can only be one, and if i must have media overload, i'd rather have the Rachel and Mercedes of Glee than the endless parade of untalented hacks that america "votes" for.

I Lost on Jeopardy

sometimes i get weird al and tiny tim confused. is it just me?

and is girl talk just a different flavor of weird al?

Thursday, November 4, 2010



meant to post my wisconsin drive listens but i forgot:

daft punk discovery (can you say tron? and i can't believe human after all slipped by me)
national high violet (somebody needs to take this away from me)
delta spirit history from below (hated the show, but still really like this cd)
books the way out (i bet there are at least 5 songs i compulsively replay)

and yes, i will post show comments. i owe:
billy bragg
calexico/arcade fire
mumford & sons
and something else i'm forgetting.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Craigslist vs Mumford and Sons

a few of my favorites (and is it just me or do they all sound like backpack kids who got everything they ever wanted from both sets of parents?):

one more courtesy of michelle (poster sounds a little angry cos he's not going):

They are good but not that good. Get your heads out of your asses. Don't support these scum scalpers, they are not true music fans.

clearly, this person deserves to go for free because he works with autistic kids.

I'm looking to buy a pair of Mumford and Sons tickets to EITHER the MINNEAPOLIS show or the MILWAUKEE show!!! I see a lot of folks still trying to sell their tix for top dollar and trust me if I had that kind of money to throw around I would pay it to see this show. Unfortunately I get paid crumbs to work with Autistic kids and like everyone else on here I can't justify skipping a few bill payments this month just to see a concert :( Let me know what you got and how much you're looking for!

ah, the student budget excuse. and willing to negotiate. hmmmm.

I am a diehard fan that missed out on purchasing tickets by a minute when they were initially released online!

Please, please help me out! I'm working with a student budget, and am willing to negotiate! Going to this concert would mean the world to me!

haha. i don't think this poster is getting tickets, but at least they are taking the system down with them.

Anyone realizing they may not get the hundreds of dollars they are asking for their Mumford and Sons tickets? It's getting close to 10/29/ me if your conscience kicks in or you realize that you're not going to make a fortune by ripping off dedicated Mumford fans, which ever comes first. I know at least one of those will happen by Friday.

also, after you sell me your tickets for low prices, i'm gonna turn around and flip them. just sayin'

I would really LOVE to have 2 tickets for the 10/29 show, but I can only pay $50/ticket. If you can't use your tickets I'd be happy to buy them from you.

i wonder if any of these posters have read ATLAS SHRUGGED (although it's kinda sad when $60 seems like a low ball offer).


Like Mumford and Sons a lot, but didn't get tickets to the First Ave. or Varsity shows. Unfortunately, I'm kind of a poor fan too, and can only really afford $60/ticket. Hopefully you have two to sell to me.

It would totally make my day!


ummmm. this is the mumford and sons ticket bucket, dude, not atmosphere. put down the pipe.

2 hard copy tickets available to see Ant & Slug flow at First Avenue on 11/27. I can meet you in Uptown. These are hard copy tickets NOT E-tickets. They are $65 each and you can have them in your hands within 30 minutes of contacting me!

Thanks & Cheers!

hmmm. i'd post an ad like this too just to tweak all the buyers & sellers. can we confirm this sell actually happened?

The 2 tickets went fast as expected for $30/ticket. Sorry I can't reply back to everyone that is wondering if the tickets are still available. If I had 50 more I'd sell them for cost. Hopefully someone else will sell there's for a respectful price. Good luck and hope everyone can find tickets. Cheers!

and here's the ad for the above response. scumbag. hmmm. seems there's an axe and grinding. even less convinced this sale happened.

I have 2 extra tickets for a TRUE fan to enjoy, not a scum bag trying to sell for over 10 times as much, come on people, get real. Selling for $30 a ticket. Hard copies.

wow. i hope this guy finds a buyer.

Will pay $500 for 4 tickets to the October 29th show at first ave.
Text Corey 612-532-8595

dude, she's gonna dump you after the show. save your money. (she may be super awesome, but as a guy, i can tell, you aren't) however, decent price offer.

Ok, so here is my predicament, which as a guy, I realize sounds quite cheese-tastic. I have been dating a girl for not that long and her birthday is coming up and I wanted to do something special for her. She and I are both HUGE Mumford and Sons fans and it would be awesome if I could find a couple tickets for us to go to the show at First Ave. She is super awesome and I think it would really win her over if I could pull this off somehow. I can't pay the $200 a piece the scalpers want, but could pay $125 total for 2 tickets (ie 125 %2 = $62.5 apiece). So if you have 2 extra tickets and would like to help a music nerd guy win over his music nerd dream girl, please drop me a line. I will pay cash and meet where ever to pick them up.

Thanks in advance.

Things That Make You Go

sold a couple cds yesterday. and as i don't expect to run across either of these two again, i don't mind sharing. (but if you see either of these, make damn sure you pick them up for yourself...thar's gold in them thar hills!)

Ladyhawke Soundtrack (i paid 4.95 for this) sold it for $55 (to japan!) (i don't care what melloy says, i like this movie..although in retrospect that alan parsons soundtrack is a bit much)
Al Stewart Year of the Cat-mobile fidelity sound lab version (paid 14.95 for it) and i sold it for $225. yes. you read that right.

probably about 210 buck profit between the two sales. kinda nice. a certain someone is almost impressed with my "hobby"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Today's Rotation

The Drums s/t (the show was fantastico, more later)
Shout Out Louds Work (i really love this album)
Belle and Sebastian Write About Love
Frightened Rabbit Winter of Mixed Drinks (FR and Craig Finn? hmmm)
Temper Trap Conditions (i should go tonight, shouldn't i?)
Surfer Blood Astro Coast (see above)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Suggestions, please?

so...i washed my mp3 player the other day. no, not on purpose. and yes, i know, kind of dumb of me. but i put it in my gym shorts and i washed my gym shorts. (two things that rarely what are the odds?)

i need a new mp3 player. i'm looking for suggestions, with a few criteria. it needs to be light, durable, fm radio and i'd probably not want a phone and mp3 player together. i'll even (gasp!) consider apple.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

No Longer Your Fag

let me summarize before i go off on a tear.

Concert Corollary Five: just give me your best 15 songs (and a 2 song encore, unless we really REALLY love you)

i’m glad i went
BSS is an indie rock icon (not to mention a canadian cottage industry what with feist, stars, metric, apostle of hustle, and jason collet at a minimum)
they have a ton of great songs and i really love Forgiveness Rock Record (and they pretty much played most of what i wanted to hear)
the version of “Meet Me in the Basement” was sheer bliss (gave me goosebumps)
the crowd was (to steal from the ICC) rapturous and they played the heck out of everything.
the apostle of hustle was a nice surprise (and easily the star of the show for me)

but still....

i hated this show and couldn’t wait for it to end.
i blame kevin drew. tighten up 2010. less talk-ey dude, more play-ey. and maybe wipe the smug off your cheek.
i blame poor pacing (talk about your ebbs and flows all you like, that’s still not an excuse for random song selection)
i blame the sea and cake interlude midway through the show (ya ya, i know people gotta smoke, but why do i have to pay for it)
sorta kinda blame lisa lobsinger had no presence. granted she aint leslie nor amy nor emily (ain’t her fault and all in all was lovely), but sheesh, she was practically invisible even when she was center stage. they could have really used something to offset the boys. plus, she was off stage for 2/3rds of the show (although how could you tell).
i was worried it would be just a random float off into the ether kind of jam concert so was very pleased with the first half that just tore through the setlist. but then it degraded into a subatomic state (massless, formless, comprised of mostly nothing but energy) as it stretch to the 2 hour mark (‘please let this be the last song, please let this be the last song’) probably a boon for the true fans (“this is my favorite song, excuse me while i leave the stage”) but nothing after “meet me in the basement” did anything for me.

ya ya. why the negs? chill dude. (soon enough, soon enough) whatever.

maybe i just wasn’t in the right space of mind (it was a monday night after all)

I Saw the Muse?

reading the review of last nights' target center Muse show (courtesy of the ppress). review mentioned them opening up for red hot chili peppers and foo fighters show almost a decade ago. damn. i was at that show with melloy and amy (i believe there was flashing involved, but can't remember if it was melloy or amy). i vaguely remember an opening act before the co-headliners, but have to say if it was muse, it was unremarkable. course, maybe this is why i was conditioned to like muse, rather than their ripping off other bands i like (queen, radiohead, starland vocal band). kinda funny.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

whoah, nelly (upcoming concerts)

october 10, seventh street entry: film school
october 13, varsity: surfer blood AND the drums
november 6, first avenue: richard thompson (i've never seen)

and the stuff i'm already signed up for:

bss: october 4
sufjan: october 16
mumford: october 29

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why I Hate My Job

Those BS bastards block streaming.

The Age of Adz

plus, i wish the person i sit cross cubes with would get an office. always talking. always.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Just Can't Get Enough

Stacks of Wax:

Maximum Balloon-s/t: The whole TV on the Radio thing escapes me. Aren't they just Bloc Party? i kid, i kid! don't hate all over me (just a little on the shoes maybe)
Weezer-Hurley: Normally, i'd be all over the hyper prolific-ness, but is it just me or does Rivers sound more and more like a Weezer tribute band (and a kinda bad one at that). course, i'm not sure why i keep listening.
Interpol-s/t: style over substance you say? Viva le style, I say (but not very loudly)
Phosphorescent-Here's to Taking It Easy: It's not for nothing that the eagles are quoted in the album name. some good 70's inspired country rock going on here, with just enough MMJ to make the ICC say, hmmmmmm.
Thermals-Personal Life: aside from the goat voice suffering singing (that shot is aimed at the mountain goats, btw and not midnight oil) i'm liking the warmed over post grunge sound going on here (it's almost winter, i'm into comfort food)
Filter-The Trouble with Angels: I dunno what the trouble with angels is, but the trouble with this album is that there aren't any good songs and the production is really boring. however, there is some really neat cd packaging. so it's got that going for it.
The Acorn-No Ghost: Note to self, don't let the knitter infect you with his impulse buying. You'll regret it.
Black Mountain-Wilderness Heart: I dunno why i am partial to this Deep Purple/BOC knock off stuff, but i am.
Brandon Flowers-Flamingo: i can only hope brandon flowers has a severe heroin habit. that wouldn't 100% excuse this, but at least i would understand the addled part.
Robert Plant-Band of Joy: Love the silver rider cover. Way to never grow old, Mr. Plant!
Bad plus Never Stop: mesmerizing, but I always like what these guys do…and no covers this time out
!!! Strange Weather Isn!t It?: Standard more of the same with ever diminishing returns
Chromeo- Business Casual: I still wish that duet would be on here, but I like
Tim kasher-the game of monogamy-I expected more from this…I thought he was saving something from cursive, but what this makes me think is that he needs a break.
Laura Marling I speak because I can: If you like classic era (blue and pre blue) joni mitchell (and who doesn't) this will appeal (with maybe some patty griffin and michelle shocked thrown in for good measure). I'll admit I was predisposed to dislike, but I couldn't help but enjoy.

Wish Upon a Star

Ok, so this is more or less my holy grail list. Music that i'd love to stumble across when i'm picking.
and of course, there are some caveats....

i have to be the one to find it (although that's not 100% true),
it has to be found in a physical store (going onto amazon and buying it doesn't count),
it has to be reasonably priced (picking up Snakes & Ladders for $50 is not cool....i think my price point is $10 and under, ideally),
and no gifts (because i'm just gonna turn around and flip it)

So here it is:

Andy Gibb After Dark
Andy Gibb Flowing Rivers
Andy Gibb Shadow Dancing
Bears s/t
Bears Rise and Shine
Birtles and Gobles the last romance
Dr. Hook A Little Bit more
Dr. Hook Pleasure and Pain
Dr. Hook Sometimes You Win
Eddie Rabbitt Loveline
Eddie Rabbitt Step by Step
Eddie Rabbitt Variations
Gerry Rafferty Night Owl
Gerry Rafferty Sleepwalking
Gerry Rafferty Snakes & Ladders
Glenn Shorrock Villain of the Peace
Greg Kihn (first album)
Greg Kihn Citizen Kihn
Greg Kihn Kihnspiracy
Greg Kihn Kihntagious
Greg Kihn Kihntinued
Greg Kihn Kinhspiracy
Greg Kihn Next of Kihn
Greg Kihn RockihnRoll
John Stewart Bombs Away Dream Babies
John Stewart Dream Babies Go Hollywood
Louise Tucker Midnight Blue
Miracle Legion Me and Mr Ray
Motels Shock
Naked Eyes Very Best
Nick Lowe And His Cowboy Outfit
Nick Lowe Labour of Lust
Nick Lowe Nick the Knife
Nick Lowe Pinker and Prouder than Previous
Peter Wolf Lights Out
Poco The Blue and the Grey
Poco Under the Gun
Radio Daze (vol 2,4,5)
Re-Flex The Politics of Dancing
Sheena Easton Best Kept Secret (One Way)
Sheena Easton You Could Have Been With Me (One Way)
Sheena Easton Madness, Money and & Music (One Way)
Sheena Easton Private Heaven (One Way)
Sun City
We are the World

Incidentally, i had two more on this list (the call's reconciled and men at work's two hearts) but i found those in the last couple of weeks. and i don't know why i have so many greg kihn cds on there. i have a greatest hits and that' probably all i would really listen too.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Push Me Back to the Start

Crowded House
Minnesota Zoo
September 4, 2010

Split Enz (and Squeeze for that matter) were essential components of my college experience (much to the dismay of a couple of my college roommates). I was late to both parties, but oh did i make up for lost time. When the Enz ended, I was bummed, but also excited about hearing this new band he was forming, called Crowded House (most of my music info came directly from Billboard thanks to the SE library subscription--thanks Joni). Not sure i've mentioned this, but for some strange reason, i'd always been a rapid Australia-New Zealand fanatic--which continues unabated to this day----and not just about music....i think the first science paper i wrote---in third grade---- was on the platypus, and a moa paper followed in 6th---the land down under was my go to topic---even before i knew LRB and ONJ and MO and FoTC and LOTR. I wasn't exactly sure how i was going to get this new album (the enz of the enz was not well covered by my local wax museum). I think i was resigned to a plasma alliance run (although i think i might have been banned there because i'd passed out pretty much every time i gave plasma) to cover the cost of this sure to be import album (and why were imports always so darn flimsy?) And then i promptly proceeded to forget about CH (hey, it was my senior year in college and i was damn busy)

You already know where this story is going. I'd forgotten about Neil's new band, but conversely, everywhere i was going i was hearing this insanely catchy song, with this indelible refrain, "hey now, hey now". you gotta understand, this is so pre-everything (i was still using WordStar to write my papers on Henry Lawson) that a catchy lyric heard in drips and drops on the radio could not immediately result in a lyric search (and the attendant spyware). It was a couple weeks before i connected the "hey now, hey now" to "Don't Dream It's Over" and Crowded House (i should write an entry about how i always mis-hear song lyrics---"My Eyes Adored You" was "My Sweet Georgia" until 1992---but i'm not saying what i thought followed the "hey now, hey now"). Of course, airplay could only mean one thing, the album had to be out! (and not just for import anymore) I rip on vinyl but there was such a rush for me in those days to pick up a new album, stare at the album cover all the way home (we lived on 13th ave, just a couple blocks north of como), rip off the plastic, marvel at the shiny clean black vinyl and then drop the needle on it and wait those 3 seconds as the needle worked its way to the music.

I was in love with Crowded House by the first guitar chords of "Mean to Me", that she came all the way to america line gave me goosebumps. I loved every song on that album and played the hell out of it (and so did radio). That debut might just be one of the best pop albums of all time. (and i replayed it yesterday and still loved EVERY SINGLE SONG on that disc) I loved TEMPLE OF LOW MEN even more (and of course, my friend Tammy loved them too so they were always playing) as they band got moodier and darker and the production got richer. "Into Temptation" and "Never be the Same" ("Don't stand around like friends at a funeral" gets me everytime) are just amazing. And i don't need to say anything about "Better Be Home Soon" or "When You Come". I guess all i'm saying (in a way too long and round about way...which could continue if i didn't need a mountain dew) is that was intensely in love with Crowded House and i don't know why i never saw them live. (course, there was a show lull post college as i said goodbye to my college buddies one by one and figured out what being an adult meant).

But finally, 25 some years later, I finally was able to rectify the error of my youth and see Crowded House (and at the Zoo, where i'd never seen a show before). All i can say it was totally worth the wait. I've probably not been so charmed by a band (specifically Neil Finn) in...well...pretty much forever (note to self....maybe ease up on the oh so serious alternative bands you favor). There were sing alongs with the crowd (ed) assemblage, they played pretty much every song i loved, neil was in great voice, the backing band was tight, the interplay between neil and nick seymour was funny and old couple affectionate. I think "Four Seasons in One Day" was a super highlight for me, although you could practically pick any song (even the newer material off the last two albums, which didn't sound out of context in relation to the heyday songs) and have a favorite concert moment (The Elephant song has suddenly joined the CH pantheon for me). Wonderful, wonderful show.

And i'd totally be remiss without saying that i had stellar company for the show too. The stars finally aligned and i got to spend some time with the ICC after a month of mis-matched schedules. Thanks man, for sharing it with me. VIVA le ZOO!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Say Goodbye to BSC

Ok. Still reeling a little. Hardly know what to say. I should give notice tomorrow, pack my bags and take my show on the road.

Juniper east had a killer day. two sales, net profit $149.51. sheesh. made 103 bucks (most money i've made on a sale) on one sale alone. just a little over a grand profit for the year and about an 50% on ROI. (although overall i'm still in the red) i guess i can't belly ache too much about slow sales. (I'm still not going overboard on the annual christmas party!)

two new entries in the all time top 5 profiteers! thank you atlanta rhythm section.

Btw, i ran over to the fetus to pick up some tickets and took a quick look at the used. the bins were empty. E.M.P.T.Y.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

There Are Places I Remember

The sticker said “Hot Licks” and “6.29.” I held the album in my hands and stared at that sticker like the price would change if only I had enough will power. But i was too young for a green ring and without that, what could i do? I only had 5 dollars and change. $6.29 was out of my price range. I put al stewart’s year of the cat back in the rack. These twin cities prices were just too much for me. But the store? Oh, that store was another thing. Hot Lick’s in the Phalen Shopping Mall off white bear avenue in St. Paul was the first real record store I ever entered. And it was nirvana to my 11 year old self.

I’d been to K-Mart and the Co-op (even the Pamida after the Co-Op closed) in Menomonie, and that’s where i bought my first albums (barry manilow’s even now and billy joel’s the stranger) But they weren’t really record stores. They were fine for the 4.99 on sale top releases, but if it wasn’t top ten (or country) you were kind of out of luck. Fortunately, my tastes were pretty top ten (top five if you want to get fussy) and the mass market stores mostly served me.

But as i hit the big 10 and developed a huge Casey Kasem addiction, the limited selections locally were becoming a problem. Sure, i could wait for the columbia selections to come out 8 months down the road, but damnit jim, i needed Gary Numan’s Telekon STAT! I needed selection. I needed options. I needed a chance to discover the unknown. I needed a real record store.

My sister had assured me that there was a real record store in the Phalen Mall where the Montgomery Ward outlet center was located (just three years older, but she was far more worldly than I was). And of course, the idea of a REAL record store (what could such a thing be?) consumed me. I just had to see it. The annual family pilgrimage to the Monkey Ward store seemed to take forever to happen. Delayed by a price drop in milk, postponed because of weather, the packers were having a good season, obstacles kept appearing to keep me from my goal. I didn’t give up hope. But the day finally arrived (grey november day, although i really couldn’t be bothered to notice) and no sooner had the car (a suburban) been parked than i was out the door, striding across the parking lot with a backwards wave, focused intently on the banner over a shop near the end of the strip mall, HOT LICKS.

The first thing that hit me when i opened the door was a wave of incense. The scent nearly knocked me over (or it might have been a gust of wind, or the emotion of the near religious experience, I dunno) Of course, i only knew incense from being an altar boy, so i was pretty confused as to why a record store would smell like a funeral. But i barreled in, undeterred. Looking back, i’m pretty sure the place was a hole in the wall with barely enough room to fit a smart car, but to my un-attuned eyes, it was the Taj Mahal.

Rock posters covered the walls, racks hung from crazy angles all over the place (walls, ceilings, off the door), holding god knows what (but lots of paper, that much i’m sure). Down the middle of the room was a double sided row of bins filled with brand spanking new albums. On the far wall was another row of bins chock full of albums. The clerk held court along the other wall on a sticker festooned elevated dais with a cash register instead of a scepter, from which he surveyed his mighty kingdom. I didn’t know whether to genuflect or just walk through the door. The clerk gave me a look (i was 11, but i’m sure i looked 7, i should have had my money pinned to my shirt) then dropped his chin back into The Hobbit. I took another look around the shop (what were all those glass doodads underneath the cash register?) in order to get my bearings, wiped the drool off my chin and got to work.

I started hitting bins at random, a little overwhelmed by the totality of what i was seeing. This (abeit small by most standards) was 4 times the amount of vinyl i’d ever seen before. And i knew only the barest fraction of the bands. (There is security in Anne Murray albums, security i say). I had my list of albums i was hoping for, but i was a little discomfited to find ALL of them. I was lucky if i found one of them when i went to K-Mart. I didn’t know what to do with options. So i just kept flipping from album to album, bin to bin. It’s sorta strange that i can’t remember all the titles and artists i saw that day. The album covers were so enticing, the artwork, the newness of the vinyl, all these intriguing band names; i wished i had enough money to buy everything in the rooom and just sit for days and days and listen to it all.

Definitely information overload and i lost all sense of time (even though i had a limited amount of time before i had to catch up with my family at the monkey), but what i mostly remember is the sense of something unfolding, this sense that this was the way it was meant to be, that this fulfilled some barely understood need in me. (which could easily have been the result of unlawful substances wafting around the barely ventilated room) Even now, 30 years later, i have a hard time sorting out all the impressions i had in Hot Licks but i still remember the warm and fuzzies i got as i flipped through the stacks of wax.

Eventually, (could have been 5 minutes, could have been 5 hours) i decided on an album. A pretty risky move by me by an artist named al stewart. I’d only heard The Year of the Cat a couple times (it had long since fallen off the charts but was still getting airplay on WEAQ) and i was mesmerized by the piano hook and the saxophone (which is kinda funny, cos i’m not a big fan of horns these days). it was a little too rock for me, and year of the cat was the only song i knew (i usually needed at least two hits before i would invest), and the cover looked a little risqué, but what the heck. this was as adventure. i knew i’d gone down the rabbit hole and i was gonna take a chance.

Except......$6.29 on that sticker. and i’d only budgeted for a 4.99 price (the perils of shopping a discounter). Nothing doing....i wasn’t gonna negotiate with the clerk, even if such a thing was possible. I had to put the record back and even though there were a couple other albums on my list that WERE affordable, i’d decided. If i couldn’t get Year of the Cat, i wouldn’t get anything. I walked out of the store, into the gusty November afternoon.

I caught up with the family just as they were checking out (How long was i in Hot Licks?). I think my mom asked me what i bought and i said “nothing.”
“All that time and you couldn’t find anything,” she asked.

“Oh i found what i wanted, I just didn’t have enough money.”

I don’t remember what she said, but i’m sure it was some combination of “You should have brought more money. It’s good that you didn’t exceed your budget. and/or I’m sure you can find it cheaper back home.” None of which really made me feel better.

I did the charlie brown walk back to the car (suburban), helped load the discounted odds and sods from monkey wards into the back and dejectedly took my seat (middle, right hand window side, no seat belt of course). Dad fired up the car (suburban) and started driving out of the parking lot. i’m sure my head was pitifully pressed against the window as i watched the mall roll by.

But wait, we aren’t heading for the exit, we are heading to the other end; the Hot Licks end. Mwaaaaaah? (translation: what is this?). My dad pulls into the space in front of the record store and stops. My mom turns around and hands me a dollar. “Do you have enough with this,?” she asks. “Oh sure,” i exclaim (i’m all jim nabors when i’m surprised). I grab the dollar (and maybe a couple of her fingers), open the door and i’m back in Hot Licks in a flash. i have a momentary freak out when i can’t find the album (ok, i didn’t put it back in the “S’s”) but in short order i get it located (feeling the super clock on me as i can see everybody in the car waiting for me), get up to the clerk and he says “six dollars and fifty three cents” (or something like that).

oh damn...i forgot about the twenty nine i gonna be short change? i hand the clerk my fiver and the dollar bill my mom gave me, then i start digging around in my pockets (and not the good kind of digging around in my pockets that i once got a cuffed on the back of the head cos i was doing it during church) looking for the change. quarter, nickel, penny, penny, penny. Damn. Am i going to have to run out to the car (suburban) and ask for a quarter (cos i was too close to the Cat now, there was no turning back at this point)

Ok, other pocket. Penny, i’m close now. Lint, lint, nickel. Dig, Dig, Dig. I’m practically scratching my knee now, wearing a hole in that pocket, looking for the difference.

“ah, close enough” goes the clerk (i take back whatever unformed mean thoughts i might have had about him...and they were all based on intimidation anyway) and i fly out of the store before he changes his mind (or gives me the receipt, although i don’t suppose i was really thinking of a return.) i’m back in the my seat, door shut and staring straight ahead, record held so tight i’m surprised i didn’t warp it. I stared at that hot licks price sticker all the way home.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Please Don’t Go

So..... it’s over. I’ve said it before, but i didn’t really believe it. or maybe i was saying, hoping someone would say “no, you’re wrong” (cos my peeps got no problem with that) or at least “not yet” to give me just a little more time to pull myself out of bed in the morning, blissfully ignorant.

but really, this time i know it’s for real. oh sure, there’s some crying left to do, some recriminations to be thrown around, giving back this and giving back that, and the eventual acceptance (that’s about 7 months off by my time proven stage progression), but i know it’s done. baked. eaten and the leftovers have already spoiled on the countertop. It’s been a long time, longer than i thought was possible (despite the writing otherwise), and really it was a good run.

I’ll admit to seeing it coming, but still not ducking. More me being in denial cos i’d be fooling no one to say there weren’t warning signs. Once the initial rush had worn off, everybody could see it was a possibility. And there were more than a few detractors right away (but i just blocked them out). What’s perfect though? nothing, right? you take what you get and deal. But i’ll admit the overhead was quite a bit, maintenance was more than i’m comfortable with, and the space? To say nothing of the economics of the situation.....jeez, all that time, all that effort and ..........

Ah hell, who am i kidding, i’m just trying to salve my wounded ego, because i got jilted.

it happened at the cheapo on lake street, this past sunday morning. never thought it would happen at cheapo. not really sure where i imagined it would happen, maybe best buy or the fetus, or some cool place like amoeba or some little two bit shop in a far flung place. honestly, i probably didn’t think it really would, but cheapo just seems wrong. but you don’t get to pick your places, your times for life changes events, you can just roll with them.

There’s a hole in the floor now, where it happened; down the aisle, halfway through the Tuesday/Wednesday new used (as opposed to the old used, the old new and the new new) on my way to Friday (my picking is random, don’t ask for rhyme nor reason, just hope i whisper something good) I glance to my left, and even before i had seen, much less processed, it hit me. the bins are half empty. I finally believe it. CDs really are over.

This ain’t chicken little prospectus anymore, this is the canary singing before he falls over. it’s real, it’s happening, and it’s in black and white and in the NEXT ROOM. i can’t close my eyes and think everything is all right. Cheapo is running out of used cds. The end is here!

Half empty bins are unprecedented. sure, i could believe a half empty monday (who sells on sunday, and do you really think the clerks are gonna bust their humps putting stuff out for MONDAY?), but half empty thursday? friday?(seems all the cds somehow congregate at the back end of friday.) Something is badly askew here when i don’t have to move a cd over a previous row in order to flip through the current row. and something is really off when i can fit a dirty pig elbow in the row before i even reach a disc.

Nobody is selling cds. in this economy, with the cd demographic looking for a quick buck, nobody has anything to unload. cos nobody is buying discs. like viking fans after game 10, discs are gone (probably to des moines) and they ain’t recycling in the cheapo bins anymore. the happy circle of life; buy cd, listen to cd, get sick of cd, (possibly burn cd for archival copy, but that might just be me) sell cd, buy cd, (give dirty look towards scar on the upside), has been replaced with sell cd, sell cd, sell cd, use proceeds to buy shiny new ipod and open access to bank accounts to apple (wasn’t an apple the reason adam and eve got banished from the garden?) and then....nothing. empty bins and all you got is a crappy sounding electronic file that has no heft, no meaning, no substance, no soul (ok, so i don’t really think cds have soul)

i like cds. they sound great (i don’t buy that warmth argument about vinyl---and who really has that great of equipment to make a difference even if it’s true), they don’t have pops and hiss (again, great nostalgia for it in some folks, but it always used to bug me), you can leave them in the car on a warm day (mostly, newt says, mostly) and damn if they ain’t super portable. (i’ll give you the shrinky dink artwork annoyance, but i’ll counter it with some nifty packaging and HOLOGRAPHIC cds) and even better, when you are flipping through cds, you can make that click, click sound that drives people nuts. albums barely move the (stale, mildewy) air when you flip through them. I mean, it’s really no contest. How can cd’s be dying off? NOOOOOOOO. We were promised jetpacks, i want jetpacks along with my lifetime of digital aluminum music!(see above for denial, and i’m not 100% behind that lifetime of use thing cos i’ve had a few cds with the dreaded pinhole rot, may Eureka version 1 rest in peace) How can such a nearly perfect listening medium be rendered onto Caesar?

i don’t know what comes next. i’d sooner go back to rockville than go back to vinyl. mp3’s (even 320, don’t even talk to me about that itunes shite) are ok for when i’m running, but i can’t abide the sound of them coming out of anything other than an itty bitty speaker stuffed in my ear. Am i gonna have to be one of these FLAK guys? don’t get me wrong, i’m comfortable with my geek, i just don’t know that i want to...bother. it all smacks of audiophile and i have some latent tendencies, but that seems only ok as long as i don’t act on it.

Come back, baby, come back.

There's a Bear Inside Your Stomach

Aug 6 2010
First Avenue

Feeling a little bad because i left out any mention of the Antlers in my National show blurb. They really deserve notice because Hospice is a pretty amazing album. took a while to grow on me (i’m kinda lazy and the story just seemed a little much) but once i let the songs seep their way into my undermind over a bunch of months, the lyrics came off as less labored and more organically tied to the emotional heft of the production. Another almost top tenner from 2009 that feels like it should have been ranked higher. So I was excited to see them open for the National. I was very curious to see how the intimate and personal story would translate to the stage. And they did quite a great job, retaining all the drama and sorrow of the recording, but also filling up the club with the narrative’s dynamic sweep. Sylvia and Two of course, got the crowd excited, but the quieter pieces moving the story along on the album were equally compelling. And of course, I loved bear. Pretty accomplished for a three piece. 87 pounds and this all bears repeating. I can’t wait to hear more.

I Won’t Waste Any More of Your Time

Kind of a fun little run of that 70’s Cali Soft Rock sound, too bad nothing is really jumping out at me. thank goodness for 70’s Cali new wave.

Jenny and Johnny I’m Having Fun Now: But that’s a lie, because i’m not having that much fun. I hope Jenny and Johnny break up. Then i hope Jenny gets back with Rilo Kiley and uses her art to work through the pain of the break up.

Ra Ra Riot The Orchard: The Rhumb Line was a lot of fun. Insanely catchy melodies and that Vampire Weekend faintly african world beat production that was so popular a couple years ago (i love those blink and you missed it music trends) I appreciate that they are trying some new things, but am also faintly bored by the new things. Of course, when they stick to the old paradigm (Massachusetts), i’m dubious (would have been a decent b-side from the first album maybe, except it's kinda too long). Thing is, the songs aren’t very strong, and experimentation and production touches can’t hide that.

The Weepies Be My Thrill: if only they would be. No, that’s not really fair. 15 years ago i’d have enjoyed this on the cities 97. and I liked the last two cds well enough. But they just sound a little too like late columbia shawn colvin to really endear themselves to me. Honeypie? Hummingbird? Red Red Rose? anyone else in a diabetic coma? i miss the indigo girls! If paint could sing, this is what it would sound like (and it would be flat white, not even enamel).

Film School Fission: But if you are changing your direction, it’s only a matter of time. Ah, that’s the spot. A little higher and to the left, to the left, to the left.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Message is the Medium (Apologies to MM)

Sometimes it really is about how you got there, what got you there and when it happened, rather than where you ended up (which was pretty much always a forgone conclusion anyway). The why will have to wait for another day (if it isn’t already self evident)

I startled my parents (and brother and sister) when I was a wee lad (5 or 6?) and performed an impromptu cover of “Joy to the World” (bullfrog baby, bullfrog) on the way back from church (seriously, I thought it was a hymn and I was just spreading the good word) I knew those lyrics inside out (hmmm, might have to dig out some three dog night and see if I still have it down) and my performance was…sincere to say the least. Words might not save you, but melody will always carry you. So began my affair with pop music.

My first grade teacher (Mrs. Hazen) was responsible for that Three Dog Night outburst. She would play pop music for us in class, for which I am eternally grateful. Now some might say she played records just to shut us up for 3 minutes and 10 seconds, but I don’t think it’s about that at all. I think she loved pop music and wanted to share her joy with all of us. I have very distinct memories of hearing Sing (this came back with a vengeance in second grade), Black and White and Clouds at various times during first grade. She even handed us printouts of the lyrics to Clouds and asked us what we thought the lyrics meant. Music Appreciation indeed. A little bit over our heads, but this is where the foundation was laid.

Car radios were the primary medium in those early days. We got on the bus at 7.15 in the morning and had a 45 minute ride to school. Ed, the bus driver, was a pretty cool guy and would play Z-100 for us (even though I’m sure he preferred to listen to the country station). 45 minutes was tons of time to get my music fix in before school. The bus ride was a staple of my musical education. An hour once a day (45 minutes in the morning, 15 at night) 5 days a week, for 10 years (I pretty much drove myself to school all the time by junior and senior years) adds up. Plus all the football games (junior high at least) and track meets (one time we had a broken radio and dietrich earnhart and I sang whatever pop songs we could think of for the entire ride….apologies to all). By the time I was in forth or fifth grade I was begging Ed to switch it up with the stations, and of course, I was always begging him to TURN IT UP, OK THAT’S GREAT! I really loved it when he’d get a new bus with nifty new stereo speakers sprinkled throught. (I always sat below the left side speaker, 2/3s of the way to the back of the bus, and I sang along with every song that I liked, while I read whatever book (and there always was a book, that had caught my fancy)

Plus, once I figured out there was more than Dolly Parton and Conway Twitty, I’d lobby my folks for a pop radio station whenever we’d get in the car. Success rate about 50%, but I think that had more to do with my mom (pop) and my dad (country) than any burgeoning lobbying skills.

It didn’t take long for my parents to realize I had a serious jones for music. I got a cool am clock radio for Christmas when I was 7 or 8. I think that radio was my best friend until I turned 18 (not sure if that’s sad, funny, sweet or true) and I really got a lot of use out of that. I spent a lot of time in my room with that radio, listening to music, baseball and whatever kinds of signals would gap across the ether. At least once or twice a week, Joe would whip a pillow at me and tell me to turn that damn thing down as I lay in bed late and night listening to the radio under the covers. I dropped it once (probably more than once) and it got a crack from the alarm nob below the clockface halfway up the clock. I don’t really name things, but I always thought of that radio as “lightning” because of that (it also had a white casing.

The clock radio was superceded (but I always loved that clock radio) by a ginormous console stereo that Fr. Krubel gave to me when I was 12 or so (well…probably gave to my mom and dad, but they passed it on to me. I shared a room (a small bedroom) with my brother and moving that console into my half next to my bed gave me exactly one foot by eight feet of free space (talk about intensive farming). But I wouldn’t have given that up for anything because you see, not only did it have FM radio (which I was pretty indifferent to at this point) but it had a TURNTABLE! Now sure, the parents had a console downstairs and we could play records (my mom had a lot of herb alpert and a bunch of other records that we wouldn’t be caught dead playing…although I used to play Rose Garden compulsively) and we did play records down there (my sister had a friend whose dad stocked jukeboxes and she would pass on the “retired” 45s to my sister, who would then pass them onto me---although I’d get so frustrated with the scratchy sound that I’d flip the single over and play the b-sides……so now you know where my b sides obsession comes from) But the console was in the living room, so it’s not like I could could just play records any old time I wanted (not that I had any records at this point anyway).

I loved that console. It had a crappy needle cartridge that only played out of one channel (I brian wilsoned my way to college, “discovering” real stereo when I bought a walkman at the end of freshman year), it buzzed like a band saw, and it raised the temperature of our bedroom by about 20 degrees (great in winter when it was frosty upstairs, yet another reason for my brother to throw a pillow at me in summer.) Once I started buying records (thank you K-mart, Columbia house record and tape club and those mind blowing annual pilgrimages to Trucker’s Union in Eau Claire during the Yearbook conference in high school), I couldn’t wait to finish eating, chores and milking so I could get upstairs, fold myself into my little one foot width between bed and console and stick my ear into that left channel speaker (I had to keep it down so my family watching tv downstairs wouldn’t be disturbed.) and listened to music for hours on end (ya, I was an anti social cuss even then). Eventually, I got ambitious (stupid) and started messing around with the wiring in the console and figured out how to flip the channels so I could to the right channel speaker (mono) at the same time. I even messed around with the cartridge enough to sometimes get stereo, but I was so flakey, I could never listen that long. I even figured out how to plug my walkman into that behemoth. Great fun. (I really should have been an engineer). I think at some point, long after I had quit using it (I never went back once I figured out REAL stereo) my mom gutted it and used it to store quilts. No regrets, that baby served me well.

I wasn’t completely tied land locked by radio either. Somewhere in early high school I got a pair of radio headphones. Now I was mobile (much appreciated for the Saturday America’s top 40 countdown) and could listen on the tractor, out in the yard, even when I was out on the roads biking (seriously I am amazed I am still alive for all the times I was out biking on the highway totally oblivious to the traffic around me.) I imagine I was quite the sight with those on. Huge earphones over both ears with a pretty damn big strap across the top (so THAT’s where all my hair went). And of course, I sang along to every song (that I liked) especially on the tractor or when I was out riding bike. (my grandpa came tearing out into a back farm field once when I was cultivating corn because he thought I was shouting for help. That isn’t the only time something like that happened. Just sayin’)

The aforementioned Z-100 (WBIZ) was an ok radio station. It was FM, it was out of Eau Claire (so the signal was fine) and it played some pretty good music. Weirdly though, it didn’t have disc jockeys and was a very strict format. You could pretty much turn on the radio at 7.35 and be sure that you were going to get a song that was new to the charts. Likewise, after that, you’d get kind of an oldie (a year old for sure), then commercial, then weather, then some weird canned promo, then a top ten hit. Looking back, I realized it was probably just a programmed station, but I think I kind of appreciated the predictability of it. Z-100 was radio station of choice in my grade school. In fifth grade, we’d even get to listen to the radio during recess on those rainy/snow/crappy/cold days when no one wanted to go outside.

By the time, I was in junior high, I was a strict Z-100 hater. I’m sure this was in part because my older brother always wanted to listen to that in the barn at night when we were milking and neither one of us could stand to give in to what the other wanted. But it was also because the format hadn’t changed in years and I preferred the other FM option, I-94 (WIAL) that played a little more poppy songs and less of the Kansas, journey, styx stuff Z-100 had gravitated towards (although their playlists overlapped 85% I’m sure). Shortly after I graduated high school, my brother became a big fan of I-94 and listened to it all the time. (I think he secretly hated Z-100, but because I was opposed to it, he had to like it)

Every once and a while we’d compromise on WMEQ (93.4?) out of menomonie, but I was never that much of a fan of that radio station. Although at least they were a local call, so I could call in requests, which was kinda fun. (another time DE and I decided we were going to make a hit of an album track off a Barry Manilow album (even now…btw, album track on a barry manilow album? I can see you shaking your head in dismay now) Needless to say, our careers as promo guys didn’t go very far. But WMEQ was more than happy to play “Somewhere in the Night” for us.

Thing is for the first 10 years of my radio listening career, I didn’t really even care about FM and stereo. I was all about the AM and one particular radio station, WEAQ, AM 790. As much as Mrs. Hazen built me a foundation, WEAQ let me build the house. And a grand and glorious house I built. This was such a great station and I have such fond memories of listening to it. (Interestingly enough, the signal overlapped with WLS out of Chicago and sometimes when I was listening at night, I’d get one or the other and didn’t usually know the difference until I’d suddenly start hearing this different DJ talking about the lake and traffic and stuff) They played the perfect mix of top 40 70s hits (imagine Have a Nice Day crossed with Didn’t It Blow Your Mind). With a few exceptions (“Heaven on the 7th Floor” for one) they pretty much played every top 40 hit from the 70’s, and more than a few that just bubbled under. There were no format divides, no snobbery, no genre distinctions. They played it all, throw it in the bowl, toss it a couple times and play it. Leo Sayer, Eagles, Deep Purple, O’Jays, Sly and the Family Stone, Joni Mitchell, Pilot, my beloved band Babyface (What? They are from Eau Claire????? But I love this song!); it goes on and on into obscurity. I’m smiling as I type this. But it really was a joy.I got goosebumps the first time I heard “Undercover Angel” (omigod, that’s kinda me) on the station and listened every day at the same time just waiting to hear it again (Z-100 conditioned me to that)

I lived on a little farm, 5 miles outside of a little town and I didn’t know anything about anything (might still not). So, WEAQ was more than a radio station to me, it was my link to a world beyond; to something else undefined, to potential, to possibilities. I was exposed to race and politics and history through song. I saw the world through the lens of a 3.05 pop song and even though I knew it was just a song, all I needed was a glimpse of another world to know that it was there. Songs became clues and I’d have to know what something meant (Black and White was my introduction to race…I was dumbfounded by slavery….but secretly sympathized with the plight of the black man, because I had to work on a farm for no wages). I can’t tell you how many times I heard a song on the radio in those early days and I’d be scouring the newspapers and watching tv to figure out what it was all about. (“four dead in OHIO?” what? How can the government let this happen????) Everything was fodder for me “Different Drum”, “Lonely Boy”, even “Put Your Hand in the Hand”; they all expanded my emotional and intellectual palette beyond the abilities of the limited environment in which I was raised. And I believed, ya know? The strength, peace, love and understanding of the (hippie hangover) music of 70’s wasn’t just tripe to me. They weren’t just pop songs, they were messages from a greater philosophy that I heard and integrated into me (kinda like some kid in college who gets high off the existence of existentialism). I subscribed 100%, and created a world view out of it that I still carry with me today.

WEAQ even had their own top 30 list, given out for free at all the local 7-11s in Eau Claire. Oh, that was a treasured article, when I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of those. Just to hold that little card in my hand and read off those song titles and artists. And sometime there’s even be a song/artist that I hadn’t heard and oh my did I have a holy grail to uncover. I’ll admit to being a little chart obsessed about my favorite songs (“How can Tycoon NOT be top ten locally?”) but I never took it too personally. I would dearly love to have just one of those cards in my little hands again. There was powerful magic locked up in those little cards.

While I’m on the subject of wishes, I’d also really like one of my old elementary school notebook back covers, where I’d make up what I thought were all kinds of witty one liners using pop song titles. Just kind curious to see if they were as good as I remember them being. I really ought to dig through the attic at the farm and see if I stashed one somewhere. They were always a big hit with the girls. Yes, big magic in that pop music stuff.

And I can’t forget to mention; WEAQ had casey kasem’s top forty. Talking about the top forty could be an entry in and of itself. Suffice it to say, many are the Saturday afternoons I spent counting down with casey and reaching for the stars with my feet on the ground. Listening in the on the barn radio, curled around my little am radio up in my bedroom, on pickup radios when we were out in the fields (always missing that ONE song I wanted to hear because I had to do something and getting stuck hearing Rex Smith AGAIN), comparing notes with Shelley C Monday morning once we both realized we both listened to the countdown and wrote down the list, just in case we missed something. For as much as I loved the countdown, it was the eventual demise of WEAQ, because it eventually moved to the FM stations (I 94) and just like that, WEAQ ceased to exist as it had (format change). I followed to I 94 (thereby setting up 4 years of barn fights with my older brother) but only reluctantly.

I never really listened to radio quite the same way after that. Sadly, I don’t have a favorite station today. There’s a radio in my car, but I feel like its only on as a last resort. I occasionally listen to the Current, but I usually have to turn it off after a couple songs or when the DJs talk, whichever comes first. For all the glowing eulogies, I never really got into Rev 105, I know, I know…I’m a heathen. In fact, I don’t think I’ve really listened to radio since I went off to college. It seemed like every person I met in college was their own radio station, on all the time and broadcast on every band. Who needed the airwaves, when I could just pop into a dorm room and have a universe of music unfold before me. New bands, new genres, so many ideas, something all the time and now I could see bands LIVE. Twin cities radio just couldn’t compete with that (and we got terrible reception in the dorms anyway). Twin cities radio still can’t compete with that.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

You Really Got Me

Wolf Parade post made me think of my da. He wasn't a huge music fan but he'd listen on occasion. He liked country music when he wasn't listening to farm radio, but he always let my older brother and i pick (which meant fight, literally) which "rock" radio station we'd listen to in the barn when we were milking the cows at night.

One time when he and my mom came back from shopping, he had a present for me. (Very unusual, growing up, money was very very tight and other than christmas and birthdays, gifts just didn't happen....wasn't even something we'd expect) Out of the K-Mart bag he pulls....ohmigod, it's a record album....and it's....ewwwwwww....Van Halen's first album. I don't think i hid my transition from elation to disappointment very well. And i think i kinda hurt his feelings.

But of course, there were barn chores to be done (there were always barn chores to be done) so we all hustled off to the barn. While i was piling up corn silage (why did i get stuck with the silage and joe got to do the corn feed? i can still smell the silage on me) my dad wandered into the silo house.

I tried to explain that i wasn't really into those hard rock band like Joe was (not that joe was either, he was kansas and journey and i even discovered an ABBA greatest hits 8 track tape in the red duster i inherited from him...and not like van halen is really hard rock anyway) but that i was way more into the mellower, pop music, top 40 hits. But if he wanted to buy me something rock, i was ok with todd rundgren. But that i really appreciated the idea and it was a very nice thing to do. I still laugh thinking how i probably just mystified him with all the bands i was naming that were acceptable to me (looking back, even i think all 70's rock sounded the same), and my hubris of correcting such a wonderful gesture, but to his credit he didn't roll his eyes (my dad never rolled his eyes) and i'd like to think his feelings weren't too hurt.

Receipts were eventually retrieved from the garbage and an exchange happened the following week, although for what, i don't really remember. I just remember the Van Halen album that my dad bought me, just being a dad and connecting with me. He was a really good guy.

I’m a Perfect Piece of Ass (or My Mind’s STILL Loose Inside the Shell)

First Avenue
August 6, 2010

How do i love thee, national? let me count the ways:

dark, brooding lyrics that make me read the lyric sheet and shiver (and worry about the well being of matt’s significant other) and all those super catchy couplets “I still owe money, to the money, to the money i owe” that ring through my mind kinda like when radiohead used to care.

the kinda alt/kinda classic rock that wouldn’t be that far out of place in any era, matched with some amazingly detailed (but rarely fussy) production that always lets the engaging melodies stand out.

All the Wine, Wasp’s Nest, Karen, Mr. November, Apartment Song, Bloodbuzz, Ohio, Blank Slate, About Today, Brainy, Mistaken for Strangers, Lemonworld, Daughters of the SoHo Riots

matt’s monotone but resonant vocals (“sing pretty in pink, sing pretty in pink!”) and his propensity for getting drunk (or at least it seems that way) through the course of the show (i’m sure he MEANT to fall off the drum kit at the 400 bar show)

and the drums...always the drums, especially on Boxer and High Violet, intricate, pulsing, minimalistic but full, and just the right restraint.

i could go on and on, but why bother. they are awesome and you know it, and if you don’t, do yourself a favor and listen. (alligator is my personal favorite, but Boxer and High Violet are critically better.)

I’ve seen them three times now and not been disappointed once (and i’m not really a multiple show kinda guy.....Phoenix was a crazy aberration brought on by the mind blowing, sweat filled show at the Varsity). You pretty much can’t go wrong seeing them.

So let’s see....what stands out from this show......they played Daughters of the Soho Riots, they played Apartment Song (not totally in love with the arrangement, but meh...hadn’t heard that one at the first ave show last summer), Abel, Mr. November, most of High Violet (darkness and the fourth song were neglected), they closed with About Today.

what else..... they played a new song (not sure on the title), that i really liked (even with the idiot who stood right in front of us and proceeded to talk to a chick through the entire encore.

and hmmm...oh yeah, Justin Vernon (bon iver) came out for a pile of songs (he’s coming, he’s going, he’s coming back again) best part was when he grabbed matt’s ass on one of the departures. that was pretty funny and i’m jealous.

I Am My Father's Son

Wolf Parade
First Avenue
July 18, 2010

Funny how a couple of years can turn everything inside itself and then back again. When Wolf Parade burst onto the scene a couple years ago (more than i guess), i was enthralled by their progressive pop smarts. They wrote catchy melodic songs that wormed into my ear and hung around for days. The production was a little of the moment, but it complemented the songs well enough. Then following that great release we had side projects of handsome furs, sunset rubdown (2 releases!) and swan lake. Lesser product to my ears but still intriguing and i’m all for prolific as we sped towards the sophomore WP disc. Then At Mount Snoozer came out and all the momentum evaporated into a wtf roadkill moment (for me at least) prog instead of pop, pedantic and plodding and flat out boring. Burn bright, baby and you burn fast. And just like that, i was done.

Then came a slow spot in 2009 and i decided to give the new handsome furs disc a shot. And i loved it, caught a show at the entry and suddenly, i’m thinking...well maybe it’s spencer that is ruining the band and dan’s got it going. The second swan lake disc came out a few months later and although that didn’t change my mind about dan being my main wolfie, i didn’t hate it and i appreciated the guys were recording again. Course, it was June of last year when Dragonslayer came out that i really realized that DAMN, this spencer guy isnt the problem either cos this album is amazing.

Maybe the problem isn’t either of the guys, it's the wolf parade project. These guys should just break up and do their own thing. and that was my new story and i was sticking with it.

Then Expo ’86 came out and i was like, damn. this is pretty good. maybe these guys should stick it out, cos the songs are tight, the flow is good and i’m liking this disc quite a bit (and despite mount snoozer, my expectations were still pretty high)

So expecting a rush, i grabbed a pair of tickets early for the first ave show and tried to temper my excitement. But there wasn’t really a rush (glad i wasn’t looking to unload extras), as we had ample space for the first time in pretty much forever (of course, not ample enough to avoid the totally obnoxious chicks flipping their freaking hair extensions in my drink, my face, my mouth who were sure they were gonna bang the band, any band(also who knew hair extensions taste french fries))

but the show was.....satisfying and frustrating. I mean, the band is certainly tight and can play the hell out of their instruments. Dan wasn’t quite as charismatic as he was at the entry show (would have been nice to see the low riders he was sporting at the entry), but he was smoking on the guitar and as guitar god as indie will allow. Spencer was a revelation, a rick wakeman-esque dynamo at the keyboards front and center, mesmerizing me with his solos and head whips (seriously dude, i hope you have a good chiropractor---even if i think they are quacks). but the format of one dan song then one spencer song just didn’t work in terms of momentum and flow. the styles of the two guys are just too different (maybe even on Expo ’86 now that i relisten to it) to make a 90 minute show anything more than a see saw of pop/prog/rock/psychedelic rock whiplash. i left there enjoying individual songs, but feeling dissatisficed with the show as whole. and really needing a quack chiropractor (oxymoron) for whiplash relief.

But, never fear, i’ll be tuning in for the next iteration of the wolf parades.

A Few Quick Ones While the Cat is Away

Best Coast-Crazy for You: all the songs sound about the same and the low fi girl group sound isn’t anything special (raveonettes get me way more charged) but fun enough for summer.
Menomena-Mines: good good stuff. more traditional song structures and instrumentation than i’d heard from them before, but really excellent melodies and they can’t polish the quirk out of themselves that easily. Looking forward to the Varsity show (and i still haven't given up on the idea of seeing Janelle Monae at First Ave too)
Arcade Fire-The Suburbs: not saying the emperor has no clothes, but he’s definitely free balling. Neon Bible had a lot of skip songs for me, but at least it had some extraordinary highs. this all seems a little flat and thematically boring (must there always be call outs to the indie kids?)

and that is it. other than The Acorn disc i got in Toronto (which is more decidedly me than anyone else) i haven’t bought a new cd in three weeks at least. and other than ra ra riot (thanks Rhi) nothing is jumping out at me this week either (i'll pick up !!! when it's 4.95 used, maybe.

There's Always Other Scenes

The Hold Steady
First Avenue
July 4, 2010

Kind of unbelievable that I hadn’t gotten around to seeing the hold steady live. i was a distant fan of lifter puller back in the day (much moreso nowadays...ah the perils of skittish youth) but got on board with THS right off the bat. However, weddings, birthdays and funerals always seemed to get in the way of the live show. Ya, I know, i should have tried harder. Is what is, but determined i was to see them this time around.
And they were lots of fun, playing lots of favorites (not really a fan of the new album, but those songs didn’t sound that out of place) with a very punky and pointed attack live (because of the extra traveling guitar? the live stuff i’d heard before never sounded so supercharged). I did miss franz’s keyboards and back up vocals some (on chips ahoy and stuck between stations for sure) but it was all good (i probably should say we stood upstairs by the box entrance, so i was a bit removed from the mayhem, which is maybe why i didn’t get as much religion from the show as i’d hoped).
Mostly the show seemed like the craig finn show and no complaints here. i was never one of the CF vocal detractors and his sing speak style (even his singing) have only improved over the years, to allow the band to churn it up behind him and feel comfortable that he can move the song along, however he needs to do it. You’d think the awkward pee wee hermanisms would get tedious, but he always charms his way through it, making me smile more than a few times and his dance “moves”. Incidentally, we went to see my friend's cousin's boyfriend's band (The Blind Shake, who are really a lot of fun live, btw) at a wedding "dance" at the turf a couple weeks later. Craig sat at the table next to us for a bit.....i refrained from blathering all over him---course, i should maybe have bought him a beer. btw, maybe it was the jeans, but no ass. none whatsoever)
Not really surprised that the show didn’t save my life, cos i wasn’t really falling anyway (or i've already fallen?), but it was a fun Fourth of July to spend with my sweetie.
(the whigs opened. my mind is not changed about them at all)