Friday, May 26, 2006

Top 5 - Boston Edition

Real quick:

In honor of my trip to Boston, here is the beantown edition of the Top 5.

1. Dinosaur Jr. – Freak Scene

Of course my favorite band could not escape the Boston Top 5. I don’t know what else I could say about J and company. This is off the album Bug, which was Lou Barlow’s last album with the band.

It’s so fucked I can’t believe it
If there’s a way I wish we’d see it
How could it work, just can’t conceive it
Oh what a mess it is to leave it
Sometimes I don’t thrill you
Sometimes I think I’ll kill you
Just don’t let me fuck up will you
‘Cause when I need a friend it’s still you

2. Pixies – Gigantic

My feelings about the Pixies goes in cycles. Sometimes I listen to them and think they are the greatest band I’ve ever heard. Sometimes I think their music sounds really dated and stale. I have always loved the way that Kim Deal’s and Black Francis’s voices worked together. This song features mostly Deal’s angelic voice.

3. Buffalo Tom – Taillights Fade

Another one of my favorites that happen to hail from Boston. This song is from Let Me Come Over, which is a little rawer than their later work. You can hear the great songwriting still.

4. Morphine – Honey White

I’ve never been a huge fan of Morphine. I know there are people out there who are totally infatuated with this band. I can see how that is possible, I just could never really get into it. There is a great story on First Avenue’s website about the ghost of Mark Sandman haunting the stage. (I can't find it on the website anymore. If anybody knows where to find that story let me know)

5. Blake Babies – Girl in a Box

This album was so cute and full of bubble gummy pop music with a dark edge. No song shows their subtle wit and darkness better than this one in my opinion. The only song on the album Sunburn in which guitarist John Strom sings lead vocals.

And I hope I die in the nighttime
With a beer in my hand
And you by my side
I got a girl in a box
We play games, I’m anything I’m not
But I wanna be, yeah, I wanna be
She’ll be a slut, or a dirtly little whore
Or the girl next door or my bride instead
Or I’ll cut off her head
If I want to

Friday, May 19, 2006

Top 5 - Birthday Edition

1. The Beatles – Here Comes The Sun

The Wife bought me Abbey Road on vinyl for my birthday, which was yesterday. I haven’t really had a chance to listen to it yet because I didn’t get home last night until 9:30. It was quite a birthday, I worked from 7:30 to 4:45 and had school from 6:00 to 9:00, so I didn’t really get to do anything fun.

2. The Hold Steady – Multitude of Casualties

I have this album already on CD, but the wife bought “Separation Sunday” on vinyl as well. It is hard to pick a favorite song on this album. This one popped into my head though: “She said I shipped it out from Boulder/ Packed in coffee grounds and wrapped around in dryer sheets.”

3. Bob Dylan – If Not for You

Continuing the birthday gift related songs, I got a Bob Dylan T-shirt as well. I played this song at my wedding (as well as Such Great Heights by The Postal Service). It was funny because a lot of the people at the wedding had never heard me sing before and were shocked that I could actually pull it off. “If not for you/ babe, I’d stay awake all night/ just waiting for the morning light/ to come shining through.”

4. Fugazi – Nice New Outfit

I didn’t know what song to pick to correlate to my new pair of Chucks. I remember seeing Fugazi when I was, I think, 18. The guys just came out in jeans and plain T-shirts and black Chucks. They just had the white house lights on the whole time, letting only the music and their passion sway the audience. I’m sure there’s gotta be a better song to go with Chucks, but I can’t think of any right now.

5. The Go-GosVacation

The only reason I have this song on here is because I am going on Vacation next Friday. Look for a Boston related Top5 next week before I leave.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

New Soul Asylum Song

Perfect Porridge has a link to the new Soul Asylum song, "Stand Up and Be Strong."

I've listened to it a couple times now. I like Pirner's voice. It sounds rough and raw and he sounds emotional. It has the intensity that I thought his solo album lacked. The songs is startling in its positivity. I can't wait to hear it the context of the full album.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Some random thoughts on a Tuesday morning that feels like it is still Monday morning.

I have an iPod mini, which holds a little over 1,000 songs. I have way more music than that so that means my iPod is always at capacity. Whenever I get a new CD that I want to listen to on my iPod I have to remove some other songs from the iPod. This process is a lot harder than it sounds. I scroll through the library and try to decide which songs I can live without as if I don't have the CD sitting on a shelf at home. I take this way more personal than I should. It is some sort of guilt for removing a song from the iPod. Weird. I know.

I got Mason Jennings' new album yesterday. I agree with Andrea about the expanded production. I like it. I was dissapointed with the stripped down nature of Jennings' last album, "Use Your Voice," because of its stripped down nature. I still don't think the sound on "Boneclouds" is as lush as "Century Spring" was. That album seemed a lot warmer to me. I'll probably have more thoughts after a couple more listens.

On a personal note, I am taking classes this summer and I am hating it (of course). We are doing a group project in my Document Design class. I hate group projects to begin with and this class only lasts six weeks which is an insanely short amount of time to complete the design project we were assigned. I am also taking an independent study Anthropology class. I thought independent study would be a relaxed pace. No. I have four anthro books to read in about a week and a half in order to answer the first three essay question that are due. I have no idea how I will get this done. Freaking out has commenced.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Top 5

  1. The Dad in Common – Bat and The Beehive

These guys are a psychedelic jazzy folky rock band. The got up and played some songs with Mi and L’au when I saw them back in February. I had no idea who they were at the time. Listening to this song on their myspace page makes me hope for good things at their CD release show tonight at the Turf Club.

  1. The Replacements – Message to The Boys

While I admit that hearing a new song with the title of The Replacements attached is exciting, but isn’t this the same as any of Paul Westerberg’s solo albums? The song is decent enough, but it is not going to change anybody’s life. I think this reunion of Westerberg and Tommy Stinson gets people thinking about some Replacements shows or maybe a full-fledged Replacements album. That is a lot more exciting than this song. Although I think a new Replacements album or tour is highly unlikely.

  1. The Constantines – Draw Us Lines

Who the hell are the Constantines? I don’t know a thing about them, but this song kind of fell into my lap (err, iPod). Are all there songs this amazing? This is an anthemic, feedback-laden rouser. It makes me feel like I can conquer the world (or at least make it through another day).

  1. The Fiery Furnaces – Here Comes the Summer

I used to love this song. I don’t anymore. The same things that made me love it; Eleanor’s voice, the backwards guitar effects, the fuzzed out guitar hooks, are the same things that sound like fingernails on a chalkboard to me now.

  1. Dinosaur Jr. – Thumb

This is one of my favorite songs by one of my all time favorite bands. I just read that two more Dino Jr. albums will be reissued this year Green Mind and Where You Been. Although I appreciate reissues, especially for bands that I discovered late, I wish they would sell the reissues as two discs: one disc containing the original album then the second disc containing all the extras. That way a new listener can hear the album as it was originally intended and then go delve into the b-sides, live tracks or whatever the record company decided to add on to the reissue.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

An Open Letter to Scott Miller and the Commonwealth

Dear Scott,

What is with all the war folk songs? Okay, I know, our country is at war. I can understand why it would be on your mind. The problem is, well, how do I say this… they’re not very good.

Hang on a second. Let me backtrack to the Turf Club in St. Paul. I must be five or six years ago now. You were opening for the disappointing Kelly Hogan and you stole the show as far as I could tell. It was just you and your guitar and several angry shots of bourbon. You sang songs from “Thus Always to Tyrants,” your first solo album. I think maybe because we are both from Virginia, I felt a connection.

I went to the Electric Fetus the next day and was surprised they had your album stocked. I bought it. I loved it. It was gritty southern folk rock. There were some dirges, some rockers, some honky tonks and some spirituals. It was everything I would want on an album by a guy from my home state. I even found the Civil War songs enjoyable. (Although, I still don’t get the whole southern fascination with the Civil War. Maybe that is why I am a “Northerner” now, a “Yankee.”)

Next came your “Upside Downside” album. I felt this album had a more polished sound, but retained enough of that grit to keep me faithful. (You know that grit I am talking about? Sitting in the humid Virginia sun, your skin oozes sweat that coats your skin evenly and that ooze weighs heavy on the back of your neck and you start to feel worn down. It is a slimy sweat, the consistency of motor oil and when you wipe it away, there is a few moments of relief before your glands recoat the uncovered area.) I thought Amtrak Crescent was a brilliant song, “Well the Amtrak Crescent is a north bound train/ When you can't afford to stay no more in New Orleans/ So I bought the cheapest ticket and I carried my clothes/ And the blood beneath my eyes from a broken nose/ When life goes wrong this train goes on and on.” Red Ball Express however, was a misstep in my opinion. I think when it comes to story songs; they are best left in the past, with Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and George Jones. That song just didn’t feel authentic to me.

That brings me to the new album, “Citation.” There are just too many of these story songs. Like on Say Ho. Do we really need a three-minute two-step ode to Sam Houston? Or Jody. “I just shipped out and then lickety-split/ Jody’s watching TV on my TV set.” How can you make a song about a wife cheating on you with your best friend while you are at war sound that emotionally vapid?

I’m sorry. It’s not all horseshit. The first half of the album is pretty good. Freedom’s a Stranger is a great coming of age song, “Those drums they shook the speakers/ The bass it shook me to the core/ If the Boss had been a preacher
He could‘ve led us to the lord.” This is the kind of stuff I want more of; the blood and guts and tears, not the “there once was a man so great,” kind of crap.

See that wasn’t so bad. I didn’t even mention you hanging out with those dumbass git’r done guys.

Also, would it kill you to play a show up here again?



Tuesday, May 09, 2006

re: Dear you,

First of all, what is with this living in darkness crap? You always said flowery stuff like that. Look, you drank just as much, if not more, than I ever did. Sure, I drank, I smoked a little, I kissed some people. There is a fine line between having fun and being out of control. I never even got close to that line. You are always so serious about things. You can have fun and you can say things without it having some enormous hidden meaning. You were always trying to figure out things that didn’t need figuring out.

I’m reading what I have written and I sound angry, but I am not angry. I did love you and I still think about you. You’re right though, an ocean and ten years is an insurmountable distance. I’m glad you wrote. Take care of yourself (and relax).

Monday, May 08, 2006

Dear you,

Has it really been ten years? The last time I saw you it was a Sunday morning when I left Lucky’s Luke. I said goodbye with my eyes from across the room. It was right after all the lights came up to properly illuminate that German dude laying unconscious on the dance floor. He slipped and hit his head on the edge of the concrete step that formed the outer limits of the recessed dance floor. Anyway, that was an awkward morning. I know as well as you why we never kept in touch. We were once so close that an ocean was just too far. Does that make sense? Lucky’s was a bad scene. I remember that. Degenerates of every sort hid in the corners. I don’t live in the corners anymore. I heard that you moved to Hamburg. I heard that you still liked the darkness. But that was years ago.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Top 5

I took last Friday off and sat around the house wishing the rain would stop. It is just like me to extend the wettest weekend of the year. Not all was lost though; I made a Matthew Ryan playlist on my iTunes. It was difficult to shape that playlist down to a manageable number. I started with about 28 and honed it down to 19. Here is the Top 5 of that Top 19.

1. Matthew Ryan – Nails (From “Regret Over the Wires”)
Just last night I saw you creepin’ ‘round
So vacant, so lost, talking too loud
Still, all I need is a little bit of luck
A con that cons and a good haircut
Still, all I need is a little bit of luck
The kind that comes with a good haircut

2. Matthew Ryan – The Little Things (From “Regret Over the Wires”)
Desperate is as desperate does
A little talk I give myself
The little things, the little things
Mean everything

3. Matthew Ryan – Chrome (From “May Day")
It’s not the fact that you walked out that bewilders me
It’s not the sleep that I can’t steal that wires me
It’s not the coffee or the pills
It’s not the space that I can’t fill
That kills me
Well in case you didn’t know I got a heart made of chrome
It’s been dead since it was twisted
And in case you didn’t know I got a heart made of chrome
It’s been burned, but it’s still willing to try
And shine

4. Matthew Ryan with Lucinda Williams – Devastation (from “Concussion”)
Coffee is sweeter, days are sharper
Since I lost her, Since I lost
From the steps of St. Marks cathedral
I watch the steeple stab the clouds
Who’s lonesome now?

5. Matthew Ryan – Sunk (From “East Autumn Grin”)
I used to think
That nothing lasts
But I was wrong
Cause some things last
Like the ache of watching
And letting you sink to

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Jann Wenner is a sellout

This is a fluff piece about Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone. The reporter, Peter Carlson, and the founder of Rolling Stone magazine, Jann Wenner, talk about how the magazine is better than ever, but the piece reads more like an obituary.

Wenner is a classic example of the idealism of the sixties selling out for money in the eighties. Hippies turned to Yuppies. Now Wenner wants to be relevant again, good luck.

The Answers to your Questions

1. six
2. boogers
3. Wyoming
4. The bumps that form on the back of your neck in the seconds before you are struck by lightning.
5. A 16-bit hexadecimal number which represents the meaning of this blog.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Those Crazy Canucks

Maybe I underestimated Avril Lavigne.

A group of Canadian artists formed the Canadian Music Creator Coalition in response to what they feel is misrepresentation by the major labels. Apparently some musicians up there in the north realized that suing music fans for listening to downloaded music and then bellyaching about slumping record sales doesn't make sense. The major labels who claim to be protecting their artists just got bitch slapped by those artists. Those canucks realize that the major labels are just trying to protect their dinosaur of a business model so they can protect their bank accounts.

Included in the new organization are artists such as Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan and Broken Social Scene. In a related event, Celene Dion asked, "What's an Internet?"