Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I am not Howard Hughes

I left the house this weekend and went to a real live rock and roll show. Well, okay, it's really not that big of a deal. It's only been a few weeks since I went to see a show, but I tell you, it felt like a year. I saw Ada Jane for the first time and I was impressed. Matt Marka's voice is huge and they have a ton of energy.

I was really excited to see Eagle*Seagull though. I had heard some buzz about them and I can say the buzz was justified. The songs are chaotic and loud, but chaos sometimes sounds kick ass.

The one thing that kind of ticked me off was the singer's attempt to acknowledge Ada Jane. He stumbled over the name for a minute until finally after someone yelled Ada Jane from the crowd for the third time, he said, "Oh yeah. Ada Jane." It smacked of indie-rock-hipper-than-thou-pretense.

I saw the E*S singer walking around during Ada Jane's set and the E*S merch booth was a few feet away from Ada Jane's, so I am not sure why he didn't know the name of the band that had been playing in some form for the two plus hours before his band got on stage.

Maybe it was just me. Maybe I was just in a crusty old curmudgeon mood. It's been known to happen.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Top 5

I feel like I have been crazy busy this summer, but I know that I really haven’t done that much. It seems like when I have a lot going on that I just want to pile more of top of that. I start school again next week, so I will probably end up writing more. Who knows?

  1. Late at Night – Buffalo Tom

When I was in a band I always wanted to write songs that sounded like Buffalo Tom, but they always ended up sounding, well, I don’t know what they sounded like. I can tell you that they fell far short of sounding like Buffalo Tom.

  1. Saturday – Big Ditch Road

BDR are playing Saturday at the Hex. Go see them! You won’t be disappointed. I love the bridge where the swirling guitars drop out and leave Darin Wald out in front of the song, contemplatively singing the lines:

I cleaned up my face
Cleaned up my place
In case it went well
In case it went well

  1. Customer – The Replacements

One of my favorite Replacements songs of all time.

I’m in love withthegirlthatworkdjfoasidjjsldkfj…I’m a customer!

  1. Wash My Hands – Arson Welles

I really liked this Minneapolis band, but I think I was in the minority on this. Last I heard a couple of the guys moved to LA to pursue production full time.

They were kind of a spacey indie rock that just played well in dirty clubs like the Entry. Now that I really listen hard to the lyrics, I realize they are not exactly poetry, but who cares?

Can you wash my hands with your dress pulled off?
I got a stained glass window and a terrible cough
But the miracle is you’ll never break my heart again

5. Might – Archers of Loaf

One of my favorite all time bands. The lead singer, Eric Bachmann, has a new solo album out this week that I plan to pick up tomorrow. If the things I have heard about the album are true, you may see an Eric Bachmann song in future Top5s.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Two Things

Pitchfork has a download of "Chips Ahoy!" from The Hold Steady's forthcoming album, Boys and Girls in America. The Hold Steady are also playing First Avenue in October.

The always entertaining Minneapoliscast has a 30-second interview with Mark Mallman. Pretty funny.

Have a good weekend.

Top5 - Moving Pt. 2

I was having so much "fun" at work that I almost forgot it was Friday. Here is the disc 2 as promised.

Disc 2 - NYC

1. New York, New York - Frank Sinatra
If I can Make it there
I'll make it anywhere

2. Fairytale of New York - The Pogues
It's Christmas Eve, Babe
In the drunk tank

3. I'm Waiting For The Man - The Velvet Underground
I'm waiting for my man
Twenty-six dollars in my hand
Up to Lexington, 125
Feel sick and dirty, more dead than alive

4. 53rd & 3rd - The Ramones
53rd & 3rd, Standing on the street
53rd & 3rd, I'mtrying to turn a trick
53rd & 3rd,You're the one they never pick
53rd & 3rd,Don't it make you feel sick

5. New York, New York - Ryan Adams
Hell, I still love you though New York

6. Talkin' New York - Bob Dylan
You sound like a hillbilly
We want folksingers here

7. Downtown Train - Tom Waits
The Downtown trains are full
of all those Brooklyn girls
They try so hard to break out of their little worlds

8. Thank You, Lord, For Sending Me The F-Train - Mike Doughty
Here this train speeds underground

9. The Only Living Boy in New York - Simon & Garfunkel
I got nothing to do today, but smile

10. New York - The Ashtray Hearts
There's nothing in New York City
It's just a long, long way from here

Friday, August 11, 2006

Top5 - Moving pt1

Friends moving away is an inevitability. But it is an inevitability that sucks. We get older and life changes. I know that five years ago I couldn’t imagine the situation I am in now: married, with a house and a dog. When I was in my early and mid-twenties, I moved around a lot. I thought that is what I should be doing. I should be discovering the world and discovering myself. So I have been in one place (Minneapolis) for almost nine years now. I love it here. I feel like this is the place I should have been all along. The one desire I had, but never acted upon was trying my luck in NYC.

My close friend the redheaded kid is moving to NYC on Tuesday. We were in BLH together and we talked about moving the band to NYC. We said if we are not going to make it, we’d rather not make it in NYC. Good luck friend. I can’t say I’m not a little envious of your move.

Here is part one of the mix tape I made for him as he leaves Minneapolis behind. Next week I will post part 2 – the NYC disc.

Disc 1 – MPLS

  1. Uptown – Prince

Where I come from, we don’t let society tell us how it’s supposed to be

  1. Always Coming Back Home to You – Atmosphere

These alleyways and these streetlights have seen my best days

  1. Nice, Nice – Lifter Puller

We went from upstairs at the nice, nice
Up to Franklin up by 15th
And Jenny got dressed as we circled the block
We did the secret knock and stuck their hands through the mail slot
And 1, 2, 3, 4, that’s the way that Jenny scores

  1. Good Night Goodbye – Mark Mallman

I got a friend in New York City who I call

  1. On My Mind – Romantica

When the lights go down up on 1st Avenue

  1. Minneapolis – Lucinda Williams

Snow covers the streetlamps and the windowsill
The buildings and the brittle, crooked trees
Dead leaves of December

  1. Bring Back the Firing Squad – Valet

At Stand Up Franks you are the joke

  1. Ten Thousand Lakes – Kid Dakota

The thought of 10,000 lakes makes me feel smaller

  1. 9th & Hennepin – Tom Waits

It was 9th & Hennepin and all the donuts had names that sound like prostitutes

  1. Skyway – The Replacements

It don’t move at all like a subway
It’s got bums when it’s cold like any other place

Thursday, August 10, 2006


In the few weeks I have before I start school again, I've been trying to catch up on some books that I have missed in the last year. I have been reading Bob Dylan's Chronicles for the past week and I am about two-thirds of the way through.
I remember everybody gushing about how revealing this quasi-autobio was when the book was first published. I find some of it interesting. Dylan has a tendency to get stuck and ramble on abstract philosophical points which I find absolutely boring and tedious. It is fun to get some insight on how some albums were made and what he was going through at the time. Later in the book when he is talking about recording Oh Mercy, he just sounds so self-important that it is a bit hard to penetrate.
Then again, he is Bob Dylan, he is important.
Overall I like the book even if Dylan is not the greatest writer.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Top 5

Not that anybody asked why there was no Top5 last week, but here is the return…

  1. Steady as She Goes – The Raconteurs

I didn’t go to the show this week at First Ave., but my wife did and she is even more in love with Jack White than she was before. By all accounts, this show was incredible. I kind of wish I would have gone.

  1. Solitary Man – Crooked Fingers

My guess is that Eric Bachmann got tired of people saying he sounds like Neil Diamond so he decided to confront the issue. A pretty straightforward cover except with a mandolin and a trombone (I think that’s what I hear). Bachmann and crew pretty much nail the song and as it turns out, he doesn’t sound as much like Diamond as you might think.

  1. Street Car – Hayden

I think Hayden took a big step sound wise on his album Skyscraper National Park. The production sounds smoother than on the previous album, The Closer I Get. But what permeates through all his albums is the brilliant songs that musically and lyrically shimmer with longing. As anybody who knows me can attest, I am a sucker for a sad song.

I parked underground the night you left
It took me an hour and a half
To find my way back up above
There’s nothing up there without your love
Speeding out, filled with doubt
And heading home
Playing with the lines, thinking of time
And freaking out

  1. Half a Heart – Bill Janovitz

As I said before, and as I’m sure I will say again. I’m a sucker for sad songs. The only thing that that makes these sad songs better are two-part harmonies – I’m a sucker for those too. I was looking through my music for things I haven’t listened to in a while and stumbled across this album. From one of my favorite bands of the nineties, Buffalo Tom, Janovitz has released a couple solo albums. This song is off the excellent, Up There. With him on this song is a singer named Chris Toppin. They sing beautifully together on bittersweet lyrics:

Oh half a heart, it only means it’s not over yet
Like the smoke that lingers in the air from your cigarette
Oh half a heart

  1. That’s How You Sing Amazing Grace – Low

Another album I came across while perusing my music library. This is the opening track from their album Trust. I am usually not a big Low fan, but if I am in the right mood for it, Low can definitely kill.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Rockstar or Teddy Bear?

I just finished listening to the streaming archive of Mason Jennings' appearance on the morning's Midmorning program on MPR. I go back and forth on Jennings' new album Boneclouds. There are moments when I am into it, but mostly it either bores me or even invokes cringes. I can't question his integrity, I do think he is sincere in everything he does. I think maybe he is a little too heart-on-the-sleeve sometimes. There are certain songs on Boneclouds that I dig, but as a whole the album dissapoints me. I have to admit that I do hold Jennings' to a higher standard than most. I really think he can handle it though.

Having said all that. Whenever I hear him speak I just think he is so lovable that I just want to hug him. More than any other artist, I feel protective of him, like he is still a secret. I know that is no longer true. He is global. So it has inspired me to go back and give his album another chance.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Almost Chicago

I almost went to Chicago last week.

When I was asked if I wanted to go on a trip to Chicago, I thought to myself, "Yeah. I'd love to go to Chicago for a week on the company's dime. Sure, I'll work during the day, but at night I'll have the windy city at my disposal."

Well, when they asked me if I wanted to go to Chicago what they meant was, would I like to go to a really far out suburb of Chicago. I was asking around while I was down there and a local said, "Yeah its about 45 minutes drive to Chicago if there is no traffic."

I've been to Chicago enough to know that there is always traffic. So I spent the majority of last week in Chicago's version of Maple Grove. Fun.

It reminds me of the one time I went to LA for work. I was so excited to check out a city I had never been to before. I was only scheduled to be there for one night, but I figured I would have time to do something fun in LA. It didn't work out that way. I worked until 7:30 pm, got to my hotel by 8:00, then fell asleep in my clothes on the hotel bed. Awesome.