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Thursday, December 30, 2004

When I'm in the crowd . . .

Song in my head:
"In the Crowd" by the Jam

Ever since I heard the Kinks' "Johnny Thunder," I've wondered if Paul Weller nicked the melody and lyrics of the pre-chorus for "In the Crowd." Listen to the part in both songs where it says "And everyone" and compare. I watched a little of "In the Crowd" last night on the live Paul Weller DVD I rented from Netflix. Really cool DVD.

I did watch a lot of the DVD disc on Nirvana's With the Lights Out last night. The footage of them playing "Big Cheese" at an instore is incredibly loud, thick and tight. The version of "Immigrant Song" from Krist's mom's house is a very tasty cover. Kurt's staring at a wall while Chad is at the other end of the room. Still hit all the changes.

The other night I picked up the Libertines' first record, Up the Bracket. Very cool record. It's sloppy and sleazy while it's also melodic and dynamic. I'm sure you've heard about all the press with them in the UK. MTV.com has a concise year in review of the band right here.

This is a few days old, but Jim DeRogatis posted his year in review here. The extended version of it can be found here. I like the fact that he put a Top 75 up.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I woke up and it's yesterday . . .

Song in my head:
"Guiding Light" by Television

Yesterday morning I dreamed we were having a Double Dare theme party at our place. There was an elaborate obstacle course with slides and slime. On a long table was a display of all sorts of prizes (including a blue bike). We had plenty of snacks on the table and I started to eat some. Then I woke up but I could have sworn that my pillow case was not the usual dark green. I saw a picture of Snoopy dancing with his head up and fast-moving feet. About five seconds passed before the image faded away and it went back to dark green. The housemate suggests that I was dreaming while I was awake. Strange.

Watched Napoleon Dynamite last night. I heard good things about it and thought it was very interesting. No, that's not code for "I hated it." I laughed hard at the opening shot's homage (don't know if it was deliberate or not) to Dawn of the Dead (as in, starting with a tight shot of red shag carpet). I liked the slower pace with the droning voices of Napoleon and Pedro. Their looks with glazed eyes and smile/frowns are pretty memorable. Great songs in it too: especially Jamiroquai's track along with 1980s Top 40 hits. The final scene's song reminded me of a certain band's version of it. Recommended. This reminds me: I still need to see Shaun of the Dead.

Want to hear the Flaming Lips' version of "Seven Nation Army?" NME has it here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Rat

Song in my head:
"The Rat" by the Walkmen

Hope everybody is having a good holiday (whether it's weeks, week, day or days). Christmas weekend was good: Friday, I went to a party down the street at a church-turned-into-hippie-living-community. Twas interesting and the cider really hit the spot. Saw The Life Aquatic Saturday night. Great movie, but it's a Wes Anderson movie, so it's a given. Spent some time with the family on Sunday. The weather has been cooperating, so I have no complaints.

If Christmas is not your fancy, there's always Festivus.

MTV.com has this article on the Walkmen. I received Bows + Arrows for Christmas and I thoroughly enjoy it. The second track, "The Rat," is really awesome. It reminds me of GvsB's "One Dose of Truth" from the Series 7 soundtrack.

When I saw this article's headline, I thought it was a reference to Arthur Lee's band, Love. Twas not after I read the subheadline.

Here's a small article on George Romero's next installment of his "Dead" series: Land of the Dead. I'm curious about this project, but I'm not sure if anything can top Dawn of the Dead.

I really like Panda Express. Their orange chicken, mongolian beef and kung-pow beef are pretty amazing. The black peas laced with spices feel like dynamite going off in your mouth though.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

I always believed in futures . . .

Song in my head:
"Futures" by Jimmy Eat World

We had a mix of ice, sleet and snow last night and boy was it crazy. I didn't go home: I stayed at hotel down the street. Twas a good night of sleep but I'm ready to go home this morning. Bridges and overpasses are slow but that's about it. The sun's out but it's only 19 degrees outside with a wind chill bringing the temp down even further.

Before the craziness occurred yesterday, I finished watching the director and writers commentary track on the ROTK: EE DVD. Yes, the film's running time is four hours and ten mintes san credits. I still want to hear the cast commentary track. Hmmm. Don't have anything to do during the middle of today . . .

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

New Harry Potter Book Due in July 2005

Forbes, along with a lot of others, report about Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Set your sights for next July.

So what becomes of you my dear . . .

Song in my head:
"Night Drive" by Jimmy Eat World

Tomorrow's high will be the lower 40s. Today's high is supposed to be in the lower 60s. I guess the first day of winter will have to wait one day.

I accomplished my goal of Christmas shopping last night. No long lines or annoying shoppers to wade through. Still, I find irony with the pre-Christmas rush with the people that tell others all year long not to wait until the last minute are the ones that are guilty of waiting until the last minute.

I finished watching the Office Christmas special yesterday. Fantastic ending to such a great series. For so many people that complain about shows "jumping the shark," I don't think you could make an argument with this show.

Monday, December 20, 2004

All those people that you know . . .

Song in my head:
"Satin in a Coffin" by Modest Mouse

So the three and and a half days I had off for an early Christmas were very well spent. Friday night I hung out with Matt and other fellow friends from high school. Had Mexican food at (the now-franchized-in-Houston-at-least) Rico's and then proceeded to Matt and Kim's for a screening of Ryko's DVD of Bill Hicks' stand-up. Very hilarious stuff and in a lot of ways, timeless. Saturday night was spent with the family for an early Christmas exchange of presents. After eating Rico's (this time at a location close to my sister and brother-in-law), we gave and received. I made out with CDs, DVDs, books, a calendar, a tie and a new jacket. Very cool things and I think I'll have to spend the next few weeks going through everything (gotta love bonus footage and interviews on DVDs). Christmas spirit is alive and well in me.

I have a few more Christmas gifts to buy for various people. I think after my afternoon shift I will brave the crowds of impatient parents and whining children to get this done.

I still need to hear more songs from this album this Christmas season.

The trailer for the Amityville Horror remake is online. Don't confuse this movie about a haunted house with that other movie set in a haunted house: Darkness. Darkness opens the same day as the Life Aquatic. Guess which movie I'll be seeing on Christmas?

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Motorcycle Emptiness

Song in my head:
"Motorcycle Emptiness" by Manic Street Preachers

Shall be out of town starting this afternoon and all through Sunday to be with family and friends. It will be a very cool Christmas, as usual, barring any road construction or car troubles. Those are not in the game plan.

Will be wrapping gifts later this morning. I plan on listening to Vandals' Oi to the World and the Electrical Ornaments compilation during the activities. I also need to hear the Ramones' "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)." While I've heard a lot of bad versions of Christmas songs this year, I truly cherish the ones I like (Darlene Love's and U2's version of "It's Christmas, Baby Please Come Home" comes to mind).

March 2005 will be a very good month for UK bands: Doves, Coldplay and Idlewild release new albums while Ash's Meltdown will get an American release on March 8th. I already have two copies of Meltdown (one in a jewel case and another one with a bonus live record). Pitchfork reports that the record may come with a bonus DVD, so I think I'll pick this up too.

I really like this band from what I've heard and what I've read about them. They recently signed with Fearless Records and they're currently working on a new record. I had heard of them for a few months but then I read this really cool blurb about them in the new Law of Inertia magazine and got really excited. They are actually wanting to do something more with punk, hardcore, emo and post-hardcore than just copy other bands.

Got my copy of the Big Takeover yesterday. Wilco is on the cover, so guess which article I'm reading first on my holidays. The Libertines/Hope of the States article of course!!! (that's the first one in the magazine)

Don't know how much blogging I'll be doing while I'm away, but just so I don't forget: Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Moaning like children . . .

Song in my head:
"Boy Destroyers" by Hey Mercedes

MTV reports of a couple in Maryland who are suing Wal-Mart for selling an Evanescence live record because there was no warning about the expletives contained in it. I guess now is the best time for me to file a lawsuit against the makers of Back to the Future and the anonymous person who wrote the "F" word on the tunnel I played on as a kid for teaching me curse words.

Rolling Stone reports on the most recent inductees to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Congrats to U2, the Pretenders, the O'Jays, Percy Sledge and Seymour Stein, among others. Now I think it's a good time for Island to reissue U2's back catalog with digital remastering.

DVD File has an incredibly thorough review of the Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King: Extended Edition. My mouth is a river.

Pitchfork has a review of the recent reissue of the Cure's first album, Three Imaginary Boys. Reminds of somebody who just recently got it and he's quoted in the new Time magazine. Read below:

Dec. 20 issue, under the "Sleep is for Sissies" article, page 59.
"Jason Hensel, 32, a Dallas magazine editor and musician, admits to occasionally daydreaming at work but otherwise has few complaints about a routine that others would find grueling. After putting in nine hours at his day job, Hensel rehearses with his band until 10 p.m. or so and then either heads out for nightclubs or settles in for a late night of DVD viewing. For Hensel, four hours or less of sleep is not only adequate--it's optimal. "When most people say, 'I feel groggy because I didn't get enough sleep last night,'" says Hensel, ""I would say 'I feel groggy because I got too much sleep.'" Like many of those who choose to walk by night and to go on walking the following day, Hensel is dogged by the sense that life is short and that too much shut-eye just makes it shorter. ""During work," he says, "sometimes I feel that there's so much out there I could be doing.""

Monday, December 13, 2004

What a wonderful puddle

Song in my head:
"What a Wonderful Puddle" by Braid

NME reports that Queen is reforming with Paul Rodgers from Free and Bad Company on lead vocals. I don't know if the guys knew it or not, but April Fool's Day is not in December.

So I read the side-chapter in Everything about how the Manics never made it in America. There are great arguments as to why this is however I find Price's sentiments about the size of the American-based fans a little misleading. I know quite a few people that know who they are and all of their records have been released in the US (though some were belatedly released after the rest of the world got them). But Price's feelings that this band that wanted to look like Duran Duran but sound like the Sex Pistols could never hit the top of the charts in America is pretty right-on.

My Christmas shopping is done and I didn't have to endure any crises trying to find anything. I had to order a couple of things online but everyhing else was found around here. I'll be having an early Christmas again this year but the thing that counts (regardless of which day that it's celebrated) is that I get to spend time with my family and give/receive gifts.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Dance, dance, dance to the radio

Songs in my head:
"You've Got a Friend" by Carole King
"Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)" by the Arcade Fire
"She's Lost Control" by Joy Division

Watched A Charlie Brown Christmas last night and realized that I can relate to it more now than when I was younger. A timeless story along with a wonderfully loose and melodic score by Vince Guaraldi. Plus Snoopy is always a treat.

My goal of being done with my holiday shopping was not met. Still have a few things to get for a certain family member but I have some time tonight to take care of this. So far the shopping has been very easy to take care of, but I think it's easier to be a customer in a retail store than a retail employee.

NME has a lot of news: Ash is working on a new album while Meltdown is getting a US release sometime in 2005. Doves' new single, "Black and White Town," and record, Some Cities, will be released in the UK in February. No word on an American release date. Manic Street Preachers recently played their first gig with a second guitarist since Richey Edwards' departure.

Speaking of the Manics, us Americans will get the soon-to-be-released-in-the-UK reissue of the Holy Bible. Billboard has all the info here. I have yet to get to the Holy Bible-era of the band in Simon Price's Everything. Right now I'm on the Generation Terrorists-era and I am looking forward to the upcoming side chapter about why the Manics never made it in the USA.

Final word on the Manics today: still no word on an American release date for their newest record, Lifeblood.

Motley Crue is back together, again. Rolling Stone has all the info about their upcoming tour and Greatest Hits collections. For those counting, this is the third greatest hits collection for the Crue. First it was Decade of Decadence, Greatest Hits and now Red, White and Crue. I'm curious if this time in the band will be covered in a future edition of their tell-all bio, the Dirt.

The Internet Movie Database is reporting about Lindsay Lohan's recent performance on Good Morning America. I saw it and I thought she looked like she was lip-syncing. Guess I wasn't alone in this observation.

The Onion AV Club has their list of the best of 2004. I'm anxiously awaiting their list of "least essential" records of 2004 though. Their lists of "least essential" records from the 1990s, 2000, 2001,2002,2003 and Reality Off-shoots are hilarious.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Musical Favorites of 2004

Musical Favorites of 2004

Show that rocked my brains out even though I wasn’t too familiar with the band’s material:
The Cooper Temple Clause at the Gypsy Tea Room (tea room)
-Never have I seen a six-piece band fuse all sorts of styles into one cohesive style. It was heavy like a metal band but it wasn’t cheesy. It was melodic like mid-1990s Britpop, but it wasn’t filled with arrogance or self-consciousness. It was loose and chaotic like a punk show but it wasn’t sloppy. I must say thanks to Matt for suggesting we go to it.

Show that rocked my brains out and I was familiar with the band’s material:
. . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead at the Gypsy Tea Room (ballroom)
-I think this new five-piece line-up is what the band has wanted to do for some time. Two drummers may sound like overkill for most bands but this made it even more powerful. They played some new songs from their forthcoming Worlds Apart and it showed that the band is making substantial growth as songwriters. The ritual of trashing their instruments was an amusing site to see, but the band had already slayed me before such things occurred.

Reunion show that was worth it:
Braid at the Door (Dallas) and at Mary Jane’s Fat Cat (Houston)
-I got into Braid too late when they broke up in 1999. They just couldn’t do a final tour back then. Five years later, they were able to do it and it was worth it. A great sense of closure for such an inspiring band.

Local band keeps releasing good records and still inspires:
Red Animal War
-I’ve been following these guys since they blew me away in 1999. Since then, I’ve seen them play about twenty times in all sorts of bars, clubs and makeshift venues. It’s always an exciting show. They released their third album, Polizida, on local label Ice Planet, this year. While it’s a darker record than their earlier material, this shows that the band is still moving forward instead of backward.

Record that came out in 2003, heard bad reviews about it but then just went ahead and listened to it this year and really dug it:
De-loused in the Comatorium by The Mars Volta
-Since At the Drive-In split, I had favored Sparta’s material over the Mars Volta. Since this year wasn’t filled with “who’s the better post-At the Drive-In band” discussions in the things I read on a daily basis, I was able to just listen to this album. It’s so powerful and crazy, but it’s not a challenge to listen to. Hearing Omar and Cedric do what they’re doing would have had no place in At the Drive-In (and vice-versa for Jim, Paul and Tony in Sparta). I look forward to their next album, Frances the Mute (due out early 2005).

EP that is so good that it is more of a mini-album than a teaser for a full length:
Open by Channels
-J. Robbins is back with a new band that is similar to what he’s done before, but is really moving forward at the same time. The five originals and one cover flow so well together that they may as well be its own album. Robbins’ knack of writing angular melodic tunes is rounded out by his wife Janet on bass and wonderful backing vocals and powerhouse drummer Darren Zentek. The production is so top-notch that you wish more records sounded this powerful and well, open.

Album is good but there is this one song that is sublime:
“Peace Attack” from Sonic Nurse by Sonic Youth
“Light Up Ahead” from Hide Nothing by Further Seems Forever
“Wonderful People” from Power by Q and Not U
“Take Me Out” from Franz Ferdinand by Franz Ferdinand
“Let Them Eat War” from The Empire Strikes First by Bad Religion

Follow-up album to a platinum-selling record shows that the band is still good:
Futures by Jimmy Eat World
-Futures is not a return to the style of Static Prevails or Clarity. Nor is it a Xeroxed copy of the 1.3 million-selling album, Bleed American. It’s a whole other album. It’s heavier in spots than their earlier work (not that there’s anything wrong with it) but it shows the band still can rock your ass and have you singing along.

Follow-up album to a number of consistent albums proves this band is almost unstoppable:
A Ghost is Born by Wilco
-Wilco makes a Jim O’Rourke record and it’s incredible. O’Rourke helps the band travel into crazier terrains than before. From melodies and vocals that are just above a whisper to ones that are so raw, loud and jagged, Wilco has another stellar record in their canon.

Supposed “comeback” record proves that that this band never really went away:
Guilt Show by the Get Up Kids
-I’ll admit it: I didn’t care for the band’s previous effort, On a Wire. Not because it wasn’t filled with blast-it-through-your-speakers anthems, but it seemed so inaccessible and simple. When I heard Guilt Show, I was glad to hear some of the oomph back in the band, but I realized how far they had grown with melodies and songwriting. Knowing this, I was able to go back and see that the band was going this way with On a Wire. Now I think both records are some of my overall favorites of their’s.

Cover art that is so simple, but so memorable:
Franz Ferdinand by Franz Ferdinand
-Just the band’s name at an angle against a black background sounds like Graphic Design 101, but it works. No glamour. No bull. Just like the band is. Looking at it reminds me of late 1970s and early 1980s post-punk art-sleeves. Maybe that was the intention since the band is so rooted in that era.

Band that I’ve heard about for years but never really listened to until this year:
Steely Dan
-Until this year, I had heard “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” “Do It Again” and “Reelin’ in the Years” on the radio, “Black Cow” be sampled in a popular rap song, and Ben Folds Five’s rendition of “Barrytown.” After getting Can’t Buy a Thrill and Pretzel Logic, I now “get” them.

Bands that keep getting better with each release without drastically changing styles:
Ted Leo/Pharmacists
Sparta
-Ted Leo’s Shake the Sheets is more of what he’s done in the past with a blasting-down-the-door kind of approach, but it’s still fresh. Sparta’s Porcelain got a lot of flak in the press for not being that far-removed from their first record or At the Drive-In. Well, that’s just the way they write, regardless if they’re in another band or not. Porcelain shows the band expanding with longer songs, trippy effects and atmospheres and sharper hooks.

I can’t believe I found this hard-to-find out-of-print release for so cheap:
Pentagram Ring EP by Chavez
-Mike put track three, “You Faded,” on a mix CD earlier this year and I had been searching for this EP ever since. Just my luck, going on a record store shopping search in Chicago, I found this at the front of a rack for $2.99.

Band that got so much better after two-thirds of the line-up left and were replaced:
Taking Back Sunday
-Yes, I like Taking Back Sunday. I think Where You Want to Be is miles away better (songwriting-wise and production-wise) from their first album, the so-called, “already-classic,” Tell All Your Friends. Judging by the reviews I saw, this album was a disappointment for long-time fans. Well, maybe the fact that I hadn’t been so emotionally-tied to Tell All Your Friends is how I could give this record a shot. Their style is not new to me, but the songs just have these great hooks and a warm overall sound.

Posthumous release that is a great album and not some patchwork of unfinished material:
From a Basement on the Hill by Elliott Smith
-After Elliott died by a supposed self-inflicted knife wound to the heart, I couldn’t listen to his music for the rest of last year. I felt so betrayed and couldn’t concentrate on the beauty of his songs. Sometime in the middle of this year, I was able to listen to his music on the notion that when he made these records (even the final one) that he was in better spirits than on the day he died. From a Basement on the Hill is some of his darkest material but it’s so well done and demands repeat listening. Even though there was enough material recorded for a double album, the fifteen tracks that make up the record leave little room for filler.

Math metal record that I can actually listen to over and over:
Miss Machine by the Dillinger Escape Plan
-From the start of the record with “Panasonic Youth,” you’re either going to love this band or absolutely hate them. When you think the blasts of schizoid metal/punk/hardcore are too much, the band gives the listener breaks with warm melodies, easy rhythms and simple breakdowns. On top of that, you don’t have to be in some pissed-off-with-the-world mindset to listen to it. As ugly and as unlistenable as it may seem to others, this is truly compelling stuff.

Album that Pitchfork Media raved about (and so did a lot of other people) that is actually up my alley:
Funeral by the Arcade Fire
-Those who write for Pitchfork are incredibly picky about every little nuance of every little band and record. It seems like they can never be satisfied. However, when they rave about a record, it’s worth at least checking out. Funeral delivers the goods. Somber and moving, this record is straightforward and doesn’t jerk you around.

Another album that Pitchfork raved about (and so did a lot of other people), but really moved me emotionally more than any other record released this year:
Good News for People Who Love Bad News by Modest Mouse
-For many people, this record will have the distinction of being Modest Mouse’s “breakthrough,” “blockbuster,” (or in some people’s minds) “sellout” record. For me, the whole package (the melodies, the lyrics and artwork) really moves me. When I heard the lead guitar riff for “Float On” for the first time (and every time since then), it reminded me of being a kid listening to the radio. The undistorted, high-end guitar tone reminded me of the 1980s new wave rock and Top 40. Using that with a Television-meets-Mission of Burma feel and a “no matter how bad things happen, it works out eventually”-attitude, this song has received a lot of play in my car and in my head. The album as a whole is a wild mix of songs with common lyrical themes: frustration (“Life handed us a paycheck and we said, ‘We worked harder than this!’”) gives way to understanding (“As life gets longer/awful feels softer” and “If it takes shit to make bliss/well I feel pretty blissfully”) in particular has been my anthem and chorus this year. It’s not been an easy year but it’s been a very good year. There have been times of restlessness and doubt that seemed to overpower my overall mood. I keep coming back to things I’ve been told for years, but didn’t fully understand until now. After a period of life getting really ugly, there is a time of true happiness and lessons are learned. I’ve been able to find comfort in seeing things in grander scale than just as a series of obstacles and victories. Good News echoes such sentiments.

Ladies and Gentlemen, We're Floating in Space

Song in my head:
"No Authority" by face to face

Brother Matt posted his Top 10 of 2004 on his blog. I think I'm inspired to write up my favorites of 2004 as soon as this morning. Watch this space.

More neighbors down our street are putting up Christmas lights. Very cool lighting schemes. They give me some good ideas for decorating our place, but putting lights outside may not happen for us: there are no outdoor electrical outlets. No worries. I shall make the most of what I can do inside and maybe put a wreath on the front door.

Just read this headline and laugh.

I remember seeing these guys when they were known as PVK play at a punk festival at the Ridglea Theater. There is a a really nice article about them in the Fort Worth Weekly this week.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Urbana's Too Dark

Song in my head:
"Urbana's Too Dark" by Braid

It froze overnight and I still can't believe it. I let all the faucets run and thankfully I remembered to turn them off this morning. I got the dog a pillow/mattress for her to lay on instead of the cold hardwood floor. I think she really took a liking to it: she stayed on it for the entire night.

Since I had some time to do it yesterday, I did my first round of Christmas shopping. It wasn't too crowded, so I was able to go in and out in about fifteen minutes.

Idlewild recently spoke to NME about their 2005 plans. March will see the release of their new album, Warnings/Promises. It looks like March is the month for bands across the pond: Coldplay and Doves are also releasing material that month.

NME also reports the name of Hot Hot Heat's new guitarist.

A certain magazine that I subscribe to sent me an e-mail about choosing 'Best Act', 'Best Single', et al, for an upcoming issue. Since I had an opinion on about half of the questions asked, I only answered half. Well, when I clicked the 'submit' button, it wouldn't let me do it. So, I had to fill in answers about artists that I didn't really know too much about. When the issue hits newsstands, now you can understand why somebody would say, "This act is 'Best Act?'"

Next Monday, I may be posting my list of 2004 favorites. However, it will be different from last year's list. I don't want to just list records in numerical way nor do I want to limit it to just music.

Today is Woody Allen's 69th birthday. Time for me to share some of my favorite Allen quotes (they're all from Annie Hall):

About LA being so clean: "That's because they don't throw their garbage away, they turn it into television shows."

"Sun is bad for you. Everything our parents said was good is bad. Sun, milk, red meat... college."

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Frame and Canvas

Songs in my head:
"Milwaukee Sky Rocket" by Braid
"Urbana's Too Dark" by Braid

Up a little earlier than usual this morning. The rain and a dog with the blues kept me from falling back asleep. It's sleeting outside, but it's not sticking to the ground. Whew.

I have a goal: start my Christmas shopping tomorrow and be finished by the weekend. Sounds like a stretch, but I just want to get everything taken care of in one fail swoop.

As much as I read about the Libertines in the British and UK press, I was thinking that a book about them would be either out or forthcoming. Well, look what I came across on Amazon.co.uk.

Steve posted about Kinsey on his blog. I still have yet to see this movie, but I'd like to see it. The housemate saw it and said that a couple walked out of it midway. No word if they were offended or inspired by the film's content.

Coldplay is set to release their next album in March. NME has more info. There are rumors that Doves will be releasing a new record around the same time.

At this rate, half of the UK and Britain should have a copy of the new version of "Do They Know It's Christmas Time?" by the end of the week.

Expecting the new Big Takeover any day now. Jeff Tweedy is on the cover.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Timorous Me

Song in my head:
"Timorous Me" by Ted Leo/Pharmacists

Bob posted about this on the Hey Mercedes blog. Yes, that is Ian MacKaye performing with the Evens on the children's TV show, Pancake Mountain. As silly as it may sound, I find this show very cool. And I don't mean that in a "you have to be stoned to like it"-kind of way. I like how it's designed for kids but there is a lot of smart humor for adults. I'm kinda curious to see Henry Rollins' and Bob Mould's appearances on the show.

The housemate and I think the dog is depressed. I don't know if it's the anti-flea and anti-ear infection drugs she's taking, but she tends to lay around and just looks sad. Maybe it's all the rain we've been having. I just don't know. Where are Puppy Uppers when you need them?

I made some notes this morning about what all I should get my family for Christmas. I want to surprise them but not get them stuff they don't want. It's hard to find stuff for people you don't live in the same city with.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

All this wandering . . .

Song in my head:
"Wandering" by Ben Folds

Getting over a long weekend and I am pooped. Saw the Firebird Band as mentioned before and had a great time. It was good to see Chris again. It was also good to see the guys in DARYL again.

Played flag football this afternoon. I think I caught three touchdowns and ended up running in the winning touchdown. Twas a good time indeed but man my feet are sore.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Oh my sweet rapture

Song in my head:
"Rapture" by Pedro the Lion

The post-Thanksgiving Day Prophecy was correct: I didn't leave the house during the day yesterday. Did some research and reviewed an interview I did back in July.

Received Everything (A Book About Manic Street Preachers) by Simon Price yesterday. I've read the first two chapters and already it's hard to put it down. When I wasn't reading, writing or researching, I strung up Christmas lights in the TV room. I have to get some more lights (I only had two strands). Christmas will be in full bloom this season for me.

Saw The Firebird Band last night and am planning on seeing them again tonight. Shall be a good time.

This movie looks very interesting. I hope it gets a screening down here or gets released on DVD soon.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Gobble Gobble Gobble

Song in my head:
"Solitaire" by Strung Out

Thanksgiving lunch was fantastic. The food was excellent and being around the family was very nice. I never get tired of green bean casserole, cornbread dressing balls and turkey. I think I ate two plates worth of that, along with other stuff. I'm so full that I'm probably going to skip dinner tonight and hit the hay early.

Other than being around family, probably the coolest things for me were playing basketball and paddling around in a small boat. I got to shoot some hoops on my old basketball goal that I've had since 1986. I think the last time I was in a boat was in middle school. Good times.

No plans for tomorrow during the day. I don't feel the urge to get out and take on the shopping crowds. I may put up some lights around here. I will be seeing The Firebird Band tomorrow night though. Shall be worthwhile.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Cold Turkey

Songs in my head:
"Better Days" by Strung Out
"Pretty (Ugly Before)" by Elliott Smith

The rain is gone and it is nice and windy here. The high will be in the lower 50s, so it's perfect Thanksgiving weather.

I don't know if this an previously unreleased track, but a collaboration between Elliott Smith and the Blues Explosion is on a tribute to Junior Kimbrough. Punknews.org has the info.

MTV News is reporting that the director of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be David Yates and the screenwriter is Michael Goldenberg. It is scheduled to begin shooting late next year. Ain't It Cool News has even more info.

DVD File has a review of the Seinfeld DVD set. Very comprehensive review of all the extras. They also have a review of the Matrix 10-DVD set. I don't think I'll be picking this up because I already have all three movies and the Animatrix on DVD. I still wonder if people saw the same Matrix Reloaded as I did. I thought it was a fantastic, smart and a better-than-the-first sequel. Matrix Revolutions has some weak spots but it is not bad at all. I just don't understand why people think that the sequels are inferior. I was entertained, enlightened and moved by them. It's all just opinions.

Happy Thanksgiving and good luck with the shopping.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Meet me in the middle . . .

Album listened to this morning:
The Arcade Fire Funeral

I think the rain is clearing out of here. It's been raining almost nonstop since Sunday night. It's supposed to clear up by tomorrow and remain that way for the rest of the week.

Thanksgiving will be held at our farmhouse a few hours south of here. Shall be a quick visit though: I'll be there just for the day. For Friday, I don't want to be near any shopping center. I'm planning on seeing The Firebird Band that night, so what I'll be doing that day is up for grabs.

I want to make holiday shopping quick and simple this season. I've been given hints and ideas from the family as far as what they want, but nothing too specific. Hopefully my guesstimations will be right.


Monday, November 22, 2004

The screendoor slams . . .

Song still in my head:
"Thunder Road" by Bruce Springsteen

Had another crazy dream this morning. This time I was at a monorail at TCU in front of the Main. There were two gates: one for students and one for non-students. The one for non-students was on the fritz, so I walked.

NME reports that Jonny Greenwood AND Jarvis Cocker will be in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Shall be an enjoyable cameo.

I saw this woman be interviewed this morning on the Today Show. She was fired from her job as a flight attendant because she posted "suggestive" pictures of her on the job on her blog. Here is a story on it and here is her blog. If anyone cares (or much to others' dismay), you won't be seeing any sort pictures like these of me on here.

Why is it when I read this article I thought there was a lot more to it than what was reported? Why do I do this with EVERY article I read now?

The screendoor slammed . . .

Song in my head:
"Thunder Road" by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

No kickball yesterday in lieu of a two-hour game of flag football. Tons of fun in the breezy and overcast skies. I actually scored a touchdown. I still can't believe that. It was a great workout but man my right leg feels like a charbroiled chicken.

Started reading Nick Hornby's Songbook last night. Got through the first few chapters before I had to hit the hay. The second chapter is on Bruce Springsteen's "Thunder Road," so I couldn't help listening to Greatest Hits this morning.

Snapcase has called it quits again. Read all about it here.

Jim DeRogatis recently interviewed Jim Ward from Sparta.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Libraries gave us power . . .

Songs in my head:
"A Design for Life" by Manic Street Preachers
"Judy in Disguise" by John Fred & His Playboy Band
"Chesterfield King" by Jawbreaker

Before I went in to to do my shift yesterday, I stopped by a record store that I frequent. I wasn't planning on buying anything for myself since I should be starting Christmas shopping for others. Well, if you had just read a book on Britpop and had almost all of the Suede back catalog with the exception of the Stay Together EP, how could you turn down a $4.99 copy of it? Also, after reading this book on Britpop, Manic Street Preachers (one of your favorites) is barely mentioned, so you want to know more about their pre-Richey Edwards-departure era. You see a copy of Forever Delayed: The Greatest Hits with a bonus disc of remixes for $8.99. Would you pass this up? I didn't.

Later in the day, I'm surfing on Amazon's UK store and find this book on the Manics. Since the Manics weren't really covered in John Harris' Britpop!, I figured there would be a whole book about them out there. Amazon's listing is very tempting and very affordable even after the pounds-to-dollars conversion. Shall be picking this up.

Last night's party was pretty fun. It was a birthday party and attendees were asked to dress up. I donned a red shirt and green tie (yep, I'm jumping on Christmas colors about a week early). A lot of familiar faces were seen and a lot of familar songs were played on the turntable. I had never heard Wilson Pickett's version of "Time is On My Side" or "Sunny" before. Very cool.

I got my copy of Rolling Stone with the list of Top 500 songs of all time. Debate their picks as much as you want, but I think Rolling Stone has done a great job this year celebrating the 50th year of rock & roll.

Football and kickball are definitely on the cards for today. The rain must be holding off until later. Shall be a good workout on the field today.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

The One Who Got Us Out

Song in my head:
"The One Who Got Us Out" by Ted Leo/Pharmacists

Saw TV on the Radio and The Faint play last night. Great show even though they are a little different than what I normally am into. If you've never heard TV on the Radio, think a little bit of 1990s' shoegaze and a little bit of 1960s' soul. The Faint was very impressive with their 60% live and 40% preprogramed sound. Not that I'm knocking it: they rock like New Order rocks. Their light and video backdrop was pretty incredible. It was totally locked in with every little small move by the band. To make it even more sweet, they did a reverent cover of Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer."

Before I forget, much praise must be given to Steve for letting me buy a ticket from him. I believe the show was totally sold out and I didn't have a ticket.

Turns out, I am doing other things this weekend other than a shift and kickball. Have a birthday party to attend tonight and I have to dress up for it. Shall be a very fun time indeed.

Ted Leo has a video for "Me and Mia" here.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Get Your Hands Off of My Woman

Songs in my head:
"Adelaide" by Ben Folds
"Get Your Hands Off of My Woman" (Darkness cover) by Ben Folds

It's return of the crazy dreams: Last night/this morning, I dreamt I was on a landed plane. I got off and wanted to get a Quizno's sub from an airport kiosk. Some people I knew in high school band were in line and when it was my turn to order, somebody else cut in front of me and ordered. Not getting to order a sandwich, I left the airport and then I was at TCU. For some reason, I had a bathing suit and a towel on. After walking over the east side of campus, I found my car in one of the parking lots and drove away. Johnny Rivers' "Memphis" on the radio ended the dream and now I'm trying to understand it all.

Recent research shows that people don't like seeing more TV ads before the movies. IMDb has the stunning news in this article.

I have no idea about what I'll be doing this weekend. I have my shift to do on Saturday and there are plans for football and kickball on Sunday, but that's it. I'm almost done with Britpop! and next in line is Songbook, High Fidelity and Hot Water Music, along with Live from New York, Let It Blurt and Please Kill Me.

Thanksgiving is next week? Time flies when you are in the daily routine of reporting, writing, eating, reading, walking and sleeping. Plans for a vast change in these activities are not in the forseeable future.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Jet Set Ready

Songs in my head:
"Rooftops" by Hot Water Music
"Jet Set Ready" by Hot Water Music

So I watched Baadasssss! last night and I was floored. I have not seen Sweet Sweetback's Baad Asssss Song, but you don't have to know anything about that movie in order to enjoy Baadasssss! It's an inspiring and well-done movie that doesn't resort to making things black and white. You root for the character of Melvin, but he's not just some hardass. Stuff gets him down but that doesn't stop him. Matters like prejudice (sexual and racial) and relationships (friendship and family) are wonderfully explored without being heavy-handed. Highly recommended.

BBC is reporting a story about the Damned, Christmas lights and some members of a Cambridge church objecting to the two.

Rolling Stone has a review of the new U2 record. Sounds interesting. Rob Sheffield has a tendency of going overboard with reviews but he often tells a real honest opinion.

Ain't It Cool News and Variety are reporting plans for an Evil Dead remake. My question is: wasn't Evil Dead remade as Evil Dead 2?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Worlds Apart

Song in my head:
"Worlds Apart" by . . . And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead

The roof fell out: it's been raining very hard off and on since mid-morning. Did some writing and tweaking between reading Britpop! chapters. Where I stopped for the morning was with Blur starting to craft their fifth, self-titled record. If I didn't fall asleep after reading for a while and didn't have anything to do for an entire day, I would not stop reading this until I finished it. A real page-turner and very inspiring.

Baadassss! arrived in the mail today. In lieu of being in the rain tonight, I will be watching this. I think the biggest reason was something Richard Roeper said. He said something along the lines of, "If you ever wanted to know how to make something independently, watch this movie." Not his exact words, but hugely inspiring.

Brother Joshua now has a blog. I played drums with him in Voigt and he currently plays in Chatterton.

By now you've heard the news about . . .

Song in my head:
"Home" by Leona Naess

I had chicken and dumplings for (what I believe to be was) the first time last night. It was very good but I'll eat almost anything chicken-related. However, something doesn't sound right mixing food with the word "dump."

Blogcritics has a funny "review" of the new U2 record, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. Granted, I haven't heard the new record and have only heard a little of "Vertigo," but this generic review is pretty right-on.

I'm sure you've heard the news about those Viagra ads. I don't watch a lot of TV, but I had seen these several times.

There isn't much content on this site but I think it's hilarious.

Baadassss! is coming my way this week thanks to Netflix. I'm excited about seeing it. To make things even more interesting, TK Carter (best known from Punky Brewster) plays the role of Bill Cosby.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Round Our Way

Album listened to this morning:
The Arcade Fire Funeral

Echoing something Matt talked about on his blog: MTV News has an article about Jimmy Eat World working with Liz Phair.

Billboard has an article on Aimee Mann's upcoming record, the Forgotten Arm. The song featured in the funeral scene in Jersey Girl ("That's How I Knew This Story Would Break My Heart") will be on the record. When I heard the song in the movie, I thought it was an older song since I don't have I'm With Stupid or Whatever.

One of Aimee's older songs, "I've Had It," is talked about in Nick Hornby's Songbook. I have yet to start reading it because I'm about halfway through Britpop! In England, Songbook is called 31 Songs. Also in England, Britpop! is called The Last Party. Interesting.

Oasis' records are now available for download. NME has the story. All I want to know is if "Round Our Way" will be released on a re-release or a download. I was a little let down that it wasn't on The Masterplan.

I still can't get enough of the silliness of William Shatner's "Common People."

TV on the Radio won the Shortlist Music Prize. NME has more info.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Has Been

Song in my head:
"Dog" by Ben Folds

Last Friday, I heard William Shatner's version of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." It's as silly as I had been told. The chorus of Serio Mendes-like singers wasn't bad though. This morning, I heard his version of Pulp's "Common People." Utterly hilarious. I listened to some tracks off of Has Been and I'm confused. Is he trying to be funny, ironic or serious with his tongue in his cheek? Ben Folds' production and talents are put to good use and Aimee Mann, Joe Jackson, Henry Rollins and Brad Paisley add some flair, but I still can't stop laughing at this. Decide for yourself here.

This is yesterday

Songs in my head:
"There's Always Someone Cooler Than You" by Ben Folds
"This Is Yesterday" by Manic Street Preachers

Yesterday was rainy, cold and dreary, so it was the perfect time to watch The Ice Storm. I found it to be a very powerful movie laced with subtle imagery and symbolism. It's definitely a movie that has you thinking afterwards. I liked the fact that the kids are as smart as their parents. Nothing is black and white about things and it's not overly melodramatic. It's not the most cheery subject matter but it's very well done.

Julie Christie, the rumors are true: Death Cab for Cutie has signed with Atlantic Records. Here is the official word from Ben. I don't really know why this is a topic of discussion but it still comes as a surprise. Seeing as how major labels keep getting smaller and smaller, you hope a great band doesn't get lost in the shuffle or gets screwed.

Manic Street Preachers have a new record out in the UK called Lifeblood. No word on if or when it will be released in the US. Also in the UK, The Holy Bible is getting the 2-CD+DVD reissue treatment. That is coming out early next month. I've checked out iTunes to see if they have any of this available for download, but alas, not for us Americans. CD Wow has it on import for rather reasonable prices. Meanwhile, every used CD store I go to has a copy of Know Your Enemy. I like parts of the record but I still don't own it. I shouldn't make so many excuses.

I can't stop reading Britpop! by John Harris. It's incredibly well-researched and not too inside for someone who experienced things from the other side of the pond.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Worlds Apart

Song in my head:
"Another Morning Stoner" by . . . And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead

Saw . . . And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead last night and I'm still recovering. They were even better than when I saw them on the Source Tags and Code tour. Hard to believe, but yes, even better. They played a few new songs (which slayed) and material mostly from Madonna and Source Tags and Code. My guess about what the second drummer did was correct: almost every song had double-drumming. In other words, the drums, as a whole, felt like cannons going off. A little past the halfway point in the set, the bassist took his bass off and smashed it. It seemed a litte too soon to start breaking stuff and ending the set. Twas not the case: the bassist from Sound Team lent him a bass and the set continued. The set ended with the brand new set of Premier drums that Jason played on being totalled. Then he passed almost every part of it out to people in the crowd. I didn't want to try and wrestle one out of someone's hands and the floor was incredibly slippery (due to a large amount of food, water and beer thrown around during the set). I just needed time to realize what all I had just seen.

As a side note to the show: I did see an old friend that I hadn't seen in about a year. I heard that he was still in the metroplex but was looking for a job. He's thinking about moving closer to where I live so, it would be cool to see him more. We traded phone numbers and that was that.

Don't know if we're playing football and kickball today. The forecast has a 60 percent chance of rain today. Shall wait and see.

Friday, November 12, 2004

You Are the Quarry

Song in my head:
"Montana" by Slowride
"Under Pressure" (Queen cover) by Small Brown Bike and Casket Lottery

Looks like I did the right thing by holding off on buying You Are the Quarry. It's being reissued early next month. Read all about it here.

The original Gang of Four lineup is reportedly reuniting. More info is here.

Keeping up with the Joneses

Songs in my head:
"The Great Depression" by the Jam
"Man in the Corner Shop" by the Jam
To paraphrase a quote from the Dismemberment Plan, it's Friday once again. Not sure what I'll be doing tonight, but I know I'll do my shift and see Trail of Dead tomorrow.

The coldfront is still here. Temps are between upper 40s and lower 50s. It's kinda interesting walking the dog in this weather. She seems more in the mood of running than walking and sniffing around.

I could understand when Royal Crown Revue asked the Amazing Royal Crowns to change their name, but this is stretching it a little.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The View

Song in my head:
"The View" by Modest Mouse

Did my clothes shopping for the year: got a new pair of pants and two shirts from Kohl's. I'm set until more clothes become too big or fall apart.

For those wondering if Thursday has broken up, click here.

The Who are releasing a new album. Read all about it here.

Dancefloors

Song in my head:
"Dancefloors" by My Morning Jacket

Add the Buggles to the list of bands that have gotten back together this year. Read more here.

In case you need more info about the Nirvana box set, here is the official website. Apple's iTunes already has an acoustic demo of "Lithium" available for download. I think the demos will be interesting to hear, but those b-sides are the jewels of the set.

Ain't It Cool News is talking about network TV shows getting yanked. I have yet to sit down and watch an episode of LAX but it was on in the background last night. I heard Jeff Buckley's version of "Hallelujah," so that scores some points for me. As far as Jack & Bobby, wasn't this show supposed to be on for a while so you could find out which one becomes President? I hope they don't cancel it before telling the audience who it is. I remember Dead at 21 and they never revealed if Jack Noseworthy's character ended up living or dying when he turned 21.

Shall be seeing . . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead this weekend. Hopefully new material will be played.

My old roommate John would call this sacreligious.

My CD wallet needs new mix CDs so I think I'll burn some this morning. Priorities include: a Left of the Dial sampler, Ben Folds compilation of EP songs, Centro-matic's Love You Just the Same and another random mix of songs.

It seems like I do this once a year: clothes shopping. I need a couple of things for the "cold" weather. In other words, some new pants are needed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

American Girl

Song in my head:
"American Girl" (version 1) by the Promise Ring

Brother Matt has a blog now. Welcome him to the wonderful world of randomness that is blogging.

According to MTV News, System of a Down will be releasing two albums next year. Insert your own Use Your Illusion comment.

Set your VCRs for the night after Thanksgiving: Sparta will be on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on November 26th.

The Fort Worth Weekly has a pretty cool article about Kevin Aldridge, formerly of Brasco and currently of Chatterton.

Take a load off Annie

Songs in my head:
"First of the Gang to Die" by Morrissey
"Fear is a Man's Best Friend" by Channels
"The Weight" by the Band

NME is reporting that the Libertines may split by the end of the year if Pete doesn't clean up his act. I can only wonder what kind of stories NME printed when the Smiths were around.

I watched the Kinsey trailer last night. Looks very promising.

Today is the last day of highs in the 70s. The next five days will have highs reaching only into the 50s. Shall be interesting to play kickball in this.

I heard the Band's "The Weight" in an AT&T commercial over the weekend. It's amazing that commercials (of all things) are great outlets for not-so-mainstream music.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

I had too much to dream last night

Song in my head:
"When You're Young" by the Jam

The two times I woke up today, I was in the middle of a dream. Felt very disoriented all this morning. Still trying to shake it off this afternoon. Still wondering why I was dreaming about picking up something at the local CBS affiliate for my dad before I went into work.

Did some more writing and rewriting this morning. Man, I get wordy at times.

Listened to some of the Futureheads. I dig their sound. I hear some Pink Flag-era Wire, Entertainment!-era Gang of Four and first two albums Clash.

The newest edition of The Onion AV Club's Commentary Tracks of the Damned: this year's remake of the Stepford Wives. I wouldn't be surprised if they added the The Girl Next Door track.

Kill all the copyrights . . .

Song in my head:
"Chivaree" by Channels

This is pretty cool, but for some reason, I don't believe it. I can't remember a time when an indie label had a hit single (non-rap or R&B) on the Billboard charts. Maybe when the Offspring "Come Out and Play" was out in 1994.

NME reveals all about the forthcoming Queens of the Stone Age record, Lullabies To Paralyze.

Rolling Stone has some live performances of the man, Ted Leo.

Friday night's low is supposed to be in the upper 30s. Sounds nice, but hopefully ice is not in the forecast.

Monday, November 08, 2004

To Force a Fate

Song in my head:
"Follow-Through Time" by the Reputation

Listened to Piano Man and the Stranger while doing laundry today. After being a Greatest Hits and 52nd Street fan of Billy Joel for a long time, I've found these albums to be as good. Piano Man has a lot of cool country tinges to it. The Stranger is really consistent. It's interesting that half of the record was released as singles.

I think I need to listen to more of Centro-matic's Love You Just the Same. I'm a huge fan of their stuff, but for some odd reason, I've never really checked out to this record. They're so prolific that it's a little hard to keep up with them. On top of that, Will released another solo record this year and then there's the side project South San Gabriel.

Say, "Fear is a Man's Best Friend"

Song in my head:
"Fear is a Man's Best Friend" (written by John Cale) by Channels

I can't believe it, but I'm not too sore or stiff from the outdoor activities from yesterday. I feel fine.

Whenever this movie gets made, I will see this.

I haven't seen Friday Night Lights, but I think it's really cool that Explosions in the Sky did the score for it. Pitchfork has a review of it today.

Jim DeRogatis has a very cool article and interview with Charles Thompson aka Frank Black.

It happened again this morning: I got called Larry. Sometimes you think you say your name as clearly as possible, but it still doesn't come out like that. The first time I was called this was at a wedding in 1993. Until last year, nobody had called me that since then. In the last year, I've been called Larry five times. Sure, 'air' is the common sound but where do people get the 'el' and 'ee' from?

I made a new mix CD yesterday. 18 tracks including "The Day Brings" by Brad, "Trash" by Suede, "We Believe in Karma" by Piebald, "Home" by Leona Naess, "Rust" by Echo & the Bunnymen, "You Faded" by Chavez and Channels' version of John Cale's "Fear is a Man's Best Friend." Still need to make a mix CD of songs from Left of the Dial and Ben Folds three EPs.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Coming Up

Now playing:
(The London) Suede Coming Up

Played flag football and kickball this afternoon and I am beat. I'll be stiff tomorrow, but it's all good.

Opted out of going to Guided By Voices' last show in town before they change their name back to Robert Pollard. Instead, I saw five local bands last night. The band that really stuck out for me was the Happy Bullets. Really good fun songs with layers of harmonies (vocals, guitars, brass and keyboards).

Been listening to the Reputation quite a bit this weekend. Elizabeth really knocks 'em out of the park.

I think I should really check out the Incredibles. It looks very cool and plus Chasing Amy's Jason Lee voices the bad guy. Apparently the folks over at Pixar liked his delivery in Dogma and cast him.

Shall do some more reading on Britpop! before I head to bed.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Rattled by the Rush

Song in my head:
"Rattled by the Rush" by Pavement

Finished reading Perfect Sound Forever yesterday morning. Good, quick read. Made me want to get out my Pavement mix CD and I listened to it this morning (so that's why "Rattled by the Rush"'s guitar squels and harmonica honks are on repeat in my head).

Watched the Revenge of the Sith trailer this morning. Not once. Not twice. Three times. I got chills every time.

Picked up some records last night and this morning: both full lengths by the Reputation, the Sheila Divine's long out-of-print Roadrunner release, Shift's Get In and Billy Joel's Piano Man and The Stranger. In other words, musical appreciation tomorrow.

Friday, November 05, 2004

News of the TPE World November 5th, 2004

Song in my head:
"Say Fear Is Man's Best Friend" by Channels

Saw Sparta last night. After seeing them play on late night TV over the years, this was my first time to see them in person. Great set, especially with "From Now to Never," "Air" and "Breaking the Broken."

If you're going to see the Incredibles this weekend, chances are good you will see a trailer for this movie.

Don't have any major plans for the weekend. Do have some plans already: I want to hit up some record stores and have pizza one night. Everything else is subject to change.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

News of the TPE World November 4th, 2004

Album listened to this morning:
The Mars Volta De-loused in the Comatorium

Crisp and breezy at 44 degrees. I think we were having near-record highs a few weeks ago and now we're having near-record lows for November. It was fun to walk the dog in this weather last night. She wanted to run more than walk. Today's high is to reach 68. Sunday's high is supposed to reach 80.

Did more reading of Britpop! yesterday and resumed reading Perfect Sound Forever. Still haven't opened Hot Water Music or High Fidelity. My mind wanders too much, but I will get to them.

Amazon is listing February 15th, 2005 as a street date for the Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut. I have yet to see the director's cut, but reading about the changes from the original sounds like a cool alternate to the theatrical.

If you liked Sarge, you may really dig Elizabeth Elmore's new(er) band, the Reputation. They have two records out already, including this year's To Force a Fate.

Jimmy Eat World is working on a new EP that is to come out next year. More info is here.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Ladies and Gentlemen, Ben Folds . . .

Song in my head:
"Misfit" (remix) by Elefant

Rolling Stone checks in with an article about Ben Folds next release. The good news: it is not an EP or a collaboration with William Shatner. Yes, it's the second proper solo album for the former Ben Folds Five member. It may be out as soon as February 2005. There is a track about Elliott Smith called "Late" and there is a re-recording of "Give Judy My Notice" (from the Speed Graphic EP) on it. On top of that, he recorded it with a bassist and drummer. All of this is wonderful news.


News of the TPE World November 3rd, 2004

Album listened to this morning:
Billy Joel Greatest Hits Vol. 3

Chilly, misty and breezy at 49 degrees.

There's talk of Jarvis Cocker scoring Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Sounds fishy. But, lest we forget Ian Brown's cameo in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

I started reading Britpop! yesterday. Looks to be a very good read.

NME reports that Paul McCartney is on Band Aid III's "Do They Know It's Christmas Time?" I know we'll be hearing "Wonderful Christmas Time" this year but I'm not sure if we'll get this here in the US.

In this week's installment of the Onion AV Club's Films That Time Forgot: Playing for Keeps. Future Miramax bosses Bob and Harvey Weinstein produced, wrote and directed this. This proves Bruce Campbell's theory once again: the road to power is paved by B-movies.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

I voted

Song in my head:
"End Moraine" by Sparta

I voted.

All the talk about long lines and hour-long waits went unfounded for me. At 9:30, I showed up at the church and there were people, but it wasn't crowded. There were three people in front of me and all I did was wait about two minutes to sign in. I got my ballot and it felt like college again. It was on a Scantron sheet. Only this time, after all the years of saying you couldn't use pen on a Scantron, they had a Sharpie to darken in bubbles. Putting my completed ballot into a machine, it went through just fine.

Total time: 10 minutes

News of the TPE World November 2nd, 2004

EP listened to this morning:
The Get Up Kids Red Letter Day

Light and windy at 62 degrees.

MTV.com has an article on actors playing musicians. Reading this reminds me of the band playing the prom in Student Bodies. I think they were miming to a different song than what's in the movie. Seeing the drummer not actually hit his drums is pretty hilarious. Now I have "I Can't Stop Dancing" in my head.

After picking up Britpop! yesterday, I hear of other suggested readings that I hadn't really checked out before. Fargo Rock City tops the list. Nick Hornby's Songbook also sounds tempting.

Opted out of early voting, so I will be doing it today at a church two streets away from the house. No matter how long the line is or how long it takes, I won't turn away. I have five hours between shifts and a book to read. In other words, I have no excuses.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Worlds Apart

Like yesterday, it's mostly cloudy, windy and warm. I listened to Pulp's We Love Life while driving around yesterday. It seemed like a great soundtrack for it. This afternoon, I listened to tracks from Piebald's We Are the Only the Friends We Have and Jimmy Eat World's Futures. Not really as picturesque as We Love Life, but they put a smile of my face.

I downloaded the new . . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead EP, Worlds Apart, from iTunes. "Worlds Apart" is strong single and their version of the Monkees' 'The Porpoise Song" is a cool b-side.

Picked up John Harris' Britpop! at Borders this afternoon. Looks to be a very good read. I had seen a documentary on the same subject (Live Forever) and thought it was a good starting point. I may start reading it tonight (while Fahrenheit 451, Please Kill Me, Let It Blurt and The Long Halloween remain unfinished). Eventually I'll read them all.

News of the TPE World November 1st, 2004

Album listened to this morning:
The Arcade Fire Funeral

Since last night, rain and winds have slowly brought a cold front in. Luckily, it didn't start pouring until after the trick-or-treaters left.

Halloween wrap-up:
After walking the dog, I watched Student Bodies. This flick has always made me laugh and I laugh harder every time I see it.

MTV has a detailed tracklisting for the Nirvana box set, With the Lights Out. To those that collected import CD EPs for those b-sides, a lot of these songs are not new. To those that had dubbed copies of the songs on worn-out tapes, this is wonderful.

I picked up the Arcade Fire's Funeral and Q and Not U's Power over the weekend. Both are good, especially Funeral. If you like Bright Eyes, Interpol and . . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, you may find the Arcade Fire to your liking.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

October 31st, 2004

Song in my head:
"Like a Friend" by Pulp

The last time I gave out Halloween candy, I was in high school. In other words, it's been about six years. It was an absolute blast but it was a madhouse. Our seven bags of candy were gone in one hour. As a back-up, we gave out Chewy bars, Pop Tarts and Mardi Gras beads. Good times.

Watched Dawn of the Dead and Donnie Darko this morning. This was my first time to see Dawn and it probably won't be the last. Darko is always great (I think today's viewing is five in total viewings).

Ted Leo was right on the money Friday night. Great sets by him, along with Just a Fire and Engine Down. I walked up to Ted and said hi after the set. I felt like I was 16. As in, I didn't know what to say other than thanks.

Went to a costume party Saturday night in a button-down dress shirt and tie. It's different than what I wear everyday, so it's dressing up for me. I could have donned a British accent and claim I was from the Office. Alas, it was not meant to be.

More festivities to attend to now. More wrap-up and news tomorrow.

Friday, October 29, 2004

News of the TPE World October 29th 2004

EP listened to this morning:
Ben Folds Super D

I finally got it. Weeks (maybe a month) after it's been out. The final EP in the trilogy is now in my life. Having Ben's version of "Get Your Hands Off of My Woman" is worth the price alone. The other tracks are very worthwhile (especially "Adelaide"), but enough with all the teases of an EP! Until the new record comes out, I'll throw together a comp of all three EPs.

Feeling back to normal this morning, so I'm ready for the weekend. Shows to attend tonight and Saturday and Halloween is Sunday night. Should be the opposite of last weekend's lack of activities.

I got to hear some of the Arcade Fire last night. I liked what I heard and I want to hear more.

Pitchfork has a daily double of good news: Stereolab is releasing a new compilation and Mark Kozelek has some new material in the works.

Aimee Mann has a live DVD coming out next Tuesday. Rolling Stone has more info. I love this quote from her: "It's hard to put a greatest hits together when you don't have any hits -- you have to aim in a different direction. But there's songs I know that people request or sometimes there's songs I feel like playing."

Talked to a friend that saw . . . And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead last night. I will definitely be seeing them next month. I saw them play on the Source Tags and Code tour and it was utterly insane.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Sun Hits the Sky

Album listened to this afternoon:
The Promise Ring Very Emergency

I was wearing sunglasses (part of the sky was sunny) and had an umbrella in my hand (the rest of the sky was dark and cloudy) while walking back inside. A cold front is coming in. Next week's high will be 70.

Holding off on buying the Franz Ferdinand record? Wait until November 23rd. Read why here.

Driving home last night, I listened to a record I hadn't listened to in a while: Supergrass' In It For the Money. I think it's still great. I'm curious about their new best of CD and DVD. The DVD looks very appealing. I still need to pick up I Should Coco not just for "Alright" and "Caught by the Fuzz" but also for "She's So Loose." I'm holding off because I think there may be a reissue forthcoming (seeing as how so many 10-year-old records are getting the treatment).

They're now giving gold and platinum awards for purchased downloads. Read all about it here.

News of the TPE World October 28th, 2004

Album listened to this morning:
Jimmy Eat World Futures

Still feeling a little congested, but not as bad as yesterday. I should be back to 100% by tomorrow. I better be since I'm planning on seeing Ted Leo/Pharmacists tomorrow night.

NME is talking about Band Aid III this morning. Sounds like a nice line-up.

I don't know if this is as earth-shaking as when Kiss took off their make-up in the early 1980s, but this sounds kinda interesting.

As a fan of commentary tracks, I find The Onion AV Club's Commentary Tracks of the Damned highly entertaining. I've heard a lot of good tracks but there have been ones that were very dry, slow, boring and downright silly. This is like a public service for film geeks.

I haven't seen or know very much about Primer, but I think it's cool that it was filmed around here. The Onion AV Club has an interview with the film's director, Shane Carruth this week.

Mike Shumaker of Hey Mercedes has a blog now. Very nice.

No big plans for Halloween. My neighbors have done an admirable job of decorating their houses. One has a large spider over the balcony. Another one has drapes with jack-o-lantern eyes in the front. I wonder what Christmas decorations they have up their sleeves.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

News of the TPE World October 27th, 2004

Album listened to this morning:
Modest Mouse Good News for People Who Love Bad News

Right as I was thinking I was 100% well, I get a small case of the sniffles. Key word: small. More info on this story as it develops.

Pitchfork has some info about the next Bright Eyes releases. Jim James of My Morning Jacket is on the first track on I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. Bravo!

There are rumors that a cold front is coming to town. Next week's highs are to be in the upper 60s. That's something to smile about.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

John Peel Tribute on NME

From NME:

When John Peel’s sad, sudden death at the age of 65 was announced today (October 26) BBC Radio 1, the station that had been his home for five decades, broke with programming and played Undertones ‘Teenage Kicks’ – his all-time favourite song.

It was a fitting tribute to a man whose dedication and unerring passion for all that was fresh and vital and youthful and vigorous about music saw him reject the dictats and mores of broadcasting to pursue a singular path launching the career of hundreds of bands, and soundtracking the youth of millions of music fans.

Born John Robert Parker Ravenscoft in Heswall, near Liverpool, in 1939, Peel was the son of the wealthy owner of a cotton mill. He was sent away to boarding school in Shrewsbury, which he hated, an ordeal made bearable when he first heard Elvis Presley singing ‘Heartbreak Hotel’.

"Everything changed when I heard Elvis," he said. "Where there had been nothing there was suddenly something."

In 1959, after National Service, Peel moved to America where Beatlemania soon took hold. The Liverpool connection helped Peel land a spot as DJ on WRR radio in Dallas. He moved back to England in 1967, where he first joined Radio London, before moving to BBC Radio 1 for its launch. He was to remain with the station for the rest of his life, the only original DJ.

His style was immediately different to other presenters. He played the records from start to finish without interruption – which later became useful if you wanted to tape the tracks - providing an informative commentary for listeners. During his early period, Peel was a friend and supporter of some of the biggest names in rock. Marc Bolan, David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix all recorded Peel Sessions and Peel famously once showed up on Top Of The Pops miming mandolin for Rod Stewart on the chart-topping‘Maggie May’.

As the 70s progressed, Peel’s tastes evolved. He was in the vanguard of punk, pushing the sounds of The Ramones, The Clash, The Undertones, The Buzzcocks and the Sex Pistols, then latterly Joy Division. In the 80s, he kickstarted the careers of New Order, The Fall, Smiths and any number of other acts you care to name. We would never have heard the Pixies or Pulp or The White Stripes if it wasn’t for John Peel.

As the years rolled on, the scope of his radio show widened. He moved between gum-bleeding German techno, world music and the occasional Roy Orbison hit with ease – even if it was sometimes a little taxing for his legions of fans. Until recently, a place on his annual countdown of the best singles of the year – Peel’s Festive 50 – was a much sought-after berth for bands on independent labels.

In recent years, Peel built a new army of fans. His award winning ‘Home Truths’ programme on BBC Radio Four grew into a must-hear for middle-aged listeners in middle England. And his spots on the BBC’s ‘Grumpy Old Men’ – a series featuring irritated men of a certain age riling against the things they found most absurd about modern life – were frequently the funniest and most telling.

Balding, a little plump, a devoted father, grandfather and husband not to mention a big fan of genteel radio series The Archers, Peel kicked open the door for people like Steve Lamacq and Zane Lowe, letting the mainstream programmers see that an audience existed for music that was not always a chart fixture.

His influence is immeasurable.

John Peel often told the story hearing ‘Teenage Kicks’ for the first time. He was driving in his car listening to the song on a demo tape. He was so overcome by the tune that he pulled onto the side of the road to have a cry.

There are thousands of people across Britain today who will have had a similar experience on hearing of his untimely death.

Radiohead's Thom Yorke said that he’d been an “inspiration”.
He said: "Who am I going to listen to now? He's been my inspiration since I was 14. I'm thinking about you. Thanks John Peel."

Supergrass were also a band championed by Peel in the early days. Singer Gaz Coombes said: “I was fortunate enough to meet him & play a session at his home. I remember we had a great conversation about Elvis that day & when I saw his record collection, it blew me away. He was the first to play our debut single 'Caught By The Fuzz' on the radio which I know brought us to people's attention. He was a big influence to so many. We'll miss him."

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Tony Blair added: "John Peel was a genuine one-off, whether on Radio 1 or Radio 4. He was a unique voice in British broadcasting and used that voice to unearth new talent and different subjects and make them accessible to a much wider audience. The prime minister knows he will be missed by everyone."

Other musicians to speak out in honour of Peel include Manchester legends The Smiths and New Order.

Ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr told BBC News that their success was down to the DJ, adding "we would try out new songs on the sessions and these often were the definitive version. John Peel was always the best around."

Bernard Sumner from New Order simply said that without his influence, the bands he helped form wouldn’t exist. He said: "This is dreadful, shocking news. If it wasn't for John there would be no Joy Division, and no New Order. He was one of the few people to give bands that played alternative music a chance to get heard. And he continued to be a champion of cutting edge music throughout his life. He will be genuinely missed by millions of music fans all over the world, both in and outside the music industry. Our thoughts are with his family."

John Peel Dead at 65

NME reports the following:

John Peel has died of a heart attack aged 65.

The broadcasting legend, who had a career spanning over 40 years, was on holiday in Peru when he was taken ill.

A statement has been issued by the BBC which reads: "It has been confirmed that BBC radio broadcaster John Peel died from a heart attack last night whilst on holiday in Peru. He leaves behind his wife Sheila and four children."

Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt said "John Peel was a broadcasting legend. I am deeply saddened by his death as are all who work at Radio 1. John’s influence has towered over the development of popular music for nearly four decades and his contribution to modern music and music culture is immeasurable. Hopeful bands all over the world sent their demo tapes to John knowing that he really cared. His commitment and passion for new music only grew stronger over the years. In fact, when I last saw him he was engaged in a lively debate with his fellow DJs over the state of new music today. He will be hugely missed."

BBC Director of Radio & Music Jenny Abramsky added "John Peel was a unique broadcaster whose influence on Radio 1 could be felt from its very first days. He nurtured musicians and listeners alike introducing them to new sounds. His open minded approach to music was mirrored by his equally generous approach to his audience when he went to Radio 4 to present Home Truths.

"He had a remarkable rapport with all his listeners. Everyone at BBC Radio is devastated by the news. John is simply irreplaceable. Our hearts go out to Sheila and his children."

Peel was born in Heswall near Chester and started his radio career in Dallas, Texas.

Throughout the 1960s he worked at a number of radio stations across the US, before returning to Radio London in 1967.

Over a career spanning 40 years Peel consistently championed new music, and in 1994 was given the NME Godlike Genius award for his services to music.

News of the TPE World October 26th, 2004

Album listened to this morning:
Jawbox Novelty

I saw Taking Back Sunday last night. The venue was totally packed, but it was a good time. I must admit, it was hard to see everything. My neck and feet still hurt because of all the contorting. Thankfully, it wasn't all 'staring at the back of heads.' There was quite a bit of movement in the crowd to see around. All in all, a nice intimate show with the 2,000+ in attendence. I didn't think "2,000+" and "intimate" could be used in the same sentence until now.

Simon and Garfunkel have a new live CD/DVD coming out. Read more about it here.

Attention Bad Religion fans: it looks like we can finally call him Dr. Greg Graffin.

Pitchfork said this today:
"Pavement's Slanted & Enchanted: Luxe & Reduxe-- packed with top-quality extras at a low price-- was a near-perfect example of how to reissue an already beloved record. "

"Near-perfect?" What more could you put on it that would make it perfect? Live tracks with Gary Young falling off his drum stool mid-fill?

Info about the new . . . And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead album was posted on Pitchfork last week, but I'm just getting to post it. I'm curious about this "second drummer:" double drumming or relief for Jason when he takes the mic?

I'd like to read a book about Elvis Costello. I didn't expect to get 2215 options from Amazon. Any recommendations? Shoot me an e-mail with the address listed under 'Contact'.

I had posted something about this earlier, but Rolling Stone has a great article about Bob Mould and Grant Hart's recent live duet.

Monday, October 25, 2004

News of the TPE World October 25th, 2004

Song in my head:
"Kill" by Jimmy Eat World

No blogging yesterday because I was busy with book stuff. Did a phone interview and revised a chapter over and over. As painful as revising may sound, it's actually good for me. It makes it readable.

MTV.com has an article on Keane today. I dig this band a lot. Yeah, people slag them for being a "Colplay ripoff" but I don't care. I believe "Bend and Break" is their new single. Great song.

Ain't It Cool News has some set pictures from the upcoming Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire film.

I'm sure there's a good reason for this, but I still don't understand why this movie was released this past weekend.

I read this article over the weekend and smiled all the way through it.

I read this article this morning and smiled cynically all the way through it.

The 2-CD reissue of Pavement's Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain is scheduled to be released tomorrow. For a full tracklisting, click here.