Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Rathering the alternate of the inevitable is rather disappointing.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Music for Saturday

Thursday I heard that Hope Sandoval has a new album coming out soon and that her band Mazzy Star is currently working on a new album as well. It's been a long time since their last album Among My Swan, so I'm curious to see if Hope and David Roback will do anything new. If this tune is any indication, then probably not. But that's okay, it's still a pretty song.

Hope Sandoval - Blanchard.mp3


Monsters of Folk are some of my favorite musicians teamed up. This line-up is what originally got me into M. Ward, because in 2005 when I saw Conor Oberst, Jim James and Matt Ward singing "O'Brien/O'Brien's Nocturne" on Austin City Limits on PBS it instantly became my favorite song. It didn't strike me at the time when I went looking for the writer of the song and found Matt Ward, and promptly bought all his albums, but later it occurred to me that any one of those songwriters could have written that song, but it was Ward. If Oberst or James had written that song, then I would have been listening to a bunch of Bright Eyes or My Morning Jacket albums non-stop for the past 4 years, instead of M. Ward's, but they didn't, and so I didn't. M. Ward is the best songwriter of the three, and in my opinion the most sincere in his delivery. His songs have the continuity and lack of pretension that Oberst's haven't, and the emotional reality that James' don't.

Still, put them all together, and something magical happens. Just like that night when I heard them all singing, "I got a brand new song to show ya, though it probably ain't gonna blow your mind."

So here's a couple brand new from the Monsters. Buy their album when it comes out in September, I think you'll enjoy it. I know I will.

Monsters of Folk - Dear God (sincerely M.O.F.).mp3

Monsters of Folk - Say Please.mp3

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Music for Thursday

I wasn't there, but three years ago at Bonnaroo, Andrew Bird played a show on a stage called Sonic, which I am sure was either well named or very poorly named. There's this video of him singing this song of his called "Why?" and it's very, very good. Shamefully, some other band at the festival is playing too loudly at a nearby stage and ruining the intro and first few verses of the song. Was that what Bonnaroo was like? That sucks, music fans.

Look, I went to Coachella in March for the first time, and there were lots of brilliant performances, but when TV On The Radio came on, they totally drowned out the performer on the second stage. It was impossible to be heard over them. And don't even get me started about M.I.A. and her damn air horns. I'm sorry, but the main stage was colossal and when a band was rocking out with the volume cranked, it was loud and I mean loud. Way louder than 110 decibels, and it projected across the whole polo fields by six sets of speaker towers each over 80 feet tall. Music at the smaller stage? Simply drowned out.

Austin City Limits festival is different. Zilker Park in Austin is vast. Which is lucky, because there are three huge stages with capacity for at least 10-30 thousand people each, and four other stages with capacity for 3-5 thousand. For those three days, there are at least 60-80 thousand people in the park there at any given time. It's nuts. And yet, sound from any given act does not spill into the other stages for the most part, and that's the point, isn't it? A venue has to be large enough to support whatever number of stages a festival offers.

Luckily, Bird has a voice and he rocks this song:


On another note, a managing editor for named Richard Baum (@rbaum), sent out a microblog on twitter saying:
Radiohead says no more albums. I guess the pay-what-you-like model didn't work
What the hell? Okay, first of all...

Radiohead - Harry Patch (in memory of)

Oh look, Radiohead just recorded a song in the studio and released it on their website for one single solitary British Pound. Yeah, it's not "pay-what-you-like". All proceeds will be going to the Royal British Legion, so the site says. Yeah, it's just one song. Yeah, it's probably a one-off because of the unique nature of the song.

But maybe Radiohead will begin releasing tracks whenever they have an idea that gels and they have time to all get together and put down on a track. Personally, I think that's a great idea. How many times in the past year have we heard about corporate music execs and lawyers getting all exec-y and lawyer-y about singles getting leaked onto the net before the studio album is released, or before radio stations receive copies of a single for airtime so they can hype the album prior to release. That's the old corporate music marketing machine drill, and it's been getting punked by online leaks and downloading.

Baum's conclusion is laughable in its wrongness. First of all, he assumes that just because a band is continuing its progressive behavior of shirking off old-world music distribution company habits by deciding they're through with recording whole albums at a time, they are giving up on the innovations they've made in the way they do business.

Obviously, Radiohead is not done making music.

Secondly, Radiohead made millions of dollars selling their last album for whatever people wanted to pay for it. It went "platinum" the first day it was released. The data on this is incontrovertible. Fans loved the way Radiohead handled the release of In Rainbows.


Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros have a few singles out there, but lately I've been hearing this one a lot, and that's good because I love it.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Home.mp3

Well, hot and heavy, pumpkin pie,
Chocolate candy, Jesus Christ,
Ain't nothing please me more than you.

Awww. 4 hearts for making me smile a lot. ♥♥♥♥

I posted this yesterday, but it was actually today. So I renamed it.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Thanks Anna, for inviting me to see Julie and Julia

This weekend I watched just about every single John Hughes movie that anyone ever told me was any good, and that I haven't already seen a dozen times. This included:

Pretty In Pink
Some Kind Of Wonderful
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
Sixteen Candles
The Breakfast Club
St. Elmo's Fire

Yeah, that last one John Hughes had nothing to do with, but the Brat Pack was all there. Had he anything to do with it, Leslie Hunter would have totally chosen Kevin Dolenz instead of opting for no miracles. All of Hughes' movies are completely bogus, but not more so than that Schumacher film. The characters in Elmo's were just simply not believable. Then again, I never realized just how ridiculous and homogeneous most of Hughes' movies were. Elmo's "witty" dialog was almost a welcome change after hours and hours of teenage awkwardness and angst. Was that really how the '80s really were? Was that really how high school was? I never really experienced either of those things, but somehow I doubt it.

Still I honestly enjoyed watching all those movies, a couple of them for the first time all the way through. Their charm just wins out over all the deficiencies that would make me hate other movies like them (except for The Breakfast Club which is pretty much just plain great no matter which way you slice it).

One movie in particular that I really liked this weekend was a new one that I just randomly threw into the Hughes Marathon/Mix -- Adventureland. This '80s throwback movie was so much more believable than any Hughes movie I watched. The music was really good too. Like this song:

INXS - Don't Change.mp3
(This is not to knock the soundtrack of any Hughes movie -- all of which are full of awesome music.)

Watching all those stupid movies was pretty damn depressing though, so it was really nice of my sister Anna to invite me to go see Julie and Julia with her even though she was just going with her girl friends. It really saved my weekend from being a dismal way to start this week. Now, I can start my week on a happy note, having seen a truly enjoyable movie with my awesome sister.

Friday, August 07, 2009

John Hughes passed away yesterday at 59

Can't think of anything to say really. I'm sad. I'll just post some links.

Byrne Fields' blog post, Sincerely, John Hughes
NPR coverage of the Byrne Fields story
YouTube video of the Phoenix "Lisztomania" Brat Pack mashup
YouTube video of Stewie Griffin running to "March Of The Swivelheads" by The English Beat
The soundtrack listing for Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Willie Nelson

My family used to ride around in our orange VW Vanagon and listen to Willie Nelson singing "On The Road Again" on the radio.

In 1984 my parents sold that sweet van and took us on a long flight over the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii and then on to the Philippine Islands.

Two years later, this happened:

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Amanda Palmer's Cat Stevens cover Twitter flash-gig video

Techdirt has a write-up about a flash-gig that Amanda Palmer did one day after a user suggested that she learn the Cat Stevens song, "If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out".

She just told her followers on Twitter to meet up with her at the beach to listen to some songs. So a bunch of people showed up and someone happened to bring a video camera, and recorded this:

[ YouTube, via ]

Monday, August 03, 2009

Spielberg to remake Harvey

Steven Spielberg will begin work on a remake of Harvey. The film's title character is a 6 foot 3 and a half inch tall rabbit who is the imaginary best friend of Elwood P. Dowd played by James Stewart. The original Harvey earned James Stewart an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in 1950. I remember watching this film on cable television when I was a kid and really enjoying it, but I've always like Jimmy Stewart's movies.

I hope this new version from Spielberg will be better than the 2001 remake: