My Favorite New Band

My Favorite New Band

I think I mentioned that I've been downloading mp3's from various band sites and music blogs like largehearted boy, epitonic and pitchfork. Well, I've discovered my new favorite band, Midlake. They're from Denton, TX (also home of the now-defunct Lift to Experience) and they are simply amazing.
I went to their site and got several tracks from their EP and somehow got my hands on the track "Balloon Maker" (on their new-ish album, "Bamnan and Silvercork") which has sunk into my brain and won't let go. Midlake sound like a mixture of Clinic, recent Flaming Lips and Radiohead, but they manage to sound warmer, more organic and intimate than any of those bands (and I love all three). This is a record that makes me feel wistful and makes my heart swell with its beauty.
You should check 'em out and tell 'em Stacey sentcha...


Ladies and Gentlemen, it's Time

Ladies and Gentlemen, it's Time

AMERICAN MUSIC CLUB's first new album in 10 years, "Love Songs For Patriots"will be released on September 5th in the UK & Europe by Cooking Vinyl and onOctober 19th in the USA & Canada. A double LP with a bonus track will beavailable from Devil In The Woods.Streaming audio of the new songs can be heard at http://www.american-music-club.com

09/04 Sat, Seattle WA Bumbershoot w/ Drive by Truckers, Mindy Smith, Foghorn Stringband


Your Tax Dollars At Work

Your Tax Dollars At Work
Ain'tcha just proud?

Good Grief!!

Good Grief!!

This last week has been a doozy. Had to learn and perform "Paradise City" for No Vote Left Behind (and too bad you guys missed it - I hit every bass players rock pose in the book, Sean climbed up on the amplifier and kicked the cymbals, Matt was down on his knees like he was gonna sacrifice something he really loved and Seth beat the skins like they owed him money!), had an important appointment, saw Scissor Sisters, Bowled against Bush and got my computer running.
Tomorrow, it's the Pirates vs. Ninjas Party at Oani's, Chelsea vs. Celtic at Seahawks Stadium and possibly the Space Virgins big bash at the Catwalk.
I wish I could hit up the Ballard Seafood Fest and the Capitol Hill Block Party, but maybe you can go and then tell me about it....GO!!


It's Worse Than We Thought

It's Worse Than We Thought

Wow. If this is true, be sure to stock up on Canadian Flag shirts when you go abroad this summer.


Got Bees?

Got Bees?
I was sitting on the couch yesterday, watching "Forever Summer with Nigella" and thinking rather impure thoughts  when I heard "Bzzzz - Plop!" behing me. I looked up and out of a small hole in the basement wall emerged the biggest, fattest Bumblebee I've ever seen!
It took several mintues of staring and blinking for me to establish that this was not some early-morning hallucination -- as much as I'd like to imagine that I'm imagining things -- it's been awhile since I've spiked my brain chemistry and I wasn't THAT tired at the time.
The bee had fallen into some junk we keep behind the futon and was buzzing...not angrily, but in a "Hey, I'm lost -- couldja help me out?!" sorta way. Naturally, I planned to smoke her ass, but by the time I found Frito's electrified fly swatter (no, I'm not kidding), it was gone.
I wondered if what had just happened was some sort of freak accident, but even more horrifying was the thought that there might be a hive in the wall. Having offed the mice that had moved in earlier this year, taking on bees would really suck, 'cause in general I try not to harm creatures that are beneficial to mankind (I'm waiting for Scott to leave town long enough for Whiskey to have an "accident" OTOH) and Bumblebees, are very effcient pollenators due to their size, strength and long tongues (kinda like Gene Simmons). But it also those some three characteristics that cause my uh, hackles to rise (kinda like Gene Simmons!) So for now I guess I'll just let the out the front door (which, unless they know of another way in the house -- brr!) is just as good as killing them.
Hopefully, they'll be able to spend the day happily pollenatin' before they discover they are locked out of the hive and that will be that.
I suggested to Frito that we build 'em a hive - I always wanted to keep some bees...

ee. otenki desu ne!!

ee. otenki desu ne!!
The week has flown by! The sun is shining and my thoughts are all about -- going to bed. Actually, it should be a busy night. I'm meeting El Stu for Bowl Against Bush event, then we're going to try and catch AC Lewis (AKA Aaron) at Chop Suey. Then I've got a small project I wanna bust out.
Tomorrow night my band will be participating in the U2 cover night at the Crocodile Cafe with a buncha other bands. We're playing "Rejoice", "Running to Stand Still" and my pick, "Until the End of the World." We sound pretty good right now and we have an additional practice set up before the show. Good thing U2 rarely uses more than 5 chords in a song!
I'd like to give a belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Neil, who didn't want anyone to make a fuss this year, so guess what? We didn't! Still, plan to give him a noogie and a pack of bubblegum when we next meet. That's about it for now,


The Other White Meat

The Other White Meat

On Friday, my Science Fiction Twin Megan (AKA Meggie-Poo) and I met up beers and fried food at the Canterbury, then caught the amazing Bobby Bare Jr. at Neumo's. There was much rejoicing!
Megan's friend Amy joined us for awhile, but she had to leave 'cause she got called into work. Poo is so ossem. Out the blue, she turns to me and says: "Metal Detektor is such a cool song!"
That was so random, I mean - that was the last thing I listened to before going to meet her!
When I told her that she yelled, "We're twins!!"

On Saturday, Frito and his friend Jake put on their annual Birthday BBQ. I loaded up on the pull pork and enjoyed serveral pints of the Belgian Honey White beer Frito made. He also brewed a pilsner and a raspberry ale AND there's a ked of something in the downstairs refrigerator...I'll have to look into it.
After the BBQ, Louise, Ji-Huyn and I went back to our house to climb into the hot tub. We'd been standing out in the intermittant rain all afternoon and the water felt goooood. Stu and Suzanne joined us as did Burt, L.B., Cindy, Scott & Jeff.
Sunday rolled around and I went to band practice, we've got to learn three U2 songs by the 17th for yet another tribute night. After that I went to Stu's place for a BBQ and the first croquet game of the season at his place. Somehow, I wound up manning the grill, which was cool, since I'd already eaten. Unfortunately, I had to go home to get a bit of shut-eye before work.


Hassled by The Man

Hassled by The Man

I have been trying to not let the news get to me. I've been cranking sunny power pop, engaging in the things that make me happy and trying not to let the "current silliness" blow my zen-like cool.

But then I had to go and read this (via Metafilter). Already I can hear the protestations of those who think the rights we have as citizens are simply a matter of convience making excuses - but this is complete and utter bullshit. Ian was racially profiled. The fact that the whole thing happened my hometown just makes it even more personal...

I'm gonna go listen to The Waking Hours until my blood pressure goes down. Then I'll look into what can be done about this.


Riot Act...

Riot Act...

I am an Elvis Costello fan. He and I go waaaay back to the early '80's at least. I remember watching him twitch and jerk through "Pump it Up" on MTV at Tommy Simpson's house (we didn't have cable) and thinking "That's so fuckin' cool."
Course everything was cool then. There was this thing called New Wave and it sounded bright, energetic and shiny. Some of the older white kids in my Junior High school were into it: Checkered Vans, loud colors and asymetrical haircuts. Everything was new then. A new president, I was going to a new school. My family (due to my parents divorce) had changed. I remember the kid who supervised our newpaper drop-off spot (an old garage near Rainier and Holly St. - long since gone) listening to Cheap Trick on KISW on the groggy, foggy Sunday mornings when we'd come stumbling in to stuff and roll the Sunday editions. I was intrigued!
For a time it seemed like the future had really arrived and this is what we'd be listening to. If only lumpen, poor, unstylish me could be a part of it all.
I remember my friend Barbara telling my something about Elvis...that he'd used the "N-word" in one of his songs. But I recalled seeing him apologizing on TV about it. Besides, I thought, isn't the term "white nigger" (in "Oliver's Army") referring to the Irish?
I moved to Georgia after 9th grade (this would be '82) to get to know my old man better. Seattle, held no promise for me and I was afraid that things would be the same forever. So I fled, not realizing what I was running into. A new family (Dad remarried), new siblings, new school, new social order, new expectations...stressing to a 15YO, to say the least.
My Dad, convinced that my mother had ruined me somehow, decided that a policy of "tough love" was the best. He thought he was being "a Father", I thought he was a tyrant and a bit of an asshole (the latter due to all the terrible things he'd say about my mother). I went from having a lot a freedom (which I never abused) at my mother's, to having virtually none. Both my parents are very religious and while they had huge record collections, they viewed my love of music as something Very Bad. My guitar and sketchpad was taken away, as were the few casettes I had. I was told I was to concentrate on church and school and any dreams of being a musician (or an artist) were a waste of time.
Naturally, I rebelled.
There was a couple of hours everyday, when my Dad left for his job (he worked swing shift) and before my stepmother, brother and stepsister got home that I could do my thing. I also found a small transistor radio my folks had forgotten about -- I'd lay in bed at night, listening to Georgia State Radio (Album 88) and 96 Rock! There was also a channel on free TV that played videos that never made it onto MTV. It was there I got my second introduction to Elvis Costello.
I came home from school one sunny day in 1983 in time to catch the video for "New Lace Sleeves" (which, I might add -- is my favorite song) and I was hooked. Still, I didn't buy any of his albums until I was back in Seattle a year later. I started with "Trust" (naturally) and probably own or have CD-R's of everything up through "When I Was Cruel." My best friend Stu and I bonded over our mutual love for EC's music and my friend Tess took me to see him in concert for the first time a couple of years ago.
Anyway, last weekend I was at my friends JR's for the 4th and I hijacked the ambient and techno playlist he'd made for that had more new wave and rock.
"Riot Act" came on. I was saying what a great fookin' song it was and Jason's wife Liz told me that the reason the performance was so impassioned was the Elvis thought he'd never get to make another record. So he went into the studio and nailed the song in one take! I was pretty impressed with that but being nerd I am, I thought there was more to the story.
I was right:

Q. What was the Bonnie Bramlett/Ray Charles incident?
A. Elvis back in early 1979 made some not-so-politically-correct comments about Ray Charles (calling him a 'blind, ignorant nigger') while drinking with Bonnie Bramlett and Stephen Stills in the bar of the Holiday Inn
-Downtown in Columbus, Ohio. He also called Stills 'steel nose', in reference to Stills' one-time cocaine habit. A fight then ensued between the Attractions and Stills' backing band. He was later forced to make a public apology at a press conference.

From an interview with Greil Marcus in Rolling Stone, September 2, 1982:

'What actually happened was this: we were in the bar--Bruce Thomas and I were in the bar after the show in Columbus, Ohio. And we very very drunk. Well, we weren't drunk to begin with--we were reasonably drunk. And we
started into what you'd probably call joshing. Gentle gibes between the two camps of the Stills Band and us. It developed as it got drunker and drunker into a nastier and nastier argument. And I suppose that in the
drunkenness, my contempt for them was probably exaggerated beyond my real contempt for them. I don't think I had a real opinion. But they just seemed in some way to typify a lot of things that I thought were wrong with
American music. And that's probably quite unfair. But at the exact moment--they did.'

'...What it was about was that I said the most outrageous thing I could possibly say to them--that I knew, in my drunken logic, would anger them more than anything else.' (source here)

This site puts it all together:
"Elvis Costello had problems -problems with women, with the music business and with society at large. His neurotic behavior during the first couple of years of his career was legendary. He claimed publicly that his motivations for getting into the business were "guilt and revenge."
Despite the brilliance of his work, at some level Declan MacManus felt that he was a fake and a fraud, and that he would soon be found out and run out of the business. He basically dealt well with the early rejections from all the record companies. Rejection he knew how to deal with: he just kept hustling till he finally got a deal. What he didn't know how to deal with at all was success. His first album got rave reviews and sold like hotcakes. He just couldn't believe that he would in fact become a big rock star, just like his idols.
Elvis then went to great lengths to sabotage his burgeoning success. His most infamous incident came in some crappy little hotel bar in Ohio. He was being berated by some worthless, jealous dried up old singers not worthy of having their names mentioned in the same breath with Elvis. Having been taunted and baited with accusations that he was just a ripoff of James Brown and Ray Charles, he eventually dismissed them as "niggers." His nominal point was simply to piss off some smug liberal idiots who were harassing him
Now this was asinine enough to get him some serious humiliation. Naturally, the self-righteous pigs went tattling to every reporter they could find. They were going to make some ink! This was bigger news than anything in their pathetic careers. Of course Elvis didn't mean that stupid stuff, but his apologies still left him sounding like a fool. This stupid outburst was only a minor drag on his career, but left him with a little albatross of shame to carry around.
One good thing did come from all this foolishness. "Riot Act" is a merciless slow, grinding soul song. Feel the grand drama of bad karma coming inevitably back home. The organ and bass heavy groove works up tremendous torque. Hear the descending chords pulling down the narrator's ego and slowly grinding it into a fine powder.
He does not specifically invoke the Ohio nonsense, but it would be obvious to someone who follows his career. This is an outstanding tactic, making it autobiographically meaningful to his loyal followers, but not wrapped up in what to later generations will be boring and irrelevant personal details that would also make it difficult for others to cover the song. The narrator has been running his mouth, indulging his "pent up insolence," and finds himself having to step up and take his whipping. "A slip of the tongue is going to keep me civilian." By the end, he's volunteering to take it like a man.
"You can read me the riot act." Repeat 10 times. Mea culpa. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.
One cool thing about the record is that you might take it partly as a tribute to Ray's style. The best apology to be made for Elvis in the whole matter is to note how good a student of Ray the guy obviously is. Nothing would ever be cooler than to hear Ray himself sing "Riot Act." Damn, but that would be tough."

Indeed. (Too late, for that tho.)

I don't have a problem with this information. It happened a long time ago, he apologized publically and I imagine if I was drunk and some git was giving me the business, who knows what I might be apologizing for later! Elvis thought he'd never make another record because of the "Ohio Incident!" This does clear up a mystery for me AND (once again) it's proof that the 'net (and music) are a beautiful thing...

Riot Act

Forever doesn't mean forever anymore
I said forever
But it doesn't look like I'm gonna be around much anymore
When the heat gets sub-tropical
And the talk gets so topical

Riot act - you can read me the riot act
You can make me a matter of fact
Or a villain in a million
A slip of the tongue is gonna keep me civilian

Why do you talk such stupid nonsense
When my mind could rest much easier
Instead of all this dumb dumb insolence
I would be happier with amnesia

They say forget her
Now it looks like you're either gonna be for me or against me
I got your letter
Now they say I don't care for the colour that it paints me
Trying to be so bad is bad enough
Don't make me laugh by talking tough
Don't put your heart out on your sleeve
When your remarks are off the cuff



Never Long Enough...

Never Long Enough...

I climbed out of bed on Saturday morning and got my shite together, hopped on my bike and rode to the Coleman dock about 5 minutes before they started loading. Up front was me and a guy on an old-school (but immaculately-maintained) Honda Helix. The ride over was pleasant, the weather looked a little iffy but I settled in with the last few chapters of Quintus of Smyrna's telling of the War at Troy.
I stopped to get some gas on the way to Chad's and showed up about when I said I was gonna. We dinked around for awhile then he and his girlfriend Star and hopped on his '84 Nighthawk. I mounted my bike and we hit the road, heading north then west across Hood Canal.
Despite the overcast clouds the ride was a lot of fun, we passed through farmlands and a few small towns.
We were originally planning to the Quilcene loop but about a mile or two before the turn, it started to drizzle. And I was hungry. Chad pulled over and suggested we go to Port Townsend and get some grub. I agreed.
The skies cleared up somewhat as we rode north. Even with a light drizzle, I was wet to the knees and I had to ride with my visor open due to the exta moisture but it wasn't a problem. Port Townsend was packed full or tourists and bikers -- mostly older dudes on Harleys. We parked and started walking around, stopping in couple of gallery places and a toy store.
We found an excellent Thai restaurant and then got an ice cream cone. Pt. Townsend certainly has its charms, I look forward to returning soon!
We had to get back 'cause Star's babysitter needed relief, so we bailed for Bremerton. There were so many bikers out that Chad was constantly waving. The weather started to improve and I felt really confident at 70MPH. I wondered why it had taken so long to do this.
After we dropped Star off in Tacoma, Chad and I hung out and caught up with each other. Then we watched several episodes of FLCL (Foolikooli)until I finally racked out.
I got 10:30 or so and dinked around until noon then said bye to Chad and rode over to Patty's. She was making garlic/parmesan soup for the party at J.R.'s. Matt and his girlfriend were there and we hung out until Liz showed up and grabbed Matt (he was to help her cook) then the three of us went over after 2PM or so.
J.R. and Kim had recently terraced off their backyard, which overlooks the water to and offers an awesome view.
They'd set up a big tent for us to sit under and so we spent the day making huge drinks and smoking menthols.
J.R. had a handheld catapault and we test fired some rocks over in to the bay. Unfortunately for Jay, when it was his turn he somehow managed to hit himself in the leg with the rock, which required a four-hour wait at the hospital, a tetnus shot and 6 staples (dumbass!) Liz, Kim and Glenn went to hospital with him.
Meanwhile, the rest of us ate steak, chicken, potatosalad and home-made potato chips with mango salsa. Then we started lighting shit off. Rockets, mortars, ground flowers, snakes...J.R.'s neighbor came by and dropped him off a 6 foot long package of firecrackers, which we lit on Jay's return. We could also see the big fireworks display from Port Orchard -- in addition to everyone else's arsenal.
The moon didn't rise until pretty late, as Jay and I took off for home. I was a little weirded out about driving around at night (throught Tacoma, about 60 miles) but knowing Jay was keeping an eye out for me was cool and I was eager to sleep in my own bed. I got home around 1:30AM.
Yeaterday I went over to Stu's in time to see him put the last few bricks into his patio. Then we went out to Lake City to see Neil's new house as he waited for his new appliances to arrive. Rock Star Trish came by, she's going to record with The Lily's who are her favorite band. She's been playing gigs with them for several months now. I gave Neil a hard time about how being a homeowner was going to exponentially increase his sex appeal that he should build a sex dungeon...he wasn't havin' it, though.
Then, before I knew it I was back at work...



Cut Your Hair

Cut Your Hair

It's been a busy week. And the weekend looks to be even busier!
Fey Ray played shows on Monday and Thursday, both went well and a big THANK YOU to all who came out. It sucked that I couldn't stick around after the shows but you gotta do, etc. I saw Control Room with Tim on Tuesday and Kristina took me out for sushi on Wednesday!
There were (are) several birthdays: Tabitha and Jennifer on the 25th, Heidi on the 29th. Mercedes, Frito and Sean on the 2nd. And Patty's in on Tuesday.
Tonight I went to see Stu's band TransPacific at the Capitol Hill Arts Center - They were excellent, I was enraptured the whole time and a good third of the set was new!
I cut off my dreads today. Why?! You ask. Well, it's pretty simple. My motorcycle helmets didn't fit properly with all that hair and I was getting sick of trying to jam it all under there. Besides, it's good to clear off the old growth now and again and start over. I'm not so attached to how I look (and neither is anyone else!) that I don't mind whacking it all off AND now all my helmets fit perfectly!
I was gonna go with a short afro, but since the weather's good, I think I'll go bald for awhile and let it grow in for winter.
Today, I'm off for Bremerton. Chad, his new girlfriend and I are gonna spend the day on a ride around the Kitsap peninsula and on Sunday, I'll be at JR's for food and fireworks!
Have a fun and safe 4th!


This Song Is Kickin' My Ass Right Now

This Song Is Kickin' My Ass Right Now

family happiness (Mountain Goats)

as we cruised across the Canadian border
you reached into your handbag, pulled out a micro-cassette recorder,
started quoting Tolstoy into the machine,
i had no idea what you meant.
i guess i'm supposed to figure these things out,
or maybe it's supposed to be self-evident.
but i've gone feral,
and i don't speak the language anymore.
we're headed deep into the forest, i've got the pedal to the floor.
the engine shudders, like a dying man, when you reach out to grab my hand,
you can bring out all your weapons,
you can't make me go to war.

long winding Canadian highways,
innumerable evergreens.
weather forecast on the AM radio
says we'll be expecting highs in the low teens
when i mouth my silent curses at you,
you can see my breath.
i hope the stars don't even come out tonight.
i hope we both freeze to death.
look at the person i've turned into, tell me,
how do you like him now?
no standards of any kind, no creeds to disavow
i am right here where you want me
do what you brought me out here for.
you can arm me to the teeth.
you can't make me go to war.