Monday, March 31, 2003

Freedom of the Press?

Well, it's already happening as we see more and more of the press silenced through either direct government intervention or via the misguided activities of the general citizenry. The worst victim so far has to be Al-Jazeera, the Arabic version of CNN that's been virtually banned from Wall Street and who's English language version of its site didn't even last a day before being hacked into submission. (You can actually see what the site looked like right here courtesy of The Memory Hole.)

This is unfortunate on a number of levels the primary one of course being that you don't gain the trust of the Arab world by shutting their primary news source out! The government was livid that they broadcast images of US dead and PoWs but I think it can be argued that they themselves weren't violating the Genva Conventions...especially since the media is not beholden to the conventions! How many Western media images do we see of Iraqi soldiers tied up and sitting in rows on top of the desert sand or mangled Iraqi corpses twisted into that exact same sand? Clearly Al-Jazeera is the subject of a terrible double standard here that's primarily driven by their audacity in questioning the American motives in the Iraq conflict. Jeez...half the periodicals in both the US and England are questioning the exact same things! Some are paying (sorry about that Peter Arnett) but most get away with it as the White House grows more and more frustrated by public reaction to the whole situation.

Personally I'm of the opinion that since now we're there we shouldn't really leave until we finish the job...if for no other reason that if we leave the Iraqi people out to hang again it's just going to damage the West's image even more. I just don't think that the best way of improving upon that image in the current situation is by shutting out dissenting Arabic media views. We're supposedly going in to sow the seeds of democracy but our loutish behavior thus far isn't really helping our case, now is it?
More on that leaky Net.

Well, I've given the new Radiohead a few spins and can only conslusively come up with two immediate observations.

Observation #1: This sounds much more like the disc everyone thought would follow OK Computer. Lots of guitars and pleanty of Thom Yorke's trademark wails remind the masses of what they fell in love with in the first place.

Observation #2: There however is a basic danger in finally hearing what the people have been pining for. From what I can tell this is a much less exciting disc and a bit of the danger and adventure that permeated both Kid A and Amnesiac is missing.

A much longer review should come in a day or two when I've had more time to digest this thing.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Leaky Net

Can't wait until June? Well here's the new Radiohead album Hail To The Thief and here's a few songs in case that other link goes dead. In related news, if you're into peer to peer networks...the whole fucking cat is out of the bag and you can find the rest of the disc just about anywhere. By my estimate it must have been leaked in the last 24 hours and it's spreading like a virus.

The funniest thing is that everyone -- including me -- is still going to go out and buy the damn thing when it's "officially" released in June. That's what happens when bands actually put out good music.

Friday, March 28, 2003

The Rock Show Attendee’s Creed

Something to get your weekend off on the right foot. The rest of this most excellent and illuminating piece can be found here. Go and read it. Then go here and here to further learn the rules by which we rock

I believe in Iggy, Jimi, Chryssie, and Joe Strummer, the Parents Almighty, Creator of heaven on earth; I believe in Malcolm McClaren and Sid Vicious, His only Son. I believe in punk, lo-fi and gangsta, indie, post-punk, indie-pop, rock, singer-songwriter, and insurgent country, conceived by Uncle Tupelo, born of Jeff Tweedy who suffers, as does Lou Barlow. I believe in Squirrelbait and Johnny Cash. I believe in the Motor City. I will respectfully love and fear Tad. I believe in Superchunk and PJ Harvey. I believe in new bands and will never pretend to know music I have never heard, so my mind may stay open and I will sitteth at the right hand of Mission of Burma so I may one day ascend to heaven, where I will be greeted by Sonic Youth, Eazy-E, and Mike Watt. I will not listen to rock critics, but trust my own ears. I believe in DIY, zines, Yo La Tengo, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of Cobain, and rock everlasting. Amen.

Thanks to Daisy Glaze for pointing this one out to me via e-mail.
Just a thought.

Can we change the rules so you no longer have to be born in the US in order to become president? I mean, after watching the dual press conference with Tony Blair and George Bush yesterday I definitley want Blair in the White House!
Hogs and Honeys

I'll be the first to admit that I run with a group who can be a bit, um, stuck on ourselves and tend to look down our noses at activities that aren't really "cool." Luckily we're a self-aware enough group of folks that we realize that this attitude is pretty butt-ass dumb and we do our best to challenge our preconceptions and remain open to outside possibilities when it comes to activities through which to while away our free time.

Simply, we're looking for fun and we'll get it any way we can.

In that spirit I decided that last night would entail an excursion to a bar that, on the surface, just seemed so vile and disturbing a concept that it just had to be so gaudy as to be fun. Basically Hogs and Honeys is a bar that's aiming full-on for the yuppie Bud Light swilling Hooter's lovin' beach volleyball pick uppin' crowd. You can get $1 22ounce beers, ride a mechanical bull for free and the hot female bartenders jump up on the bar and dance. Then drunk girls jump up on the bar and dance. Then drunk ex-frat guys jump up on the bar and dance. Then adrunk ex-frat guy and a hot female bartrender indulge in a pull-up competition on a rail above the bar-top. The hot female bartender won. On top of it all our friends who are in a live rock and roll karaoke band were performing.

So I think you get the idea. On paper this is just too hilarious to be true and when mined correctly it must be fun, right?


It was scary. Really scary. Had I been drunker it might have been slightly fun. For instance one of my friends was sufficiently drunk that he was hitting on the beer-tub girl and actually thought he had a chance. I know this line of thinking since I've stumbled into that terrain in the past. Basically we rocker boys think that when we go to a "mainstream" (read: yuppie/frat) bar we instantly become a "hot commodity" because we're "individuals." The more beer we drink the more we believe it and usually start hitting on the staff because we believe they can "pick up on our vibe" of "individuality." I mean how could they not? They're surrounded by so much cattle that when a prime Angus bull walks in they must appreciate it, right?

Nope again.

Basically the staff is there to make a buck. The easiest way to make a buck off frat boys is to wear tight shirts and flirt a lot. It's almost reflexive. So in the end we fall for the exact same line the frat boys are which, in effect, proves that we ain't that much different from the crowd we're lookin' down our noses at.

Anyway, the band was smokin' and the crowd really seemed into it and this was the portion of the evening I could almost stomach as long as the beer and bourbon kept flowing. However they cut my friends off early so they could start playing "white-boy-friendly" hip-hop (The Beasties, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Will Smith, you know...crap) and get those girls dancing on the bar again. Now this is the point that the crowd really started to get into it and other girls started jumping on the mechanical bull and I was just surrounded by red leering jeering alcohol bloated male faces. It was like the scene where the acid kicks into Hunter S. Thompson in the hotle lobby and the floor runs awash in blood while the clientele turn into large scaly lizards.

Nightmarish really.

So we got the hell out of there.

So to recap: my friends and I tried something new last night, had a bit of fun and then ran like hell when the scene started to get a little weird. The lesson learned? Next time I go to see my friends burn up the live rock and roll karaoke at Hogs and Honeys I've got to a) get pretty plowed before getting there b) get there early and c)start practicing my pull-ups so I can kick that hot female bartender's ass in the pull-up contest.

And now the yucks.

Here is a place that folks are summarizing musicians entire career in the space of a few words. Very funny.

Thanks to The Rub for the tip-off.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

This just in!

One of my favorite music sites for info and such is Tiny Mixtapes Gone To Heaven. Why? Read below:

The Strokes Begin Recording New Album with God

According to self-proclaimed wiz kid Ryan, The Strokes began strokin' it up at a recording studio in NY, earlier this week. With continuous comparisons to Radiohead, Beck, and Travis, The Strokes decided to go the Godrich route, which basically means they'll allow producer Nigel Godrich to compress the hell out of their music and force the NY rockers to re-record their parts until the rough edges are polished out; he hates human mistakes. And since The Strokes lack talent, the recording process could go longer than expected.

However, that doesn't mean Godrich is the official producer. If you know anything about the Strokes, you know they get what they want, those hedonistic bastards. So the plan is to record only two songs with Godrich over the next couple weeks. If both parties are satisfied (or, if the Strokes are satisfied), they'll throw another bag of money at Godrich to record the rest of their second album. Despite any potential setbacks, they plan to release the album in late August or early September.

See? Informative and funny! Much like Done Waiting, only waaay snobbier.

Glad to know the indie 'tude can survive even the most confusing of times.


...I have to start mail bombing my friends to convince them it actually is a good idea to go to Hogs and Honeys tonight to witness the Live Rock and Roll Karaoke. Think of Coyote Ugly ramming headfirst into Reckless Records...terribly tacky, but in these confusing times (there's that phrase again)...genius!

Dixie Yucks

I was e-mailed the below. It is definitely one of the better pieces of satire to emerge from this whole "Dixie Chick Vs. Dubya" fiasco. I wish I knew who actually wrote it becasue I would totally give them credit for this. I'm over-using this word today but...genius!

An apology from Natalie of the Dixie Chicks

"As a concerned American citizen, I apologize to President Bush because my remark was disrespectful. I now realize that whoever holds that office should be treated with the utmost respect.

I hope everyone understands, I'm just a young girl who grew up in Texas. As far back as I can remember, I heard people say they were ashamed of President Clinton. I saw bumper stickers calling him everything from a pothead to a murderer. I heard people on the radio and tv like Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson, Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott bad mouthing the President and ridiculing his wife and daughter at every opportunity.

I heard LOTS of people disrespecting the President. So I guess I just assumed it was acceptable behavior.

But now, thanks to the thousands of angry people who want radio stations to boycott our music because criticizing the President is unpatriotic, I realize it's wrong to have a liberal opinion if you're a country music artist. I guess I should have thought about that before deciding to play music that attracts hypocritical red necks.

I also realize now that I'm supposed to just sing and look cute so our fans won't have anything to upset them while they're cheating on their wives or getting in drunken bar fights or driving around in their pickup trucks shooting highway signs and small animals.

And most important of all, I realize that it's wrong for a celebrity to voice a political opinion, unless they're Charlie Daniels, Clint Black, Merle Haggard, Barbara Mandrell, Loretta Lynn, Ricky Skaggs, Travis Tritt, Hank Williams Jr, Amy Grant, Larry Gatlin, Crystal Gayle, Reba McEntire, Lee Greenwood, Lorrie Morgan, Anita Bryant, Mike Oldfield, Ted Nugent, Wayne Newton, Dick Clark, Jay Leno, Drew Carey, Dixie Carter, Victoria Jackson, Charleton Heston, Fred Thompson, Ben Stein, Bruce Willis, Kevin Costner, Arnold Schwartzenegger, Bo Derek, Rick Schroeder, George Will, Pat Buchanan, Bill O'Reilly, Joe Rogan, Delta Burke, Robert Conrad or Jesse Ventura.

God Bless America,

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

These aren't exactly rose colored glasses but I think they'll make you smile.

See the world through Mr. T's eyes for a while.


Apparently much of the fate of the US/British invasion of Iraq now hinges of the outcome of the Basra conflict. DEBKAfile reports that forces connected to Saddam's nutjob of a son Uday have approached from the north laden with cash to get Iraqi citizenry to begin a sort of intifada against the invading forces. From the south comes the Shiite militiamen led by Majid al-Khoei -- a US secret weapon that Gen Franks had up his sleeve if you will -- hoping to unite the largely Shiite population into an uprising against Saddam. This is the "Iraqi Uprising" in Basra you've been hearing about.

Why is Basra now so damned important? Again, according to DEBKAfile:

DEBKAfile’s military sources reveal that allied generals are banking heavily on a successful Shiite uprising against the Saddam regime in Basra under Majid Khoei’s leadership spreading to the Shiite holy cities of Najef and Karbala on the route to Baghdad and also infecting the Shiite troops serving with the Special Republican Divisions defending the capital. Especially targeted are the Shiites of the Iraqi Army’s 2nd Army which is posted in Baghdad.

However, if Uday beats General Franks to the draw and is able to incite the Shiites to rise up in support of the Iraqi army, thereby retaining hold of Basra – even for a brief period - the Shiite community of at least 12 million will not dare to line up behind Majid Khoei. There will be nothing then to stop the Iraqi guerrilla war against allied supply lines growing into a wholesale paramilitary campaign against the American and British military presence in Iraq.

Much for the forthcoming contest in Baghdad is therefore riding on the outcome of the fight for Basra, in which British troops and Shiite militiamen, under cover of American fighter planes and helicopters, are pitted against the paramilitary forces of Uday Hussein, supported by elements of the Iraqi 11th, 51s and 6th Divisions, as well as Saddam’s Fedayeen and the local Baath militia.

Personally I've been hoping this whole thing would have gone along with Donald Rumsfeld's plans of a lighter invasion force that gets in and out with a minimum of casualties but it's beginning to seem like that will only work in situations where the opponent is willing to play by the rules. Now the US is facing a man who keeps all of his power -- even over his most trusted aides -- through a fog of intimidation and terror and is willing to break every rule in the book to insure his survival.

I'm worried and I hope all this naysaying is completely off the mark and the folks that are over in Iraq -- on both sides of the conflict -- come out okay in the end.

But I'm still worried.

First Salam Pax and now...

Blogs are everywhere and in some ways giving the most unique insights into this particular war. First I came across the Dear Raed blog ostensibly coming from an Iraqi citizen in Bagdhad and now we've got the US's own Lt. Smash (funny, they just re-ran that Simpsons episode the day before yesterday) posting from "The Sandbox." It's a bit light and reads more like propopganda than anything else. A nice epicenter of war related blogs would be at Blogs Of War. Links galore to all kinds of other sites and minute by minute updates. Not bad for a US-centric site.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

404 File Not Found?


Thanks to Zannah for the point in the right direction. Rad.

Thanking my lucky stars.

So I've been complaining about being kept up by my local PBS station running the CNN feed in the overnight slot...but after spending the day at my parents doing my taxes I am so glad I only have access to CNN in that time slot.


Wolf Blitzer is an annoying little pud, that's why. What a dork. A la Kramer in Seinfeld I fear if I hear his voice any more I'll go into some sort of epileptic fit...

Need comforting in these trying times?
Rudy of Woolworthy
are ready to comfort you lots.

Old school rock and/or roll attitude
mixed with only the finest selections
from yesterday, today and tomorrow.

TONIGHT, Tuesday March 25, 2002
Free PBR from 9-10pm
Free CDs and DVDs courtesy Capitol/EMI all night long

Brand new and unreleased stuff from
Grandaddy, The Assassins, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs,
Blur, The Wrens, Crooked Fingers, Cursive,
The D4, The Bad Plus, Longwave, Damone, The Libertines,
Ryan Adams and the Pink Hearts, The Cells,
Holopaw, Echoboy, Mellowdrone, Idlewild
and all the usual older harder rockin' stuff...


Every Tuesday.
Only at Ten56.

1056 N Damen
Chicago, IL

Now this is interesting.

This was reported by DEBKAfile today:

Away from the main arena, a small yet illuminating scene played out just across the Iraqi border Monday morning. Syria complained that a stray American missile had struck a bus killing five civilians and injuring ten.

According to DEBKAfile’s military sources, the only true fact in this terse account was that the bus was Syrian. The missile was no stray. It was deliberately fired from an F-15 fighter-bomber at a bus carrying armed Palestinian volunteers to join up with Iraqi forces, in order to make sure this was the last such Palestinian group of volunteers for Iraq. That F-15 made a piece of history; it carried out the first American air attack on a combatant Palestinian group. More will certainly be heard of this episode.

Keep in mind that DEBKAfile itself is a Jewish based web-site so this piece of reporting could be a bit suspect. However if this is fact then that really does open up a whole new can of worms as far as US involvelement in the Palestinian crisis is concerned.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Pomp and Circumstance

I actually slept through the majority of the Oscars last night -- which isn't that unusual since I usually nod off pretty early on Sundays after abusing my body for the last few days -- but I made sure I was awake to see Steve Martin's opening remarks. Some of my favorites as reported by Reuters were:

Martin rounded out his monologue with a faux tribute to movie stars, set to stirring music: "Movie stars are many things, they can be tall, short, thin or skinny. They can be Democrats or ... skinny. ... We worship them, we idolize them, sometimes we're annoyed with them, like when they shoot their wives.

"Movie stars crave publicity but have the decency not to publicize that they have slept with me," he continued, as shots of a number of stars flashed on the screen -- Kidman, Berry, Julianne Moore, Renee Zellweger, Diane Lane, Julie Andrews, Ted Danson, the cartoon character Stitch and Ernest Borgnine."

Wrapping up, Martin said, "there are no losers tonight, but we're about to change all that."

I then made it through Chris Cooper's acceptance speech and promptly nodded off until my cell rang in the wee AM hours. I fumbled around, snagged it, switched it off and couldn't get back to sleep so I was lucky enough to catch most of Saddam's televised speech and man o man was that spooky!

Why oh why does my local PBS station run CNN late at night? Not ponly do I get no sleep that way but when I finally do doze off I'm shocked awake by the resumption of local programming with the Teletubbies at 6am every morning. Now that's a real nightmare!

Geneva Conventioneering

So I'm trying to figure out why exactly the photos the Iraqis have been circulating of American POWs is a breach of the Geneva Conventions but all the photos of Iraqi POWs in the Western media is okay. I don't have any international law background but does the difference lie in who is doing the actual dissemination of the images? For instance, I'm not aware of any "official" US military photos of seems as if all the photos in circulation are courtesy of the international press. Conversely the American POW images are coming directly from the Iraqi government so I'm wondering if it's the source of the images that contributes to the behavior being frowned upon.

Just a guess. If anyone can explain it better to me please shoot me an e-mail.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Make love, not war!

However if you can't find anyone to make love to at the moment might I suggest attending a tee-rific show I put together tonight at The Bottom Lounge? Maybe you can find someone to make love to and take your mind off the war? I certainly know I'm gonna try!

Saturday March 22
Sour Deluxe
Light FM
Analog Radio
at The Bottom Lounge (3206 N Wilton)
Doors at 10:00pm
$7 cover


Friday, March 21, 2003

Zach de la Rocha and DJ Shadow...Wonder-Twin powers activate!

Bummed out by the lack of good protest songs for this war? Here's one to rile you up.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Finally something to put a smile on this old sourpuss!

Hilary Rosen, the departing head of the Recording Inductry Association of America, made some pretty wild comments at a convention in Florida a few days ago. Billboard reported:

Rosen spoke of addressing customers' demands for music in more formats, a deeper catalog, and even "a way to make compilations without feeling guilty or like criminals." In short, she said, "They want us to find a way to solve our piracy problems without encroaching on -- or even talking about -- their personal-use flexibility."

Fighting piracy, she said, is "a waste of time if the customer is not served in the legitimate marketplace." Referring to the multiple revenue streams of the film business -- theatrical releases, pay per view, TV rights, and DVD sales -- she said sound recordings should also carry a "panoply of rights" that extends beyond the sale of CDs. She applauded record companies for experimenting with pricing and value-added incentives, and heralded the return of the singles format.

Talk about a full 180 from the histrionics she's been spouting off over the last year! It seems as if -- with the benefit of a broader field of vision as she steps down as head of the RIAA -- Ms. Rosen has finally found a clue and realized that the base of the whole file-sharing problem might just rest in the crap product that the major labels see fit to foist upon the public.

Why didn't she realize this sooner?
War, unh, what is it good for?

I have decided to throw up a few review type thingies and just avoid (well, almost) the subject of the war for a day.


Blur - Think Tank
It's been leaked months before its release and am I glad it was. For starters it's a great little disc that builds a more coherent picture than 13 did. The departure of Graham Coxon seems to have had the same liberating effect Bill Berry did when he left R.E.M. and the band seems to be thriving. Albarn's outside work on Gorillaz and Mali Music also are easily identifiable and obviously inform much of the proceedings. The songs are layered in such a way as to reveal new nooks and crannies with every listening and the album feels more coherent as a whole. One of the problems with 13 was that while it was sonically interesting and a few tunes carried a bit of emotyional weight the album as a whole felt more like a Frankenstein's monster cobbled togethger from disparate sources. Think Tank's songs also manage to change and sometimes turn in completely unexpected directions but even these parts sound organic and natural even if a bit unexpected. I hope the band leaked this on purpose because it's not the easiest album to get into initially but it definitely gets better with repeated listens and the advance buzz on it when it finally comes out in May should be terrific.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell
Okay, this rocks the fucking house as well. A few songs, and I'm thinking primarily of the track "Maps," are almost pretty. The rest of the bunch is a bunch of thudding, cavernous, primeval rock. This was a band slow to grow on me -- much like the Liars who I consider to be stylistic cousins -- but after listening to this I think the reason behind that was that they had scant released output and I had problems justifying the deafening buzz around the band with what I had actually heard. Well, I've heard this and I dig it.

The White Stripes - Elephant
What an apt title for this heavyweight contender. Slam Jack and Meg all you want but you have to admit they can write some kick-ass songs and are a pretty potent band. This is especially evident when they tackle Burt Bacharach's "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself" -- most famously performed by Dusty Springfield -- and turn it into a song that sounds like Jack White was meant to sing it. To me the ability to make anything and everything sound as if you invented it is one of the earmarks of a solid group. Fuck the backlash and embrace this album.


Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Stretched"
I finally tracked down a copy of this old Red Hot Chili Peppers b-side from their Dave Navarro days and it is certainly not your general Chili Pepper type fare. This song kicks the ass of anything included on One Hot Minute (except perhaps "Transcending") and the ambiguity of the lyrics that allow the song to lean heavily into homoerotic territory display a band definitely exploring the outer boundaries of their collective personality. Hard to find but worth a listen if you can find it.


Sadly I am still slogging through Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief since most of my reading has been The Economist, The Atlantic Monthly, The Guardian and an unhealthy addiction to both the Reuters and the BBC web-sites. I am currently crying because my subscription to The New Yorker ran out and I currently can't afford to renew it. Boo hoo.

...and, tangentially, a comment or two on the current world situation...

First CNN does a story on themselves and the "CNN Effect" -- namely the effect CNN has on the economy via consumers who choose to stay in and watch the news rather than consume and spend money -- that I had hoped to avoid since I don't have cable and wouldn't be sucked into the dark spiral that is twenty-four hour news in times of crisis. Well, lucky for me my local PBS station has decided to run the CNN feed in the overnight slot thus ensuring that my current insomnia only worsens over the coming weeks. Yay!

Oh yeah, this is kind of creepy too.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

In a world gone really mad...

Well that's that. For better or for worse Bushie and his legion of hawks are finally getting their way and going in. On one hand it's quite possible that this war will be a lot more popular after it's over and the full extent of Saddam's evil is exposed. This scenario is even more likely if the majority of the populace turns against what Iraqi military forces are willing to fight, Dubya's "smart" bombs mostly hit their targets and don't squash too many living and breathing "human shields" and the whole fracas in general lasts a really short time.

In retrospect this effort is going to look pretty good.

Unfortunately the precedent it sets is so terribly wrong and fueled by some misguided notion of God-given American (that'd be U.S. of American) sovereignty that it literally scares the bejeezus out of me. I mean, what kind of allies can we count on having if all our allies are at some base point terrified of us. Dubya is essentially laying the groundwork for invading any country he pleases under the umbrella of a preemptive strike to insure U.S. safety. This ain't good folks.

While all this is going on I still don't have a job, my unemployment is about to run out and now I have to struggle with nightmares of riding the El (the Chicago train system) and having some dude who wants to blow himself up to support whatever anger he feels towards the U.S.A. I want to remain optomistic but the current climate isn’t exactly the sort of thing that soothes the nerves of nut-job radicals willing to take out as many innocents as they can to make a (twisted) point.

I remember the first Gulf War and being quite against it. Hell I was a political cartoonist at the time and had no shortage of ideas pitting Saddam and George Sr. against each other since I really believed both men were evil for totally different reasons. I spoke out against it and I still believe it was an effort mainly driven by oil and feeling vindicated when Bush Sr. fell back, signed a cease-fire and left all those Iraqi dissidents hanging in the wind as soon as we had secured Kuwait and their oil fields all over again. I remember being angry. I remember being scared… but I don't remember ever feeling hopeless.

Right now I feel pretty hopeless.

It drives me absolutely nuts that this clown is in office and single-handedly destroying our diplomatic relations with the rest of the world and squandering all the wealth we’ve accumulated. I’ve been a reasonably good boy all my life so what have I done to deserve this?

In an attempt to shed a ray of sunshine on an otherwise dismal day.

I am currently in love with Mellowdrone. If you want to know why, just head on over to their web-site and by filling out your e-mail and your birthday you can download their entire debut e.p. I recommend it if you love Nigel Goodrich's producing or could dig a slightly happier version of Radiohead.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

I don't think King Arthur played guitar.

But if he did I bet it wouldn't sound at all like this. Pathetic.

But funny!

Friday, March 14, 2003

New York A Go-Go!

...finally the conclusion to our little tale...


So I grabbed a little sleepy time in front of the TV, Diann got all spruced up and we headed into Manhattan to celebrate her birthday at one of my favorite Manhattan bars 7B.

Rather, we tried to get to 7B.

Since the L line is all fucked due to repairs we got to Union Squre, transferred to a train that said it was the number 6 local -- since we were only heading one stop downtown -- and then found ourselves whisked all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge. As one particularly unhappy passenger next to me remarked, "I should have never left the hood." After an even longer wait than we had to endure in Brooklyn for our shuttle train we finally caught another train uptown and walked to rest of the way to the bar where we met our friend Greg.

As far as Manhattan bars go 7B is pretty cool. The music is great, the bartenders have always been really polite and rather generous with the shots and it kind of reminds me of a spruced up Tuman's (R.I.P.) or a slightly grungier Club Foot. Diann had been dreading the place since I had talked so highly of it. As a general rule we don't usually like the same sorts of bars but she was pleasantly surprised with this place.

We amused ourselves with general conversation until I noticed a bad pick-up attempt going on across the bar. Years of working in clubs and the service industry has given me a sort of radar that can pick up body language cues that allow me to pretty accurately produce the back story for most public interaction. It's just one of those things that I can't turn off. Like when I'm out at a restaurant I can scan a room and tell you how friendly our waitperson will be based on the types of folks, the general atmosphere and my guestimate as to just how well the tips are rolling in.I can also tell you when your waitperson really thinks you've undertipped even if they're all smiles and doing the whole, "Come back soon!" sort of thing.

So this awful pick-up attempt is going on. One of the classics. Two girls are sitting together and one leaves for the bathroom. As soon as one leaves pitiful guy sidles up and tries to start conversation. Girl nods and smiles politely and then frantically looks all over the room for something else to occupy her. You see she can't leave because her friend left her coat and purse and the guy making the attempt knows this. Eventually he gets the hint and just stands there dumbly until girl's friend comes back. Why doesn't he walk away? Well after bombing that badly the last thing a guy wants to look is desperate so they'll stick around to sort of cover up for their earlier advances. Aren't we idiots?

So as I'm making fun of this poor schlub a girl walks up to me and asks for a cigarette.

And waits.

Then asks for a light.

And waits.

And waits.

At this point she finally gets the hint that I'm not really interested in chatting her up and she exits stage left as Greg and Diann laugh at me for being the object of yet another lame pick-up attempt.

After this things get a little fuzzy. I know we went to Manitoba's -- owned by Handsome Dick himself -- and I know there were a bunch of crusty biker dudes there and I know that I failed miserably at Ms Pacman but in my defense I want to know who installs a roller ball as a control for a Pacman game? Fiends! At some point Diann and I caught a cab back to her 'hood and -- after a brief stop at Di's favorite fast food establishment located right down the street -- we went back to her place and collapsed into a deep sleep.


Sunday I had agreed to move a load of Diann's stuff to her new Manhattan digs so we got up early, made some muffins and I moved everything into the downstairs hallway so I could just pull her car around and load it up. So I get everything downstairs and go out to get the car.

Only it isn't there.

I do the quick scan to make sure I didn't accidentally park next to a hydrant or in-between some no parking signs I somehow totally missed. I go back in and grab Di and ask her to verify that there is in fact no car parked where it was yesterday.


And Diann had just canceled her theft insurance the week before! So we load up my car with her stuff and then head to the neighborhood cop shop to make sure it wasn't towed. For some reason the New York tow yard isn't open on Sunday. So we get to the police station and are standing behind a family making a missing person report for some dude who took a last minute trip to California and never came back. Diann asks if they've tried tracking his bank account activity and they told her he was more of a cash-your-check-at-the-currency-exchange sort of guy. At this point I decide the poor dude is probably dead due to either a) outstanding loans owed to the wrong folks or b) a botched drug deal.

So we get our turn and the cops tell us they don't have her car and hey, didn't you know that Honda's are one of the most popular cars to steal due to the easy interchangeability of parts between different models?


So we drive into Manhattan -- after I searched for the Williamsburg Bridge for an hour -- and moved most of Di's stuff to her new apartment. We grabbed some dinner at Veselka's and took in a late afternoon showing of Lost in La Mancha (which came highly recommended by my little brother who had seen it at the Toronto Film Festival) before heading back to Williamsburg just in time for the Simpsons! Yahoo!


I got up early and drove back to Chicago in about eleven-and-a-half hours. I would've made better time but there was sleet, snow and freezing ice in Indiana and I didn't feel like skidding off the road as I hydroplaned around massive eighteen wheelers


Diann finally filed a police report and gave up her car as lost...until last Friday! She got a call from a Bronx station saying they not only had her car but they also arrested the kid that stole it. It was missing a radiator and a few other parts -- coincidentally the kid happens to own a Honda as well -- and they figured they got him as he was on his way to dump the car somewhere since he was done with it. To add icing to the cake apparently the kid's mom is the principal of a New York high school so I think Diann's chances of being reimbursed for her stolen parts, and the towing fee and the extortion, um I mean storage, fee at the tow yard are pretty good.

Now just wait until next month when my friend Rudy and I head back out to NYC to see a show I set up there with my friends from Combo No. 3!

I'm all typed out for now.

Later on I'll write up my thoughts on the Big Daddy Kane / Killah Priest show I saw last night...I just don't feel like doing it right now.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

A refresher course?

I think it was last September when the government released The National Security Strategy For The United States Of America and I think it would behoove most folks to give it a quick read. It basically outlines everything that Dubya and his cronies are doing right now. The Iraq situation makes much more sense once it is viewed primarily as a test case for these new strategies.

I mean let's face it, Saddam is a really bad guy who's people will be cheering in the streets once he’s removed from office. Well, cheering in the streets once they've finished lynching ex-member of his Republican Guard and settled the sea of old scores bubbling under the surface right now. Saddam is pretty damn one is disputing that. The danger behind our current actions right now has to do with the U.S. of A's bullying threats of moving forward unilaterally and the fact that this is the tactic Dubya and his advisors -- save Colin Powell -- have employed since the first mention of the new "axis of evil." It's this sort of posturing that has backed Dubya into a corner where now he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. And let's not even talk about the political damage he's done to his number one supporter Tony Blair.

I was listening to Blair's question and answer session with the House Of Commons yesterday and was struck by how quick on his feet and subtly funny the man was. This made me feel even worse about the fact that he seems to have committed political suicide by aligning himself with Dubya. The difference between the two men is that Blair seems to have come to the decision for the need for regime change through intense study of the situation while Bush just seems to have a blind faith that is the product of one too many bible study classes and the belief in divine providence. Creepy.

Long story short as far as my views go? Saddam has to go but -- to paraphrase constructive criticism given to my friend Jim in the midst of coitus -- the U.S. of A. is doing it all wrong.
Oh dear Jesus.

I was out at my parent's house yesterday when my brother informed me of the latest round of Congressional idiocy. Apparently we are now sending through legislation to re-name our food to reflect the administrations unhappiness with another nation daring to disagree with them. Now I will admit that personally I think that France's whole stance on this Iraq thing has little to do with Saddam and much to do with an attempt to knock the U.S. down a peg or two in an attempt to keep our wayward Cowboy-In-Chief in check. As usual though, the French have picked the wrong method and time to do such a thing and seem to be succeeding in helping Dubya fuck the world up even more as they help disassemble the Security Council through the deterioration of diplomacy.

To make matters even sillier though is the fact that now there seems to be some sort of argument as to where exactly french fries originated in the first place.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Shake your rumpa.

Over at Beastie Boys HQ they've finally decided to release a brand new song in which they compare George Bush to Zoolander. I knew I loved those boys for a reason.

Unfortunately the rest of the song is kind of crap. Oh well.

Monday, March 10, 2003

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love when people we call famous are willing to actually bitch about other people we call famous. Stephen Malkmus (ex-frontman for Pavement and current leader of The Jicks) has always had my respect because a) he's always been super cool and unbelievably nice every time I've spoken to him and b) the man writes good fucking songs. How can you lose?

Well, with a new album out to promote, old Stephen has been hitting the media trail and leaving behind a trail of disses a mile long. First he went gonzo in Entertainment Weekly (wonderfully excerpted right here by Matthew) and then he dropped a few bombs on The Times. Where has this gotten him? On the New York Post's Page Six of course. Keep on firing away Steve-O!
The New York skinny...part two!


Saturday I got an early rise and decided to practice being domestic with Diann and do all those mundane weekend things normal people do like going to the Laundromat, going grocery shopping, cleaning up the apartment...stuff like that. Eventually we made out way to this great little coffee shop named Phoebe’s on Graham where I had this enormous latte and a tasty NYC bagel. It didn't hurt at all that the staff was pretty durn cute although Diann teased me about looking at the younger girls. Then I pouted. Then I decided to let it slide. I mean what’re you gonna do? I can never understand why that sort of thing bothers girls you are not dating. I mean, sure, it’s one thing if you’re just drooling over some girl and completely ignoring your companion but I’m more of the furtive glance, ”Ooh, that’s nice” kind of guy. Whatever.

We ran back to her apartment to bundle up for the train ride to Manhattan and I pointed out where her car was parked so she could find it when she needed it. She approved of the space since it was so close to her house and yes you should still be paying attention to anything I say about her car!

Anyway, Diann just got this great new apartment in Manhattan through her boss at 65th Street and 2nd Avenue and she wanted me to grab a look at the place. First of all, her new neighborhood is waaay different than Williamsburg. It's just a few block from Central Park and everyone in the area seems to be really fond of wearing $200 warm-up suits everywhere they go. All the guys are tan and greasy looking while all the women are either impossibly attractive or the skin on their faces is stretched so thinly over their skulls they look like someone is curing leather on their head. Creepy. Diann herself has some misgivings about moving into the area but the rent is so cheap she just couldn't turn it down. On top of that, once we got to her place I was stunned at how big it was. It was a little smaller than average by Chicago standards but huge compared to the other apartments I had seen back when Diann was hunting last November.

That's one of the things that blows my mind about New York. The apartments are so frickin' expensive while being so frickin' small. Lots of them actually have a shower in what would be the family room and the bathroom is often a closet off the kitchen. I love my Chicago apartment that I could fit a roller rink into if I so chose. Lotsa room!

Well, we went from the Upper East Side all the way across the island to the Convention Center where they were having some huge art show. At first I thought I was going to be sick since a) the place was huge and b) it looked like every two bit artist from every summer fair or festival had their Holiday Inn approved wares up for sale. It was the visual equivalent of forcing me to go to some prepubescent boy band concert and forcing me to get jiggy with it. However, it was Diann's birthday weekend and she made the call. Some of the stuff wasn't terrible actually and things looked way up when we went to a second portion of the exhibition that was located upstairs and away from the general hubbub. In this room was where they his all the actual art galleries exhibiting work of actual up-and-coming artists and it was here that I really did enjoy myself. Unfortunately hours of walking had taken their toll and the two of us were exhausted so we decided to take a bus back across town and search out some sushi. We found a hole in the wall place and grabbed a quick bite (if I remember the name of the place I'll insert it here later) and I dug the kitchen food but the sushi portions left a bit to be desired. The big roll little fish rule applied pretty heavily to this place.

We decided to stop by The Bowery Poetry Club to see our friend Greg and check up on my buddy from Chicago Shappy. I used to back up Shappy on the drums as a sort of house band for a late-night talk show he used to do in Chicago. My main purpose was to make noise, fluster poets and comics and try not to get punched. My drums got kicked or knocked over an awful lot. It's not always easy being the "bad cop" but it did get laughs. Unfortunately Shappy had the night off but after a few Yuenglings we made plans to meet up with Greg later that night. By now I really needed a nap so we caught the L train to Brooklyn.

Apparently the L train is undergoing some massive construction so we were already getting used to waiting forever for a train and then having to transfer once again after crossing the river. the weekend progressed I got more and more annoyed at all the delays but what're you gonna do, eh?

---to be continued---

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Saturday, March 08, 2003

Why we laugh when folks on the Eastern Seaboard bitch about the weather.

It seems as if Irvine Welsh has relocated to Chicago for a while and he wrote this opinion piece for the folks back home across the great big pond about our fair town.

It's always interesting to me to get an outsider's view of Chicago. Lately I've been making a lot of trips to New York and I wouldn't be against moving there if a job took me there but my heart will always be in the tough little town known as Chicago.

I guess I could go on a whole rant about why I dig Chicago so much but what do you really care? Dig the article may be one of the only times Welsh writes without employing a Scottish dialect you need to translate!

In the immortal words of Yello...Oh Yeah?

In the midst of economic uncertainty, fear for personal and public safety, the insane babbling of our Idiot-In-Chief -- which, by the way, if you watched his press conference Thursday night it was shocking to see how the man just could not understand at all why anyone would question going to war with Iraq…he is so entrenched in his own little world objectivity is an alien concept to him -- and general global unpleasantness apparently Hooters Airlines is the solution that will make everything all right?

Oh please.

However, if it weren't for Hooters Air, we would have never gotten this wonderfully snide quote:

"I expect Hooters Air to bounce along until they go bust," (Henry) Harteveldt (an airline analyst for Forrester Research in San Francisco) said.

Linguistic cues

On a side note a friend of mine celebrated his birthday yesterday and was recounting the previous evening's drunken tomfoolery. At one point he said, "Apparently we went to The Exit and I got pretty loaded."

I responded, "If you have to qualify your memory with the phrase ‘apparently’ then in fact you were really loaded.” You know, since "apparently" would denote the experience of someone recounting the previous evening's activities to the celebrant under the correct assumption said celebrant wouldn't have any clear memories of his activities.

Does that make sense or am I just thinking too much too early and not allowing my internal editor to weed out stupid observations?
A bit long-winded.

Sure, this goes on for a bit, but what do you expect when you ask Martin Amis to discuss the impending war with Iraq.

Something else I've noticed is that when I sync up my Palm Pilot each day to get a number of newspapers delivered to me I have to read all of 'em and make sure they come from a variety of sources in order to get even a half-assed picture of what's going on in the world today. It's pretty sad when you have to resort to exploring other nation's media in order to find out what's actually going on in your country.

Friday, March 07, 2003

Take it from me, I'm a professional.

I've been involved with this business called rock for many many moons now and rarely have I seen such a right on and bitingly sarcastic indictment of the band and biz side of things. Okay, I've read more biting commentary but this stuff is just plain funny. I do cringe a bit since I remember being the young band trying to get gigs and then as the years progressed I morphed into a rock critic and then slowly turned into a talent buyer who decided which bands got gigs and now I'm finally a mixture of all of the above while adding in a dash of the publicist...well, I'm not currently in a band, but if you look around town you can see a number of bands utilizing components of my drum set in exchange for free storage space! And who knows, if you come by The Pontiac on a Rock and Roll Karaoke Friday you might even see me relive my glory days as the lead singer in a band! I promise I have given up wearing hockey masks and one-piece black dresses on stage...

Anyway it's time to get schooled in the art of Rocking and/or Rolling so get your ass over there, go through the lessons and bone up for the final exam. Thanks to iconomy for the tip off on this one...

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Good morning!

To all of you stuck in an office this fine snow spattered morning, here's a happy little animation to start your day off with a smile. How can you diss a snowboarding reindeer?

Also, if you have a job and/or know of any positions opening up in your/any company, shoot me an e-mail by clicking on the posted by Tankboy text unemployment benefits are running out and I'm desperate for a job...any job in the Chicago or New york area...

Wednesday, March 05, 2003


Is it my imagination or is Avril Lavigne starting to look like early '90s Axl Rose?
As promised...the skinny on my New York excursion.

I'm gonna do this in two parts, so...


I hit the road really early -- I think I actually hit the expressway around 6am -- so I could avoid ruch-hour traffic as I crossed the states. I made the trip in early January to deliver my friend Diann's car to her place in Brooklyn with nothing but a portable CD player that skipped every two seconds. It took me about three hours to make it through the latest Roots album alone. For this trip my brother generously allowed me to use his ride which has a sweet six CD system with new speakers...aaaahhh...boy did the time fly. It flew so fast that I actually made it to Brooklynin just about thirteen hours. I don't know how I managed to speed through the Pennsylvanian Poconos without being bagged by their Gestapo, but I did.

A word on Pennsylvania and driving through their hill country. I purposely drove myself as hard as possible because I wanted to make it through the better part of that state's winding route 80 through rather mountainous terrain. Nothing sucks more than squinting into the pitch-dark road ahead while dodging eighteen-wheelers on a winding mountain road. Last time I drove through an ice and snowstorm kicked up causing massive skidding and a three hour wait while they cleared away the wreckage and salted the road ahead. At least I go to listen to both Common and the Roots skip free for that whole time. I really had to pee though.

So I arrived at my friend's place in Brooklyn (Williamsburg to be exact) right around 9pm. She made me some grub and told me that some friends from the Chicago band The Sarchmartins were in town opening for some dude at a sold out show at Joe's Pub. Well I got there too late for the show but we did decide to arrange to meet the boys out after they loaded out and parked the van back at their hotel garage. To pass the time Diann and I bundled up and tried out a new bar we hadn't been to before -- Sweet Ups where we saw a dumpy John Cusack look-a-like -- and it was there that I discovered two things.

ONE: In order to be a dude in Williamsburg it is a necessity to get a short choppy haircut and attempt to grow out as much of a beard as is physically possible while lounging in your vintage T-shirt.

TWO: A Chicago point of reference? Williamsburg is what the world would look like if Rainbo Club exploded over a couple square blocks...only folks are a hell of a lot more friendly.

So after a drink and a bit of catching up we took the train into Manhattan because our poor Chicago pals had been dragged to Times Square -- it is as hellish and overly Disney-fied as you think -- and we needed to rescue them from some awful and over-priced hotel bar. Well, we thought we needed to rescue them. They kept griping about the surroundings but they had a rather posh older patron they seemed to have no problems accepting drink after free drink from. Ah well, I suppose life on the road makes you thirsty.

Anyway, right around 2am we finally got out of the awful terrible Times Square hotel and walked towards Hell's Kitchen to a bar Diann recommended named The Bellevue. She warned the band boys it was kind of scuzzy but all they cared about were the "rock and roll girls" so we figured that it would do the trick. First thing I notice when we enter the place is that the impossibly tiny and stacked bartender is guilty of my biggest fashion peeve...she was wearing a g-string that rode above her low-rise jeans! When will the ladies learn to buy the appropriate undergarments to best compliment the top layers? How hard is it to coordinate that sort of thing?

Anyway, so here we have one bartender in bad fashion but the other bartender -- apparently the girl was for appearances and the boy behind the bar was there to actually pour drinks -- made up for it since he was the kind of guy to buy your shot at the first round. Yes! The music left a bit to be desired since it seemed to be all Teutonic goth-metal for the first half-hour but after a while the Clash and Guns and Roses started creeping in. Nothing better than Guns and Roses in a dank bar at 3am.

3am! Crap! Diann had to work the next day! The band had to get to bed early! All of this hit us at the same time! So Diann and I bid the band boys adieu and took a cab back to Brooklyn where I completely collapsed into an exhausted sleep within seconds of hitting the pillow.


Friday I woke up after Diann left for work and stumbled outside to move her car. You see in Brooklyn you can only park your car on certain sides of the street on certain days so my goal was to find Diann a Wednesday spot so she would have to worry about her wheels for a couple of days. Pay attention, this is going to be important later. So I found her a sweet spot right around the corner from her pad on a nice little residential street.

Then I took a train back into Manhattan to do some CD shopping at Academy Records. Academy is one of those places where music reviewers go to sell their used discs so you can often find albums that haven't even been released. Alas, aside from a disc by Matt Talbott of Hum, I found nothing. I noticed CD shopping has lost a lot of its fun since now one can pretty much download whatever they want before deciding whether to pay for it or not. I was pretty low on funds so I decided to cut my shopping short, grab a Time Out and head back to Brooklyn for some massive vegging.

Now I don't have cable and aside from NPR I don't listen to the radio so I decided to submerge myself in cable music programming and get in touch with what the kids are listening to these days.

Oh. My. God.

If I hear one more watered down Green Day/Stiff Little Fingers knock-off I'm going to scream. If I see one more bootie-waving gold-chain flashin' video I'm going to scream. If I see one more angst ridden Pearl Jam meets Rage Against The Machine rip-off I'm going to scream.

Face it, I'm just going to scream.

If this is what the major music industry has come to then I can't wait to watch it collapse in on itself courtesy of the termite effect of digital downloading. It's a pretty fucking sad state of affairs when a Rick Astley video comes on Classic VH1 and you actually think to yourself, "Hmm, maybe he was talented. Oh crap! I've been watching way too much Good Charlotte and Sum 41! Gads!" On one hand it's interesting that pop-punk is right next to bubblegum teen music (and what the fuck is up with Tatu?) but doesn't that erode the great feeling you're supposed to encounter when you first discover the whole "punk rock" thing. I mean will these kids ever get the whole DIY ethic? Doubtful.

So by this point my barin was officially jelly and Diann had made it home from work. Since it was her birthday weekend she was calling the shots and it was pretty evident she was still pretty wiped from the previous evening and wasn't really in the mood to go out and do much. So we vegged.

Then she napped.

Then I napped. Just a short nap mind you. At least that was the idea.

Next thing you know I had slept about thirteen hours and it was Saturday morning!

---to be continued---

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Okay again.

So I'm back...drove like a refined maniac and got from NYC to Chicago in under twelve hours so I am a bonafide god of the road.

Having said that, I've gotta spend some quality time with The Beagle so I'm just posting a show announcement for tonight and the full write-up of the NYC adventure will appear Wednesday. Sorry about the delay but I really did think I was going to have access to a computer while I was out East.

Obviously I did not!

And to prove what a cool cat I am...

...go grab a listen to Blur's new album, Think Tank, right here.

Thanks to Matthew for the heads up... appears as if the site has already been shut down...I'll put up a new link if I find one...until then head on over to Soul Seek to download the album...

Saturday, March 01, 2003


I know I said I'd update daily while in NYC, but I have no access to a computer! So all the dirty details will be here sometime (hopefully) on Tuesday...