Wednesday, January 31, 2007

And for my next act, I will write some bad poetry about vampires ...

I think I've decided that my curse is to be über-aware of myself and my surroundings, while being kept from truly connecting with the world around me for just that reason. Can you be submerged in experience without losing control? That sounds much worse than it really is, though. Would I give up the benefits of one in order to attain the satisfaction of the other? I guess, much like the eternal Tootsie Pop "Lick" question, we may never know.

Sorry, I'm still pretty sick today -- even though I'm going to drag myself into work because deadlines are deadlines -- so I think my brain is mildly malfunctioning. I'm sure the 17-year old segment of my frontal lobe will cede control back to my "mature" id any time now.

For those of you who aren't under the weather, might I recommend catching the 18+ (read: early) Thunderbirds Are Now! / Oxford Collapse show at SubT before heading over to the first Cherchez La Femme DJ night of 2007 at The Pontiac? It's where I'd be if I was going out tonight. And it's a testament to how crappy I feel that I'm not going out tonight, since I've been looking forward to that SubT show for over a month now. Bah!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Who knew Sting read this site?

Thanks boys!

Do you think Stuart still has this kit?


Well, the big news I have to share with all of you is that I've been named an Associate Editor at Chicagoist and now head up all the Arts & Entertainment coverage. My predecessor, the inimitable Scott Smith, has moved on to commandeer the web editor position at Time Out Chicago. So this new position is a rather bittersweet one; I am excited to be working with a terrific staff of writers and look forward to keeping Chicagoist on the top of the heap when it comes to reporting on music, books, media, theater, art, and so on. At the same time, I really loved working with Scott and I believe his guidance really helped sharpen up some of my own writing skills that had grown fat with self-indulgence over the years.

Also, I have received news that my brother, his wife, my niece, and my nephew are relocating back to the Chicago area from Canada. My brother just accepted a job in the States so this move seems rather sudden to me. Again, it is a bittersweet development since I know how excited my brother, and my family, is to have him back in the area. At the same time his wife is a proud Canadian, and while I tease her mercilessly about it I do actually respect her devotion to her homeland. (Or homelands ... I know she has dual citizenship in Canada and the U.K.) So i hope to be available in whatever way necessary to help make her transition go smoothly.

The other ch-ch-ch-change isn't really a change so much as it is an announcement. Don't forget that I am still on hiatus from The Pontiac, so if you swing by there tonight to see me you're going to be disappointed. But don't let that stop you from visiting Mikey anyway! (Also, mark your calendar, because I will be back at The Pontiac next week. Yay!)

And while I'm on the subject of announcements (and remain king of the relatively painless segue) don't forget about the bill I have put together at Double Door this Thursday. The Midnight Shows, Brad Peterson, La Scala, and tenniscourts are sure to impress even the most stone faced indie-rock hipster, and between each band I'll be spinning mini-sets of tunes to keep you grooving until the next acts paralyzes you with their genius.


That pop culture you just can't get enough of.

Battlestar Galactica
(SPOILER ALERT!) Battlestar Galactica is still one of my favorite shows on television, but they seem to have lost some steam since the mid-season break. The Starbuck / Apollo storyline is starting to grate (and cause me to want to bitch slap the whiny little Apollo just about every other second he's on-screen) and everything just seems to have slowed down. Part of this can't be helped since the season took off at a breakneck pace the writers couldn't hope to sustain, but it's still a little worrying to see the plot lines falling back on the overly familiar tropes of the star crossed lovers and the righteous search for the truth by any means possible.

(SPOILER ALERT!) Well, on this week's 24 Jack Bauer again mysteriously gets his ass kicked by common goons at the end of the episode in order to build (a minimum of) suspense for next week. I'm just waiting for the scene where Jack and his dad punch out some baddies Tango & Cash stylee. Overall this was one of those episodes where we mostly circle around a few plot lines, without all that much happening, in order to kill an hour. I expect next week should be a little more exciting. I'm still not totally feeling this season, but if I remember correctly I had much the same reaction thus far into last year's season, so I'm not making any final judgments yet.

(NO SPOILERS HERE!) Oh that's right, Heroes is on at the same time as 24 so I have no update! I have to wait until I have enough time to watch this weeks episode online while dodging websites with potential spoilers. Yay! I will say that I find Maureen Ryan's resistance to the show to be kind of charming. I know what it's like to intensely dislike something, only to have it explode into a megapopular beast and thus cause you to retrace your steps and question whether or not you've missed something.


A request for information.

I was pretty sick with a cold yesterday, and these things usually only hit me for twenty-four hours at a time, but I feel even worse today. I hear this particular strain has been making the rounds, so can anyone else who's been sick recently (in the Chicago area) let me know how long this particular virus is going to hold on for? Ick.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Pleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease ...

They had better officialy announce The Police reunion tour soon or I'm going to burst from the anticipation of the whole thing. Plus, if I don't get tickets, heads WILL roll. Double-plus, this is finally a reunion that seems to have excited even the usually musically stoic Photogal!

The only reunion that would excite me more than this would be a tour with the "classic" Pink Floyd line-up playing nothing after 1981. And the only reason that would be more exciting is because it'll never happen.
Further proof of the impending penguin invasion.

Let's start things off on a lighter note this week. The next few days are going to be busybusybusy at Tankboy Central, so let's not tax ourselves too heavily on the dawn of this new week.

Credz due Sarah for directing me towards this wonderful clip.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Parenting skillz.

No, no kids on the horizon for me yet -- sorry Gidget -- but it's nice to have advance warning about the particular dance moves I should pick up in preparation for the actual child rearing. (As always, click the image for better readability.)

Speaking of dance moves -- was that a motherfucking segue or WHAT? -- you KNOW what's happening tonight!

DJ Tankboy.
The Continental.

Lots of stuff to give away like:
Lily Allen's Alright, Still CD
The Good, The Bad, and The Queen CD
Lily Allen and The Good, The Bad, and The Queen posters
Pair of tickets to the Lily Allen concert at Metro on February 8
Pair of tickets to the CTRL-ALT-ROCK show at Double Door February 8

Oh yeah, and kick-ass music selected by moi! Look, I even made a flyer:

I rock. You rock. We rock together. Tonight.

Credz due Melissa for bringing the "Moonwalk Superstar" graphic to my attention.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Send someone to fetch us, were in Sasketchewan!

Jon over at Present Tense offered up this challenge:

... on Friday, I’m going to try to put together my top ten driving albums, and if you could, I’d love it if you’d put together yours. Post your list to your blog or in the comments here on Friday, and we’ll all trade a little paint. Then, I’ll link in all the lists and we’ll see who takes the checkered flag.

Gentlemen (and ladies), start your engines ...

So, okay, why not? I'm in. This was actually a little harder than I anticipated since I realized that in the past the main tool for getting through cross-country road trips was the mix-tape (and, later, the mix-CD) but for the purposes of this list I was restricted to choosing full albums. Also, it should be noted that now when I have a lengthy trip ahead of me it's a toss-up between catching up on spoken word podcasts or just turning the reins over to tankPOD and trusting his "shuffle" choices. Anyway, enough of this hemming and hawing; here are ten albums that have helped me while away the time and shorten the perceived time spent behind the wheel.


Green Day
Perfect from start to finish and makes the time whiz by in a flurry of unbelievably produced drums and guitars.

Guns N' Roses
Appetite For Destruction
A classic sing-a-long disc with the grit flying into your teeth that makes roadtrips worthwhile in the first place. Plus, it's excellent in case you stumble into a late night party in a trailer-park populated by babes right off poster-laden walls of your local mechanic.

Listen Like Thieves
I drove to Maryland my senior year of high school to visit old friends before we all graduated and scattered, never to be seen again. I played this album over and over and over again and never got tired of listening to it.

Jesus Jones
This one is best for speeding through Pennsylvania and outrunning the ridic amount of highway troopers they employ.

The Lemonheads
Come On Feel The Lemonheads
This one reminds of a particular moment in time that I find reassuring when I revisit it, plus I love singing along to it. Not a recommended selection if you need to sit next to me though.

The Police
Message In A Box
Okay, this is slightly cheating since it's made up of five full albums, but can you think of a more solid body of work to get you through a couple hours on the road?

Queens Of The Stone Age
Songs For The Deaf
This one is almost too obvious. Also, it's one of the few discs both Photogal and I can listen to, at any time, and both agree on.

Navy Blues
This is just a perfect album.

The Blue Album
And this is another perfect album.

The Who
This is one of those discs that I heard at just the right time when I was a teenager and it let me know salvation was possible within a song. That's a good thing to remember in the middle of a fourteen hour trip.


(although I almost went with The Great Escape)
I know, Blur as a runner-up ... an actual shocker! Had I been able to include the singles disc it would have been in the Top Ten, but I said no comps (The Police doesn't count as a comp, remember?) and I'm sticking to it. Album-wise, I can make it through neither of the named Blur discs without occasionally wanting to fast-forward a track here or there, so that knocked 'em out of contention.

Josie the Pussycats
Josie And The Pussycats Soundtrack
This only got knocked off because the covers tend to grate. But the originals are just the sort of punchy tunes that compliment the open road perfectly.

The Muffs
Blonder And Blonder
This serves the same purpose as the Green Day selection above, and I could only really include one or the other. But I can just about always count on Kim Shattuck's voice to urge me along and redirect the anger I'm feeling towards that woman driving an SUV while talking on her cell phone and sipping a gingerbread latte.

Cattlemen Don't
Another masterpiece, but sometimes I'm just not feeling the middle section, so I can't always count on it on the road.

The Wonderstuff
The Eight Legged Groove Machine
I loved how they mixed pure pop with acidic aggressiveness, and that duality lends itself well to driving.


Very important news!

Today is my little brother Sean's birthday. So Sean, you should know that to celebrate your special day I did get you a stripper. Unfortunately the cake I hid her in was delivered to a convent by mistake and all I've got here are all these brownies that were meant for the parish bake sale. Sorry.

Hopefully everyone else's gifts to you don't get detoured like mine did.

Happy birthday!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Grand illusions and small discoveries.

Okay, why did it take me so long to finally watch this movie?

I love Philip K. Dick.

I really like Richard Linklater and totally dug the rotoscoping technique used in Waking Life.

So why did it take me so long to get around to watching A Scanner Darkly?

I guess part of it can be attributed to the fact that I'm just not as motivated to see films in the theater as I used to be. I've grown so used to "on-demand" viewing, and the ease of watching DVDs (and now I've noticed the same is growing true of television via the networks posting their shows online for those of us that missed the original airing) and relying on home media centers to satisfy our entertainment needs.

This makes sense both time-wise and fiscally, especially as movie tickets grow ever more expensive and our workdays stretch to include both hours spent in the office and periodic check-ins via email and the web from home or in transit or on vacation or ... you get the idea. But the art of film, and the way we experience doesn't necessarily need to make sense.

Films, good films at least, should be experienced in the theater. The large screen should obscure your peripheral vision and draw you into the vortex formed by the huge projected illusion in front of you. And this goes doubly for something as visually arresting a A Scanner Darkly, with its unique mimicry of life achieved through ever shifting form and color holding only the most tenuous of connection to the traditional animation we have grown so used to.

Waking Life was a joy to see on the large screen, and Linklater's choice of animation style fit perfectly with the stream of consciousness dreamscape it was meant to convey. In A Scanner Darkly the same technique is employed, only this time form and shape is more cohesive and less surreal, with the overall effect being an amazing simulacrum of life achieved through less than realistic rendering. It is this stunning effect on the small screen that makes me realize how much I missed by giving the movie a pass when it was in theaters.

So there's that. Visually it's a knock-out. But what about the story? Here is the twist; the movie is visually amazing and I wish I has seen it on the big screen for that reason alone, but the actual narrative is better suited to the small screen. It's an exciting tale, filled with twists and turns no one sees coming, but it's also a claustrophobic tale. The cast is small and the characters overlap, and their paranoid world is one best considered within cloistered environs and, honestly, that effect is much harder to achieve when the junkie scratching invisible bugs out of his hair is thirty feet tall.

I'm not going to go any further into the story since I don't know who has seen the movie yet and who hasn't, but I will say that, even for a futuristic tale, it seems borne on the shoulders of the author's own original experience. It feels like a personal tale and, in the end, it is a tale of hope.

So I'm sad I missed A Scanner Darkly during its original run, but had I seen it then I might not have watched it again when it was released on DVD, and then I would have missed some of the film's deeper and more subtle pleasures.


MTV reads donewaiting, doesn't get our jokes.

Just another reason I love being associated with donewaiting. It is also a nice example of the MSM trying to act as if their ear is to the ground only to end up with their foot in their mouth.


Here come the jesters 1, 2, 3 ...

I am just taking the following verbatim from JB's email, because there is no way I can say it any better. Actually, the only thing I changed was in the title, since she had two too many periods forming the ellipses. And the only reason I'm pointing that out is to remove the "two men to do a woman's job" bit below. Because it's true, and that hurts.


Thursday, January 25th
9 PM-2 AM
Liar's Club
1665 W. Fullerton

DJ's June Cleavage
Rudy Tuesday

Because Amber Waves is out of town,
and we all know that
it takes two men to do a woman's job.

Please join us as we spin rock, punk, soul,
and other things we deem appropriate.

It’s all part of your rock and roll fantasy.
Or something like that.

So there you go.

Also, DO NOT FORGET, I am at The Continental this Saturday and your attendance is MANDATORY! I have LOTS of stuff to give away, and I'd love to give it away to you. Gapers Block's new music blog Transmission wrote up the evening here, and they cover a lot of the possible prizes you could go home with that evening. They don't mention it, but there will also be free tickets to the Chicagoist CTRL-ALT-ROCK v2.0 on February 8. Get there early as we'll be arranging the giveaways between 11 and 12 or so.

So keep Saturday open and I'll see you at Liar's tonight!

Aw heck, hold on, here's one for the ladies. Hey Keanu, what're you looking at?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

How can such a good song go so, so wrong?

So I was listening to Repetition*Bowie: Midfinger's Tribute To David Bowie with thoughts of reviewing it for DoneWaiting* and realized that reviewing a tribute album is largely a pointless endeavor. It is what it is. Usually they're terrible, sometimes they're revelatory, but usually they're just curiosities for people that are already fans.

For the most part the Repetition*Bowie comp does a decent job. The best songs are the new interpretations of David Bowie's older and more obscure tunes, like the nice reading of "Conversation Piece" by The Gumo or the lush take on "Letter To Hermione" by Hollowblue. neither version makes either song any better, but they are at least entertaining and interesting to listen to while avoiding absolute mimicry in achieving their objective.

Now, often I respect most the artists that take the songs and twist them into something entirely different -- Ike & Tina Turner's "Proud Mary" is a good example of this -- or infuse them with a wholly unique character -- like Wilson Pickett's "Hey Jude".

The only band on all of Repetition*Bowie that really attempts this style of re-reading is Outsider with their surprising version of "Let's Dance" done as a metal tune straight out of the mental hollows of Limp Bizkit's Florida. Now, I said I often respect artists that attempt wildly radical readings of popular tunes, but this is a fine example of something that is just a bad, bad, bad idea. It's terrible. Just awful. As a matter of fact, it's so off-the-mark and painful to listen to, I can't suffer it alone. So join me.

MP3: Outsider "Let's Dance"

Are your ears bleeding yet? Okay, let that settle in for a minute. Don't move, you might go into shock. Just relax. Let it slip from your consciousness. And, when you feel as if you've been able to tie together enough shreds of your sanity to regain control of your motor skills, play this as a sort of antidote to chase the final horrors that have latched onto your deepest subconcious. the Wrens are going to make everything okay, trust me.

MP3: The Wrens "This Boy Is Exhausted (live)"

Wrens photo by Matthew Kanable

*Hey Rob, can we get a ruling on the correct way to write out that website? Is it "donewaiting" or "DoneWaiting" or "Done Waiting" or "" or what?!


Heroic possibilities?

The Primatech Paper Company is much more than it seems. Maybe you should apply for a job there?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A discourse on the importance of a broad base of knowledge and the effects of this base upon every day observations.

You should know by now that if there's a post with a topic like the one above, with a picture like the one to the left, there is a good chance I am apologizing ahead of time for being less than hilarious by offering the visual of the cute widdle kitty as a peace offering.

The other day I was reflecting (I do that from time to time) on my reading material and realized that I read a lot. And I read a lot about stuff that doesn't directly interest me either. It was actually while I was slogging through a modern dance review in the New Yorker that it hit me; I could care less about modern dance, so why am I reading about it?

It took me a second, but the answer came to me more easily than I thought it would. I read stuff that doesn't interest me because it helps me better understand that which does. Broad studies, even in subjects we don't enjoy, help us make mental connections we might not otherwise have made. Basically, the more you take in, the broader your perspective, and the more open you are to different interpretations or observations of familiar fare.

I must have known this before and just forgotten it, right?

Maybe. But then again, maybe not. I mean, from my current vantage point it seems so obvious it's silly, but where was this understanding when I was railing against algebra classes I was "never going to use in the real world?" Why didn't I get it? It's not important if you're never going to use the actual equations late on in life, what does matter are the mental gymnastics you perform to solve the problems.

Sometimes it's simple revelations like this that make me want to go back in time and smack the shit out of my twenty year-old self.


Pigs fly! Pigs fly! (Not Pink Floyd related, I promise.)

Pitchfork gave the new Sloan album and higher rating than the new one from The Shins. I'm dumbstruck.


New Blogger versus Old Blogger.

Has anyone here made the change? And were they happy with the new version?
My code is ancient, like from 2001 or 2002, and a bit of a Frankenstein since I've adjusted it myself over the years, so will it make the transition from Old to New without everything blowing up?


Drop, Rock, and/or Roll is only four days away!

This Saturday is my monthly residency at The Continental and, as usual, I've tried to make it worth your while to get there early. This week we'll be celebrating the forthcoming U.S. release of Lily Allen's Alright, Still with giveaways from her label, tickets to her Chicago appearance, and some other goodies. Also, since I'm such a freak about Damon Albarn, I've arranged for some prizes related to the release of his new supergroup's self-titled debut, The Good, The Bad & the Queen, as well. Finally, I'll also have a few pairs of tickets to the February 8 Chicagoist sponsored CTRL-ALT-ROCK v2.0 showcase at Double Door. The only rule is that you have to get to The Continental between 11pm and 1am to be eligible for the prizes!

Here, to celebrate the release of The Good, The Bad & the Queen today, let's take a look way back at an earlier Blur remix that, although we didn't know it at the time, really indicated the direction Albarn would soon take both Blur and his solo career. I'm not referring so much to the hyper qualities of the track, instead I'd like you to notice the greater emphasis on sound, and finding melody within the sound, instead of shaping the sound into a melody.

Blur "Movin' On (William Orbit Mix)"
M4A: Blur "Movin' On (William Orbit Mix)"

Monday, January 22, 2007

Three down, forty-nine to go.

The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd
by Toby Manning

Yup, a rock biography. I thought I would breeze through this, but I suppose that when you know an awful lot about a particular subject it can take you longer to read about that subject, since you spend a lot of time evaluating the author's message and guaging whether they "got it right" or not. My verdict on Toby Manning's attempt at outlining and explaining Pink Floyd? Not bad.

Pink Floyd was one of those bands that meant a lot to me, and probably served as the gateway to my appreciation of most of the music I enjoy today. However at the time I was introduced to them, biographical information on them that was trustworthy and consistent was sorely lacking. My best bet were the xeroxed copies of the Brain Damage fanzine I would get from the local import record store / head shop three towns over from where I went to high school.

As the years have passed, the Pink Floyd story has mostly sorted itself out and solidified, although most biographies of the band falter by choosing sides or attempting to lay blame on one camp or the other when trying to explain the group's slow disintegration. The first half of Manning's book is given over to this enterprise, and he does a better job than most at retelling the band's story from neutral ground. I would definitely recommend this as a primer for the average fan looking for some background on the band.

The second half of the book is less useful. While the section on band member's various solo projects was nice since not much has been written on that subject (although the book joins the canon as one that condemns Roger Waters' The Pros And Cons of Hitchhiking, an album I personally think is terrific) later sections going over only fifty individual tunes seem sketched out at best. And the rehash of each album in a separate section mirrors most of the information already lain out earlier in the biography so that seems superfluous. I suppose the whole second half of the book is reflective of the current trend towards lists as a sales tool when hawking the printed word. Easy to read capsules of trivia, no matter how redundant, seem to be finding their way into more and more books.

So if you're looking for an introduction or refresher course on the band, this book is lovely, but ultimately I think the desired audience is the casual fan (or one who's interest in the band was rekindled by their Live 8 reunion) so keep that in mind when you're weighing its purchase against another selection at your local bookseller.


A blasphemous utterance.

Paul was mentioning about how nice a Bears victory would be and I was moved to write this response to him last night, after they clinched their spot in the Super Bowl line-up.

"Oh yeah, the Bears winning is just great ... unless you just happen to be a buy living in Chicago who cares not one whit about football and has had his television hijacked by the local affiliates and their countless variations on Bears "news" stories!"

And I'm sticking to that.


The horror! The horror!

24 versus Heroes tonight? What sort of sadists are scheduling television nowadays, and why would they put two of the three shows I actually watch on AT THE SAME TIME!


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Saturday's obligatory cute shot.

This dude owns a lot of cats. He lives in Taiwan and takes them in because, according to him, the "Taiwan government's policy of homeless dogs and stray cats is 'KILL THEM ALL'" and he wants to do what he can to save as many animals as he can.

I suspect, if I let her, Photogal would gladly follow his example. Here is one of his kitties when it was a baby.

Go visit his Flickr page and learn more about his mission. Hey, maybe someone living in Taiwan will read this and adopt one of his adorable kitties!

Ahem, urm, um ... okay, back to more manly topics. Don't forget all the stuff that's going on tonight. Yeah, um, rock and booze and sex and drugs and all that.

And kitties!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Band pimpin'.

Go see The Assembly tomorrow when they celebrate the release of their excellent new EP, Paranoia Will Destroy Ya. I love these boys and am so glad I've been around since their very first show to see them grow into the rock and/or roll behemoth they have become. It's truly a beautiful thing. Here's pretty poster for you to print out to help remind you to go to the show.

Also, get your discount tickets here so you don't have to pay full price if you don't want to.


Wherein I prove that I am honest in my critiques.

People know that I really did not like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's debut, and thought the attendant glories bestowed upon them by the blogging masses were fucking ridiculous. So one would probably not expect me to even give their second album a listen, right?


You can't do what I do and expect to be taken seriously if you hold grudges against a band that gets in the way of an honest appraisal of their music. So that is why I have given CYHSY's second album a positive review over at donewaiting. I know, you are shocked. And stunned. And wearing really tight trousers. Read it here and marvel.


Bar pimpin'.

I used to work at Club Foot and fell in love with Chuck and Lauree, the bar's owners.

When I worked there it was still a smaller struggling bar, but everyone involved was fighting the good fight to keep the place afloat on its own terms. I am pleased to say that as the years have passed, more and more people have discovered how awesome the place is, and I think they are doing pretty well now. Everyone always seems to have a great time there, and tomorrow night Club Foot is celebrating it's 12-year anniversary.


Twelve frickin' years! I guess I never realized that they hadn't been open all that long when they first hired me. Wow, I'm feeling a little old. I think I'll just have to sidestep that feeling and stop in for a drink tomorrow after the show. maybe I'll even hold my nose and do a shot a Jagermeister with Chuck to congratulate him.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Upcoming. Or coming up.

If you look to the right there you'll see I have a number of shows coming up at Double Door in the next few weeks. I had sort of pulled back booking-wise over the last few months, but I've rearranged my schedule and some of my priorities, so that should leave me with more time to work on the odd bill here and there.

Anyway, February 1 I have The Midnight Shows, Brad Peterson, La Scala, and TennisCourts at Double Door. I know folks in all of the bands and am rather excited about this one. It should be a night of pleasing pop topped off with a touch of soul. Also, some schmuck named Tankboy will be DJing.

February 8 is another biggie since I helped put together the Chicagoist CTRL-ALT-ROCK v2.0 show at Double Door that night. I think we've come up with a fantastic bill with The Reptoids, The Ladies & Gentlemen, Farewell Captain and The Passerines. (Did you just notice I slipped into the third person when discussing Chicagoist business? Habit.) That Tankboy guy will be spinning at that show too, but some other Chicagoist writers will be DJing as well, so that should be fun. Also, it being a Chicagoist event, you just know there's going to be free stuff involved.

I'll have discount tickets to both gigs available soon and will direct you towars a printable location as soon as I can. This little memo is just a reminder to save those dates and make sure all your dressed to impress threads are back from the dry-cleaners before the shows. I'll also put up the poster art as it comes in from each band. One thing I've really grown to enjoy in the past few years, especially with the advent of seemingly everyone acquiring basic layout and design skills via their computers, is seeing all the posters bands come up with. Of course some have been at it longer than others, and TennisCourt main man Wes Hollywood has, teaming up with his wife, long been known for creating simple, bold, and arresting designs. Here's his poster for the Feb 1 show. Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Bullet stylee!
There, that should do it. Short and sweet before I have a chance to babble too much. Here, as a bonus, enjoy this kickin' tune from the Strange Brew soundtrack.

MP3: Ian Thomas "Strange Brew"

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Best. Gag reel. Ever.


Motorvatin' and hibernatin'.

Today is your last chance to catch Rock and/or Roll Tuesdays at The Pontiac this month! I'm taking the next few weeks off while I fine tune the evening, try to line up some promotions and such, and schedule some cool guest DJs. When I return in February the night will move to a bi-weekly schedule, which should help make each happening a bit more of a, well, happening. The only downside I can see to this is that Photogal now needs to occasionally share the TV with me on Tuesdays, so there may be some fights over the remote.

Anyway, I wanted to make sure I left everyone salivating for the next good time, so I've enlisted DJ mad love to help me close-out the weekly event before the hiatus. I've spun with her a couple other places around town and always love what she plays, so I'm hoping lots of folks show up, drink in some early rock vibes and then help us turn the night into a dance party later in the evening.

I've also got a truckload of new stuff to play. Lots of cool remixes and such, as well as brand new stuff from Bloc Party, The Ponys, The Assembly, The Good, The Bad And The Queen, Of Montreal, Panthers, and Fu Manchu. And more, but I don't want to give everything away.


The weaker side of Bauer.

So I was thinking of Jack Bauer, and I was thinking how we never see his daughter Kim anymore, and I was thinking about why that is. Children of main characters are often trotted out and placed in jeopardy to heighten tension and provide the main character with emotionally wrenching decisions. The problem with this story machination is that, in the case of Kim Bauer, she is so pointless we actually feel enmity towards Jack when he decides to break a mission to help her.

Think about it. Kim Bauer is one of the few (with the exception of murderous baddies (and even not always then)) characters on 24 whose demise we root for!* So when she is in peril, and Jack rescues her, the viewer reflexively goes, "Why?!" Yes, on the surface we see a man coming to the aid of his offspring, but as far as our emotional investment in the story, 24's writers have done zero to make Kim Bauer a character we feel any empathy for.

Maybe that's why they've tried to break Jack down a bit this season. I mean, if he can't tell that a suspect needs further torture, and he cries over something as silly as killing one of his closest allies at CTU, then it stands to reason he might just be addled enough to care the next time Kim gets chased by a cougar, right?

RELATED: Check out these Jack Bauer facts. This is my favorite: "Superman has Jack Bauer pajamas." Word.

*This is no fault of Elisha Cuthbert's, though, since we would happily watch her run around in ridiculous clothes for 24 straight hours ... we just want to make sure that point is plain. It's Kim that's the doofus.

__________ in Chicago magazine.

Check this out. We rule.


And finally, a silly kitty.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Two down, fifty to go.

The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World
by A.J. Jacobs

I'm actually more or less on track as far as my reading schedule goes. My next two books in the queue are a little shorter so I might even get ahead of schedule a little bit! But you could care less about that, when I haven't said word one about book number two.

This was one of the best Christmas presents Photogal got me, because she picked it out purely through instinct. Little did she know that I had heard about the book, wanted it, but just hadn't gotten around to picking it up for myself since I already owned so many books I hadn't read yet and felt guilty about adding another to the pile. Of course the second it was given to me as a gift it could jump to the front of the line with no problem!

The Know-It-All is an interesting sort of memoir, following A.J. Jacobs as he reads through every single volume of the Encyclopædia Britannica. It's sort of his effort to follow through on becoming "the smartest boy in the world," but, as one would imagine, that doesn't quite happen. Instead he figures out intelligence isn't just built on facts, but facts can help one become wiser when they are given context. In his case, the discovery is that mankind has done lots of bad things, but we've done even more good things, and it's these little victories that pile up to salvage us as a race.

Okay, maybe I blew up Jacobs' moral; magnified it a bit. It's fitting though, since by the end of his book you almost get a contact high from the heady reading and swarm of facts, and that can lead one to slightly grandiose pronouncements. Maybe the wisdom lays within realizing such pronouncements are best left slightly deflated. This helps reign in the hyperbole and sift out the real discovery.

Also, typing this half-asleep probably isn't helping me much in the category of "overstatement."

Here, this is easier. Jacobs' struggle with who he had been, who he was, and his relationship with the people around him -- and how all those things mutated through his endeavor -- struck a chord in me, and while we are in fact two very different people I still sensed in the author a sort of kindred spirit. I'm curious to know who else walked away with that feeling.


I didn't mean to make your head hurt.

Remind me not to try and write up these books first thing in the A.M. since I seem especially prone to tangents. To make it up to you I offer a nifty little tune I discovered, preformed by a little Norwegian combo by the name of Don Juan Dracula. I originally heard it as the opening music to the Brain Food podcast, and dug it because it really reminded me of Light FM. After listening to the disc I now thing I need to find an excuse to get Don Juan Dracula over here to play on a bill with Light FM so I can selfishly stand in the back of the room, grinning from ear to ear while having the time of my life.

Man, is everything I type today just coming out totally sucktastic or what? Less talk, more music. Here you go.

MP3: Don Juan Dracula "Take Me Home"

Friday, January 12, 2007


Seriously. It's official. Identify yourself via comment or email.

And, randomly ...

  • The new Ponys disc is their best. I dug the urgency of the first one, enjoyed them finding their way through the second one, and I'm really appreciating their grasp on this third effort. Also, they might just deserve the award for nicest buzz-band on the planet.

  • The new The Good, The Bad & The Queen ... I can't get a read on it, honestly. Far more drowsy than I expected, but I think it's a grower. There are more layers in there that keep spiraling outward each time I spin the disc, so we'll see. The final verdict is not in yet, though.

  • Debonair is actually fun. Color me pleasantly surprised.

  • Liar's Club was hopping last night. Upstairs and down! Kudos to JB and Lisa for the fun-filled mix upstairs. I dug what the downstairs guy was trying to do, but it was nearly as much as the silliness the gals were throwing down.

  • I am going to see Mission Of Burma tonight. I am very excited. My face is going to melt off and I am going to love it.

  • The Fratellis will be the next band bloggers go gonzo over, and this is why. Download the mp3 for "Chelsea Dagger" right here.

Oh yes, and have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Solitary travel.

My car has been in the shop since this weekend so I've become reacquainted with regular use of Chicago's public transit system over the last few days. I avoid the trouble spots that plague about 95% of the CTA system, so while it's been a bit more time-consuming to get to the office, it's also been relatively pleasant. And I've been getting a lot of reading done, so that's always nice.

Of course my car decided to act up just before winter hit again. We've been enjoying an unusually mild Chicago winter this year, and last week temperatures were even pushing into the fifties, which is totally unheard of in January. (On one hand the temperature shift is terrifying, but a tiny part of me is also guiltily enjoying the respite.) Naturally the second I am without wheels and my feet once again become my primary mode of transport, the cold front sweeps in and I find myself shivering at bus and train stops.

I travel through some rougher parts of town to get to work, so you would think I'd be collecting interesting stories of weird fellow passengers, but this is not the case. It seems all the crazy people are heading into Chicago during the day, not out. Were I going downtown I'd probably have reams of wild anecdotes, but since I travel through the West Side I encounter primarily tired, quietly resolute citizens. Not much to write about there unless I want to start peeling back and examining the relationships between people of different financial strata and the societal compacts that form from their interaction. But it's a little early to get that serious, or that depressing.

So I think instead I'll just bundle up, crack open a book, and prepare myself for another daily migration Westward.


Another lost treasure, found!

The Dogs In Space soundtrack was a cassette that got played a lot when I was younger, so this find is notable more for sentimental reasons than sincere musical appreciation. CD copies of this soundtrack are impossible to find, so you can imagine just how pleased I was to find a copy of it in digital form on-line. Enjoy.

Also, musically related, I will be attending the taping of the one-year Anniversary of Sound Opinions' move to Chicago Public Radio. You should go too.


Greedy guts.

My birthday is in June, so who wants to buy this for me when it comes out that month?

I am, of course, kidding. Everyone knows you wait until the third generation of any product before buying it. So who's buying it for me next Christmas?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A P.S.A. (Podcast Service Announcement).

Lately I've been listening to a lot of podcasts. Since the new tankPOD has so much room, I download stuff at home and listen to it on the way to, at, and one the way home from work. I've found some real gems (like this one I wrote about a while ago) but obviously there's a lot of dreck out there. So I've decided to institute a semi-regular series wherein I recommend for one podcast and warn away from another.

This week's lame podcast award goes to LogicallyCritical. I had high hopes for this podcast when I first read about it, hoping for intelligent dissection of the day's events in an impassively logical manner, but the end result is a left-leaning version of a jillion other "critical" discussions. The closest analog I can identify would be G. Gordon Liddy's old radio show, wherein he used "logical" thinking to underscore his points.

Luckily the sour taste left by the aforementioned podcast was cleared right out with Brain Food, a delicious examination of general science theories explained in a matter of fact manner with a dose of interesting weekly science news at the end. Maybe it was last week's book that stoked this particular fire, but I've discovered a renewed enjoyment of the exploration of day to day science stuff. This podcast is a keeper.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

My friends are talented.

First, peep this awesome illustration of the Mad Moldovan and I that has been altered to include a very special guest via Gina's mad Photoshopping skillz.

Second, check this out. Guess who is joining me at Pontiac tonight? You guessed it! Rudy Tuesday. Reunited and it feels so right ... and reminding you why Tuesdays began to rock in the first place. The post-holiday hangovers should have dissipated by now, your liver's had a few weeks of bed-rest, and now it's time to start building up your tolerance to summer all-day-long drink-fest levels. Consider us your coaches and our selections your soundtrack. We will inspire you to new heights.

I mean, who could NOT be inspired by these faces?

I know, I know, you can't resist.

A technical note for those attending this evening. This will probably be the last time tankPOD and diPOD help me run the night before their replacements (also inventively named tankPOD and diPOD) are rotated in. The protective skins for the new 'PODs are stuck in Canada (yet another reason to gripe about our neighbors to the north) while they try to clear my cash and calculate the exchange rate. Hopefully after much head-scratching and the consultion of a Canuckian an oracle or two, the skins will be here in time for the new gear's debut next Tuesday. Also, at the end of the month, I may have a Lily Allen-related event in the works, but more on that as it develops. Anyway, please come by tonight, and I promise you'll have at least this much fun:

Bottom photo credz The Smussyolay.

Monday, January 08, 2007

How could I have almost forgotten this?

Happy birthday to my favorite solo musical artist, Mister David Bowie née Jones. A primer fulled with tidbots and trivia is here.

I hope I look that fucking good 26 years from now.


Also, !!!

No, not "chik-chik-chik."

I'll be the first to admit that the photo to the left is most probably just two friends out, but since Corgan has been living with Love while working on her new album, it's not completely unthinkable that the two have grown "close."

At the same time, if Corgan and Love are hanging out, do you think they call Mel Gibson in to mediate if they run into conflicts or need a shoulder to cry on?

Hey, I think that's a fair question.
I've got a lot to say, but no time to say it.

We officially have owned the house in Michigan for a week now and Saturday we headed up there to do some work and see how the guys we have helping us rehab the place were coming along. As far as the particulars of the day, I'll delve into those further in a bit, but I didn't realize how much I would like the place once we owned it.

Beforehand I had my reservations, especially since I have lived in a rural setting and am not as overtaken by romantic notions of country life as others may be, but once we started to actually work on the place it grew on me quickly.

The only thing that freaks me out? Well, two things? One, I'm convinced there are ghosts. No place is that old without gaining a little spookiness. The other is just how dark and quiet the area gets at night. Zero light. And there's very little ambient sound, and almost none of that sound is man-made.

I suppose that make it the perfect "get away from it all" home, though, doesn't it?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

First, a piece of business.

The Chicago Tribune continued to "get with it" bt profiling one of my favorite local bands, The Ladies & Gentlemen, in yesterday's paper. I think it actually does a fine job of catching what the whole project is all about and describing it in a way that even a little old lady could get. It's only taken them, um, three or four years to figure out how good Skid and the gang are.

Ah well, better late than never!

The Ladies & Gentlemen play tonight at Subterranean with another excellent local outfit, Plane. I haven't seen Plane in over a year so I might try and make it out of the house for the first time since NYE. With Plane, you're never sure exactly what to expect. You're always going to get some excellent New Order inspired pop, but you might also walk into a ten-minute rhythmic workout that combines the best parts of Kraftwerk with some catchy, crunchy, '70s-style rock.


This is actually pretty geeky if you think about it.

The illustration below originally appeared in yesterday's post, but I had to remove it since, according to JB the "boob cat" was too distracting. Never mind that I thought it was kind of a cute real-life recreation of the Firefox logo and wanted to share it for that reason alone.

However, in retrospect, I guess I can see how it would be distracting if you didn't catch the visual reference right off the bat.

Friday, January 05, 2007


The Jackin' Pop Survey 2006 is finally live. You can read my ballot here if you're at all interested, however since you've probably already read my Best Of 2006 there aren't too many surprises.
It's another one of those mornings.

I sit here, staring, aware that I have a jillion things to do before I even get into the office, but the usual early morning writing isn't having the jump-start effect on the mental battery it usually does. So let's see, I actually have to dig through my list of impressions / topics that I scrawl on the inside of my leg to use in occasions such as this.

I'm beginning to worry I write less clearly than I used to since people keep misinterpreting what I'm trying to say. Or am I just to assume that no matter what I write online, someone is going to put their own spin on it and react accordingly regardless of how many bases I cover or how completely I make / defend a certain viewpoint?

Hm. I wrote that a while ago but it seems appropriate given the dust-up my discussion of The Empty Bottle's inclusion on the 10 Best Rock Clubs in America list seems to have spurred. I'm not going to go into all the details here, since you can read (and comment) on the whole thing right at the original entry. After a bit of reflection I realize that what I wrote was clear enough, but it was on a subject lots of people have deep personal feelings about and those feelings are heavily influenced by individual tastes. The only thing that bums me out a little bit is that folks thought I was slamming one venue when I was actually trying to say that, "yeah, the place is good, but Chicago is so great there are places that are better now."

And, of course, there are a few commentors who will always fall in the latter category of eternal contrariness. Sometimes they are a bit annoying but I think, in the long run, they might actually be healthy for discussion, if for no other reason than they might draw another party in to more thoroughly examine their claims.

So there you have it. Thanks to my inner-leg list for supplying this morning's topic and thanks to you for sitting through it.

Everyone waiting for my yearly (as Mark put it) "I hate those new assholes at the gym that make getting in shape a New Year's resolution and clog up the works and don't wipe down the machines and generally fuck things up for us year-round workout types for the month or two until, mercifully, they give up and go back to being fat assholes" and was placing bets on just when it would appear ... you are out of luck. I've already vented to the Chicagoist peeps via our Google group and have no venom left on the subject. Use the money you would've bet with your partner to go out to lunch together, but please don't use that money to join my gym. Thank you.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Who knew Syd Barret could see this far into the future?

I was reading an article by Chuck Klosterman yesterday that referenced Syd Barret (actually the piece ain't a bad read) and I was reminded of this photo of Barret. I realized it might just have been the first MySpace profile photograph ever.

What do you think?


You've gotta have a dream.

I have literally been searching for a recording of "You've Gotta Have A Dream" by the California Children's Chorus for over twenty years. The search didn't really ramp up until about six years ago, though, when I discovered that there had actually been a soundtrack for The Cannonball Run. You see, that song is the one that runs over the closing credits, and every time I hear it I'm transported back to being nine or ten years old and laughing over the outtakes with my dad and my brothers.¹ I've always loved the song for the effect it has on me, but I had never come across it outside of the actual film. So the existence of a soundtrack gave me the hope that one day I would be able to listen to the song without hearing actors talking all over the sweet tune underneath.

So six years ago I decided to expand the search on-line, but even there the song remained as elusive as The Chinese Democracy. I had given up hope entirely until, two days ago, there it was on my computer. Someone had heard of my search and not only sent me that particular tune, but the entire Cannonball Run soundtrack and song highlights from both Smokey and The Bandit flicks as well as a few tunes from Hooper! (Yes, it's true, I went through a particularly bad Hal Needham phase in my younger years. Blame it on my dad and the particularly macho tone of the Texan social strata. It's actually a miracle, and one I think you need to thank my mom for, that I turned out the way I did.)

Anyway, now I have the song and it has unearthed a solid wave of nostalgia that's fighting against an undercurrent of unease. Unease? Why would I feel unease?

Well, when you've been after something for so long, and this is the longest I've ever searched out one particular song, what is there to do next? How do you fill that nagging void that's left upon delivery? Success is sweet, but the search fulfills a certain need as well.

Wait, I've got it. Now I've just got to track down the soundtrack to Rock & Rule.² That should be a cinch, right?

MP3: The California Children's Chorus "You've Gotta Have A Dream"

You know what? I'm feeling especially sappy and nostalgic today, so I'm throwing in a bonus track from one of my other favorite movie from that period, Seems Like Old Times. That whistling bit is possibly one of my favorite musical moments ever.

MP3: Marvin Hamlisch (featuring Chevy Chase) "Seems Like Old Times Main Theme / End Credits"

¹I'm sure my mother must have been there too, but it's such a dude movie that I think my young mind only retained the other boys around me that were laughing at the sheer idiocy. I mean is it really fun to see Dom DeLuise slapped by Burt Reynolds over and over and over again. Well, actually, it is.)

²This is funny because unlike Cannonball Run, there is no soundtrack for Rock & Rule. Well, there might be one somewhere, but it would only exist within the master tapes of the songs used for the movie and nowhere else. This should keep me occupied for a while.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

One down, fifty-one to go.

Black Bodies and Quantum Cats: Tales from the Annals of Physics
by Jennifer Ouellette

So here is it, book number one finished in 2007. To be fair, most of this was read throughout 2006, sitting neglected for long periods of time in the bottom of my messenger bag, but I finally made the race to the finish (i.e. covering 3/4 of the book) in the last few days.

I had picked this up after hearing the author interviewed on NPR in hopes of getting a relatively painless refresher course in basic physics. It didn't quite accomplish that, but it did stimulate gears in the cobwebbed recesses of my skull that hadn’t turned more than two or three millimeters since I closed my last science textbook more than a few years ago.

Jennifer Ouellette tries to humanize the discoveries with fun and quirky little profiles of the men and woman involved, and many times their personalities do help to put the science of they helped define into a more clear perspective.

I admit that once we started encountering more quarks and Schrödinger's Cat, the material became less fun and more work, but I'm still glad I was forced to revisit these subjects. In some ways this was a great way to kick off this year's book project since it was in a subject I usually have little interest in, so by consuming it I limbered up the ol' brain in ways it wasn't used to, which might just make reading for traditional fare (for me) even easier. Okay, I'm already into book number two (one of the great Photogal gifts from last Christmas) so hopefully I'll be filling you in on that one in a few days.


Whilst we’re on the subject of writers ...

Recently I've been reading Waiter Rant, since it reminds me of the good ol' days of working in the service industry (and also proving that every restaurant is completely dysfunctional and it's a miracle waitstaff don't go postal every three days). Anyway, a few days ago the site's author was answered a friend's query in regards to how the author's book writing had progressed recently. The author answered;

"Harder than I expected," I say. "But thank God for computers. I can't imagine typing this all out on a typewriter."

I thought about this for a second. Now I'm actually old enough to remember having to type my first term papers on a typewriter, using carbon, and adhering to strict MLA guidelines that necessitated the typing and retyping of page after page after page after only a few typos. It was maddening. At the same time, in retrospect, I can't help but think that for the most part that process might have been better as far as weeding out 99% of today's writers.

I was talking to Photogal on Monday about how it's so paradoxical that I personally am a little afraid of change, and can get sentimental about "how things were better back then." At the same time, though, I'm definitely an early adopter when it comes to technology, and the dissemination of information. So on one hand while I might miss the discipline that writing used to involve, and subsequently dissuaded mort people from tackling the construction of prose in the first place, but I also embrace and love the Pandora's cacophony that tumbles out of my computer day-in and day-out.

Anyway, I was talking to Photogal about this paradoxical situation and she agreed. I think her exact words were, "Yeah, you're weird."