Saturday, October 30, 2004

Tales of Terror

In Sunday's Book World, Dirda recommends several books to scare your ass under the covers.

Ghost Stories

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Postal Service Expanded Double-Vinyl LP

A new double LP of Give Up is due out Nov 9th, on vinyl. From the news story at Pitchfork:
...the collector's edition will be issued on 180-gram colored vinyl (one red LP and one white LP), and will feature all of the B-sides from Give Up's two singles. The B-sides include tracks such as remixes, a cover of the Flaming Lips classic "Suddenly Everything Has Changed", and covers of Postal Service tunes by The Shins and Iron & Wine.

White T-Shirt, No Lip-Syncing

Go here and click on either pedal, then on the next page, click on the large yellow bird. You'll enjoy a plain white T-shirt, fraudience-free, real performance at KCRW by Earlimart. The mp3s below are from their 2004 release, Treble & Tremble. They hit the same melodic nerves as the devastating, brilliant acoustic numbers from From a Basement on the Hill, but without all the weight of the Elliott Smith songs. Don't get me wrong; I love the weight. It's appropriate. But sometimes the spirit needs a little break.

The Hidden Track, from Insound
Heaven Adores You, from
Hold On, Slow Down

Maritime Music Video

If you have a jaded sense of humor, you might laugh at this video from Maritime as much as I did.

"Someone has to die to make room for you and I."

Ashton Kutcher Punk'd!

On his voting for Dubya in 2000: "I voted for him because I thought he was like me. I thought he was a good old boy like me."

Kutcher, 26, said Bush has proven him wrong. And he had a message for the president: "You're not going to fool me again.''

Just then, a man in the audience yelled "You got punked!"

Endorsements, Endorsements

SugarDuck linked to the New Yorker's Kerry endorsement yesterday. Now, from yesterday's Washington Post, 36 Papers Abandon Bush for Kerry. Worthless flippity-floppity papers.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

mp3s - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Nick Cave's Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus is out today. Here's an article and an mp3 for "Bring it On" from Anti-Records. The Duke reviews the album at Blogcritics. He quotes There She Goes, My Beautiful World (mp3), and writes paragraphs like this:
Abattoir Blues also houses at least two of the kinda love songs nobody else seems bothered to think much about. The kinda stuff you listen to and you're not even really sure if it is a love song. It's all a bit like that scene in Punch Drunk Love when Adam Sandler tells Emily Watson that she's so pretty he wants to smash her face with a hammer. It's a love that has an intensity verging on pathological.

And last, a Nick Cave rarity from Martin Scorcese's "The Soul of a Man:" a cover of J.B. Lenoir's ironic blues song, I Feel So Good.

John Peel mp3s

R.I.P., John Peel.

Download and listen to some mp3s from some brilliant Radio 1 performances, here.

Grudge 2?

Sarah Michelle Gellar from her interview at Suicide Girls:

DRE: Would you be in a sequel to The Grudge?

SMG: I’m not signed for a sequel but I know Sam wants to do one. I want to open the movie first.

DRE: Did you shoot more than one ending?

SMG: We shot endings as well as epilogues in Japan. We shot the film on a very modest budget then a month later I had to go back to Japan for reshoots. That worried me a bit but it turned out they wanted to add backstory for our characters.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Degas's Obsession

From The Guardian:

"The first x-ray images of one of the strangest paintings by Degas reveal the 19th century artist's obsessive reworking of an image for over 40 years, most of his painting life.

There isn't a ballet dancer, a racehorse or a woman in a bath tub to be seen in The Young Spartans, but something about the groups of adolescent girls and boys shaping up to one another - the children of ancient Sparta, with the rock in the background from which unwanted babies were hurled - haunted the artist."

Bridge to Posthumanity

In the Wilson Quarterly, learn all about transhumanism. "The term transhuman is shorthand for transitional human, a stage along the way to becoming posthuman." Carl Elliott paraphrases Robert Bradbury, of the Aeivos Corporation:
"Immortality is probably not in the cards, Bradbury tells us, but once we eliminate all diseases it will be possible for us to live for 2,000 years. When we get rid of all the other hazards of living, we’ll be looking at a life span of 7,000 years. Unless, of course, we happen to be over 40 years old already, in which case these technologies will come too late for us. Bradbury recommends that those of us past 40 look seriously into cryonics. If we have our heads frozen, we can be resurrected at some time in the future by our benevolent, superintelligent descendants."

Hmmmm. If I'm going to have to hang out with "benevolent, superintelligent descendants," just leave my ass frozen, thank you.

Ashlee Exposed Even More jumps on the Ashlee-burning bandwagon with this article. Heather Havrilesky, Salon's celebrity slammer of the day, says,
"And with one little recording mishap, young Ashlee cashed in whatever counterfeit street cred she and her handlers tried so hard to cultivate."
Pretty funny stuff, but even funnier:
Hours after the SNL incident, several Websites dug up an interview in Lucky Magazine, where Ashlee professed her disdain for pre-recorded vocals.

Lucky: What are your takes on lip-synching?

Simpson: I'm totally against it and offended by it. I'm going out to let my real talent show, not to just stand there and dance around. Personally, I'd never lip-synch. It's just not me.

And more:
Ultimately, her show was a close-up glimpse of Pop Star Day Care.
And even more:
Because the public is fickle. Just as her invention as a pop diva captured its imagination, insuring that her album debuted at No. 1 while her sloppily-crafted pop-star self was still half-formed, so will they turn on her for being the fabricated, marketed, propped-up self that they knew she was from the start.

Check out her first live performance (Click on Video Clips: Ashlee hits the...on the right side of the page next to her photo) at the Knitting Factory, from Notice that the live recording goes into faux-music video mode as soon as Ashlee starts to sing on stage. Can she really be that bad?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Frank Black Interviewed In

Here. Watch the silly ad and then read Thompson ramble like this:

...We just go into a room, plug in a bunch of amps and come up with a repertoire. That's how it is. In the arena of entertainment, we are trying to have fun and be entertaining via this thing called rock music, popular music or whatever. And that's it.

I think there are probably not enough people making music that allows their personalities to be what they are, to be there as part of the art. Which is necessary, I think, for cool music. It doesn't matter what kind of music it is; it has nothing do to with that. It's really about saying, "Hey, I have a personality and I'm not going to keep it hidden." Too many people are trying too hard to be something that they're not, and no one really believes it.

Yo La Tengo mp3's - Deeper Into Movies

Here are another couple of mp3's to compare and contrast. Yo La Tengo's Deeper Into Movies is on their 1997 album, I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One. It's a raucous, rhythmic, hypnotic showcase for their electric guitar prowess. On the new Matador at Fifteen compilation, you'll find an intimate acoustic version, recorded live in Australia. I usually have doubts about "unplugged" versions. Most of the time, if a song rocks out, it was written to do just that. In this case, though, as in the Frank Black post from Tuesday, you hear not just a song updated, but a new song altogether.

Deeper Into Movies mp3's, from:
I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One
Matador At Fifteen

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

40-Year Old Virgin

Good news for Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared fans, and for self-proclaimed losers in general across the nation: Judd Apatow is directing the Universal Pictures film The 40-Year Old Virgin. Story here.

Stupid Beer Fads

I was going to title this post "Les Bieres du Jour," but referring to Pabst as "le biere" is like calling shit "le poop."

It seems that Pabst became the hip blue-collar beer of choice about 2 years ago. I think they're a little late, but The Boston Globe has this article about the Pabst phenomenon. You go ahead and drink your Pabst to be hip. Just remember that I warned you about "Pabstulence."

I'll stick to my Yuengling and Killians, or even an MGD. Mmmm.

Check out these beer facts on the Pabst site.

Star Wars: ROTS Trailer May Precede Incredibles

I remember the day when we could barely handle the anticipation of a new Star Wars movie. Now we can barely handle the anticipation of the new trailers. Rumor has it that the new trailer will play before the Incredibles on November 5th. Scoop here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Murakami on Writing

John Wray interviewed Haruki Murakami (excerpt) in the Summer 2004 Paris Review.

From the interview:


I myself, as I'm writing, don't know who did it. The readers and I are on the same ground. When I start to write a story, I don't know the conclusion at all and I don't know what's going to happen next. If there is a murder case as the first thing, I don't know who the killer is. I write the book because I would like to find out. If I know who the killer is, there's no purpose to writing the story.


Is there also a sense of not wanting to explain your books, in the way a dream loses its power when it comes under analysis?


The good thing about writing books is that you can dream while you are awake. If it's a real dream, you cannot control it. When writing the book, you are awake; you can choose the time, the length, everything. I write for four or five hours in the morning and when the time comes, I stop. I can continue the next day. If it's a real dream, you can't do that.

The Pixies' "Levitate Me" - the Metamorphosis

Just when you thought you had an idea of what to expect next from Charles Thompson, aka Frank Black, aka Black Francis, aka Frank Black Francis, and just when you suspected he was creatively spent when you heard he was recycling some of the classic Pixies tunes for his personal profit, he surprises you with the strange, schizophrenic Frank Black Francis Treated Disc 2. The disc does more than bring new life to the old classics. Thompson makes you wonder whether the new versions are the Platonic ideals of the originals. Are these new tracks what our memorized, beloved songs were meant to sound like all along? To me, Black Francis of the Pixies howled out dark songs as a madman would, in a swirl of screaming guitars, in both the original Come On Pilgrim version and the Live in Spokane (2004) Pixies version. Frank Black of 2004 seems to have actually crossed the jagged line that separates sanity from insanity, and when you hear him sing "won't you please run over me" with creepy echoes, eerie guitar feedback and big-band horns, it sounds like he means it.

Levitate Me, from:
Come On Pilgrim (1987)
Pixies, Live in Spokane, WA (2004)
Frank Black Francis, Treated Disc 2 (2004)

Vote for [Some] Bush

At college campuses across the nation, you can do your part to foster patriotism and increase voter turnout by pledging with Votergasm. There are three pledge levels, as listed:

Citizen: I pledge to withhold sex from non-voters for the week following the election.
Patriot: I pledge to have sex with a voter on election night and withhold sex from non-voters for the week following the election.
American Hero: I pledge to have sex with a voter on election night and withhold sex from non-voters for the next four years.

Now, even Nader voters can feel good about voting.

Just beware those dangling chads.

Catcher in the Rye Revisited

From " An occasional series in which The Post's book critic reconsiders notable and/or neglected books from the past." (This is a pretty good series, we usually learn a lot from Yardley).

Anyways, turns out Yardley absolutely HATES the book. One thing he claims is it may have invented adolescence as we know it today. Is that true, or was the book more a product of its times? It is certainly a book that appeals mostly to teenagers: you read it in 9th grade and think it's great but read it at 25 and it seems pretty silly.

Yardley says "The Old Man and the Sea" is also a terrible book. But he doesn't say why it's so bad, which is a shame because we'd like to hear more. We had to read this book in school and didn't like it that much, but knew it was supposed to be really good and Hemingway is a genius and all that. Maybe we were right all along!

J.D. Salinger's Holden Caulfield, Aging Gracelessly (Washington Post)

Monday, October 18, 2004

Dylan mp3s - Bootleg Rehearsals & Recordings



1. Like A Rolling Stone (1)
2. It's All Over Now Baby Blue (1)
3. It's All Over Now Baby Blue (2)
4. Blowin In The Wind
5. Maggie's Farm
6. Like A Rolling Stone (2)
7. The Man In Me
8. To Ramona
9. Most Likely You Go Your Way
10. Simple Twist Of Fate
11. Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat
12. If Not For You
13. I Threw It All Away
14. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
15. Going Going Gone
16. You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome
17. Simple Twist Of Fate
18. My Babe
19. Like A Rolling Stone (3)

Link via Largehearted Boy.

Classical Musicians on Drugs

Better Playing Through Chemistry, from yesterday's NYTimes Arts section. From the article:

The little secret in the classical music world - dirty or not - is that the drugs [beta blockers] have become nearly ubiquitous. So ubiquitous, in fact, that their use is starting to become a source of worry. Are the drugs a godsend or a crutch? Is there something artificial about the music they help produce? Isn't anxiety a natural part of performance? And could classical music someday join the Olympics and other athletic organizations in scandals involving performance-enhancing drugs?

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Krist Novoselic on Electoral Reform

The NY Times reviews 'Of Grunge and Government,' the book on electoral reform by former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic. Read more from Krist Novoselic here.

Friday Night Lights Soundtrack

I saw the movie tonight, and the music was fantastic. The tracklist for the soundtrack is on the Hip-O records website.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Dick and the Butt-buddy

Wonkette links to sites with the Crossfire video clip in which Tucker Carlson accuses Jon Stewart of being John Kerry's "butt-buddy," and Stewart calls Carlson worse.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Send a Ju-On E-Curse

The website for The Grudge will scare you. The trailer for Ju-On will instantly turn even your ass-hair white. Send a friend a curse at the Offical Movie Site.

Jon Brion and Amy Mann

Stream live audio from Jon Brion, Amy Mann, Elliott Smith, Tenacious D, Robyn Hitchcock, and others, on the Largo virtual phonograph (click on Audio - Video). There is also a Jon Brion video clip.

Novelists Write for Change

Novelists are a quieter lot than musicians and actors. Slate asked a variety of American novelists who they're voting for, and why. Thirty-one responded. The results are here.

Turd Birds

This was one of Yahoo's daily picks today. You can order figurines such as the Custom Eric Crapton, which is not Japanese for "Clapton."

R.E.M. Answers Your Lifelong Question

Which Rockville was Mikey Mills singing about in Don't Go Back To Rockville? Old-school R.E.M. fans have wondered since Reckoning was released. He finally answers the question at the Vote for Change after-party:

For years we've wondered whether the great R.E.M. song "(Don't Go Back to) Rockville" referred to the historic town that serves as Montgomery County's seat of government. "Yes, that's right," band member Mike Mills, who penned the lyrics, confirmed to us while partying after the Vote for Change concert rocked the rafters of MCI Center

DNC finance staffer Collette Tomayko, 31, who grew up in Silver Spring, broached the Rockville topic. Mills told her he wrote the song (from R.E.M.'s 1984 "Reckoning" album) about a girl at college he had a crush on who'd moved back to Rockville to spend the summer with her parents.

R.E.M. fans are now free to "move on" to "What is the meaning of life" and "Is there a god."

The Origins of the Genocide in Sudan

From the Boston Review, Alex de Waal gives us the background on the Darfur situation that the newspapers have left out.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Pelvic Powerlifting

This fellow has no need for a clean jerk.

Crap, I can't even blog right.

SO The Keoki told me yesterday that I accidentally posted From Bubblegum To Sky's Some Kind of Fantastic, when I meant to post "Vampire." A pretty useless post, since you can get Some Kind of Fantastic from anyway. By the way, there are some really good tracks from the High Water Marks on there, too.

So I apologize, and here's the real Vampire track.

4 More?

The Electoral Vote Predictor 2004 predicts a Bush victory. The Gallup Poll has Kerry ahead among voters surveyed. Maybe the Boss and Vote for Change are singing to the wrong people.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Enjoy Every Sandwich

Enjoy Every Sandwich: The Songs of Warren Zevon is the title of the tribute album to be released Oct 19 by Artemis Records. It will feature Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Adam Sandler, Don Henley, The Pixies, and others.

If you have his greatest hits CD, you'll find the Hindu Love Gods' cover of Raspberry Beret. The Hindu Love Gods were a blues cover band featuring Zevon as lead singer and the REM band (Berry, Buck, Mills) backing him. Or is he fronting them? They had one self-titled release in 1990.

I suppose Raspberry Beret is an okay song, but I prefer Junko Pardner and Wang Dang Doodle. These blues covers are also reminders of how tight, even tough, the R.E.M. band (Berry, Buck, Mills) sounded with the great Bill Berry.

Monday, October 11, 2004

But the Leaves are So Pretty

Someone should have taken Baudelaire to the woods to remind him of the bright palette of the oak and maple canopies, and the symphony of fragrances of the autumnal wood. He might not have felt like this.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Elliott Smith: Final Album, Final Track

A Distorted Reality Is Now A Necessity to Be Free (Real Audio) is track 15 on From A Basement On The Hill, out on October 19.

Linked from Splendid e-zine's boombox.

mp3 - From Bubblegum To Sky

Here's Vampire, another track from "Nothing Sadder Than Lonely Queen," From Bubblegum to Sky's sophomore album, released in April. Its rough edge contrasts a bit with the playful pop that dominates the rest of the CD. The roadhouse guitar rhythm reminds me of Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky."

This is my second post on this album. It deserves repeating.

Thursday, October 07, 2004


I love the unique sound of 'em. No, not earth's most despicable creature, but the bilingual (English-Portuguese) bossa nova/indiepop band from NY and Brazil. Listen to some tracks from their sophomore album, Sunshine Barato, at the bottom right of this page. Also, don't miss the video clips.

Kinky Crustaceans

No, it's not an indie band name. It's seabed reality for lobsters. From a interview with Trevor Corson, author of The Secret Life of Lobsters: How Fishermen and Scientists Are Unraveling the Mysteries of Our Favorite Crustacean:
They also have this little interesting feature of their anatomy where they have a big bladder in their head and they piss out the front of their head. So they're constantly pissing in each other's faces. When a female wants to seduce a male, she comes by the door of his apartment and he sits inside and pisses out the door at her. If she likes the smell she comes by and sticks her head inside his apartment and pisses back at him.

Nice thoughts for the next time you dip your lobster tail in a dish of butter.

Maybe it's just the Irish lobsters that do this?

Flight 77-Pentagon Conspiracy Theory

By now, you've seen the video (via Freedom Underground) attached to your e-mail and linked to all over the web. I was at the Pentagon site, right at the entry control point, and I didn't see anything resembling an aircraft part coming out of the wreckage. Still, I don't believe that it was the result of a government plot. As Philip D. Zelikow, the 9-11 commission's executive director states in the last paragraph of this Washington Post article:
"The question of whether American 77 hit the Pentagon is indisputable," Zelikow said. "One reason you tend to doubt conspiracy theories when you've worked in government is because you know government is not nearly competent enough to carry off elaborate theories. It's a banal explanation, but imagine how efficient it would need to be."

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Ten Great Short Stories... listed by William Boyd in the Guardian:

"Spring at Fialta" by Vladimir Nabokov
"My Dream of Flying to Wake Island" by JG Ballard
"Funes, the Memorious" by JL Borges
"Prelude" by Katherine Mansfield
"The Dead" by James Joyce
"Mrs Bathhurst" by Rudyard Kipling
"Day of the Dying Rabbit" by John Updike
"In the Ravine" by Anton Chekhov
"Bang-Bang You're Dead" by Muriel Spark
"Hills Like White Elephants" by Ernest Hemingway

Should he have included others in the place of any of the above?

Check out the article. Boyd discusses the appeal of reading and writing short fiction, and describes his proposed seven subcategories of the short story.

The Suburbs Really Are Killing Us

Sprawl kills.

Just as Christopher Porter suspected.

Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney to make a rock'n'roll album

From Pitchfork:
"I'll make a rock 'n' roll album with Paul. That's going to happen next year. Paul is way out there. He's a complete original."
Whoa, fellas. Don't rock us too hard.

mp3 - Teenage Fanclub with Jad Fair

My Life is Starting Over Again opens the outstanding Daniel Johnston tribute album, "The Late Great Daniel Johnston: Discovered Covered." It's a jubilant song about post-suicidal (not post-suicide) renewal, sung with that I-didn't-jump-and-I'm-still-alive epiphanic glee. Observe the power of the almighty rest that follows two staccato guitar notes that give emphasis to "My life..." and "is starting over again."

Monday, October 04, 2004

Irony (n.)

Hey, schoolkids. Don't look to Alanis for good examples of irony. All you need to look at is this one.

Some people demand Dan Rather's resignation for blindly accepting and reporting on the forged National Guard memo. Very different people demanded Tony Blair's resignation and George Bush's explanation for blindly accepting the Nigeria uranium forgery, and using it to build the case for war. Same crime. Different consequences.

The Internet & The Dept of Homeland Inefficiency

The internet is used for virtually and information, music blogs, entertainment, sports, gambling, e-mail, porn, etc. etc. etc...oh, and for terrorist propaganda. Abu Maysara al Iraqi, or "father of Maysara the Iraqi," a spokesperson and promoter for Abu Musab Zarqawi, is like a radical Islamic Matt Drudge, posting reports on attacks on allied forces and high-quality videos of executions. Federal agencies have failed to find this fellow. I wonder why.

I say: Hackers of the World, Unite. Because the government intel agencies apparently never will.

Damn You Dreamworks!!!

People will take their kids in droves to yet another half-assed obvious RIPOFF of Pixar but they won't take them to see one of the most different, creative movies to come along in years??? Listen to The Keoki, people, his kid loved "Sky Captain"! What kind of values are you teaching your kids? Plagiarism is okay? Shoddy work is acceptable? It's okay to steal ideas that people worked really hard on for years, people who try to make a really good movie? We can't wait for a year from now, when Dreamworks present us with "The Superfolks" about a superhero family that takes a break every now and then to perform a cheesy Smashmouth remake of an oldies song, in between making nonstop lame pop culture references!

'Shark Tale' Hooks Movie-Goers With $49.1M

New Bush Air National Guard Memo Uncovered

Upon my return from San Antonio, I was alarmed by a revealing attachment to an e-mail message I received from a high-ranking Air Force official.

The following memo was obtained by Dan Rather and CBS News: