Monday, July 24, 2006


Okay, this is a continuation of that last post.

Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies

This is my birthday album. I always like to buy something new on my birthday to lounge around and listen to. I wanted this one for months, but never got around to getting it for whatever reason. It was well worth the wait. It's a great release. Smokey jazzy sound. Like going to a jazz club on acid.

Golden Smog - Another Fine Day

Pretty disappointed, I must admit. Not a lot of good value on this release. It's not all bad, but really any memorable songs. I miss the old days of this band. That was when there was no real effort, just a bunch of friends writing whatever. It sounds here like everybody is taking their songs way too seriously. Oh well. At least I'll always have Down By the Old Mainstream.

Still holding off on Thom Yorke's solo album. I should really pick it up because I even had a dream about it the other night. Tomorrow's purchase will be Spoon's reissue of Telephono and Solf Effects.


Thursday, July 20, 2006


I've been picking up a ton of new albums lately. Really, I need to slow down because I've spent a fortune the last couple of weeks. It's okay though because there are many new albums out that I really wanted. Haven't been disappointed yet by any purchases. I'll briefly sum everything up, but in a couple of different posts. This is part one:

Built to Spill - You in Reverse

Okay, so I never really got into Built to Spill as much as I should've. They were one of those bands that Hedges would shrill about. I should've taken his advice because I haven't been disappointed in five years or whatever (Modest Mouse and Songs: Ohia are a couple of his suggestions). I always figured that Built to Spill was just another post-grunge Seattle band....all crunchy guitars without substance. Well, it is very post-grunge Seattle scene.....very guitar-driven. But I love it. Think Pixies if they were a grunge band.

Islands - Return to the Sea

Alright, this is a great album. One of this year's most hyped albums, but I'm happy to say that it lives up to it. One of the quirkiest releases I've heard this year (along with the new Half-Handed Cloud). However, unlike Half-Handed Cloud, this stuff is pure power pop. Sounds good on the radio type stuff. Killer, I mean KILLER, synth-pop. Two of my favorite songs this year are here ("Rough Gem" and "Where There's a Will There's a Whalebone"). Definitely one of this year's best.

Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche

Probably the most exciting release for me this year. Plus it's an outtakes album.....but outtakes albums are never this good. It's Illinois, pt. 2, more than a bunch of scrambled together demos. It makes sense that none of these tracks didn't make it on the original album. They're different. Not drastically, but it just makes sense. Hard to say it's better than the original, but it's really terrific stuff. I love it.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Things have been so much better this week, compared to last week, especially the last couple of days. Yesterday was so great!! It was a long day, but fun of fun.

It started off great when we had an animal expert on our morning show from Busch Gardens. She had all kinds of cool animals including my favorites, a couple of penguins and a lemur. They were so cool. The show was insanely chaotic and stressful, but I had a blast.

At 10am, tickets for Tom Waits's show in Asheville went on sale. It took several minutes of Ticketmaster telling me it was sold out, but I was able to get them. Unbelievable. Tom Waits is one of those concerts I have to see before I die, and I'm still in shock that I'll be there in a couple of weeks.

After work (and a nap) I left for Charlottesville to meet up with my sister, her husband, and my nephew for a nice dinner. My sister's is expecting again and it was wild to see how far she's come along since I saw her last....I guess that was almost four months ago, so duh.

Then it was off to the Danielson show just down the street at Satellite Ballroom. It was a blast.

First up was stand-up, Neil Hamburger. If you haven't seen this guy, you're really missing out. He's a train wreck. King of one-liners.....yeah the worst one-liners ever. I saw him on Kimmel a while back and loved him. The crowd was so confused, but that's why he's so funny. Last night he started off with several lame jokes and spent the next half-hour berating the crowd. He really let one heckler have it and threw a drink in his face....the same drink he had been spitting up his throat goo in. "Why don't the Sanders daughters eat KFC's extra crispy chicken? It reminds them of their father's wrinkled old foreskin."

Vetiver was next. Pretty boring. Some nice moments, but I wasn't too interested throughout. It was tough to top Neil Hamburger, but a droning Grateful Dead act is impossible. All I kept thinking was, "Man that lead singer looks like Mitch from Dazed and Confused all grown up."

Okay, now Danielson. I can say this show is in that list of best shows I've ever seen. Ever. They were incredible. The band was insanely entertaining. Br. Daniel was so serious as the leader of the Famile. The Famile played off his every move, nodding and shaking their heads with everything he said. When the crowd deserved punishment, he gave it. With every clap-along or snap-along or sing-along we had to practice before the song began, and we practiced until we got it right. Of course, playing along with Danielson is about an impossible task, but that was the fun in trying. Short set, but incredible performance. They played mostly songs from Ships. Brilliantly, too. The live versions of "Kids Pushing Kids" and especially "Two Sitting Ducks" were just incredible.

I picked up Brother is to Son for the ride home (Megan Smith sold it to me personally!!). However, once I woke up this morning Ships went right back into my stereo. I can't burn out on Danielson.

See? Things are nice now. Plus I'm just getting started. I'm off work until Wednesday. If things go right, I'll be partying it up in the Fan tonight. Tomorrow it's off to Busch Gardens, although roller coasters don't sound nice with a hangover. Another party Monday night for my birthday. Oh and Tuesday is the new Golden Smog! Hooray!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Hundred Highways

I was very excited to hear about the release of Johnny Cash's American V: A Hundred Highways. However, as with any posthumous release, the same ethical question arises. I desperately wanted resolution to this series, but American IV would have been enough. I was worried that any other releases would just be unreleased demos slapped together. Thankfully, from what I've read about American V, Johnny fully intended to have this released as is. I'm glad it did get released, as it is amazing.

American V is a remarkable ending for a career. Throughout, it's as if that's what it was recorded specifically for. His last written song, "Like the 309," sounds almost like a self-eulogy, albeit a lighthearted eulogy. His version of Gordon Lightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind" is a gorgeous summation of what he will remember, while Don Gibson's "A Legend in My Time" shows what he will not regret. "Help Me" sounds like a self-prayer, while he finds room to damn those he doesn't pity in the booming "God's Gonna Cut You Down." Thankfully no songs are out of place like his versions of "Rusty Cage" or "Personal Jesus." It is simply about the man.

I'm very happy that this found the light of day and it is done with respect and thoughtfullness. No integrety is lost. It is a beautiful testament to the voice of the last half-century, literally in the voice. It should be noted that in Rick Rubin's liner notes he mentions hearing the differences in Johnny's voice on good and bad days. However, the voice of a man holding on to life and struggling to breathe can still boom out beyond any music accompanyment. That was there to the end, and will always have impact.

From what I've read, there are plans for an American VI. If done with the same tact as this release, it will be great. However, for this series and this career to conclude here seems appropriate.


Okay so the year is halfway over, so time to reflect on my purchases. It's been a pretty solid year for music, but not overwhelming. I think the second half of the year will be better, but so far I've picked up some solid releases:

Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Band of Horses - Everything All the Time
Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit
Built to Spill - You in Reverse
Calexico - Garden Ruin
Cat Power - The Greatest
Johnny Cash - American V: A Hundred Highways
Danielson - Ships
Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
Flaming Lips - At War With the Mystics
Half-Handed Cloud - Halos & Lassos
Islands - Return to the Sea
Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat
Loose Fur - Born Again in the USA
Robert Pollard - From a Compound Eye
Streets - The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living
Strokes - First Impressions of Earth

Pretty solid list so far. Pretty hard to pick a favorite, but I've got a few that really stand out....three of which I bought last week.....I'll write about that later.

Tomorrow is the release of Thom Yorke's solo album. Next week is new stuff from Golden Smog and Sufjan Stevens. (Tuesday edit: Whoops! Today is the release for the new Sufjan! Missed that one.)

Also looking out for by year's end is new stuff from Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Decemberists, Mountain Goats, Now It's Overhead, Robert Pollard, and Yo La Tengo. Also Jason Molina has about a hundred albums coming up. Can't wait.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Stupid Week

This has been the more idiotic, stupid week ever!! I would've posted a ridiculous running diary all week, but my internet has been down all week. It's up now, kinda....I'll get to that in a minute.

It really started horribly. I had a....body issue that required a doctor. Let's just leave it at that. The doctor fixed me up all right, but there's nothing more humbling than when she....well nevermind. Plus the medicine really did some wonders to me Monday night at the bar. Very uncomfortable, but at least it was a fun night tearing up the Fan.

Oh I got into a car accident on the way to the doctor's office! I was stopped in the left-turn lane when the guy next to me decided to merge. Idiot. Well my car's fine, just a little scuffed, but his side mirror basically exploded. Plus he was in a rental car so he had to call the cops, just to have the officer look at him and say, "So basically, you screwed up."

Even work was stupid this week. I got into the most ridiculous, childish fight with our most wonderfully childish member of our morning crew. You should've seen it. It was so stupid. Plus I was working on four hours of sleep in two days. Really, don't mess with me when I'm that tired.

On a plus, I picked up three really great albums this week. However one of them was used and when I opened it, it was a little scratched up. Works in my car just fine, but my computer hates it. Since it was used, I can't return it. Sucks too because the album is great! I'll post reviews later, plus I've saved up some other thoughts that I'll post later....maybe tomorrow.

Now my internet, this week's coup de grĂ¢ce. I've been without internet at home since Sunday. I called my ISP and they couldn't figure it out over the phone so they made an appointment for a rep to come out. However with the holiday, it wouldn't be until Thursday. Thursdays, by the way, really suck for me. I work 4am-2pm with no break. Whatever, at least I'd have internet again.....but he never showed up. I called them up to find out that they didn't mark my appointment down. Whoops. So I had to wait until today.

Well he showed up when I got off work, but even he couldn't figure out the problem. He said it was problem with my computer and he couldn't help and left. I tried a few things on my own, but no luck. Finally I called my computer's manufacturer. Three hours later and they couldn't figure out the problem either. They thought it was a problem with my ISP. So we decided to conference call. When we eventually got up and running on the call, the guy from my ISP asked one question. "Do you have a virus scan?" Well, yeah. "Turn it off." Poof! My internet was working. Five hours of troubleshooting for that?! I'm just floored that nobody thought of that before, including myself. Well now I have to call my anti-virus to figure that one out, but at least I have internet.

Really stupid week, really stupid. However things are looking up. I still have to work straight through until Friday, but that's my own doing. I wanted a four day weekend for my birthday because I can't take vacation during book. Going to Charlottesville on Friday for the Danielson show. Plus my sister and her fam are moving out to western Virginia.....well actually as I right this they are on their way. Hopefully we can meet for dinner on Friday. Then it's a'drinkin' I go for the remainder of my mini-break. Hooray!!