Sunday, December 24, 2006

Commit This To Memory

This isn't a best of 2006 as much as i want it to be. I'm not that current and i don't apologize for that. Music, like wine, needs to age and i'm glad there are people out there that agree (specifically thanks to Kevo). Some people are completely on top of everything new. I'm not one of them and i'm OK with that.

Top 3 Radio Songs of 2006 (knowing that i've listened to the radio a total of 8 minutes all year):
3. Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
2. Chamillionaire - Riding Dirty
1. Shakira - Hips Don't Lie

Top 6 Bands/Albums I'm Looking Forward to Digging Into in 2007:
6. The Killers - Sam's Town
5. Radiohead (for real this time)
4. The Roots - Game Theory
3. Johnny Cash
2. Jurassic 5 - Feedback
1. The Decemberists

Top Bands That I Need a New Album from in 2007:
6. Jimmy Eat World
5. Coheed & Cambria
4. Common
3. BlackStar
2. Counting Crows
1. The Fugees

The Kanye West Award, in honor of Sophomore Albums that will inevitably suck:
Panic! at the Disco

The Pixies Award for Most Unique of the Year:
Tie between Matisyahu and Joanna Newsom

The Rocky Balboa Comeback Album of the Year:
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium

Most Critically Acclaimed Album That My Mom Suggested:
Ray LaMontagne - Trouble

The Prom Night Award for Biggest Let Down of The Year:
Thursday - A City by The Light Divided

Top 10 New (to me) Albums of 2006:
10. Snow Patrol - Eyes Open
9. Fivespeed - Morning Over Midnight
8. Doves - Some Cities
7. Matt Costa - Songs We Sing
6. Robert Earl Keen - What I Really Mean
5. OAR - Stories of a Stranger
4. Death Cab for Cutie - Plans
3. Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison
2. Tool - 10,000 Days
1. Imogen Heap - Speak For Yourself

Imogen was a tough call at number 1, but it did get a lot of "love at first listen" points. When i first put her CD on i had no idea what to even expect and really only turned it on as background music. When i heard Hide and Seek, i stopped everything i was doing to listen to it. Then i started to CD over just to pay attention to what i had missed. I just like the depth of this CD and i like all the different influences on her music. And her voice just seals the whole deal. So i'm calling it for her. The Tool CD was mind blowing when there were actually songs, but every other track is some kind of ambient noise and that just irritates me and kills the flow of the album. The Snow Patrol album should be higher but i really haven't had a chance to listen to it very well so that's why it's low. I was really impressed with OARs CD especially since its their 8th full-length album but it sounds like its the first one where all their talent finally came together. The Doves CD is super good but it's not anything that new or that special, just an enjoyable album.

So that's that. 2006 is on it's way out, and 2007 will be over too before i've gotten used to signing it on my checks. That's just the way it goes. But the music will be here and so will this blog and the many others that have popped up. I'm looking forward to another year of great music and sharing my thoughts on it with all of you.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday Morning Shuffle

Feeling pretty basic and tired on this Monday morning so i'm hoping the shuffle cooperates...we'll see.

1. Mellow My Man - The Roots, off of The Roots Come Alive
My freshman year of college we had 2 kids named Matt that lived on my floor in the dorms. One was like 6'2'' and one was like 5'4'', so naturally they became "Big Matt" and "Little Matt" respectively. Little Matt was from LA, babysat for Samuel L. Jackson, lived in the Hills, and loved hip hop, so much so that he was like the only short, white Jewish kid to attend the Watts Riot benefit concert with De La Soul, Rebels of Rhythm (Jurassic 5's former group) and other classic hip hop groups. This CD always reminds me of him. We listened to it straight through on the way to the mountains and and back and on the night before i moved, we sat in my room with a few people and listened to it while the party raged on outside. Good times. Good CD. The Roots are fantastic, if you didn't know.

2. Liar - Built To Spill, off of You in Reverse
My verdict is still out on Built to Spill. I really like this song but then i'll not like the next one i hear. I'm not really sure and i haven't spent enough time listening to this song to really comment on it. This song usually doesn't pass my iPod ADD test though, which means that while i'm driving, i'm constantly clicking forward on my iPod searching for the perfect song for that drive. And i'll listen to the first 30 seconds of 20 songs instead of listening to 5 songs straight through. I have ADD and unless a song really fits my mood, i'll probably just skip right past it. This song, and other Built to Spill songs, get skipped. If i practiced what i preached and actually listened to the entire CD in order, i'd probably like them a lot more.

3. Well As Well - Before Braille, off of Tired of Not Being Away from Here
I've talked about B4B a lot so i won't go back through all of it, but i will say that Rajiv, their amazing guitarist, is back from Peru and i'm really excited to see what he'll do in the next few months musically. I'm sure the South American influence will really be apparent in his new music. Here's hoping that he gets to it soon. This scene is really really lame. I can't tell you the last time i went to a local show. Oh yeah, probably since i don't have any friends in local bands anymore (good work guys, see you this weekend at Shelly and Mia's wedding...)

4. Lights - Journey, off of Journey's Greatest Hits
My iTunes loves Journey, and as we've said before, what's not to love?

5. Bullet Holes - Dispatch, off of Gut the Van
I'm really, really pissed that they broke up without me ever having the chance to see them live. From all accounts they were just an amazing live band and they're concerts were just good-times all around. Bullet Holes is one of my favorite songs from them, it starts off all slow with this cool vocal intro and harmony and then it runs off into this cool double time action. Dispatch has that college rock kinda feel to them and you can pretty much take that as a description of their music. It's not deep, it's not experimental, it won't change your life, but they do incorporate some cool keyboards, a ton of percussion (they have done entire CDs and albums without a drum set) and very cool vocal harmonies. For a road trip sing-a-long you really couldn't ask for anything better.

Well i wanted simple, and that's pretty much what i got. And even though i said i wouldn't, i'm working on a year in review type post so be sure to check that out later this week/weekend.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Things December Brings

Every end of every year always brings with it a number of lists, whether it be person of the year, movie of the year, etc. And i actually thought about doing a top 5 songs or albums of the year, but it's just so predictable and i'd probably pick an album that came out in 2005 and everyone would make fun of me. Besides, music, like a fine wine or scotch, needs to age a bit. So if a new album came out this summer (ie. The Killers, Gnarls Barkley, The Raconteurs) i probably haven't gotten around to hearing it yet. So forget that.

My rambling aside, Rolling Stone has predictably released their Best 100 songs of 2006. Here it is: Top 100

Let me know what you think in the comments.

I'll post my reaction soon, i don't want to taint the jury pool just yet.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday Morning Shuffle

This is my first shuffle in a while where i've actually had pants on while writing it, so that's a plus (depending on how you look at it, i guess.) I'm at my new office and despite having thousands of things to do, i'm staying true to the Shuffle. For those of you who don't know, i started my own promotional marketing company and we just moved in to our brand new, 2 room office this morning. It beats writing on my couch at home, although i did enjoy being able to watch the 11 am sportcenter and eating Cheerio's for lunch. But eventually, all good laziness must come to an end and i'm happy to be back doing something meaningful with my existence. There was a lot of negativity in my life last week and i'm happy to be starting this week off with a better attitude and a little more hope for humanity. And it doesn't hurt that i already went and purchased a brand new 30gb iPod video that holds all of my songs (instead of having to delete something old before adding something new, as was the case with my now stolen iPod.) There is a silver lining to everything and in this case, it's a silver and black lining with a color screen. Now on with my life and on with the shuffle.

1. Space Cowboy - Steve Miller Band
Good god, for all the positivity i just spouted, this was not what i needed as the first song of the day... Didn't Nsync have a song called Space Cowboy as well? (Don't ask how i know that. Just shutup. Shut. Up.) Anyway, funny story about Steve Miller Band. Back in high school, Adam Mortemore and I went to see Tom Petty at America West Arena. Before Petty came on stage they announced that with your ticket stub from the Petty show, you could get into the Steve Miller Band/George Thoroughgood show the following week, for free. I'd never heard of a buy one, get one free concert ticket, but hey, we were going. So we got a big crew together and went out to Desert Sky Pavillion (and yes, i realize that both of the venues i've talked about have new names, but i will not bow to the corporate naming rights phenomenon. Chase Field will always be BOB, Invesco Field will always be Mile High, and America West Arena will never be US Airways Center and Blockbuster Desert Sky Pavilion will never be Cricket. That's just the way it is.) Well anyway, George Thoroughgood sucked and Steve "Guitar" Miller was a lot of fun. After the show we hung out in the parking lot with two 20+ year old ladies who must of thought that were 20+ year old guys (we were like 17 tops and we would be damned before we would have told them any different) and then on the drive home, with them driving next to us, they flashed us. Yes, at 17 we were excited to see boobies, and that's what i remember most.

2. Two Points for Honesty - Guster
Guster is hugely underrated and one of the only bands from that college rock, Dispatch, OAR, backwards white hat, midwest type rock genre that is still surviving. I've always liked them and i definitely love this song. For such a happy band, this song is pretty angry. But the first line is, "If that's all you will be, you'll be a waste of time." And maybe this song hits home for me too because the second line is something like "You've dreamed a thousand dreams, none seem to stick in your mind." And that line pretty much describes me and the last 5-8 years of my life in all of its ADD glory. Something to be proud of right there.

3. (Let it be noted that another Steve Miller Band song came up in this spot and i just hit next as i shook my head with disgust. 4,278 songs and i get 2 Steve Millers in the first 5. Unbelievable.)
Ben Harper and the Blind Boys of Alabama - I Shall Not Walk Alone, off of Live at the Apollo
Today's shuffle should be called the 6 degrees of concerts i've been to. So at the aforementioned Tom Petty concert, the opener was the Blind Boys of Alabama, who by far were one of the most entertaining and enjoyable openers i've ever seen. I think i've written about that show before, so i won't go into huge detail, but these guys are actually blind and they'll get up in the middle of the show and start walking around the stage and the poor bass player will literally have to stop playing and go follow them around the stage making sure they don't trip or fall of the stage. It's high comedy. But anyway, even being as white as i am, i would have loved, LOVED, to be at this show, at the Apollo. This whole CD is magnificent and about as soulful as humanly possible. Ben Harper's low voice combined with the Southern Baptist Church choir feel of the Blind Boys is a juxtaposition for the ages. Please let me send you this CD. Just ask. I'm begging you to let me share it.

4. Angel from Montgomery - Dave Mathews Band
This is a cover that DMB does live and although the recording quality sucks, it's a good song. It originally by John Prine but Bonnie Rait did it as well. The other cool aspect of this song is that Dave only sings the chorus. It's actually the violin player singing, which i think has only happened on a few live songs. (Additionally, an search shows that Toby Keith is starring in a movie this year called Angel from Montgomery. Maybe they'll have a free screening of it at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill in Las Vegas. What's next from Toby? A fragrance perhaps? Everyone else has one. How about "Freedom Ain't Free" Eau Du Toillette by Toby Keith - An aromatic yet rugged mixture of Bud Light, Axle grease from a Chevy Truck and a hint of blood from wounded American soldiers. What an asshole.)

5. Table for Glasses - Jimmy Eat World, off of Clarity
People obsess over Clarity like they obsess over Radiohead. And don't get me wrong, i like the album, but I like others better. I have to be in the right mood to listen to Clarity and as we all know, i can never really love a CD unless i can listen to it anytime, anywhere and in any mood. This is a CD that i'll let play when it comes on and when it's over, i'll always remark to myself that it's a really beautiful album and that i really enjoyed listening to it, but i can't actually remember stopping what i was doing and paying specific attention to the details of the music. And i think this scene from High Fidelity pretty much articulates what i mean (and is pretty much a microcasm of this entire blog, including the Monday mix tape reference, me being physically unable to post the Monday MORNING shuffle before noon and my wierd feelings for "sad bastard music."):
[Rob turns off Barry's tape]
Barry: OK, buddy, uh, I was just tryin' to cheer us up so go ahead. Put on some old sad bastard music, see if I care.
Rob: I don't wanna hear old sad bastard music, Barry, I just want something I can ignore.
Barry: Here's the thing. I made that tape special for today. My special Monday morning for *you*... special.
Rob: Well, it's fuckin' Monday afternoon! You should get out of bed earlier!

Ha ha. Perfect. Love you guys.
Have a good day.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Giving Thanks

Usually people do this kind of thing during Thanksgiving. But, in the Wright family, we do it at Christmas dinner with Grandpa. He sits at the head of the table and calls on the oldest person first. My cousin Lexi is older than me but she lives in Hong Kong and hasn't been around the last few years to cover for me. That leaves me as the oldest in attendance, and the first one that Grandpa calls on to talk about, "What they're thankful for and why." And given my bouts with ADD (and despite me knowledge that it's coming), i never have anything prepared. Fortunately, I'm an immaculate bullshitter (hey, it got me through high school AND college. I can't do simple math in my head, but i have a degree. You want to fight me on this?!?), so, at Christmas, i say a bunch of stuff about family and love and priorities, which is usually all true and i come off as the spontaneous hero and spiritual role model of my young family. Good times, trust me.
So anyway, this year, I'm taking Grandpa's challenge seriously. I've already planned my speech, and thanks to Grandpa's week in the hospital, it has never been easier. But, i thought I'd take it a step further and talk about the music and the musical people i am thankful for. And just to be warned, this may be an ongoing post because I'm sure i won't think of everything this minute. In fact, I'm just going to post one (or 3 as it turned out) thing right now, and then post sequential "Thanks" as we go towards x-mas and the new year. And maybe this will be a year-round thing, after all, why should we only be thankful during one time of the year? We'll see.

Alright, the first thing I'm musically thankful for:
This was really tough. Do i owe it to IM? Limewire? Chris Perry? (who, by the way, has hooked me up with more bands in the past 6 months (before they've become amazingly popular ie. Panic at the Disco, Lydia, Paramore, etc.) than anyone else? OK, it's cheesy, but i have to thank this blogging community. It's not the juggernaut i thought it'd be by now, but I'm an impatient and generally cranky person. It's grown by leaps and bounds since I've become a part of it. Ron wrote first in Political.Pop.Culture and many have followed suit. It's growing gradually and gaining serious steam. And for that i am happy and visibly excited. I've tried to have one blog each for all of the things I'm interested in but found myself posting about music more than anything else, hands down. And I've discovered so many new bands. A short, off the top of the head list: Augustana, Matt Costa, The Decemberists, Neutral Milk Hotel, Iron & Wine, Lupe Fiasco, Arcade Fire, Alexi Murdoch and Michael Franti, just to name a very small few. These were all thanks to Suzanne, Sara, Ron, Courtney, Laura, Erika and many others who have joined this small force.

The second, and i believe he deserves his own section (and maybe one day, his own radio station), Nole. Because he took his love of music the farthest of anyone but knew his priorities when he had enough. And he stays so true to his roots (allowing that his roots are more than a love of POD? AHHHHHHH.) From "This Song Can't be About Blowing Stuff Up Because of Terrorism" to Freeverse to the recent Led Zeppelin Top 5, Nole has always been a musical lighthouse for me to follow. Sure, some ships follow the light and run horribly aground to the oily dismay of many seagulls, penguins and otters, but for the most part, he has lead us through the rocky shores of the damn Black Eyed Peas and towards the safe port of Johnny Cash and others. And Ron deserves his own spot here too because even though he is often the driver of the bandwagon, his open minded-ness has turned us on to some music that most of us would have missed (ie. Michelle Branch). If you're the guy testing the aim of the new batting cage machines, you've got to be ready to get plunked a time or two. But you're also going to rack some homers. Thanks Ron.

Third, I'd like to thank Monday mornings, iTunes, iPods, Limewire, AIM, Discmans, Walkmans, headphones, earbuds, vinyl, the Internet, blogs; DJs Span Phly, AM and Z-Trip; my cousin Matt (who introduced me to Punk), Donny Ducote (who introduced me to grunge and angst), my girl T from Boulder (who introduced me to hip hop), Courtney (who introduced me to Emo and depression, love you Claw); the Stugo sound system, Mike Flosi and Brett Kaufman; Y95, Power 92.3 (before it was rap), 103.9 (when it was the Blaze, and now that it's back to being the Edge), the Clubhouse, the Modified, The Marquee, Hayden Lawn, Red Rocks, the Fillmore, my 500gb external hard drive, my parents record collection; and Coheed and Cambria, Thrice, Yellowcard and Thursday (who really pulled me back into loving music after a deep, deep period of losing hope back in 2003). For without these things and people, none of this would exist today.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Led Zep Top 5

Gotta thank Nole for getting this started. I was having major writers block until i saw his post and i was going to leave this in his comments and then it just got carried away. Make sure you visit Nole's blog to see his thoughts and post on this topic yourselves too you lazy asses.

OK, top 5 zep songs of all time (with apologies to Good Times, Bad Times):
5. Since I've Been Loving You.
The blues riffs and solos in this song are just so smooth. And the vocals are sweet too. If Led Zeppelin had been Phish, this song would have lasted 28 minutes.

4. Kashmir - One of the coolest songs of all time. Hands down. Ever. It just is infectious. And never has a song been so simple yet sound so big and powerful. It's only this low because of P-Diddy (and Ron), who spent many many hours rhyming over exact same riff. And no, i don't care that he had Page and Plants permission and participation.

3. Nobody's Fault But Mine - Gotta love the guitar in this. And the vocals (No-no-no-no-no-no-no-noooooooobody's fault but mine). And the drums. And everything. But you have to stand and applaud at the damn harmonica. John Popper eat your cholesterol clogged heart out! (That joke doesn't work anymore because of this.) This song, in this top 5, is like that figure skater or gymnast in the Olympics who has to do their routine too early in the program and basically can't get 10s from the judges no matter how good they are because the judges are saving the 10s for later. It would be higher, but it can't be higher than Ramble On or Over the Hills and Far Away (or When the Levee Breaks for that matter, but Nole already used that one.) I used to put this song on repeat and walk from class to class at ASU just listening to this over and over and blatantly singing and air-guitaring on a crowded walkway and not giving the slightest shit how weird people thought i was. And that's how good this song is, it makes you rock out. You don't have any control over it. This song owns you. You're its bitch. You might as well lay back and enjoy it. It'll be over in about 6 minutes.

2. Ramble On - Flea and Les Claypool might, and i mean might, be able to play this bassline exactly. (Alright, i'm exaggerating, Flea could definitely rock this part, but that shouldn't take away that never, in my time playing bass, did my fingers even come close to moving that fast.) The part during the chorus is mind blowing. And the Lord of the Rings reference can't be beat: "In the darkest steps of Mordor, i met a girl so fair, but Gollum and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her." Now Eragon, Nate and I have to go track the Uruakai westward across the plain.

1. Over the Hills and Far Away - You never forget your first love. The guitar at the beginning almost sounds like a question being posed. And then when the drum kick comes in, that's the beginning of the answer. And i guess the lyrics fit that too. The guy says, Hey lady, you got the love i need. Are gonna give it to me? And then goes on to convince her why she should. (I'm not on drugs, but sometimes i think if i was, that would explain a whole lot.) I've mentioned before my passion for songs that start out slow or quiet and build up to some amazing crescendo (G&R - November Rain, Weezer - Only In Dreams, etc.) and this song gets there in a hurry but it feels like there is more wheeling, turning, tumbling fury as the song plays until about 40 seconds left and then it bottoms out into a quietness before coming back about half volume to end the song. It's like the guy paused to wait for the girls answer, she said yes, he grabbed her hand and walked off. I can see the scene in my head. And that my friends is MUSIC.

And i don't mean to put a damper on this post by ending it this way, but my garage and car were broken into last night and what do you think they stole that bothered me the most? It wasn't the golf clubs, the power tools, the skateboards or the feeling of peace and security that my neighborhood USED to give me. It was my fucking iPod (and 20 assorted CDs). And they took the tape adapter and the charger too so they probably drove away scrolling through my 4,000 songs, my belongings hastily thrown in the back of a truck. (I'm trying so hard not to assume their race right now but i'm guessing i didn't have anything they wanted to hear.) Anyway, i'm not looking for sympathy or anything but it's anecdotal evidence of how much i love music and i thought that was important to share.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Monday Morning Shuffle (The slacker afternoon edition)

1. Faithfully – Journey, off of Journey’s Greatest Hits
Journey is just fantastic. I know, I know, it’s 80s and cheesy and everything but they’re also great for all those same reasons. And really, can you think of a song that has covered this topic in the last 20 years??? No, because it hasn’t been done. When I think of Steve Perry and Journey, I think of some of the hardest partying, groupie shacking rock and rollers out there and it’s hard for me to believe that they wrote a song about how hard it is to be on the road and miss their families and their wives while traveling around and then promising to be forever theirs, faithfully. It just cracks me up. And you know you like it too, stop lying to yourselves.

2. Atomic Dog – George Clinton
Let’s put it this way: Without this song Snoop Dogg has no career. George Clinton has really gotten screwed/left out of this whole forefather of hip-hop conversation. He probably would have made billions in royalties if he was The Beatles, but instead he had his just had his beats robbed from him by the word “sampling” which is somehow different that “stealing.” Puff Daddy alone owes George millions. Let’s move on.

3. Arrive Alive – Before Braille, off of The Rumor
B4B has already made an appearance on the shuffle before so I don’t need to tell you again how much I like them. I was looking at their myspace the other day however and it doesn’t look like they’ll be doing any new stuff anytime soon. That’s pretty upsetting to me but the good news is that Rajiv gets back from his mission any day now so I’m excited to have his guitar skills back in the area. I hope to hear something new and great from him soon. Maybe he can re-energize the guys. The Rumor was their first full-length CD and i’m still really impressed with it. For a local, small label release, it is just mastered and arranged so well. Like I’ve said before, the order of the songs matter so much and I think The Rumor is one of the finest examples of that I’ve found.

4. Autographs & Apologies – Motion City Soundtrack, off of I Am the Movie
You know those CD samplers you get when you buy shoes at Industrial or pick up for free at a concert or festival? Well I got one from Epitaph a while back and it had this super-catchy song called The Future Freaks Me Out by this band called the Motion City Soundtrack. The future was in fact freaking me out at the time so I loaded my car up with stuff and took off for about 3 weeks. On the way out of town I bought this CD and spent the next 3 weeks listening to it, digesting it, singing along with it. It was amazing timing. The struggles that the songwriter was going through and the struggles I was having were common in many way and of course that just sucks you deeper into any album. “Long lasting this obsession, from sleepless Mays, to Denver cold. Somewhere in between, I threw myself away.” Good stuff. But the real artwork comes on the song Modern Chemistry, a little ditty about therapy and psychiatric medicine that goes like this:
“i barely have the motivation
they say i suffer from a lack of serotonin synapses
they happen too
infrequently for me to be functioning properly
i took the pills i took the advice the panic stopped
but still i'm not right”
You work the words serotonin synapses into a song and then call me.

5. Those Sweet Words – Norah Jones, off of Feels Like Home
It’s weird how this CD never got the acclaim of the first one, even though it’s so similar. Anyway, I’ve always liked Norah. Her voice is a warm blanket, or hot chocolate, or a fire in the fireplace or a second glass of red wine or a Crown and water. Ok, maybe the last one’s just for me but seriously, you know what I’m saying. Norah is that warm tingly feeling in your belly. And that’s all I have to say about that.

And in other news, a beautiful and talented new voice has entered this conversation about music, and in turn, life. Laura is, like many of us, a frustrated journalism major searching for a medium to express her ideas and thoughts. And after some encouragement, I think she’s found an excellent venue. Check her newest words out in my link section and give her your love and thoughts in the comments.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Under the Covers

So my fascination for today is covers. Yes, i know. They're the last vestige of bands without any new ideas but after hearing this band do a cover of Outkast's Hey Ya last night, i think that in some cases (as with Chris Cornell doing Billy Jean) the cover actually takes on a new life. It's amazing to me that these songs, when covered by someone with a guitar in their hands, sound like they could have been written that way originally.

So here's a hastilly written and poorly thought-out top 5 of my favorite covers.
1. Ghost of Tom Joad - Rage Against the Machine
2. Baba O' Reilly - Pearl Jam
3. Gin and Juice - Unknown (The Internets says it is Phish, i beg to differ.)
4. Dave Mathews - All Along The Watchtower (Technically Hendrix covered it from Bob Dylan, but hey, who's counting?)
5. Everywhere - Yellowcard (My Michelle Branch fascination is well documented.)

I'm practically begging you to add your favorites in the comments area. PLEASE.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Monday Morning Shuffle

Hope everyone had a good long holiday weekend and is now out of their Tryptophan induced coma. My family got me sick, which is wonderful. There’s nothing like being on your feet for 8-10 hours a day with a vicious cold that clogs your sinuses so much that your teeth hurt. Wonderful. On to the shuffle.

1. Anything, Anything – Grey Daze, off of No Sun Today
This is a fun story. This is originally a Dramarama song from the 70s. I had heard it a time or two and liked it, but never really knew who it was or where to find it (this was in middle school before words like downloading, Napster, burning or internet were real popular. Hell, CD was relatively new.) So anyway, the Edge (back on 106.3) had some kind of show on Sunday nights after SkaPunk, I can’t remember what it was called, but they played music from local bands and maybe 6 people listened to it. Well I was one of those 6, mainly because I liked that Chronic Future song, Scottsdale Brat, and that was the only place to hear it. Well, I was also an aspiring Bass guitarist at the time and so I was constantly listening for songs with good bass lines in them. One of those songs was by a band called Grey Daze and it was called B12, it had this funky slap bass lick that really drove the whole song. Fast forward a few weeks to the old Warehouse music store in PV mall and I found the CD in the local bands rack and bought it. The album cover was this dark background with a girl in pigtails and overalls walking through the grass. It kind of reminded me of the black hole sun video and I was into pigtails and overalls at the time, so it worked. Anyway, fast forward 4 years and I’m a senior in high school. I was kind of out of things to do so I tried out for show choir. To my surprise, I made it and during the first semester we had a retreat to get to know each other and work on some stuff. Anyway, I’m sitting at the fire the first night and I’m talking to this girl Jessica Rose -- this younger, tall drink of water with long brown hair and a million things to say about life and music and movies and everything else. And she starts talking about how her dad managed and produced all these local bands and asks if I had ever heard of the band Grey Daze…and I don’t need to tell you what my answer was. But it turns out that she was the girl from the cover, whom I had noticed in 7th grade but didn’t meet until late in high school. Small, weird world.
My random story aside, this song is awesome. In any form.

2. I Knew You Before – Dustin Kensrue, off of Please Come Home
Thanks to Chris Perry for hooking me up with this solo stuff from the singer of Thrice. More and more I’m getting to like sounds like this. It really reminds me of the Matt Costa stuff I was talking about a few weeks ago. Lots of good acoustic guitar, some blues and country sounds, harmonica and, of course, some very strong vocals. And since Chris is the man, here is the link to where it is uploaded. It takes a bit to download but it’s worth it. Enjoy, and many thanks to CP.

3. Would? – Alice in Chains, off of Alice in Chains Unplugged
It seems as though we’re getting an unplugged album on here each week. This is one of my favorite ones and Alice In Chains is certainly one of those bands deserving of what used to be the honor of being “Unplugged.” The funny thing about this CD is that some of the members of Metallica were sitting in the front row at this show. And you have to remember that this was pretty much at the absolute height of Metallica’s popularity. Jerry Cantrell and the members of Alice in Chains can’t help but make fun of them while they’re sitting there complete with a joke about LL Cool J and then playing the beginning of Enter Sandman. If you listen close to the album you can hear Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield laughing and saying stuff to the band. High comedy.

4. A Camera Lens and Careful Days – Lydia, off of This December; It’s One More and I’m Free
Lydia is a great local band, although they’re kinda missing a crucial member right now. Mindy’s voice is pretty amazing/haunting/goose-bump inducing and now it’s gone, but you can still enjoy it on This December… This is a pretty mellow track but it fits in the vein of the whole CD and is one of the more beautiful tracks as well. A lot of these local bands are going after it Ramones style, just jamming as hard as possible and screaming and being so emo it hurts but Lydia actually takes some time to make some art and we’re all the better for it. They put more thought into their music than most of the acts I’ve been into lately and I guess that catches me by surprise sometimes…which is weird.

5. No Sleep Til Brooklyn – Beastie Boys, off of Licensed To Ill
What can you say? Great track on one of the greatest/most influential/most unique albums ever created. Nothing else I can say.

Anyway, that’s enough for today. I’m glad I posted this baby early today because now I get to serve Italian food to stuck-up Scottsdale bitches and blue haired snowbirds from Minnesota, and lord knows I didn’t want this hanging over my head.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Concert Review - The Rolling Stones

How many times have you seen them on TV? Super Bowl halftime shows, commercials, HBO Specials, millions of things. So when they walk out onto a stage right in front of your face, it’s pretty damn surreal. And I mean, laughter inspiring surrealism. I probably laughed through the first 3 songs. Seeing Mick Jagger strutting and doing the chicken walk across the stage and seeing Keith Richards playing guitar bent over awkwardly like he was being held up by puppet strings, hearing those songs that I’ve heard thousands of times, it was just hilarious. It can’t really be described.
What can be described is how much I hate arena shows. This was the first concert at the new Cardinals stadium and man does that place suck. It’s gigantic and has a massive concrete wall at the far end, opposite of the stage. So what happens to music waves when they hit a flat concrete wall? Yeah, there’s just a wee bit of an echo. So if you’re sitting perpendicular to the stage, you hear the music from the speakers in one ear and then hear the echo of the sound in your other ear about 2 seconds later. It makes for a pretty interesting (annoying) experience. Also, sitting in the upper deck at the far end of the stadium makes the Stones look like ants. This is nothing new, but it’s the first time I’ve been to a show like that since high school so it reminded me just how useless it is to be in attendance.
Finally, the Rolling Stones, for as old as they are, are still real good. They don’t really do anything but play the same old songs but to be fair, they they play those old songs – which they’ve probably played 10s of thousands of times – with the same energy and passion as they did the very first time they played them. Would I still be excited about playing “Satisfaction” after 40 years? Hell no. But did the Stones come out and rock it just as well as ever? That would have to be a “yes.” Keith Richards actually ran around. Literally ran. The stage itself lifted up on hydraulics and drove down a track through the middle of the arena and sat back down at the other end of the stadium, giving a whole new set of people front-row seats. The backdrop of the stage was 90 feet tall and hollow so a few dozen people, who paid $500 for the seat, actually got to stand above the stage, look down on the band, and look out at the crowd. All in all, it was one of the coolest and most in-depth stage productions I’ve ever seen. It was like Cirque De Sole without the flying.
In the end, The Rolling Stones are just one of those bands that should be on everyone’s lifetime list. They’re just that kind of institution. That being said, if you’ve seen them on TV, that’s more or less the same thing too.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Monday Morning Shuffle

I'm up early (well, kinda) to get the Monday Morning Shuffle done in the Morning this time. I know i promised a concert review last Wednesday too but i got a little busy (socially) and never got to it. I'm still going to do it, probably have it up by this Wednesday instead. Additionally, i've taken all of your suggestions and made a list and i've been downloading them like a madman. As soon as i can organize them into CDs and listen to them, i'll give them their very own spots here. In a related technological tragedy, my iPod is now full, so whenever i get new music, i have to delete something old. This is obviously a painful process for me. So, like i said from the beginning, if you discover a band and would like to review them yourself, i'd love to have some guest posts up here. I appreciate the suggestions of course, but i'd love for this to be a chorus instead of a solo project. Just let me know in the comments who the band you're reviewing is and when you'll have it done and i'll get it posted for you.

Anyway, on to the shuffle.

1. Where you Gonna Run - Talib Kweli, off of Right About Now: The Official Sucka Free Mix CD
The iTunes is loving the underground hiphop lately. This is Kweli's most recent release and the official story is that these were tracks he recorded through his career but never released and he wanted to get them onto an album before the recording studio leaked them onto the internet for free. I really haven't had a chance to disect this album like i have the others but there are some superior tracks on this such as Where you Gonna Run, Ms. Hill (about Lauryn Hill) and Drugs Basketball & Rap. Additionally, for all you Phoenix people, Kweli is going to be performing at the Clubhouse (an excellent small venue for this type of show) on Dec. 2nd. I'd love to go but don't really know anyone else that would be interested. So, if you're at all interested, let me know in the comments. Drinks are on me.

2. Tao of Now - Saul Williams
I've always had this thought that of all the things that we try to make equal in this world, talent is the one thing we absolutely can't control. Some people are born with none, some people are born great at one thing and one thing only, and some people are born with heaps and heap of it and find skills in any avenue they persue. Saul Williams is the latter. He acts, he writes music, he writes books, he is one of the undisputed Slam Poetry champions in all of the world, he is one of the greatest political voices of our generation (think Ginsberg, DuBois, Robeson and Shakur wrapped into one) and most of you have probably never heard of him.
I first heard of Williams when a class i was in watched his movie Slam. It was about a guy arrested for selling small amounts of pot and put in jail next to the murderers and the rapists. He writes slam-style poetry in jail, pounds out beats on his bars and makes a few friends and avoids some ugly situations through his words. It kinds sounds hokey when i describe it that way, but it isn't and i highly suggest you rent the film. Anyway, i became a huge slam poetry fan after that and absorbed everything i could. Williams has 3 books or poems out, She, 'Said the Shotgun to the Head, and his most recent, The Dead Emcee Scrolls. He also has 2 solo cds out, Amethyst Rockstar and a self-titled album, both of which are fantastic. His music is mainly his poems set to beats but the productions and creativity is fantastic. This song, Tao of Now, is off of a compilation CD called Lyricist Lounge, and is probably one of my favorite poems and beats that he has.
I went to see him live in Boulder, CO when i lived there. The two opening hiphop groups got the house all wound up and excited and then Saul walked out onto this stage in this dark blue light. We didn't know if he was going to have a DJ or a band or if he was just going to read poems, but everyone was standing there, hot and sweaty from dancing, and Saul just said, "Everyone can take a seat because the only music i'll be playing is between the lines." He was carrying a tattered canvas messenger bag, wearing old Chuck Taylors like he was on his way to class or something, and he pulled out a journal from his bag, set the bag against the mic stand and just started to read various poems. In between he took questions from the audience and talked about where the world was headed and what we could all do to fix it. It was one of the most inspirational and moving nights of my existence.
If you haven't heard of Saul Williams, i highly, highly suggest you get into him. Whether it's the music, or the books, or the movie, or just looking him up on Wikipedia and reading some of his poems, you won't be sorry. He is one of the greatest artists of our short time here. I don't even hesitate to say it.

3. Mo Money, Mo Problems - Notorious BIG
Wow, talk about your all-time 180s. We go from one of the greatest poet activists of our time, to one of the people who was most resposible for turning rap into what it is today. Now don't get me wrong, this is a great song: a great beat, good rhymes, all the featuring artists you could ever want, but to mention Saul in the same shuffle with Biggy just doesn't seem right. I think the BIG man did some good things in his career, he had some songs that changed things, he said some things that got people thinking, he was absolutely one of the forefathers of rap music, he was influential to thousands of artists. Whether he made the right influences or not is up for you to decide. You can hear a little bit of biggy in every album out today, from the superb College Dropout album to the absurd Lil John albums. Just depends on which side you'd like to take.

4. Brand New Colony - The Postal Service, off of Give Up
I'm not going to lie to you. When i clicked next after Mo Money, Mo Problems it went back to Saul Williams then to a skit on Kanye's Late Registration, then to Common, then to this. And we've just had enough hiphop in the last 2 weeks so i had to skip forward and break the streak. I don't know what the shuffle on my iTunes is smoking, but it's probably Chronic.
I love this song from Ben Gibbard because it just sounds like the sounds from a really old video game, like PacMan or something. The Postal Service is great, i don't need to tell any of you this, let's move on.

5. As i Rise - The Decemberists, off of Her Majesty
There have been calls for The Decemberists for a long time so i'm glad they finally came up on the shuffle (Happy now Courtney???). I haven't had a chance to listen to this CD in it's entirety from front to back so i'll reserve passing too much judgement right now. But at first glance, i like this song. Despite it's only being 2:15 long, i think it has an interesting parlor song feel to it and i'm curious to hear how it fits into the mix of the rest of the CD.

Alright, i'll post something else this week, hopefully the concert review. If i don't catch you before Thursday everyone have a happy Turkey day and fall into a tryptophan induced coma on the couch listening to something good (or watching the Broncos win.).

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Ron's Idea Come To Life

In yesterday's shuffle, Ron provided a great idea in the comments and that idea was to have a running list of musicians we'd love to see doing new stuff, reuniting with old or different bands, or just reincarnating themselves in different forms, etc.
His idea was Zach De La Rocha getting together with ?love and The Roots band and putting out a new album. And i couldn't agree more. I miss Zach's voice, his lyrics and his energy (Download Blackalicious - Release, Saul William -Act III, Scene 2, Shakespeare). So that's a great combo, and a great idea. Thanks Ron, for the comments and for the great idea.

So i could think of nothing, and i mean absolutely nothing, better than kicking this idea off with something that has already happened.
Preface: When Soundgarden broke up, i was sad. When Rage broke up, i was really sad. When i heard Chris Cornell and the remaining members of Rage were going to get together and form a band, i was super excited. When i finally heard Audioslave, i could not have been more disappointed.
So here's my wet dream of a band, that fortunately has already been done: Chris Cornell by himself, singing Billie Jean. And it's your lucky day, here is the link.

I always loved Cornell's voice, and it alternately sounds great and horrible in that track. And some of the guitar bugs me, but seriously, how haunting are those lyrics when he sings it? It gave me the chills. Please provide your ideas in the comments.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Monday Morning Shuffle

The Monday Morning Shuffle is consistently becoming the Monday Afternoon Shuffle but for the sake of continuity we’ll just leave it that way. I apologize for the tardiness but I’m betting nobody really cares.

Anyway, I want to address a few of Courtney’s comments from my last post before we get to the shuffle.

First off, I know Courtney has seen the movie from which this blog’s name is derived and I bet if she watched that movie again she would figure out where Kathleen Turner Overdrive came from and it really has nothing to do with Taking Care of Business or the amount of Kathleen Turner movies they play in AZ.

Second, I appreciate and agree with everything she said. A CD is a book, the songs are the chapters, you can’t just listen to one or two songs and judge the whole album. I talked about this in an earlier post, about how all songs are on a CD in a specific order and some bands and some producers put an incredible amount of time and effort into deciding the order. I’ve always liked and appreciated albums that were put together correctly and recently (since the days I lived with Courtney in CO) have become almost fundamental in my quest for listening to albums in their entirety. I guess when I lived with Courtney I had a tendency to download partials CDs and base judgments on that. I’ve grown up a little since then and now am a very staunch believer in having the entire CD before I press play. Even if I downloaded it off of Kazaa (or Limewire, if you will). So my judgments on my posts last week and, as you’ll notice, quite a few of my statements on the Monday Morning Shuffles, are based on the entire albums versus just a few songs.

I said last week in my comments about Radiohead that they were one of the bands that I just missed. Completely. So yes, I missed a lot of context by not hearing OK Computer and whatever other albums came between. One of these days maybe I’ll have the chance to go back and really dive into Radiohead. The reason I wrote that post was for someone to challenge me to really dig into the groups I didn’t understand, and Courtney did exactly that. I never pretended to say that I have really studied any of those bands and could make a seriously educated deduction. The initial title of the post was going to be “Bands I Don’t Like” but while I was writing, I was listening to them and was really actually enjoying the music. So I had to seriously backtrack and re-evaluate my position. That’s the point of the blog, to get stuff out in the open, to air it out, and to learn about music and become a better music fan. I’m glad that is starting to happen.
Finally, I appreciate Sigur Ros and their roots and their influences and I think that just sitting there and listening and meditating and feeling their music would be an excellent and enjoyable experience. However, as I’ve said before, my favorite bands and favorite albums are ones that I can put on anytime, anywhere and enjoy without having to put away special time or special incense for. That’s never going to change, I don’t think, and that’s why Sigur Ros and some of the other bands I’ve named will never make my Top 5 list of all-time favorites, no matter how good they may be.

Thanks for your time, on with the shuffle.

1. Extracurricular – At The Drive-In, off of Relationship of Command
Before they blew the world away with the Mars Volta (and to a much, much lesser extent, with Sparta), At The Drive-In put out some pretty damn good hardcore screamo whatever label you want to call it. Extracurricular is second only to One-Armed Scissor as far as my favorite ATDI songs. It has a really catchy hook and beyond that, it just pretty much rages. The drums really drive this song along in a hectic, loud and borderline out-of-control kind of way, but they never cross that line into noise. Very few bands pull that off. I also really like the guitar riff that echoes through during the chorus. Let’s put it this way, if you’re really feeling Remy Zero right now, you probably won’t want to get into ATDI, but if you’re loving the new Tool, then ATDI might be a logical step. Great workout music, to say the least.

2. Heart of the City – Jay-Z, off of Jay-Z Unplugged
Remember last week when I said that some people really deserved unplugged albums and lately MTV had just sold them out (wait, am I really surprised???) to anyone with more than 5 minutes of stage experience. Well I failed to mention that Jay-Z was one of those that I really liked. Whether he deserved the shot or not could be argued (I would say Yes) but what Jay did was completely make the most out of his unplugged shot. And it’s not even so much him, as in, we know he can rap, he really doesn’t do anything special in his own performance. But what he does do is get the Roots band to back him up. I love the Roots, and I love the fact that it’s Hip Hop to a live band. They’re amazing musicians and I love that they make so much better music than anyone with turntables and a beta machine could ever dream of. And to have them backing up Jay-Z and playing his beats and adding nuances and layers to his music that blow his records out of the water, it just makes the whole album. When they open up with Izzo, well, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have goosebumps.

3. It’s Going Down – Blackalicious, off of Blazing Arrow
Blackalicious is one of my favorite hiphop groups ever. The lead MC Gift of Gab is one of the most talented rappers to never get played on the radio. Most know him from the Alphabet Aerobics track when he just rattles off rhymes using only words with the first letter of the alphabet, in order. It’s an impressive track to say the least but he has many more genius moments on the albums Nia and Blazing Arrow. My favorite track is the song “Release” which features vocals from Zach DeLa Rocha from Rage and of course my favorite poet in the world, Saul Williams. That song blows my mind. (I heard Gift’s solo stuff is also amazing.) One of my favorite Blackalicious moments happened when I would hang out and drink beers at Adam Pierce’s house in Tempe and he would put this record on (that’s right, vinyl). He had just the instrumental of the entire Blazing Arrow album, no lyrics, but it was just about the coolest fucking thing ever to chill out and talk while listening to. You can’t say that about too many rap albums.

4. Bedstuy Parade – Mos Def, off of The New Danger
Wow, this is turning into the underground hiphop shuffle today. Not that you could call Mos Def underground anymore but you can’t exactly say that his music is mainstream either. Mighty Mos is one of my favorite artists of all time but I can’t say that I really got into this CD. I love “Black on Both Sides” but this album just never caught me in the same way. I really appreciate what Mos tried to do on this album, he incorporated a bunch of different instruments and a lot of heavy guitar sounds and a lot of really atypical things that you wouldn’t hear on an album of this genre. And I appreciate his effort but it really didn’t work for me. It’s almost like he tried to be too different and use too many different time signatures and things. I don’t know. I’m hoping he gets back to basics on his next album. We’ll see.

5. Could Be Anything – The Eames Era, off of Grey’s Anatomy Soundtrack
My good friend Suzanne burned this soundtrack for me and as TV show soundtracks go, well it’s everything you’d expect. It has the token Postal Service, Rilo Kiley and Tegan and Sara songs, a little old school with Medeski, Martin and Wood, and a bunch of random cutesy tracks designed to make you feel like no matter how many bands you think you know, you’ll never know as much as whoever put that soundtrack together.

Alright, that’s enough for today. On Wednesday we’re going to have Championship Vinyl’s very first concert review. Yep, I finally made it out to see someone live for the first time in forever and I’m going to share about it. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Don't Make Me Work To Like Your Music

This was going to be called the Top 5 bands I’ve listened to and haven’t really liked, but then I realized I probably hadn’t given them enough time. So I went back and listened to each of them and realized that I was wrong about a few of them. So this Top 5 List is going to be called the “Tasted Better on the Way Up” Top 5.

1. Sigur Ros – Didn’t like them the first time, didn’t like them the second time. Although I do think it’s ballsy to call your CD “untitiled” and then have all the tracks be called “untitled 1-8.” Sometimes you’re just looking for music to ignore, you want something playing, but you don’t want to pay attention to it of be moved by it in anyway. That is Sigur Ros for me. I’m not taking anything away from them as musicians, because some of the songs are absolutely beautiful, but I just crave more from my music. I want it to effect me, and this doesn’t.

2. The White Stripes – I know some of you will be offended by this but I can’t like the White Stripes no matter how much I listen to them. I’ve tried, I really have. And sometimes I can even get through a song or two, but I just don’t get them, I don’t get what they’re about and sometimes I feel like they’re just making noise for the sake of making noise. Some bands can pull this off (Modest Mouse) and some just can’t. I liked that video, and I liked it when they were on the Simpsons, I just don’t like their music. Here’s hoping the Racontuers are better.

3. Elliott Smith – I like Elliott, I wish that I had known him pre-mortem, and I like his music in the right mood or when I need something to ignore. That being said, I’m a happy person and I’ve never been sad enough to really enjoy his music. Whether that’s a blessing or a curse is up to you to decide.

4. Arcade Fire – These guys definitely took some time to grow into. They were one of those bands who came out of nowhere and people were instantly obsessed and buzzing about them and I looked them up on Wikipedia before I even listened to them. I noticed they were from Quebec (French-canadian) and that they were some internet phenomenon. Well when something gets picked up by a ton of people and I miss it, I have a tendency to just naturally hate it, you know, just because everyone else likes it (see: Titanic, Livestrong Bracelets, Reality TV). So when I finally listened to The Arcade Fire, all I could think of was sissy French music with no drive or destination. It occurs to me now that I had already decided not to like them and so it was a self-fulfilling prophecy. I have listened to them a few times now and they’re growing on me. But there’s still something that sticks with me and I’ll cover that more at the end of this post.

5. Radiohead – This one will probably piss more of you off than the others and deservedly so. I remember when I was in 7th grade and the “Creep” song came out and I loved it. It had just the requisite amount of angst and a nice crisply-edged guitar riff and I really liked it. I actually heard it on the radio a few nights back and was reminded about how much I had completely lost Radiohead in all of their reincarnations since that song. Fast forward a few years and I’m listening to Kid A and I just don’t get it. I like it, but I just don’t understand it. Some of the choices they made in the sound effects and vocal arrangements just don’t make any sense to me. It’s like they messed with some funky effect and pedals just for the sake of messing with it and I’ve never understood why bands do that. I think the bottom line for me is that there are so many people who are just obsessed with Radiohead and everything the band does just connects with these people so deeply and so powerfully and that just doesn’t happen with me (if you’re one of those people, PLEASE explain it to me in the comments. Am I missing something?). I like them, but they don’t unlock the secrets of the universe for me like they do for others. Who knows, maybe I’m jealous.

Alright, here’s the thing about my relationship with these bands and bands like them. To really like a CD or a band, I don’t feel like I should have to be in a certain mood for it. A band that really jives with what I’m into, I will like any time, anywhere, in any mood. I like 85% of all the music I hear, so when I have to really work at liking a band, it catches me by surprise and it instantly turns me off. Music has always been one of the only things in my life that has come completely without effort and I really like to keep it that way. So for those bands that are going to make me work to understand them, it’s probably not going to happen. I like my art to be effortless and sometimes it seems like these bands put so much effort into being different or ground breaking or they're so worried about being mainstream that they over-complicate their own music. They add all these effects and weird instruments and they make musical decisions that although they may come off as genius and unique to some, they just come off as smug and arrogant to me. It's like they said, "Well let's record a cat dying right in the middle of this song and a nail file in this one and a pipe bomb full of goldfish in this one and fuck them if nobody likes it, we're artists and we're better than them." And sometimes that arrogance transfers to their fans to, but hey, that's a whole other post.

Send your hate mail and death threats in the comments.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Monday Morning Shuffle

1. False Media - The Roots, off of Game Theory
I'll be honest, i just got this CD and i haven't had a chance to really digest it. That being said, i love the Roots, i've heard nothing but good things about this CD, and i'm really glad the Roots took another turn at making a political statement. People with the loudest voices need to be saying these things. I talk about them on Everything is A-Ok all day long, but like 7 people read that right now. Anyway, this CD is going to have to be really damn good to compare to the Tipping Point (their last album), but i'm crossing my fingers. Bottom line, The Roots have always been good, they've been around a long damn time and unlike another formerly good formally underground hip-hop group i could mention, they haven't resorted to hiring a meth-head with very little talent and a heinous face but a decent body to sell their records.

2. Running on Faith - Eric Clapton, off of Eric Clapton Unplugged
Remember when MTV did unPlugged shows with only the biggest groups and even then, only with people who actually had the talent to pull it off? Nirvana, Eric Clapton, Alice-In-Chains...all of them talented, and huge draws at the time they did the show. Yesterday while channel surfing i was a show that said "MTV Unplugged" so i clicked on it to see who it was, hoping for one of the greats. It was fucking Ricky Martin.

3. Midnight Show - The Killers, off of Hot Fuss
I love this CD when it first came out and then it got overplayed in a hurry. Some people think it compares to Pearl Jam in its longevity but i disagree. Does anyone have any thoughts on their new CD? I haven't heard it yet but i have heard mixed reviews. Anyone who loves it/hates it can have their own post on this site if they'd like to review it for me. (And send me a copy.)

4. The Velorium Camper III: Al the Killer - Coheed & Cambria, off of In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
That's a damn mouthful isn't it? Full Disclosure: Co&Ca is one of my absolute favorite bands. On a scale of 1-10, 1 being a basic music fan, 10 being the obsessed kids flipping through the comic books and liner notes trying to pick up any single clue they can as to the story of Coheed and Cambria, i'm about a 7. I'm not trying to determine the story for myself, but i'm definitely interested in it and will be in line buying the next CD the moment it comes out (unless Perry can get it for me early, like he always seems to do.). So anyway, for those of you who don't know, here is a basis of the story so far. And for those of you who have never listened, i definitely suggest giving them a try. They're not for everyone so i can't guarantee everyone who reads this will like them (Suzanne, ahem.) but if you like addictive guitar riffs, soaring solos and a lead singer with a massive afro who sounds like Geddy Lee from Rush, i highly suggest you check them out.

5. So Far Away - Dire Straits, off of Sultans of Swing
Not the song i would have picked from this Cd but hey, it's the shuffle, you can't argue. Anyway, back in the day, when i still thought i loved country music, i was in a car on the way to baseball practice when one of my friends (who may, or may not have been Brandon Peyton) had Money for Nothing playing in his Dad's truck. The guitar solo at the beginning was so damn mind blowing that it just stuck with me. This is probably one of the very first glimpses i had of what rock music could be like and while it may not have been the defining moment in my conversion from country, it was definitely a crumbling in that foundation. Dire Straits is a great older band and really has a lot of the same characteristics of what i like in a band as coheed. Great catchy riffs, pretty great lyrics and awesome solos. I didn't think i'd ever be comparing Dire Straits to Coheed but hey, that's what you get with the Shuffle. Oh and MBFY.

Alright, that's enough for today. Tune in Wednesday when i inject some major controversy into Championship Vinyl.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Half-Marathon Playlist

Alright, this isn’t finished yet but this is what I came up with just scrolling through iTunes. I like to work out to harder music with a solid beat and stuff that will distract me (ie. Good lyrics, a story, etc.). I also like some continuity among the music so I put a couple songs in a row. We’ll see how it works out. I’m going to go give it a test run (pun very much intended) right now.

1. Tom Petty – Running Down a Dream
2.-8. Rajiv Patel – The Retaliation for what they’ve done to us
I’m using this whole CD because it has a great beat to run to and it’s perfect to get me into the rhythm I’ll need. It’s 27 minutes long and should get me through at least 2.5 miles.
9. Fall Out Boy – Of All The Gin Joints In All The World
10. Fall Out Boy – Dance, Dance
11. Fall Out Boy – Sugar We’re Going Down
12. Modest Mouse – Float On
13. Mos Def – Fear Not of Man/Hip Hop
14. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Higher Ground
15. RHCP – Suck My Kiss
16. RHCP – Slow Cheetah
17. RHCP – Make You Feel Better
18. Tool – Vicarious
19. Tool – Jambi
20. Tool – Schism
21. A Perfect Circle – Magdalena
22. A Perfect Circle – Three Libras
23. Coheed & Cambria – Ten Speed
24. Coheed – The Suffering
25. Coheed – 33
26. Coheed – A Favor House Atlantic
27. Fivespeed – Fair Trade
28. Guns & Roses – November Rain
29. Bob Seger – Against the Wind
30. Eric Clapton – Running on Faith
31. Hoobastank – Running Away
32. Run Fay Run – Isaac Hayes
33. Pink Floyd – On The Run
34. Snow Patrol – Run
35. Soul Asylum – Runaway Train
36. Steve Miller Band – Take the Money and Run
37. Talib Kweli - Where you Gonna Run
38. Three Doors Down – Duck and Run
39. Thursday – Running from the Rain

40. I need something to end with. We Are the Champions is a little too cliché and maybe a little too dramatic for a kid who will stumble in the middle of the pack on a HALF marathon and isn’t actually winning anything.

Alright, this is just a preliminary list. Just like the race, this will take some training and some dedication. It’s all out of order and doesn’t really have the continuity I need it to. Besides, it’s already at 2.5 hours and I really wasn’t planning on running that long. We’ll see I guess. I’m sure I’ve missed some crucial songs.

Please give me your suggestions in the comments.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Monday Morning Shuffle

1. Raum Der Zeit – Wizo, off of Survival of the Fattest
You know those songs that you love, but they just aren’t in your native language? Then you end up learning all the words -- or just the sounds of the words anyway -- but you have no idea what it means or what you’re saying and yet you can't stop singing it? Yeah, you all have one. I know it.
Well this is that song for me. It’s in German, and I’m pretty sure it’s an anti-nazi song or something like that. I’m too lazy to find the words right now but I’m pretty sure the translation is available somewhere. Here’s the thing, it’s a German punk song, and it sounds exactly like you’d expect a German punk song to sound. Lots of words that sound like their being fed through a wood-chipper and some chanting. In other words, it’s a good fist-pumping song. Download it. Or I’ll send it to you.

2. One-Armed Man - Project 86, off of Drawing Black Lines
Wow, my iTunes is obviously in a hardcore mood this morning. Another great fist-pumping, head-nodding, mosh-pit song. These guys reached their peak for me back in the POD, Christian hardcore, roadie for Freeverse days. (If you don’t know what Freeverse is, you’ve probably found this blog by accident, but just ask me.) I saw these guys at the old Mason Jar (no, it wasn’t the Jar, what was the other venue? I can’t remember. It was closed because they were selling drugs out of it. And we had a high-school battle of the bands in the basement. Somebody help. The Nile Theater?) in Mesa and it was absolutely the hottest concert I’ve ever been to. It was in July or August with no air conditioning and I wore jeans and moshed in the 2nd row the whole time. I thought I was going to pass out. Anyway, this is a hardcore sing-along song and it’s pretty inspirational. It’s a good song to work hard to, it makes you want to do good things. And I think it just found itself a place on the half-marathon playlist.

3. Taylor – Jack Johnson, off of On and On
And now for something completely different… I was really feeling the harder tunes this morning and the shuffle threw me for a loop. Oh well. I love the guitar at the beginning of this song. It makes me want to play my guitar. But then I’d pick it up and by the time I got it tuned and realized that I don’t know how to play, I’d get bored and frustrated and put it away and that would just be a waste of time. I don’t have to tell you that this is a good song and that Jack Johnson is good, and supremely cool. But most of his songs sound exactly the same. Are we sure he didn’t write songs for Everclear?

4. Braun Yr Aur - Led Zeppelin
This is a song I stumbled upon through Coheed & Cambria. C&C has this little guitar ditty at the end of their most recent CD. It’s kind a secret song deal and nobody really knows what it is called or what its relevance to the CD is but it sounds a little like Braun Yr Aur and so people just started calling it that. So I downloaded the actual Braun Yr Aur and although I hear a resemblance, the 2 songs are pretty different. I’m not sure how anyone made this connection. Anyway, it’s a cool short little guitar thing and if you’re into that I’m sure you’ll like this. In the words of Nole, “Listen to Led Zeppelin.”

5. Black and White Town – Doves, off of Some Cities
I’ve been waiting for these guys to pop up for a while so I could suggest them to you. They’re kind of a trendy choice right now but my friend Tim Hill recommended them to me and I’m a fan. This is probably the most eligible single off of this CD but I recommend listening to the CD as a whole. It’s kind of a lost art these days but CDs should be listened to from start to finish. A lot of people put a lot of effort into making the songs fit together in a certain way in order to make the CD tell a story and inject it’s various moods into your experience while you’re listening. Sure it doesn’t work with Britney Spears CDs but some bands are good enough to pull this off. This is one of them. As always, I’m more than happy to burn and/or IM this CD to you. It’s a good one and I highly suggest them.

I’m off to run and put some more thought into the half-marathon playlist. Keep the suggestions coming. I’ll be unveiling a good chunk of the list on Wednesday.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A City By The Light Divided

Coming from the file of CDs I was originally completely disappointed with,Thursday’s new (well, relatively new) “A City by the Light Divided.”
After the amazingness that was “War All The Time,” I was really excited for this CD. The name sounded good and I was looking forward to being into a new CD for a few weeks. You know those albums where that’s all you want to listen to nonstop? Well I really, really needed one of those. And this wasn’t it.
The day the CD released, I hit Best Buy on the way home from work, ripped off the impossible-to-open wrapper and plugged that baby in. Now my car isn’t worthy of pimp my ride or anything, but it has a GOOD sound system. I made sure of it when I bought the thing. So when the first few notes hit in this thunderous crescendo to open the album, I was psyched. So then when Geoff Rickley, the lead singer, unleashed what is usually a rivetingly unique brand of vocal mayhem, it came through my speakers as more of a whisper. Still the music was thrashing for the first 2 tracks so I was willing to give the rest of the CD a chance. By track 3 however, the disk was out of my player. It was a quiet song, you couldn’t hear the vocals and it just wasn’t good. My hopes and dreams for this CD were shattered.
Still, the first 2 songs stuck in my mind as good hardcore music that I had enjoyed listening to. A few months later, one of those first 2 songs came across my shuffle on my computer and the sound was better. Rickley was still quiet, but not to such an unnoticeable extent. I checked the reviews on the internet and many others were complaining about the same issues with the vocals. I stopped blaming the band and started blaming the producers. They didn’t have the levels on the vocals high enough and that’s what caused the CD to suck.
So anyway, I ended up throwing the CD into the clock CD player in my bathroom. BINGO. Without too many equalizers or settings, the small speakers in my clock radio had the perfect tone to make this CD finally sound the way it was supposed to sound. Even track 3, the song that previously killed the CD for me got pretty good. So once I could get past 3, I got to experience track 4, “At this Velocity”, which is classic Thursday “screamo” and archetypical Rickley lyrics like “We're placed on a plane pointed straight down/Traveling at five hundred feet per second/Five thousand feet from the ground.” The imagery and the metaphor is just what you expect from these guys in their lyrics, it’s just too bad you can’t hear them.
A City by the Light Divided feels like an addendum to the first 2 full-length Thursday albums. “At this Velocity” and the opening track “The Other Side of The Crash” are obvious references to previous songs. It’s almost like they didn’t fit all they wanted into those CDs so they released this CD of afterthoughts. It isn’t a bad thing; in fact, it’s kind of interesting to watch their thought process and evolution throughout these albums.
My favorite song on the CD is “The Lovesong Writer” not because it’s an especially interesting sounding song, but simply because of these lyrics: “Sitting alone in the dark of a stadium/He whispers his secrets into a cheap guitar/With the flick of his wrist he turns words into melodies/Chords into church bells, fill up the allies/Lovers entwine in the heat of the night/And by dawn are apart in the shivering silences/We will pretend
That it’s all just made up.”
Here’s the bottom line: If you’re a Thursday fan and you haven’t heard this CD, definitely check it out, and play it on a player with small speakers. If you’ve never heard a Thursday song, I would suggest buying "Full Collapse", falling in love with it, then buying "War All The Time", becoming obsessed with it, then in about a year or two, buy "A City By The Light Divided." Hopefully by then, they’ll have the sound worked out, and by then, you’ll have a better appreciation of just what these songs mean. Have fun.

p.s. Since I’m now hooked on running and will be spending at least 2 hours running at least 13.1 miles this coming January, I’m working on a 2-hour playlist for what I’ll be listening to during the half-marathon. I’ve got some great ideas, but it’s 2 hours and I’ll need help.
I figure that I need 35-40 songs and I’m going to need to organize them in 4.3 mile (or about 40-50 minute) sections. My attitude will be changing during this race from excitement, to needing a steady rhythm, to needing to ignore pain, to needing to dig deep, to needing a triumphant few songs to finish the last half mile or so. I have some ideas, but I’d love some help. I’ll be posting a main blog for this soon and keeping a running (no pun intended) tally of all the ideas I have, until the playlist is finished.
Here’s my idea for track 1: Tom Petty – Running Down a Dream. What are your ideas?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Monday Morning Shuffle

This is coming dangerously close to becoming the Monday Afternoon Shuffle. I've been out of bed for a while, promise. It's just that i've been catching up on all the reading i missed out on during this Danny Bogen-inspired waste of a weekend. I swear, everytime that kid comes in town, my life expectancy loses a year or two. Oh well. Totally worth it.

1. Fleas - NOFX from Punk In Drublic
In the vein of other classic punk songs, this is under 2 minutes and is very uncomplicated. It's just a good, hard, 3-chord rocker that says what it wants and then ends. So punk right now. And a good one to get your blood pumping first thing on a Monday.

2. I Miss You - Incubus from Make Yourself
There was a time when this song was "that" song that made all the ladies swoon and gather around me and look at me with adoring, fawning eyes as i played it on the guitar. But then i quickly moved on to John Mayer's "Your Body is a Wonderland" when Incubus came out with their most recent CD which dropped their band from popularity faster than a lead fart. I'll admit that i used to worship this CD. I thought their lyrics were genius, they had a nice balance of nice melodies and hard rock and i really thought they were cool. I'm pretty sure now that it was just that time in my life when i was going through a lot of the feelings that this CD dealt with. Now that i'm over those feelings, i'm pretty much over the CD too. It also may have been because i wanted desperately to be the lead singer of a band and that Brandon's voice most closely resembled mine, at least for singing-in-the-car purposes.

3. Justice - Fivespeed from Trade In Your Halo
Fivespeed has shown up in this space before so there's not a ton else to say other than they're a great local band and you should really be listening to them.
This song is the last track on their first CD and it just has a really interesting and haunting quality to it.

4. The View - Modest Mouse from Good News for People Who Love Bad News
Those people who knew Modest Mouse before this CD came out will argue that this album really doesn't compare to anything the did previously as if now that everyone knows them, they're no longer any good. Whether that is true or not, i can't debate because i'm just getting on the Modest Mouse bandwago myself. But i like this CD and i really don't think it's as mainstream as the old fans accuse it of being. There are still some very funky beats and some very indie tendencies that will keep this album from really being "mainstream." By that, i mean that the Justin Timberlake crowd won't understand this album.
The View is one of the more poppy songs on the album but by that i mean it sounds like the actually practiced it before recording it. And they write lyrics like lyrics were meant to be be written, full of symbolism, metaphor and hyperbole. It leasves something to decipher and figure out how it applies to you. That's a disappearing artform these days.

5. Kick Out The Jams - Rage Against the Machine from Renegades
This is a cover of an MC5 song that Rage that Rage remade for their Renegades album. Someone once said that making a greatest hits or cover album is basically code for a band saying "We're done, We've got nothing new left." And boy it was never more true than in the case of Rage. This was their last album of course. I thought they did a service to a younger generation with this album though, or at least a service to me. I would have never listened to Afrika Bambatta and the Soul Sonic Force or old Springsteen or EPMD or E-40 if it wasn't for this CD and my curiosity about what the original songs sounded like. And so i'm grateful for this album because it exposed me to some great hip-hop and other types of revolution and protest music. I'm glad i didn't miss out on that. There's a great story behind this song at Wikipedia. Here's the link.

Alright, that's the Monday Morning (afternoon) Shuffle for this week. I'll post something new on Wednesday. Fight the power.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Teen Angst Top Five

This site promises top five lists, and so it's about time that i finally get down to one. This is called the Teen Angst Top Five, not because all these songs are angstful, but because that's what i was listening to when i was an unhappy teenager (some may argue that i still am, but that's another topic for another day.). And in a new wrinkle, most of these music videos are on, so i'm posting the links so you can enjoy. Just click on the song name and it'll take you there.

#5. Buddy Holly - Weezer - Blue Album
It was a hard choice between this and "The Sweater Song" and really, both should be here. But, when pressed, i had to go with Buddy Holly. I think the video put me over the top, really. This wasn't so much an angstful album so much as an album that so completely articulated the awkwardness of being that age it was scary. On "Only In Dreams" my favorite line is "It's a good thing you float in the air, that way i won't crush your pretty toenails into a thousand pieces." And after Kevin on the Wonder Years and all those other shows set all us boys up for being retarded at every school dance, while the girls were more mature and always looked like they were having more fun while we just stood against the wall afraid of rejection and stepping on toes, i mean, that was just the Blue Album. I don't know of any guy my age that didn't have it. Except for Danny Bogen, who for some reason always liked rap. But he's it.

#4. Eat The Rich - Aerosmith - Get A Grip
There was an age when swearing became suddenly OK. And then it was more than OK, it was cool, and you were lame if you didn't. I remember exactly where i was when i first said Fuck. (In the desert behind Sonoran Sky elementary school, on the land that is now the JCC.) Matt Mahonen made me say it to get into their fort, and it probably took me a good 15 minutes to work up the courage. And damn wasn't that a slippery slope. But this CD also came out when the parents of America were freaking out about music and slapping parental advisory stickers on everything and my mom was one of those moms that paid attention to that stuff. So i had to hide those CDs or blackout the advisory label with a magic marker and only listen to those CDs on my headphones. So Eat The Rich was such a battle cry (even though i was a spoiled little rich kid), just because it had a cuss word in it that my mom wouldn't have liked. That's a big step for kids that age. That and the pierced cow udder on the CD cover. That was awesome.

#3. Enter Sandman - Metallica - Black Album
I'm not going to lie. I was a masssssssssssssiive Metallica fan. Every CD, every lyric, every b-side, every book, DVD, box set, everything. I loved them. I played bass like Jason Newsted, i even sang in a Metallica cover band for like a month. But this song was without a doubt my first love. This song was the door that opened up Metallica to me. Before i liked Metallica, i liked country. Then i started playing hockey with my good friend Doug and we listened to Metallica in his front yard while playing. I started to get the songs stuck in my head and eventually bought the tape...yeah that's right, the tape. Enter Sandman just had that kick to it, that chorus and that thrash that you just couldn't escape. It was perfect angry kid music. And it still is really. I liked them from about 6th grade on through to the day Jason left the band. I can still remember Alissa Butler walking down the hall towards me during 7th hour of high school with tears running down her face.

#2 - Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden - Superunknown
Speaking of tragic break-ups. This one was a hard one for me too. But without delving into that, or my disappointment with Audioslave, let's just discuss this song, because there's plenty to say about it. From that opening guitar, to the first drum kick, to Chris' voice coming in, to the dark, twisted lyrics that made zero sense, it was just good. And for some reason it made sense then. Honestly the video for this song is probably the last time i watched a video straight through on MTV. And that had to be what 10 years ago? This has to be one of the creepiest and best videos ever made. And that's what it was about then. It wasn't a commercial for your band, it wasn't interrupted by some girl on Spring Break screaming "hi my names krystal from ButtFuck, Iowa and i voted for the black hole sun video because that guy doing push-ups at the end is so hot!WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!" It was a video that reflected the music and told a story and was just done for the sake of the art form, not for any other reason. And it is just too weird to ever be done today. Nobody would do it, because it wouldn't make any sense, it would scare children and it wouldn't be marketable. That's the bottom line, plain and simple. You couldn't make money on this today, because it would scare all the little cookie-cutter children we've created away. I'm going to watch this video about 9 more times before the day is over.

#1 - Bad Habit - The Offspring - Smash
Of all the parental advisories, this was the all-time best. I mean, we didn't have our licenses yet, so really, we could only imagine what driving fast and cutting people off and giving them the finger and dropping a laundry list of expletives on them would feel like. But in the mean time, it really gave us some great artillery to throw at our friends and enemies at lunch and after school. I remember being super pissed at my parents and just playing this song over and over on my headphones. Usually on long car trips. And if i really got made at them, i would sing the lyrics out loud to the whole CD but just "beep" myself when the bad words came up. It's not like they didn't know what went there, it's just that i couldn't get in trouble for saying it. HAHA. This song (and really, the whole CD) has to be #1 because the Offspring did for the pissed off kids what Weezer did for the awkward ones. Just an entire CD of fuck you, i am who i am, screw you for judging me, fuck the popular kids, i hate you, you hate me, let's go break a window kinda tunes. And keep in mind, this was a while before they went all "weird-al yankovich" on us and stunk up the joint with that "Pretty Fly For a White Guy" song. God that song sucked.

The tragedy about all these bands is that they either no longer exist, or they completely suck. And I know you hardcore Weezer fans will argue, but the Beverly Hills song sucked and you know it.

Alright, here's my recommendation for the week. And it's fitting because i spent most of those angstful years listening to these songs with my friend Donny, who is in this band. They are local and are playing shows Friday night and Saturday night this week. They just released their first CD. Here is their Myspace. Check them out. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Monday Morning Shuffle

Welcome to the 3rd installment of Monday Morning Shuffle. And in other news, if anyone would like to start training for the PF Changs Rock and Roll half marathon with me, it'll be a great way to get exposed to some great music, and not a bad way to lose 20 lbs. I'm starting today, who's with me?

1. Baba O’Reilly – Pearl Jam live
This song, originally by the Who, is one of Pearl Jam’s favorite covers to play live. I saw them do it in high school at Desert Sky (Now Cricket) Pavilion. It had rained all day and was still raining when the concert started. We went anyway and took Hefty bags with us to keep dry. We cut arm and neck holes and stood there looking like the California Raisins waiting for the rain to stop. It cleared up and Eddie Vedder walked on stage and said, “The only reason we scheduled a tour through Arizona was to get out of the fucking rain.” And then they blew into a thrashing version of Evenflow that sent the muddy grass into a turmoil and cast the voices of this throng of people into the desert sky. Suffice to say it was an amazing concert and one of my favorites of all time. Luckily for us, Pearl Jam released a series of double-disk live albums and this song and all others are pretty damn easy to find live. Check them out, or better yet, go see Pearl Jam live if you have an opportunity. Even after all these years, you won’t be disappointed.

2. Ideas vs. Protocol – Rajiv Patel from The Retaliation for What They’ve Done to Us.
I get the feeling that every song coming up on this space is a great one and that I’m just completely suckling every song by every artist that comes up. That isn’t completely the case, I just really like music and I don’t have a ton of songs on my iTunes that I don’t like. The Retaliation for What They’ve Done to Us is a CD but it’s also a side project from the band Before Braille, one of the best Mesa/Tempe local bands around. Rajiv is their supremely talented guitarist and he has been apart of a ton of tremendous side and solo projects. Ideas vs. Protocol is just one song of 6 songs but it’s one of those CDs that just flows from song to song. They’re all interconnected and move seamlessly from song to song. In actuality this is a 27-minute instrumental rock opera that only gets messed up because the CD has to break in between tracks. They performed this act, if you want to call it that, only once at the Mesa Women’s Center in front of about 40 people. Nobody really knew what to expect but there were a lot of musicians and artists in the crowd with their jaws hanging open during the performance. Then, as soon as the music ended and after the applause had died down, people just turned around and said, “I’m going home to write songs.” Or “I’m going home to paint.” And I don’t know if it’s as inspirational listening to it on the CD but it is still damn good. And to be honest, if you want a 30-minute workout, plug this thing in, and work along with the beat of it. If you’re anything like me, the lows and the highs will coincide with your heart rate. And just because I like this CD so much, and because it’s probably hard to get, I’d be more than happy to burn it or IM it to anyone interested.

3. Callin’ Baton Rouge – Garth Brooks on The Hits
One of the greatest karaoke songs of all time. And one of the only country songs I like. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I love Garth. I spent more than a few drunken nights with my good friend Danny playing Madden and singing Garth at the top of our lungs. Good stuff.

4. One of Them – Jurassic 5 on Power in Numbers
A semi-decent song on a pretty good album. Highlights include What’s Golden, High Fidelity and I Am Somebody. And since I don’t really have anything else to say about that, Charlie 2Na is the most laid-back dude on the planet. When I saw them in Denver, he walks out on stage and in his trademark low voice, says “Deeeeennnnnnvvvvvveeeeerrrrr Cooooooollllllooorrrrraaddddooooo.” And he was wearing sweat pants and slippers. Quality.

5. Hey Leonardo – Blessid Union of Souls on Walking Off the Buzz
You just can’t deny BUOS. At all. They’re one of the most underrated pop acts of the mid- to late-nineties. They defined my Senior Prom, taught us about how love can overcome all kinds of things, including racist fathers and they articulated some pretty serious adolescent thoughts for those who took the time to listen. And all that was culminated by seeing them in concert at the Chandler Ostrich Festival, one of Arizona’s truly great venues. HA. If you have the CD, and I know you do, give it a play soon. You won’t regret it.

That’ll do it for this week’s shuffle. I think we’ll probably see me dig deep into the record collection for a special little treat on Wednesday.