Archive for the 'music' Category Podcast 28 – Beatlebamamania!

Thursday, July 17th, 2008 Podcast 28 is about Beatlemania, Obamamania, the love of a good adversary, and learning to man up and commit already. Warning: includes foul-mouthed sex-advice columnist Dan Savage.

Feel free to help me get more listeners by casting a vote at Podcast Alley. You could also post a customer review at iTunes, if you’re feeling really motivated.


The Smoking Gun on James Sabatino’s LA Times Con

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

No time to obsess right now, but this was too much in the sweet spot for me to pass it up. From The Smoking Gun, a story about how imprisoned con-man James Sabatino apparently gamed the LA Times into reporting fabricated news: Big Phat Liar.

MARCH 26–Last week’s bombshell Los Angeles Times report claiming that the 1994 shooting of Tupac Shakur in the lobby of a Manhattan recording studio was carried out by associates of Sean “Diddy” Combs and that the rap impresario knew of the plot beforehand was based largely on fabricated FBI reports, The Smoking Gun has learned.

The Times appears to have been hoaxed by an imprisoned con man and accomplished document forger, an audacious swindler who has created a fantasy world in which he managed hip-hop luminaries, conducted business with Combs, Shakur, Busta Rhymes, and The Notorious B.I.G., and even served as Combs’s trusted emissary to Death Row Records boss Marion “Suge” Knight during the outset of hostilities in the bloody East Coast-West Coast rap feud.

Dayvan Cowboy Video

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

In case you missed it in the links for Podcast 24, this video for the Boards of Canada song “Dayvan Cowboy” is my idea of a music video.

Update: The balloon jump footage is of Joseph Kittinger’s record-breaking jump in 1960 as part of Project Excelsior.

I also came across this other video set to the same piece of music. In this one, you get to ride aboard the left solid rocket booster during a shuttle launch, including liftoff, SRB separation, and splashdown. Fun! Podcast 24

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

Join me in exploring my obsessions in Podcast 24: lying politicians, in-the-moment actors and reporters, and teenage girl pop stars.

I don’t know what people think of this format I’ve been using for the podcasts lately; people are downloading them and presumably listening, but the number is small and I don’t get a lot of feedback.

I mostly make these as audio journals of the more-interesting stuff I’ve been listening to on my commute. When I hear something that makes me think, huh, I could listen to that again, I make a mental note to throw it in a podcast. Then I try to add some music that seems appropriate, either in terms of mood, or in terms of a specific lyrical commentary.

I don’t know that there are many other people doing podcasts like this, which may be trying to tell me something. But I find it interesting, and I enjoy listening to them myself (re-listening to them) during the commute.

Anyway, if you’ve listened to these recent ones and have any comments pro or con, feel free to pass them on. Thanks.

‘Chemicals React’ in Simlish

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

So, I spend a lot of time commuting these days. It bugs me on a number of levels, but I do my best to fill the time. One of the things I fill it with is podcasts, including an episode of Fresh Air recently in which reviewer Ken Tucker gushed at length about the new Aly and AJ album, Insomniatic. Note: I had to that point never heard of Aly and AJ, presumably because all that time I spend commuting prevents me from sitting in front of the TV while the kids watch the Disney Channel. But the review piqued my interest, so I downloaded a couple of songs (“If I Could Have You Back” and “Closure”), and then spent most of a trip to and from the office listening to them repeatedly. This led to my buying the rest of the album, most of which I really, really like.

This is weird, right? I brought this up with my 16-year-old daughter, telling her I’d heard a review of a teen-pop sister duo, and how I’d listened to some of their songs and actually liked them a lot. And part-way through the story Julia interrupted me to say, “Wait. Are you talking about Aly and AJ?” She went on to explain that while there probably were 13- and 14-year-old girls who listened to them, and maybe even a few 15-year-olds, she didn’t think that any of her 16-year-old friends would have them on their iPods.

So, I guess Aly and AJ have a slightly skewed demographic: pre-16-year-old girls. And 40-plus-year-old men, like me and Ken Tucker. So, again, weird, and even vaguely creepy, I’ll grant you.

And it gets even weirder: A little browsing around on YouTube unearthed the above music video, in which Aly and AJ perform a version of Chemicals React sung entirely in Simlish, with the video consisting of Sims machinima.

I spend my life in a car sealed off from the real world as I zip back and forth. I watch videos of unreal people singing songs in an unreal language in an unreal place. I play Halo (Halo 1; all subsequent incarnations are lesser essays in the craft), and sometimes find myself thinking of Blood Gulch as being more of a real place than my actual backyard. I’ve certainly spent more time there lately.

Enough weirdness. Even in the noosphere, people need to sleep from time to time.

Neil Finn Singing ‘Silent House’

Saturday, August 11th, 2007

There was a time, back when Linda was working for A&M, that we saw a lot of concerts. Some of them were good, some were just so-so, but sprinkled in there are some memories I treasure 20 years later: Mark Mothersbaugh kicking glasses off our table as he whipped the crowd into a frenzy during ‘Whip It’, Joe Jackson recreating the entire ‘Blaze of Glory’ album, and Steve Winwood playing ‘Dear Mr. Fantasy’. But at the top of that list of memories is Crowded House.

Since then we’ve made a point of seeing them every chance we’ve had, and now that they’ve reformed to release a studio album and do a US tour we’re counting the days until the Santa Barbara show two weeks from now.

There’s something about the way Neil Finn performs live that is completely pure and natural; he strolls across the stage, strumming the guitar, head back as he looks into the sky, and it’s as if the performance goes away; there’s no band, no crowd; just this guy with music pouring out of him.

When I try to explain Crowded House to people who don’t get them, it’s hard, and I understand that there’s a problem there. On first listen, a Crowded House album usually makes me feel like, “Huh. That’s pleasant enough, if kind of lightweight and innocuous.” But Linda will give me that look and say, “no, you’ve got to listen again,” and I will, and the second or third time through something will ignite. I think of Crowded House as the closest thing we have to what the Beatles would be today if they hadn’t fractured and dissipated, but were still making music the way they did at their peak. I realize those are fighting words for some people, but that’s the effect the music has on me.

Yesterday I was working at the computer and listening to ‘Time on Earth’, and I put the song ‘Silent House’ into ‘Repeat One’ mode in iTunes. Before I knew it I’d listened to the song for over an hour. Is that wacky? The song touches a part of me that’s been going through some personal grief lately, and it’s a comfort to have it. I (obviously) really like the studio version (which they appear to be streaming from the Crowded House website at the moment), but the YouTube video posted above, in which Neil Finn sings the song with Elly-May Barnes at a cerebral palsy benefit concert she did in February of this year, is pretty cool.

Joshua Bell, Street Musician

Sunday, April 8th, 2007

The people at the Washington Post Magazine decided to conduct an experiment: They had one of the world’s leading violinists set up as a street performer at the entrance to a Washington, D.C., Metro station, and start playing his violin. Would people notice? Would he be showered with money? Would there be a riot?

Um, no.

In the three-quarters of an hour that Joshua Bell played, seven people stopped what they were doing to hang around and take in the performance, at least for a minute. Twenty-seven gave money, most of them on the run — for a total of $32 and change. That leaves the 1,070 people who hurried by, oblivious, many only three feet away, few even turning to look.

The article, by Post staff writer Gene Weingarten, is awesome. Highly recommended: Pearls Before Breakfast.

RIAA, MPAA: We Want Legal Right to Lie

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

A bill aimed at cracking down on businesses that engage in “pretexting” (or, to be less precious about it, lying) in pursuit of personal information has become the target of a lobbying effort by the music and movie industries, which say they need to be able to lie in order to fight piracy: Recording, movie industries lobby for permission to deceive.

Keith Richards on Snorting His Dad’s Ashes. Or Not.

Thursday, April 5th, 2007

I thought it was sort of funny when Keith Richards said the following a few days ago:

The strangest thing I’ve tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father. He was cremated and I couldn’t resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn’t have cared, he didn’t give a shit. It went down pretty well, and I’m still alive.

Now, though, in the wake of Disney marketing folks saying they’re planning on having Keith not be especially involved in promotional efforts for the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean 3, here’s what Richards is saying:

The truth of the matter is that I planted a sturdy English oak tree. I took the lid off the box of ashes, and he is now growing oak trees and would love me for it!!! I was trying to say how tight Bert and I were. That tight!!! I wouldn’t take cocaine at this point in my life unless I wished to commit suicide.

Um, okay. Though that statement sure sounds like a “non-denial denial.”

Mission Creep

Friday, January 12th, 2007

Sorry for the long absence.

Last night I listened to Bush explain how “we” believe sending more troops is the solution for Iraq. Funny how the Decider-in-Chief backs away from “I” and “me” as the consequences of his decisions become harder to deny.

I’m not going to go point-by-point through the idiocy. I don’t think it’s necessary. No one is fooled any more. But I did want to mention a few of the things I’ve been thinking about lately.

One is the quote that Jonathon Schwarz pointed out a few weeks ago:

Q What can you say tonight, sir, to the sons and the daughters of the Americans who served in Vietnam to assure them that you will not lead this country down a similar path in Iraq?

THE PRESIDENT: That’s a great question. Our mission is clear in Iraq. Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament… it’s very clear what we intend to do. And our mission won’t change. Our mission is precisely what I just stated.

That was Bush back on March 6, 2003, a few days before the invasion.

The latest escalation is simply, as Josh Marshall has been pointing out, a way for Bush to “kick the can” down the road. He’s spending lives and dollars for his own vanity. It’s a way for him to avoid embarrassment, to continue pretending his emperor’s clothes look good after everyone realizes he’s naked.

The boy in the crowd who was brave enough to be the first to speak out is John Murtha. Every time that guy opens his mouth these days it’s shocking how much honesty comes out. He reminds me of Howard Beal in Network after his breakdown.

My new page-a-day Onion desk calendar (thanks, Mary!) had this item the other day:

It’s not really a funny subject, I realize, but sometimes you just have to laugh.

But the reality is pretty grim. We will be paying a collective price for this for many, many years. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Chris Whitley, especially his War Crime Blues, and as I listen to songs like Invisible Day, which he recorded under the Albert Bridge in Dresden, I listen to the sound of the swallows, and the water flowing past, and I wonder what he was feeling that day. It was the spring before his last healthy summer, his forty-fourth summer, and he sang with an earnestness that leaves me aching for all that we’ve lost these last few years.

Invisible Day (mp3 file)

Where do we go from here?
Where do we go from here?
All my defenses dissolve in the air
Where do we go from here?

Michael come take this blade
Michael come take this blade
Steel for the plow to bury the dead
Saint Michael take this blade

The children witness
And the ghosts can see
The still invisible day
Of victory

How will the harvest ride?
How do the fallen rise?
Up in the air, behind your eyes
Oh, how the harvest will rise

The children witness
And in ghosts can see
The still invisible day
Of victory

Roll away the stone
Rollin’ away the stone
Rise to shine
From the buildings of bone

Children witness
What the ghosts can see
The still invisible day
Of victory

Some kind of light in the sky
Some kind of light in the sky
Some kind of guidance
To get us by

— Chris Whitley, 1960 – 2005

(Flickr photo by mamamusings)

iPod Insights

Monday, December 19th, 2005

Okay, how about something light-hearted yet maybe a little personally revealing, on a general level. If music perferences can help define a person in some small way, then let’s try a little experiment. Since iPods and other various portable MP3 players are becoming more and more prevalent in our society these days, I challenge the readership at to post the last 12 songs that they have listened to on shuffle mode.

Here’s my list:

Catch Me – Monte Montgomery
Evil Woman – Electric Light Orchestra
Different Air – Living In a Box
Atchafalaya – Virginia Coalition
One of the Millions – XTC
Instant Karma – John Lennon
Beautiful World – Colin Hay
Private Conversation – Lyle Lovett
Driving Home – Cheryl Wheeler
Spotlights – Let Go
Get Set – Taxiride
Dazz – Brick

Your turn……

Napster’s Striptease Commercial

Friday, December 9th, 2005

I don’t want to like this, since it’s pretty much on a par with the scantily-clad-woman-on-the-mechanical-bull Carl’s Jr. ad. But it does have a certain… punch. Anyway, the not-really-very-safe-for-work (depending on where you work) Napster striptease commercial: Get the whole thing.

Jack White Admits Lying about Meg

Thursday, September 8th, 2005

Not really news, since Jack and Meg White’s (of the White Stripes’) marriage certificate was posted on the Internet years ago, and they had never publicly responded to the allegation that they weren’t actually brother and sister, as their publicity bios claimed. But now it’s official: In a recent interview Jack admits that the pair (now divorced) started off as a husband-and-wife team: Jack White admits relationship lie.

White told Rolling Stone magazine that the pair came up with the lie to deflect interest away from their personal lives and to make people concentrate on the music.

He said: “It’s funny that people think me and Meg sit up late at night, in front of a gas lamp, and come up with these intricate lies to trick people.

“If we had presented ourselves in another fashion… how would we have been perceived, right off the bat? When you see a band that is two pieces, husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, you think, ‘Oh, I see…”

“When they’re brother and sister, you go, ‘Oh, that’s interesting.’ You care more about the music, not the relationship.”

Um, okay.

Disenfranchisedmusic’s How Many Lies

Friday, July 8th, 2005

Courtesy Norm of Onegoodmove, I enjoyed listening to Disenfranchisedmusic’s How Many Lies? (mp3 file).

It’s white-boy rap, basically, by a pissed-off Bush hater. Definite parental advisory sticker for rude lyrics; don’t listen if you find that kind of thing offensive.

The beginning is a bit off-putting; the first line (“How many lies can an asshole tell? Before we wise up and throw him in a prison cell?”) doesn’t seem to promise much in the way of originality or artistic merit. But somehow, for me at least, about halfway through it really started working. It isn’t the lyrics, so much, which are pretty much what you’d expect, but rather the way the singer delivers them. He gets to this place where there’s a brutal honesty to his voice, not so much about how lame Bush is (which, again, isn’t anything new), but about the reaction that Bush’s words produce in him.

Anyway, if you’ve ever yelled “bullshit!” back at your radio or television in response to some outrageous Bush statement, you’ll relate.

Hm. Maybe I’ll write and see if they’ll license it for inclusion in a podcast. Would be an excuse for me to do another one of those, anyway.

Improv Everywhere’s Not Quite U2

Saturday, May 28th, 2005

They crossed another line that I’m not sure they should have crossed, but it’s still pretty funny: Improv Everywhere mission: Even better than the real thing.

Also covered in the NY Times: Where the streets have no shame.

Imagine/Walk on the Wild Side Bush Remix

Saturday, April 30th, 2005

Here’s a fun one for anyone in need of some Bush-related musical uplift: rx-imaginewalkonthewildside.mp3 (MP3 audio file).

More about the clip in the Boing Boing post mentioning it: The President sings “Imagine” and “A Walk On The Wild Side”.

IE’s ‘Best Gig Ever’ Action

Sunday, April 10th, 2005

This actually took place a while ago, but This American Life did a segment about it this weekend, and I caught it in the car and really loved it.

The story concerns those wacky comedy guerrillas at Improv Everywhere (previously linked to for their McDonald’s bathroom attendant mission), who picked out a newish, mostly unknown rock band called Ghosts of Pasha (G.O.P.) that was scheduled to perform a gig late on a Sunday night at NYC’s Mercury Lounge. Normally such a show would have had about three paying customers. But 35 IE agents prepared themselves by downloading songs from the G.O.P. web site, and then showed up and gave the boys in the band their best gig ever.

The story makes for a fascinating twist on the question of who is the performer and who is the audience. The members of G.O.P. were (naturally) weirded out by the unexpectedly big crowd that was whooping and dancing, singing along with every song, but they soon got into it, as band and audience fed off each other’s energy.

Within a few days the band figured out what happened; see their comments on the IE site: band response.

It sounds like it was a lot of good, clean fun. The episode isn’t available yet on This American Life’s 2005 show archive page, but it should be there shortly. Highly recommended.

More mp3 players and bikinis…

Monday, April 4th, 2005

So like, here I go again with more prurient entertainment. I’ve recently become burned out with the arguement or the debates or whatever we’re calling it here. Some people have tried to go fact for fact and are polite in their posts (jbc) (TeacherVet) others are a little more vitriolic but still good people (Rise Against).

However none of us are really changing each other minds at all, or even offering up more food for thought. I’ve been a Libertarian leaning independent for years and will probably be for years to come. I’ve become worn out already with the stupidity and namecalling (except when I’m being stupid and calling people names).

So from now on, I’m going to try and keep it light. Without further ado, college chicks in bikinis, its iPose. And iPod minis, they have those too. (There are dudes for people who like dudes, but I think the people who like chicks are gettin’ a better deal with this one.)

A to the Motherf**kin’ K

Tuesday, March 15th, 2005

Big guns, chicks in bikinis, 20 gigs of storage. “Hopefully, from now on many Militants and Terrorists will use their AK47s to listen to music and audio books…They need to chill out and take it easy.”

kid oakland on Mosh

Thursday, October 28th, 2004

So, Eminem’s Mosh video is #1 at MTV. As it should be.

Meanwhile, Daily Kos diarist kid oakland offers a detailed deconstruction: The politics of Mosh.