31 March 2007

Dance dance devolution

Left-foot, right-foot. Left-foot, right-foot.

That's how I dance. The sixth-grade-white-kid shuffle. So no, I don't think I can dance, thank you very much. Plenty of people in Columbus do, though. At least, I assume the folks lining the sidewalk outside Big City Club and Oxygen on weekends are hoping to get in to dance. But maybe there's something more, to justify a high cover charge just to get in to listen to accelerated BPMs. Maybe someone can enlighten me.

Just make it fast, so you've still got time to bust your moves for the judges of "So You Think You Can Dance," who are scouting talent for season three in the ATL this Thursday (April 5). The publicist shot me a note saying, in part: "So far this year, in New York and Chicago, and Los Angeles we've had triple the amount of contestants show up in each city."

Maybe folks didn't get the memo about No Parking on the Dance Floor.

Wanna try out? Doors open at The Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree Street NE, at 8 a.m. Log on to: www.fox.com/dance for more schtuff.

Other sucky white dancers like me might prefer to watch this guy do his thing instead.

30 March 2007

Whaddaya mean "if"?

O.J. Simpson's supposedly playful book, "If I Did It," was probably the first bestseller that was never actually released. (A bestseller through online pre-orders.)

Anyway, the book will lose that standing, if a judge's ruling holds.

The L.A. Times reports that a superior court judge has ordered the rights to O.J. Simpson's infamous book-- which includes a chapter speculating on how he might've pulled off the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and friend Ron Goldman -- be auctioned off. So the book might, despicably, yet find its way to a bookshelf.

I'm all about free speech, so whatever. Just don't buy the damned thing.

The best part of the story is, the judge ordered proceeds go to Goldman's peeps.

(Which reminds me: Mmmmm, Peeps.)

Rush order

Here's a left-fielder. I had a guy call me yesterday trying to find out who opened for Rush when the Canadian trio played at the Municipal Auditorium in December 1977. That would've been "Closer to the Heart"-era. He was a little sketchy on why he wanted to know, but what the hell? I've been curious about minutia before...

The promoter remembers the show, but not the opener. Sandra O. remembers it too, but she also doesn't remember the starting act. If any of you long-timers remember it, please post it as a response to this entry, and I'll forward the info to the feller.

Rush has always been a little too, ummm, articulate for my taste. Rock 'n' roll shouldn't enunciate too much, you know? I did like the "Manhattan Project" song, but any good they'd created was erased when Geddy Lee tried to rap on "Roll The Bones."

29 March 2007

Dog, tired.

The day my dog died wasn't a great one for her. That sounds kinda stupid, I guess. But if you think about it, some dogs have great last days, running in field, chasing a cat, chewing up a pig ear before they catch it from a car. Hey hey, my my, and all that.

But Girlfriend -- the name's a long story -- had had a rough weekend. She quit eating on a Friday and was simply out of strength by Monday, when we carried her to the vet, already pretty sure that, at 18 years old, it was her last car ride. There was a lot of fluid in her heart, the vet told us, and her body was just shutting down.

I can barely skip a meal, so I can't imagine what it must have been like for her, not eating for four days. Still she found the strength to get up each day and walk outside to do her business. The best memory of that last morning was watching her mosey to the back door, stand atop the stoop and sniff the fresh air. Her tail gave a quick wag, and the stepped down to the backyard she loved so much.

I'll never forget that little wag.

I'd had Girl, a pound-puppy beagle mix, for 12 devilish years. I thought a lot about her since yesterday, when I heard that Pine Mountain Trail enthusiast Carl Carlson had to put down his own fat, sweet old beagle, Odie. He found her following him on the trail a few years back. When the new White Candle Trail debuted in Pine Mountain last year, folks named its best vista the Odie Overlook in her honor.

Can't wait to walk our dogs to that spot and see them stand on the edge and sniff, maybe give a little wag.

This is a picture of Carl's Odie, taken Saturday.

28 March 2007

Alla salute!

The city's best Italian restaurant, Caffe Amici, had one of its wine dinners last night. These things are awesome. David, the chef, gets to cook some dishes that aren't on the menu. So he whips together a five-course meal and an area wine distributor pairs each course with a different wine. It's $50, and well worth it.

The menu for last night started with an appetizer of some calamari and Italian-style pizzas. After that, they brought us a cold honeydew melon soup, which was interesting (maybe a bit heavy on the mint, but still quite tasty). Things really got kicking, though, when the white and green asparagus risotto came out. I'd never had white asparagus before. It's a bit firmer and less sweet than the green stuff. Next course was Chicken Amice with roasted sweet potatoes and green beans. The chicken was pounded flat, stuffed with shrimp and prosciutto, then rolled over, cooked and sliced. Holy crap, it was good. ... Finally, dessert was tiramisu di strawberries.

The wines were good, but not exceptional, this night. As a trade-off, they were all inexpensive. Best, in my book, was the Lionello Marchesi Sangiovese di Toscana that we started with. If you like dessert wines (I don't), the Renwood Orange Muscat was good, too.

They hold these things every few months, so keep an eye out for the next one. Some tips if you go:

*Swallow your pride and ask for a box up front. Go ahead and put half of each course in there to start with. You'll be glad by the time the tiramisu comes out...

*Even though they'll keep refilling your wine glass and it seems wrong to prevent them from doing so, pace yourself. You'll want to try all the wines with the appropriate course. And you'll want to be sober enough to enjoy both the food and the wine at the end.

27 March 2007

Poll position

I usually hate those MySpace-style polls. I usually think we're too reflective a people anyway. But I took a shine to this one, for some reason. Mostly because I was curious about what it would ask me about the 10 artists...

List 10 musical artists you like, in no specific order (do this before reading the questions below).
1. Radiohead
2. Okkervil River
3. Shearwater
4. Migala
5. M. Ward
6. Neutral Milk Hotel
7. Apples in Stereo
8. Of Montreal
9. Ted Leo
10. Scott Miller

What was the first song you ever heard by 6?
"In the Aeroplane over the Sea" is the first one that really made an impression.

What is your favorite song of 2?
"A King and a Queen"

What is your favorite lyric of 5?
Crap. Who knows? His stuff is all below surface to me.

How many times have you seen 4 live?
Never. They're in Madrid, Spain and haven't been stateside, near as I can tell.

What is your favorite song by 7?
"Sunndal Song," offa the new record.

Is there any song by 3 that makes you sad?
Um, like, everything.

What is your favorite lyric of 2?
"...with your body next to me, sleepy sighing/sounds like waves upon a sea too far to reach./But I’ll gather up my men and try to sail on it again/and we’ll walk and quietly talk all through the country of your skin..."

What is your favorite song by 9?
"Me and Mia."

When did you first get into 1?
Late. Had a friend buy "OK Computer" when it was new. And he spun it over at my house. Blown away when I heard "Let Down."

How did you get into 3?
Osmosis, via Meiburg's other band (No. 2).

What is your favorite song by 4?
Oh come on. They're all Spanish names. The one with "Deciembre" in the title, OK?

How many times have you seen 9 live?

What is a good memory concerning 8?
I'm new to these guys. But I remember playing it for Jenn to gauge her reaction to the weirdness, and she smiled.

Is there a song by 10 that makes you sad?
When he was in the V-Roys, he did one called "Goodnight Loser" that went, "When you dance with him/You look so thin/That I can almost look through you to see./When you dance with him/I see losers win/And a loser's who they're not supposed to be." That's pretty sad, I think.

What is your favorite song of 1?
Probably "The Bends," for the guitar solo. But maybe "Let Down" instead. Ooh, ooh, or "2+2=5."

Mmmmmm, sailing...

I threw in a Web plug for Shana Levy's band, Let's Go Sailing, over here.

I really liked her as part of the Cali experimental pop act Irving. Her sing-songy sweet voice was a nice counter to the more raucous fellers in the group. Alas. The split's almost five years back now, and apparently it was amiable anyways. So at least she's found a new outlet. And the "Grey's Anatomy" spot is pretty cushy, I think.

You can check her out at Let's Go Sailing's Web site. I haven't heard the new record yet, but I can promise you it's more interesting than the Good Charlotte disc...

26 March 2007

Big weekend

Sorry I been so quite on the Brog. It's in contrast to a big weekend, in which:

(a) Me and a feller named Bucky loaded up four trailers fulla crap from the Bibb and added it to a giant pile for our Bibb City cleanup.

(b) I talked Jake Fussell into playing "Columbus Stockade Blues" for us at the Outsider's Outside Do-Nanny.

(c) Jenn bought me a giant Butch Anthony piece of folk art. It's hellacool.

(d) I whupped up on Brendan Shanahan's NHL dream team. I was playing the N.J. Devils (from last year).

(e) Jenn and I drove around Manchester and Warm Springs, sightseeing.

(f) I nearly chopped off my thumb making some salsa verde from scratch. It very nearly became salsa rojo. So typing's really fun today...

So what've you guys been up to???

Traditional salsa verde (left), and Brad's "bloody hell" version (right)

23 March 2007

Spin Low, sweet cherry art

I came to hear the band Low pretty late -- in 2005, when a friend gave me a copy of "The Great Destroyer." I liked it -- particularly the surging opening cut, in which they creepily promise, "tonight the monkey dies" -- but it was uneven, with ill-fitting, happy pop songs sprinkled throughout.

Still, I was stunned to learn it was their 7th studio record and I'd never heard 'em before.

Their 8th is just out. "Drums And Guns," a set of songs prompted by the American war in Iraq, is almost minimalist. It's short, with its 13 songs clocking in at less than 45 minutes. It's instrumentally sparse, with what sounds like rattled chains and banging pans passing for percussion in parts.

And it's a masterpiece.

The band's Web page offers this intro:

"Here's a few things going on. We send out our best wishes to all and pray for peace in this new year. So much of what we do, say, or sing these days seems overshadowed by the far more desperate issues going on in the world. We appreciate you checking in with us, but make it quick, then go do something more constructive. Maybe we can turn this thing around..."

If you go to their label's site (It's Sub Pop), you can download the track Breaker. Check 'em out. Buy the record. Let it move you.

22 March 2007

Moronic moments of the month (*)

(*) brought to you by Seventeen Magazine

Last month's installment of Moronic Moments of the Month in Seventeen Magazine was so, ummm, popular that I've decided to post an installment from the new April issue. Unfortunately, this month's is no less squeamish than last month's, in which, you may recall, a woman was looking down her pants for venereal disease.

This month, I'll just let the picture do the talking:

Below this header was a chart ranging from "fishy" to "sour," complete with -- seriously --diagrams and recommended solutions. ("Shower daily" was one bright idea.)

A few pages later, the magazine offered an unrelated item about how to be sensitive to gay people. Here's their advice:

That's all fine and good for The Gays. But now 14-year-old girls everywhere are going to start insulting people with crippled legs.

So, in closing, I would like to reiterate the main theme of this post: I hate Seventeen.

21 March 2007

Just announced: Modest Mouse tourdates

In support of their new record, "We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank," Modest Mouse has announced a full slate of tours, including a show as close by as The Masquerade. The album's good, if not a true step from the sound of their last record. I suspect it won't be lost in the slew of Tuesday releases...

Here's the list of shows (and note May 7's open. How about a show at the Bradley Theatre, fellas?):

* April 15 - Seattle, WA - Paramount Theater
* April 16 - Vancouver, BC - Pacific Coliseum
* April 17 - Boise, ID - Big Easy Concert House
* April 20 & 21- Minneapolis, MN - Orpheum Theatre
* April 22 - Chicago, IL - Auditorium Theatre
* April 24 - Toronto, ON - Hummingbird Centre
* April 25 - Montreal, PQ - Metropolis
* April 26 - Rochester, NY - Main Street Armory
* April 27 - Boston, MA - Orpheum Theatre
* April 29 & 30 - NY, NY - The United Palace
* May 2 - Providence, RI - Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel
* May 3 - Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory
* May 4 - Greensboro, NC - Special Events Center
*** May 5 - Atlanta, GA - Masquerade Music Park***
*** May 6 - Birmingham, AL - BJCC Arena Concert Hall***
* May 8 - New Orleans, LA - House of Blues
* May 9 - Austin, TX - The Backyard
* May 10 - Grand Prairie, TX - Nokia Live
* May 12 - Mesa, AZ - Mesa Amphitheater
* May 13 - Los Angeles, CA - Greek Theatre
* May 14 - San Diego, CA - Cox Arena
* May 16 - San Jose, CA - San Jose State University

Rock the vote (again)

The Columbus band formerly known as Lakeside -- now called Classic Addict -- learned Tuesday night that it has advanced to the Top 5 list of bands in a Best Music on Campus contest hosted by MTVU and Drive-Thru Records. The winning act wins a recording contract.

All they need from you are Web hits. Just go to the contest Web site, click on the picture of the band, then click on "Vote Now!" You can hit "refresh" and vote as much as you like, too. For more on the band, click here.

The voting's open until Friday. Here's more on them, right here.

20 March 2007

High Noone

OK, for a guy who writes a pop culture blog, I disdain an inordinate amount of modern television -- including most reality TV shows. Including "American Idol." But even I might have to watch "A.I." this week, when the guest performer/"mentor" is none other than Herman.

You know, of Herman's Hermits.

You know, the band what sang "Missus Brown you've gawt a love(r)ly daw-tuhrrrrrr," and "I'm Henry the Eight I Am" (sample lyric: "Ev-ur-ee one was an 'En-ur-ee. I'm 'En-ur-ee the Eighth, I am." Brilliant stuff.) The band was sort of a cockney version of The Monkees, even to the extent that both bands had former actors as lead singers.

Peter Noone is Herman's real name. He acted in stuff you've never heard of. Noone's perfect for judging "American Idol," since he spent an entire career mugging for the camera and performing sappy songs he didn't, you know, technically write.

Warning to Herman: Singing "Mrs. Brown" today will just make you sound like a pedophile, since you're turning 60 this year.

(Then again, I'd rather hear "Mrs. Brown" than ack! ack! "I'm Into Something Good" or the "Henry the Eighth" song.)

And be sure to check out Sonya Sorich's "A.I." blog afterward.
Herman, right, tweaks a recording
with an MGM producer in this undated photo.

19 March 2007

Come on, it's jus' the good ol' boys...

I'll post this at the risk of it stomping on columnist Chris Johnson's redneck red clay turf. He's out sick today anyway.

From the A.P.:
The Dukes of Hazzard are getting driven out of town over the Confederate imagery in their good ol' TV show.
The stars of the series, John Schneider and Tom Wopat, have segued into musical careers since the show ended production in 1985. Schneider says the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra canceled a planned "Dukes"-themed appearance after contracts were signed because some in the community found the show racist and offensive.
The orchestra said in a statement that it has had a long artistic relationship with Schneider and Wopat, but "we decided that some of the messages conveyed in the program are not consistent with the efforts of the Pops to reach out to all members of our community."

OK, OK, hold it right there. An orchestra has had a "long artistic relationship with Schneider and Wopat"??? And wasn't it Daisy Duke's job to, you know, reach out to all members of the community?

18 March 2007

Erin go bra-less

Well, I don't know anyone named Erin anymore, except a former Ledger reporter who's now in So-Fla and married. So that's not a declarative sentence to her. Nevertheless, I was feeling spry, finally, yesterday, so Jenn and I ventured down to Scruffy's with some buddies for lunch. They were serving shepherd's pie, which was tasty, but that was about it on the menu around 12:30 p.m. Jenn's a veggie-saurus, so they made her a plate of cabbage and potatoes, which was kind.

I had a few beers (Beamishes) and then proceeded to talk WAYYYY too much. So much that the aforeposted sinus infection relapsed in a big way, and I had to skip out on Cory Branan at Eighth & Rail and a friend's St. Patrick's Day party. I doped up on Tylenol sinus medication and was in pretty good shape by an early bed, though. I'm feeling pretty good again today, so hopefully I'll be back in the shop tomorrow to catch up on Friday's work.

Talk to y'all soon.

Oh, in the 5-disc changer today are Jenn's (very good) selections: T Bone Burnett's "The True False Identity," Precious Bryant's "The Truth," Bob Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde," Miles Davis' "Miles Smiles," and Ben Harper's "Welcome to the Cruel World."

16 March 2007

Hey, eh. New music, eh.

Took my second sick day of the year today. Ugh. I'm trying to figure out how this happened, and in the spirit of "Proof," which I watched from home today, I'll try to express it in a mathematical theorem:

W + I = M(P)

Where W is Warm Weather; I is Irritable Lungs; M is Mucus; P is Phlegm. ... Therefore, Warm Weather plus Irritable Lungs equals Mucus times Phlegm. Or just "WIMP" for short.

Aside from watching the movie, I listened to three new (to me, at least) musical acquisitions that all are tied to Canada. I'll rank them from worst to best.

Worst: The Besnard Lakes, "The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse." One of the best-reviewed discs of the year so far comes from this Montreal band. And it's fine. Beach Boys-meets-Pink Floyd is the common sentiment. It's just a little too subconscious for me. Great mood music, but not the can't-stop-playing-it platter I hoped for.

Better: Arcade Fire, "Neon Bible." Plenty of buzz around these playas, too (also from Montreal). And their first record, "Funeral," is the reason. This followup, three years later, is broader in sound, but it lacks the raw energy of the previous. And the lyrics, the thematic Christianity aside, are honestly pretty weak. (e.g.: "Working for the Church while your family dies/You take what they give you and you keep it inside/Every spark of friendship and love will die without a home/Hear the solider groan, 'We'll go at it alone' ")

Best: Of Montreal, "Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?" Of Montreal, pictured here, are not of Montreal. They're of Athens, Ga. So their Canadian connection is in name only. But the band's latest record is an incredibly danceable set of songs that sounds like ABBA meets Bowie. The novelty might wear off eventually, but it's going to get a lot of spins first.

15 March 2007

'70s rocker updates

*The Who tour has been temporarily thwarted, after Roger Daltry came down with bronchitis. He started singing in Tampa, but had to leave stage during the first song. They're reskedding the show, when his voice will hopefully be better, be better, be bet...

*And Boston singer Brad Delp's death has been confirmed as a suicide. Which probably wouldn't have been such a mystery if officials had told us he left two notes for friends and family in his apartment. Toxicology confirms it was CO2 poisoning, though.

I promise my next music post will be about songs written in this century.

Yuck. Ptooey. Eww.

I don't know why we bought it. It was cheap, at Target, and we're always looking for diet sodas that don't taste like crap. That's how Jazz Diet Pepsi wound up in the buggy. Despite this picture, the only one available locally was the caramel cream flavor.

I also don't know why I thought I'd like it. I don't really like jazz music. (Excepting a few artists, like Coltrane, Corea, Mingus, Beddage.)

I should've followed my instincts on this. If you watched the Ken Burns series on jazz a few years back, you know that some people originally spelled the word jazz "jass." Rhymes with "ass." Which is what Jazz Diet Pepsi tastes like. Wayyyyy too sweet, and that judgement is coming from someone who loves full-strength Coca-Cola. This is sweet in that non-sugary, generic-brand Nutrasweet sorta way. Run. Run away.

Indulgent zero-calorie cola they call it in this ad. Indulgent like a vomitorium, maybe.

14 March 2007

People who should not procreate

I'm on Day 2 of a scratchy throat, and I can't tell if it's another bout with a cold or just pollen kicked up by the early spring.

Speaking of things that make me feel sick, I just read that actress Tori Spelling, winner of the American Quarterhorse Association's Most Equine Actress Award (1994-1997), has given birth to a child. Ugh.

The good news is young Liam Aaron McDermott is already as smart as Ms. Spelling.

This blog here pretty much covers all the pertinent material. I'm really not superficial about beauty and such. But I think if you're arrogant and smug -- and dumb -- you deserve all the insults you've got coming at you.
Awww, baby Liam's got her nose...

13 March 2007

Addicts rocking the vote

Local band Classic Addict needs a little classical gas to get through the Drive-Thru.

The band, better known by its former name, Lakeside, is one of the Top 10 bands in a Best Music on Campus contest hosted by MTVU and Drive-Thru Records. The winning act will wind up with a recording contract.

They're looking for votes -- lots of 'em -- between now and Saturday. You can vote "early and often," as they say. Just go to the contest Web site, click on the picture that looks like this, then click on "Vote Now!" Apparently it's not cheating to hit the refresh button and vote again, too, if you're bored.

For more on the band, clicky here.

They're gonna take you by surprise...

Take 2 on the Delp tribute... I promise to let it go now.

Why, oh why, did the city of Boston have to go and taunt the Mooninites? What fury has your insolence wrought upon you, city of lobster rolls and Tom Brady? In what we assume must be retribution for an unprecedented fine to the Cartoon Network, the "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" villains have retaliated by smiting the singer of the city’s namesake band.

No longer will Brad Delp offer to let him take you home tonight. No more can he understand about indecision. No longer will he see his Marianne walking away(yyyyyy ay-heyyyyyyyy!) The bastards didn’t even give him time to say to us, "So long, I think I should be goin’."

Worst of all, their method of execution still escapes us...

Side lines:
* Fans of the band can download what turned out to be Delp's farewell concert here.
* Some nice blog tributes are here, here and here.
* A huge collection of fan sites are at this hub.

12 March 2007

Boston's loss

No, this isn't tied to "Aqua Teen Hunger Force." ... I just realized I hadn't said anything yet about Brad Delp, of the band Boston, dying Friday. Wasn't sure how to properly pay tribute, especially since the poor band's really not aged well with music fans, even though they were one of the defining voices of the '70s. And Delp, in turn, was the defining voice of the band. (Details TBA on how he died. He was 55.)

I did want to point out that an AP story on the wire is pretty unfair in its dismissal of the guy, saying: "Delp, a native of Danvers, Mass., joined Boston in the mid-1970s and sang on two of the band's biggest hits, 'More Than a Feeling' and 'Long Time.' " Truth is, he was singing with the band's genius guitarist/engineer/songwriter Tom Scholz before Boston formed. And he was singer on four of Boston's five records -- therefore on every one of its hits, including "Peace of Mind," "Smokin'," "Don't Look Back," and the '80s comeback stuff like "Amanda." He also wrote a few tracks, including "Let Me Take You Home Tonight."

Keep hitting those high notes, wherever you are, Brad.

Do I hear "301"?

The swords & sandals epic "300" came outta nowhere this weekend to earn more than $70 million in just three days. This from a movie that cost just $65 million to make. (Huh. "Just.")

The problem with historical epics? It's hard to neatly come up with a sequel. Especially when everyone dies. That's not a spoiler, if you know anything about the Battle of Thermopylae.

Click here to play a free 2-player strategy game based on the battle.


You wanna know what's really idiotically stupid? I mean, stupider than those retarded songs you had to learn in music class in fourth grade? Like, for instance, "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt"? I'll tell you what: those Spray 'n Wash commercials where they ambush people and stain their clothes, so they can then hit 'em with Spray 'n Wash and show them how great the product works.

I saw one of them again this morning. The people are all mad, shouting at the guy what spilled stuff on their clothes. But then, a time-lapse second later, they're looking at their washed clothes and smiling, saying, "I can't believe it came out!" Like they're not still mad that some idjit covered them with chocolate sauce, or ketchup and mustard, or whatever. Like they didn't mind wasting two hours for their clothes to be washed. Like the stupid Spray 'n Wash T-shirt they're wearing while the clothes are in the spin cycle somehow atones for all sins.

Morons. I mean, not the people, they're just actors. But the Spray 'n Wash people are idiots if they think we're believing this drivel for a minute. I mean, "Watch me trick Fred out of his Fruity Pebbles" is more realistic. (I would love to see the Spray 'n Wash guys accidentally stain up someone's dry-clean-only shirt just once, though.)

11 March 2007

Making the grade (not)

Performed abysmally on my weekend picks. One for three, in fact. I missed the Y O U concert. Again. But that was because our friends form out of town were wiped out and we decided to go to Boo's and stay in and toast each other's health, repeatedly, instead. (Gin martini, dirty, is my drink.)

We'd planned to go to Ruth Ann's for breakfast, but we cooked at home instead. Followed by much more chatting. (Omelets with sauteed onion and tomato, with blueberries, strawberries and raspberries on the side, if you must know. (Mmmmm.))

They eventually hit the road. And Sunday was devoted to home improvement stuff -- trying to repair a window, and some ground-grading for a forthcoming shed -- followed by a trip to the Reptile Fest at Oxbow Meadows, where I judged the "Hiss Columbus Pageant." I told them they shouldda called it the Little Hiss Sunshine Pageant instead. Anyway, that was lots of fun. I drove Jenn on the scooter all the way there, which wasn't as hairy as I'd feared on Victory Drive.

Oh well. Better luck next weekend.

ok, this isn't one of our omelets. but don't it look good?

09 March 2007

'Black' and the blues

So we saw "Black Snake Moan" last night, despite some poor reviews. I think we mainly wanted to support Precious Bryant -- the Talbot County blues singer whose song made it into the film. And the movie has gotten some good reviews, though it ended up with a middling grade on Metacritic.

It was a frustratingly uneven film. It had some very strong moments, but there were times it felt like a hard-R version of an afterschool special. And when you thought it was going to be violent, it would turn sweet. When you thought it would be silly, it turned serious. The funniest thing, though, is how the two main characters -- Samuel L. Jackson's Bible-spoutin' blues singer and Christina Ricci's skanktastic sex fiend -- were the thinnest characters in the film. The side characters were surprisingly deep and realistic. Jenn thought Ricci was channeling Reese Witherspoon's Southern persona, eventually calling her Sweet Ho' Alabama. Me, I just kept waiting for Samuel L. to shout, "And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance, ... and you will know my name is the Lord."

Would I recommend the film? Nah, not unless you want to see a lot of Christina Ricci all nekkid-like. But I wasn't sorry I saw it either. It's certainly the stronger of the two "Snake" films Jackson's made in the last 12 months. I'd grade it about a 6 out of 10. It's worth a buck-fifty at the Peachtree, or catch it on Showtime.

But the soundtrack's phenomenal.

08 March 2007

Pimpin' Y O U-know-who

I had a buddy who, back in the "Joshua Tree" days, couldn't stand U2. He said, "They just need to lighten up." Well, I'm adding Atlanta band Y O U to the list of acts that he'd like. They're just so danged fun.

So I've got some friends blowing through town this weekend on their way back to Philly. I'm pretty sure we'll be dragging them to The Loft to see this show Friday night. Here's what I wrote about it in today's To Do section.

Most importantly, though, get thee to Y O U's Web page and download their newest album, "Flashlights." It's not flawless, but I've been giving it more spins lately than I've been giving those new Wilco tracks...

07 March 2007

Soap opera

They can figure out how to make a toothpaste tube that doesn't gunk up, but I'll be damned if they can tell us what to do once we get near the end of a bar of soap.

We all know that leaving the soap on the side of the tub effectively glues the bar there once it dries. So I long ago graduated to putting it one one of those holders that hangs from the shower head -- you know, with the plastic-coated bars. Which is fine and dandy until the soap gets so small that you have to precariously balance it when you're done.

Once the soap is so thin that I can kind of see through it, I usually meld it onto a new bar. But I have to compress it so hard that I'm half curious to see if there's a little soapy diamond in my hands when I open them.

And just yesterday, I realized that Jenn's just been throwing out the little remnant. This from a woman who can't stand waste in just about any other facet of her life. Argh.

Anyone else got a better strategy? Come on, offer up some dish. You know, some soap dish.

I'd pay a nickel for that

If y'all missed it in the paper, Nickel Creek's coming to town at RiverCenter. Here's the short piece I had in the print edition...

Someone posted a question about that show's Internet pre-sale in a comment on an earlier post, and in case anyone else is curious and not scrutinizing the blog comments, I thought I'd give what details I've got right here. Which is this: RiverCenter folks say it'll all done thru the rivercenter.org site starting Friday. I've never done an Internet pre-sale with RiverCenter, but I would assume you'll find a link there to an off-site ticket merchant. Regular on-sale at the box office starts 10 a.m. Saturday.

I've never been blown away by Nickel Creek's discs, but I saw half of their set at Bonnaroo last year and am a fan now. Great show.

06 March 2007

The jingle jangle morning

Today's the day for the long-awaited sophomore record from Arcade Fire. As well, The Stooges' new disc -- there's a line I never thought I'd write -- is out. And Wilco's been stealing the headlines with a sneak preview and listening party of their forthcoming record.

What do these three records have in common? Well, at first listen, they're all disappointing. I'll give them some more time and offer more cohesive thoughts in a few days.

Meanwhile, some good music news for the region's festival fans. The Savannah Music Festival last week added the harmonic pop of Guster to its lineup, in place of Al Jarreau. I think they traded up, even though I liked Guster better when the drummer refused to play with sticks. The fest is March 15-April 1.

05 March 2007

Kodo no-no

The New York Times had this to say about the Japanese drumming ensemble Kodo:

"Traditional rituals recast as theater, and contemporary
thoughts about ancient instruments both figure in Kodo's
performance, which includes ancient and modern compositions.
Yet with tense, angular postures, with stylized, frozen gestures
and, in one playful piece, with animal-like scampering and
slithering, Kodo reminds its audience that, above all, its
music is a matter of flesh and blood, wood and stretched skin.
Kodo can raise the roof, but the group can also show
extraordinary finesse."

So what happens when the group performs in Columbus? Several members of the audience actually snicker when two of the performers walk out in loincloth. Because, I suppose, butts are funny. I've never been so ashamed. Not even when Dame Kiri Te Kanawa scolded us from the stage last year.

I swear to god, I give up on this town.

The irony here is that it was the skin stretched taut over the giant drum that drew the attention of people with the maturity to match their years. The performance was fantastic. I'd never seen such a primal display of music so clearly become such a provocative piece of art. There were no -- OK, few -- of the shenanigans of "Stomp." Instead of theatrics, it was the sweat, skill and physical determination that elevated this show to something more than a display of ancient music. I think most of us appreciated that. ... And at least no cell phones rang.

03 March 2007

Shut up and ... sting

We just got in from "Shut Up and Sing" at the Peachtree. That's the documentary about the Dixie Chicks' fall from grace after Natalie Maines' condemnation of President Bush. Never been a big fan of the girls -- or modern country music in general -- but I was interested in this from a freedom of speech angle. I was rewarded, as that's almost exclusively what the doc is about.

While the film felt a bit sympathetic toward the girls, it was a "warts and all" look. It showed them as superficial at times, indecisive at others. But it also showed them at their most courageous (performing under a serious death threat), and it showed how a single incident can firebrand folks. They also seemed very self-aware. My favorite moment came when Maines, fed up with officials trying to figure out how to posture the band's forthcoming album for maximum sales, says, "Can't we just be Bruce Springsteen or Bob Dylan?" Then she quickly pointed out that she knew the Chicks weren't of that artistic caliber, but couldn't they just record their music and let the fans of it find them?

And while it still didn't swing me to modern country, their new stuff sounded stronger. Maybe it's because Rick Rubin was producing it, or maybe it's because what they were singing was finally something honest, important and sincere, instead of just trying to sound that way, like most of their former peers.

02 March 2007

Tornado update

Tornado photo update, I should say. A little poking around this NOAA site and I found the picture that The Call used for the back of "Reconciled." I flipped it on the horizontal axis so it would match the album. I actually feel kind of cheated that I'd been looking at a reversed image all these years. But oh well.

Here's the pic.

Spark in the dark

Weird night in the Chattahoochee Valley. Heard the tornado sirens, but the tornado touched down a few miles north of us in Bibb City. Still, the power went down at about 8:15 p.m.

Jenn grabbed her camp radio, which has a crank generator on it. We wound it up and listened for news, but all we really found was classical music on NPR. Still, that was kinda nice, by candlelight, when all we could hear was the rain and driving wind. (It dawned on me that we could've listened to music on her iPod, but only one of us could've done that at a time, unless we were willing to split up the earbuds. It was nicer going without.)

The power came back on a little after midnight. And, of course, all the lights we'd left on when the power dropped came flooding back on, waking me up (But not Jenn, the trollop). No deaths reported in Muscogee County as of yet. Hope everyone made it through OK.

My favorite tornado picture was on the back of an album by The Call.

Can't find the image of the back anywhere, but here's the cover of the album, "Reconciled." Good record.

01 March 2007

Holy crap! New Wilco record!

Don't know how I missed this, considering this band is on my official Top 5 Currently Active Bands list, but Wilco has announced a release date and track list for the new record.

"Sky Blue Sky" is the album, and it'll be out May 15. Check out this blog for more details -- and a couple of downloads.

Some folks have turned on Jeff Tweedy and Co. after/because-of "A Ghost Is Born." I'll sheepishly admit I was disappointed in the sound of the record at first. I'd grown used to the seven-layer-cake audio frills of their previous two records. But "AGIB" has remarkable legs. I popped it in last week and was reminded what a great record it was, outside of that feedback/drone thing that seemed to last longer than Peter Jackson's director's cut of "King Kong."

I guess I'm saying that I'm looking forward to the new record.

The only good kind of Police ticket

The best tickets for the Police reunion shows go for $230. Which is criminal, if you ask me. Some would should call the... um, er, cops.

Also, Best Buy Rewards Zone members get an early shot at tickets. See here: Naked Boy Chronicles: The Police concert. The whole thing just doesn't seem very rock 'n' roll to me. But neither was "Fields of Gold," or that godawful "Englishman in New York" pap that Sting's been passing off as music lately.

Worst thing about the reunion is how Sting dissed the band so badly when he went solo. I remember him saying in an interview something to the effect of, "Yeah, well, it's about time I started making some grown-up music." ... I guess now it's about time he started making some money?

If you simply must go, the closest the band is coming to us is on June 30, in New Orleans. The on-sale date is TBA, though.