Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Frontline : Sick Around America

The Archives : The Mayflies USA "Walking in a Straight Line" (2002)

I remember 2002 being a fairly rough year on a few personal fronts. I also recall spending late summer and early fall in bars throughout Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Inn was obviously my/our favorite, but we spent many late nights at stops throughout Park Slope, Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill. There was The Gate, Boat, Great Lakes, that classic bar all the way down Fifth Avenue that had a Buckner mix on the jukebox, and of course, the newly discovered O'Connors, which turned out to be the bar where Elliott Smith wrote most of XO. When we weren't in these bars (and many more), we'd be seeing bands at Southpaw, North Six, The Mercury and at venues large and small all over the city (and Hoboken and Connecticut and other cities).

The bars and music provided some respite from some turmoil going on in my life. And a record by a virtually unknown band named The Mayflies USA shot power pop right through me. Around this time I was listening to everything from Big Star and The Posies to The Possibilities and the Mayflies. And Walking in a Straight Line nailed me. Similar to bands like Beulah, I couldn't believe that the Mayflies weren't absolutely huge. The songs were quick, catchy and damn joyous. I can remember sitting in apartments and singing along to "The Good Girls Goodbye" and "You Won't Find Me" with friends until the sun came up. In my search to figure out who I was and where I was going, the line: "From the Sea of Japan to the Tappan Zee. You can go anywhere, but you won't find me" offered a bit of comfort. But this wasn't a record for reflection or solemnity; it was a record full of spirit and perhaps most importantly, it was a record that helped me plow through.

Glorious Noise's 13 Artists For $50


Glorious Noise has a great little article on the bands they'd pay at least $50 to see.

GLONO's 13 Artists We'd Pay More Than $50 to See
1. The Smiths
2. Uncle Tupelo
3. Stone Roses
4. Neutral Milk Hotel
5. The Modern Lovers (with all 4 original members)
6. Tom Waits
7. Weezer (with Matt Sharp)
8. Wilco (with Jay Bennett, Ken Coomer, and Bob Egan)
9. Rolling Stones (at the Double Door)
10. Leonard Cohen
11. A Full Leppotone Family Reunion (Sleestacks, King Tammy, Twister, The Sinatras, et al.)
*Includes travel and accommodation costs—these guys reunite for $6 shows like every three years.
12. The The (with Johnny Marr)
13. ABBA

And here's mine:
1. Bonnie "Prince" Billy (only with Emmett Kelly and in a small room or outside)
2. Uncle Tupelo
3. Son Volt (original lineup)
4. Slobberbone
5. Marah (original lineup)
6. Pavement
7. The Replacements (w/Paul, Tommy and Chris)
8. The V-Roys
9. Neutral Milk Hotel
10. Richard & Linda Thompson
11. Wilco (w Jay Bennett, Ken Coomer & Bob Egan)
12. The Minus 5 (all members)
13. Richard Buckner (w full band incl Mark Ribot)

The Wrens @ Haldern Pop 2006 (Videos)

"Hopeless"


"Faster Gun"


"Boys, You Won't"

Song of the Year (Through March)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Matthew Sweet "Sick of Myself" (Video)

I spent about six months listening to nothing but Sweet.

Neko Case "Don't Forget Me" (Video)

A Song For You : Uncle Tupelo's "New Madrid"

When I heard this song for the first time on a Sunday afternoon in the Spring of 1994 it changed my life forever. Almost every piece of great music I now own, love, rumble about, etc. is a direct reflection of that afternoon. Thank you, Andrew Flanders.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Richard Buckner's Tour

04.07.2009 Buffalo, NY Mohawk Place
04.08.2009 Cleveland, OH Beachland Tavern
04.09.2009 Chicago, IL Schuba's Tavern
04.10.2009 Madison, WI high Noon Saloon (early show)
04.11.2009 Iowa City, IA The Mill
04.12.2009 St. Paul, MN The Turf Club
04.16.2009 San Francisco, CA The Independent
04.17.2009 Santa Cruz, CA The Crepe Place
04.19.2009 Los Angeles, CA McCabes Guitar Shop
04.24.2009 Portland, OR Mississippi Studios (early show)
04.25.2009 Seattle, WA Tractor Tavern
04.26.2009 Bellingham, WA the Nightlight
04.28.2009 Moscow, ID Mikey's Gyro
04.30.2009 Salt Lake City, UT The State Room
05.01.2009 Denver, CO The Walnut Room
05.03.2009 St. Louis, MO Off Broadway
05.05.2009 Memphis, TN The Hi-Tone
05.06.2009 Little Rock, AR Vinos
05.07.2009 Fort Worth, TX Lola's Stockyards
05.08.2009 Austin, TX Cactus Cafe
05.11.2009 Kansas City, MO Davey's Uptown Ramblers Club (early show)

New Cracker Video "Yalla Yalla" (Video)

Vinyl Bonanza


It seems as if every spare dime I have now goes to records. This is what I picked up this week:

Martha & The Vandellas : Anthology
The Minus 5 : Down With Wilco
Tom Petty : Full Moon Fever
Ray Charles : Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music
Sam Cooke : Live at Harlem Square
Bob Dylan : Nashville Skyline
Ray Charles : Greatest Hits
Wilson Pickett : Greatest Hits
The Clash : Combat Rock
Wilco : Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

A Song For You : Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky"

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Album of Week 12


Alasdair Roberts : The Crook of My Arm
Secretly Canadian, 2001

Record Store Day Goods


The second annual Record Store Day arrives on April 18, 2009 and many acts are releasing rare, classic, random stuff for the occasion. Tasty goods will be delivered by Springsteen, Dylan, The Flaming Lips, Pavement, Thao, Wilco, New Order, Whiskeytown, Tom Waits and many more. Man. If I see unreleased For Squirrels demos hit this list, I'm getting on line immediately.

Lotsa stuff

A Song For You : Josh Rouse's "Rise"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Back to That Job Thing

I've now surpassed five months without a job. On a personal and potentially professional front, I can say that I'm proud of what I've achieved during this downtime. Unlike many folks worldwide, I have been lucky to have planned for the possibility of this reality by saving a little bit. I can't say I have much, but I've been able to get by.

Now to the job search. Given that I have a bit of a temporary security blanket, and considering my growing interest in continuing to explore other areas as a possible "career", I have been pretty selective in my search, which, given this economy, hasn't led to much. There have been phone calls, some interviews, a bunch of subsequent interviews, no call-backs, repeated refreshes on the gmail, calls out of nowhere and so forth.

Tomorrow I go on a fourth interview for a job I've coveted for just shy of a year. I initially connected with these folks back in April of 08 (well before finding myself unemployed), and although there was an interview back then, given some internal shuffling, there wasn't a good fit at the time. But about three months ago a job opened up. And as far as I can tell, there was/is a lot of interest, which results in a lot of competition.

Four interviews (granted, not all have been face-to-face) certainly means that I've made it to a narrower bunch of applicants, but my guess is that I still sit among a number of highly qualified and bright folks. I would imagine that tomorrow is my final run-through and I expect to know my fate in the coming week or so. It's a job that I've wanted for a long time, and it's now somewhat within reach. But I've made a bit of an internal pact with myself. Given my evolving interest with respect to other areas, if this job doesn't come through, and there's obviously a good chance that it won't, I will commit myself completely to the other areas that I've been developing. I will take three months or so and lock down. See where it goes. Hopefully have a few things complete when that quarter-year is up. And if I do get the job, the year-long wait will have been worth it.

I must admit, I do kinda see it as a win-win (sweet lord, I hate that term). Well, aside from not having an income if the offer doesn't come, which I suppose helps pay the rent.

We'll see how it unfolds.

A Song For You : Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's "I Called You Back"

New feature! Pumped!

Every so often I will post a single song that has had somewhat of a profound effect on me. This feature will aptly be titled A Song For You.

And things are underway....

Oldham Guest DJs on NPR


Fifty minutes of joy right here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Favorite Camera Phone Picture (Photo)

Shot of Jay Farrar from a few years back.


Jay Farrar, originally uploaded by ccsbandwagon.

Tim Easton "Broke My Heart" (Video)

The full-band album version of this tune may be the best song of 09 so far. The record's out 4.28 on New West. Buy it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sixties Mix

I just selected a slew of random tracks from the 60s for my new Nano.

I'll Be Your Mirror : The Velvet Underground
Love Makes a Woman : Barbara Acklin
Starstruck : The Kinks
2000 Man : The Rolling Stones
Half As Much : Ray Charles
Mama Tried : Merle Haggard
Sickbed Blues : Skip James
Man In a Shed : Nick Drake
(Sittin' On the) Dock of the Bay : Otis Redding
I Ain't Got No Home : Woody Guthrie
I Want You Back : The Jackson 5
Bowling Green : The Every Brothers
The Losing End (When You're On) : Neil Young
Come On : Chuck Berry
Monkey Man : The Rolling Stones
Don't Pass Me By : The Beatles
(There'll Be) Peace In the Valley (For Me) : Johnny Cash
It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) : Bob Dylan
Got To Get You Off My Mind : Solomon Burke
I Want You : Bob Dylan
That's Where It's At : Sam Cooke
A Fool In Love : Ike & Tina Turner

Nathaniel Ayers (Video)


Watch CBS Videos Online

The Archives : Jay Bennett & Edward Burch's "The Palace at 4am" (2002)

When Jay Bennett played his final show with Wilco on July 4, 2001, instead of wallowing, he jumped into the studio with his pal Ed Burch and recorded the fantastic The Palace at 4am. With Jeff Tweedy no longer at his side, the record fell under the radar, but it's a beautiful pop mix recalling the best of Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello.

Only a few folks know what really led to Bennett's dismissal/departure from Wilco, but it would be hard to argue that his talents and input opened up Tweedy's mind and musical palette. And please excuse the fact that I just used the word palette; I just couldn't come up with anything else. Bennett was instrumental in Wilco's three best records: Being There, Summerteeth and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, not to mention the two Mermaid records. Since Bennett's been gone, the band's output has unquestionably suffered. A Ghost Is Born has its moments, but as a whole, is subpar by Wilco standards. 2007's Sky Blue Sky is a step above AGIB but still doesn't reach the trifecta that Bennett played a huge part in creating.

Back to Bennett's first record post-Wilco. From "Talk To Me" and "Forgiven" to "Like a Photograph" and "Little White Cottage", it could be argued that Bennett has released the best record by either Tweedy or Bennett since Bennett played his last lick with the band in Grant Park on Independence Day, 2001. Some of the songs are simple pop numbers, while others recall the sprawling sound that Bennett made a staple of the Wilco sound. If you loved Wilco's sound through 02, you should own this record.

Here are five songs from the record:

Townes Van Zandt "Tecumseh Valley" (Video)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fireside Chats

We've heard a lot about Barack emulating FDR in many respects. In just two months in office, he's certainly taken a near 360 from the Bush years in terms of disclosure. No, he hasn't been perfect on this front, but he's been quite up-front with the American people. But with today's grating and sensational news cycles, we need more.

There have been hints at a return to FDR's "fireside chats", and I think it's time that Barack strongly consider something of the sort. I don't fault him for going on Leno or sharing his tournament picks; he's still feeling out delivery methods and the public's comfort level on certain issues, but he needs to find other ways of rallying us and putting us somewhat at ease during these unstable times. And he must counter the media's mania. Oh, forget Cantor, Rush and the fools on the right grabbing at every minute mistake made by the president and trying to win political points. Enough is enough from these fools. Obama needs to lead and let the chips fall where they may. The 08 election and the nation's (ebbing) patience shows that the American public are more tuned in than usual. He also needs to put aside O'Reilly, Olbermann, Dobbs, Maddow and the rest of the sensationalist and mind-numbing folks who are supposed to be delivering us the news via our sets.

Obama needs to take control. He needs to talk to the public in a clean, honest and yes, relaxed fashion. He's tried this via his Saturday videos, town halls and other avenues, but maybe it's time to set up something more at home.

A lot of these thoughts were brought on after reading Frank Rich's Op-Ed in today's Times.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Album of Week 11


R.E.M. : Out of Time
Warner Bros., 1991

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I Mean, Really

Is there anything funnier than hearing Republican blowhards ranting and raving about corporate greed? It'd be like that octuplets lady chastising a local teen for not sticking to abstience. That analogy could not be worse, but still.

New Jersey Trip


, originally uploaded by ccsbandwagon.

I have been back to NJ a number of times since moving to the Bay Area on Jan 1 2005. I would have to say that this trip has been the most rewarding. For one, I've been able to spend a lot of time with my sister, and her classic dog (and turtle). Secondly, I have accomplished a lot. The impetus for this trip was to try and do a little research and with just a few hours left in my stay, it's been very, very fruitful.

Similar to past trips, I know that I could never live here again. I spent a good part of 20 years in Bergen County, NJ and I can't imagine I'll ever reside here again. But on this trip, it did feel somewhat like home.

The AIG Uproar and Our Media

I hate to say this, given how important many of these issues are, but I'm finding this hysteria to be a bit comedy. I mean, we now even have Maureen Dowd and Gail Collins of the New York Times all over Geithner and even Obama. Understandable, of course, but I still wonder where all these bandwagoners were back in the early days of the Bush administration? Where were they during the lead up to Iraq? Where were they when Bush and his Board of Cronies were setting up the cards that would ultimately dismantle the world economy?

I'm all for Geithner, Summers and Obama being judged on how they handles these issues day-to-day, but I find this newly found microscope to be hilarious. After eight years of soft and scattered journalism, they now all want to be our saviors. They are pointing the fingers at those bad people! What would we do without them? First I had to knock off the big three "news" networks in favor of NPR and Jim Lehrer; now I may have to finally stop reading the suddenly-grating New York Times opinion pages. Ok, except Bob Herbert.

Hilarious. And Gail Collins, please stop with the awful attempts at humor; you just ain't funny.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

4/3 @ The Independent

With the budget tightening by the day, I obviously have to be very selective in which shows I attend. In the past few months, I have only seen one live gig: Josh Ritter @ Great American. Today I decided to shed $20 on my next show, a fantastic double-bill at the Independent on Apr 3.


Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit


Justin Townes Earle

Justin Townes Earle "The Good Life" (Video)

He's got a new one out, but I've been stuck on his debut The Good Life. I'll be picking up his new one in the coming days.

Will Johnson, John Paul Keith, Champeen, etc. at SXSW

Will Johnson solo at SXSW Austin, TX

Thursday, March 19th
Almost There Records Showcase
Hole In The Wall
2538 Guadalupe St., Austin, TX 78705
Admission is free.

The Pons - 7:00
Gleeson - 8:00
Will Johnson - 9:00
John Paul Keith & The One Four Fives - 10:00
Mandible - 11:00
Mike Nicolai - 12:00
Grand Champeen - 1:00

To N

"When we all come together, it feels like the world is gonna be alright" -Tim Easton

I just listened to that line and immediately thought of my wonderful girlfriend. A few days ago we were hit by another mini shock to our plans, yet she held it together incredibly well. My reaction was a bit more callow. Through all these ups-and-downs, she has a keen ability to see things clearly and look at the positives, and not in a cliche way. She sees possibilities and dreams in situations that most find daunting and numbing. She absorbs the news, thinks of what could come next and clearly lays out her thoughts and plans.

If not for her, I would not have made immense progress on a few projects in the past few months. Now it's her turn to pursue what's always been her dream. And she deserves it.

Little League Awaits (Photo)


, originally uploaded by ccsbandwagon.

Obama on the Budget (Video)

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Since I'm in Jersey (Video)

A Reason To Believe

I am back East visiting my sister in Mahwah, New Jersey. I grew up a few towns over and whenever I think of Mahwah, I think of the Springsteen line, "They closed down the auto plant in Mahwah late last night." And that line could not be more fitting than right now.

I just went for a long run around her neighborhood and I can't recall witnessing first-hand what's happening in this country like I did in the past hour. Yes, I'm currently unemployed and my state of residence has one of the highest unemployment levels in the country, but seeing these homes in the condition that they are is utterly disheartening. It seems as if every 3-4 homes is either up for sale, in a state of utter decay or undergoing massive renovations (and who knows how long they've sat stagnant). And on that same square of a few blocks, I passed about five churches, all of which were in need of major renovations. I saw very few people, very few lights on in homes and just a lack of life all around. Perhaps it's my mind playing games after reading story after story about this collapse, but it appeared live and real in the span of a 30 minute run. As I was rounding the corner and had my sister's home in sight, I turned up the music and ran about as fast as I could. For a few moments, I felt great.

Tomorrow I plan on taking the same exact trip around the block, but this time with my camera. I hope to share a cluster of shots on my flickr page tomorrow.

Bruce Sprinsteen "Johnny 99"
Well they closed down the auto plant in Mahwah late last month
Ralph went out lookin' for a job but he couldn't find none
He came home too drunk from mixin' Tanqueray and wine
He got a gun shot a night clerk now they call him Johnny 99
Dawn in that part of town where when you hit red light you don't stop
Johnny's wavin' his gun around and threatin' to blow his top
When an off duty cop snuck up on him on from behind
Out in front of the club Tip Top they slapped the cuffs on Johnny 99
Well the city suplied a public defender but the judge was mean John Brown
He came into the courtroom and stared poor Johnny down
Well the evidence is clear gonna let the sentence fit the crime
Prison for 98 and a year will make it even Johnny 99
A fist fight broke out in the courtroom they had to drag Johnny's girl away
His mama stood up and shouted judge don't take my boy this way
Well son you got any statement you'd like to make
Before the bailiff comes to forever take you away
Yes judge I got debts no honest man could pay
The bank was holdin' my mortgage they was takin' my house away
Now I ain't sayin' that makes me an innocent man
But it was more than all this that put that gun in my hand
And your honor I do believe I'd be better off dead
If you can take a man's life for the thoughts that are in his head
Then won't you sit back in that chair and think it over one more time
And let 'em shave off my hair and burn Johnny 99

Monday, March 16, 2009

AIG et al

Enough is enough. It's time for Barack to stand tall and go hard left. I obviously don't know the ins-and-outs of these bailouts, but it's time to let a number of these corrupt and blood-sucking companies go down. Every single penny handed to AIG should be rescinded and put into the hands of the American people via infrastructure jobs, health care reform and other vehicles to save this country from literally plummeting into an abyss.

We need to see more Bernie Madoff's behind bars. George Bush and his cronies not only let this stuff happen but they fed this beast. And now Barack Obama needs to completely shift this country in a new direction. Forget the silly calls that he's a socialist and whatever the right-wing nutjobs are calling him; this country needs him and it needs him now. Unlike his counterparts, please forget politics for a moment and do what this country needs. He's made strides in many respects; now it's time to let these companies go and to rebuild this country.

Social Networking and Data

I just logged onto my Facebook page and quickly see three ads on the right of my page: 1) Dog Lovers Dream Vacation 2) See Josh Ritter Live and 3) Willie Nelson in Connecticut. Is this targeted advertising effective? Perhaps. But I find it to be very, very unsettling. I want to know where exactly they're retrieving this information. Is it via posts, my last.fm statistics, keywords via anywhere on my page? Whatever the case, this just does not sit well with me. I departed MySpace about a year ago when I felt as if they were getting a bit too intrusive, and well, it crashed my computer 103% of the time (and when Rupert took over, I couldn't stomach supporting the site). There are certainly benefits to Facebook, and the fact that they remain (somewhat) independent is a good thing. But this is starting to go over the line.

I suppose it's time to purge. And then maybe it's time to cancel. Oh, I know they've got my information no matter what I do, but at least I can put a halt to what I'm offering up.

Wilco's Ashes of American Flags DVD : "Monday" (Video)

Like many longtime fans, I miss the days of Bennett, Coomer, Egan, etc., but this is mighty impressive (and "Monday" wouldn't land in my top 50 Wilco songs). The DVD comes out on Record Store Day, as does as Springsteen 7".

Reflections on You (Photo)


, originally uploaded by ccsbandwagon.

The Backyard in NJ (Photo)


, originally uploaded by ccsbandwagon.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Album of Week 10


Bonnie "Prince" Billy : Beware
Drag City, 2009

NCAA Bracket

I watched about 21 minutes of college hoops this year so I'll be shocked if I get one game right.

Final Four: Louisville over Connecticut, Syracuse over Villanova
Championship: Louisville 79 Syracuse 74

Click on the bracket below to see all picks.

Friday, March 13, 2009

In 1995, Hillary Clinton Was a Hipster

The Greatest Cover

REM covering Richard and Linda Thompson's "Wall of Death".

The Stewart/Cramer Video

Top 50 Songs

These are by no means what I consider to be the "best 50 songs" ever. These are just my favorites. And as I said before, there's no question that I'm forgetting many. Caveats aside, here it goes (no order):

4am : Richard Buckner
Hoquiam : Damien Jurado
Settled Down Like Rain : The Jayhawks
Picking Up the Signal : Son Volt
Catch You Alive : Damnations, TX
Wall of Death : R.E.M.
Front Porch : Slobberbone
Jerusalem : Steve Earle
Random Rules : Silver Jews
Thunder Road : Bruce Springsteen
Blinking Lights (For Me) : Eels
Love Comes To Me : Bonnie "Prince" Billy
The Temptation of Adam : Josh Ritter
Rise : Josh Rouse
Meet Me at Mary's Place : Sam Cooke
Watching the Wheels : John Lennon
Mississippi : Bob Dylan
One of These Things First : Nick Drake
Losering : Whiskeytown
Before the Deluge : Jackson Browne
Goodnight Loser : Scott Miller
This Hard Land : Bruce Springsteen
Bum Leg : Joe Pernice
Song of 27 : Richard Buckner
Sound of Lies : The Jayhawks
So. Central Rain : R.E.M.
God : John Lennon
Oklahoma, USA : The Kinks
Casino Lights : Richmond Fontaine
Our Song : Joe Henry
For Real : Okkervil River
A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall : Bob Dylan
Via Chicago : Wilco
Powderfinger : Neil Young
Let's Stick Together : Bryan Ferry & Roxy Music
Lost Cause : Beck
Range Life : Pavement
Formula, Cola, Dollar Draft : Marah
In My Hour of Darkness : The Rolling Creekdippers
Chrome : Matthew Ryan
Michigan : Josh Rouse
Laminated Cat : Jeff Tweedy
All the Labor : The Gourds
Bring It On Home To Me : Sam Cooke
Glad It Ain't Me : Kenny Roby
Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues : Bob Dylan
These Days : Jackson Browne
Triggers and Trash Heaps : Centro-matic
Old Shoes : Tom Waits
Wrong 'Em Boyo : The Clash

In a Few Hours : 50 Favorite Songs

Yep, of all time. I've got it down to 60 or so, and there's no question that I'm forgetting some (likely many), but I should be there in a bit. I'm going to make this into three discs and distribute to a few friends. There is little to no question that this will be the greatest three-cd set every created.

A New San Francisco


Ever since I stopped going to bars and having to suffer being in the presence of hipsters, this city has really grown on me. Now that I only see such tight-jeaned, hoodie-wearing, mustache-growing, awful-shades-sportin' fools on their cool bikes, I've finally been able to see the better sides of this city. Here are some reasons why I've grown to love San Francisco:

DOGS: They are everywhere. You'll find them in parks, walking through coffee shops, tied to trees and at just about every corner of the city.

YAMO: This is my favorite restaurant in the city. Three to four Burmese women run the joint and there's barely enough room for ten people. A fantastic plate will run you $5.25.

COFFEE SHOPS: They're all over the city. Some of them kinda blow, but many are cozy, offer tasty coffee, free wifi and a place to work.

PARKS: Again, everywhere. From Golden Gate Park to the smaller parks around every single block, it's hard to go a few streets without landing in a big square of grass and trees.

RECORD STORES: Amoeba's great, but this city still has a pretty healthy offering of lesser-known record stores. I went to Grooves (is that the name?) the other day and landed great finds by Roy Orbison and Ry Cooder.

THE VIEWS: Just unbelievable. And everywhere. You arrive atop a hilly block and suddenly you're looking out at the entire Bay. You turn a corner and there's a view of the entire city.

THE CURIOSITY: A lot of smart and interesting people live in this city. I thought I'd be turned off by the fact that most are "to the left". Despite standing with them, I like a little balance. But ya know what, I'm so tired of conservatism and the republican party, that this suits me just fine.

HARDLY STRICTLY BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL: This is really the only music festival that I can stomach. It's in the park, it's comfortable, the crowds are respectful and the lineups are always solid.

BOOKSTORES: There are still many active in the city, and I've found many-a-treasure.

ANIMAL CARE & CONTROL: I could spend every waking minute here. They take in any animal that needs a home and treat them all with love and care.

Stewart & Cramer

If you caught last night's Daily Show and the much anticipated face-to-face between Stewart and CNBC's Jim Cramer, you witnessed journalism at its best. Outside of NPR, the NYT and lesser-known outlets (among the masses), Stewart and the Daily Show did the American public a great service last night. As the economy continues to sink and those on Wall Street pretend to be dumbfounded, Stewart has dug into this mess and begun pulling out the criminals, liars and those who drove our economy into the ground.

Jim Cramer had guts to appear on the Daily Show, but he certainly didn't anticipate Stewart's understanding of the issues and his almost endless evidence to back his claims that Cramer is essentially a lying crook, who played a part in destroying people's financial lives. There were times when I actually felt sorry for Cramer. He's another one of those petulant, greedy and conniving windbags who cover up their deep insecurities via showmanship and cash. They essentially find their way into the club, put on a mask and pray that their true selves are never revealed. But last night he was caught dead in his tracks. He almost appeared on the verge of a complete emotional breakdown. And as I felt rising sympathy for the guy, I considered what he and many others (whose acts have been far more egregious than Cramer) have done to average American people, and I felt pride. Pride in the fact that Jon Stewart brought this to light.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Just Some Thoughts

-Unless it's baseball, I really can't watch more than one hour of television per week. I watch "The Office" and "Flight of the Conchords" and really can't take anymore. I used to love tv.

-Why in the world isn't Mad Men, Season 2 on Netflix?

-I'm heading back East on Saturday but haven't really told anyone. It's a bit of a "work" trip and I won't have much time to hang.

-Can this whole Bernie Madoff thing please go away, like maybe now?

-I want to open up Animal Care & Control, Part 2.

-With South By Southwest arriving next week, I'm realizing that I may be a SXSW retiree. I've been seven times (99-01, 05-08) and man it's been a great, great run, but I just don't have Clark stamina. Best shows off the top of my head: Slobberbone, Brakes, Apollo Sunshine, The Drams, Centro-matic.

-Good god I love Sam Cooke.

-I hope to release two of my own works before the year turns to 2010. One I've discussed quite a bit, while the other's in the works.

-Bob Dylan's "Mississippi" is an incredibly underrated song.

-I guess I always kinda feel this way, but especially now: Things are about to happen, kinda big things.

-I can't believe Clark's gift.

-I can't wait to see my sister (and her dog).

-I spend a lot of time talking to my goldfish.

-If you don't own the Joe Henry song "Our Song" you might want to download it right about now.

-Is Al Franken still not the Senator from MN?

Good night.

Coming Soon (Photo)


mo, originally uploaded by ccsbandwagon.

No matter how much garbage surrounds baseball, from steroids and greed to an awful commissioner and the imbalance between teams, once again, I can't contain my excitement about the upcoming season.

Nick Drake


I've written about Drake's music here quite a bit. But there's really never enough to say. I've come to realize that his three (and only) fantastic records are literally therapy for me. Almost every time I'm stuck in a moment of anxiety, uncertainty or some other feeling that seems to require a distraction to ease up the tension, I turn to Drake. It's usually Bryter Layter, which I believe is far and away his best record, but the other two are always there for the taking. I mean, one listen to "Northern Sky", "Fly" or "One of These Things First" and all feels alright. I will never minimize the hyperbole that I toss at media that I love, but Drake's music is some of the best ever recorded. It is unreal to me that he was able to create all of these massive yet simple songs before the age of 27. This music literally feels delivered from the heavens, if such a place exists.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Brakes "All Night Disco Party" and New Stuff (Videos)



New album Touchdown is out Apr 20 on Rough Trade.

And here's the first video:


Hey Hey from INDIAN on Vimeo.

Withdrawal

I have now gone about an entire week without my iPod. I seem to have misplaced it at some point and I simply can't find it. I can't say that I've searched all that much, since I have tunes on this here computer and about two feet from me via my turntable and stereo, but it has still yet to surface. I bought this iPod back in Oct of 05 and it still works just fine. But now that I'm at about 18k tracks, I've gone way over my limit.

Even when unemployed there are certain essentials. We need food, shelter, water, coffee and tunes. I'm giving serious thought to dropping the $250 for the 120gb classic. I am at a loss here. Barry should chuck this into the next stimulus.

Self-Titled (Photo)


, originally uploaded by ccsbandwagon.

Bottle Rockets "Indianapolis" (Video)

f

Bonnie "Prince" Billy "I Am Goodbye" (Video)

I initially wasn't crazy about this song/video, but it's growing on me. BPB's Beware! is out Tuesday on Drag City. If you don't buy it, why even go on living.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cozy (Photo)


, originally uploaded by ccsbandwagon.

Divisadero Street, SF (Photo)


, originally uploaded by ccsbandwagon.

San Francisco Days (Photo)


, originally uploaded by ccsbandwagon.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Unravelling at Miles of Music

Boy am I late to the game on this one. I knew that Miles of Music had gone through some difficulties, but I had no idea that they'd closed shop late last year.

In the mid-to-late 90's I used to place regular orders from MoM. Not only would I order CDs, 7-inch singles and magazines from MoM, but I'd read their website interviews and often correspond with co-owners (and I believe husband and wife?) Jeff and Corey. We'd share annual top ten lists and they'd turn me on to acts from all over the world. I recall Corey telling me about The Handsome Family.

I stopped ordering from them sometime around 2003 or so. Delivery times became very sporadic and oftentimes customer service inquiries would receive no response. Nevertheless, I've always had a soft spot for Miles of Music. They played a huge part in turning me onto many bands, and were an integral part of the musical "movement" that changed my life.

This is a fascinating story.

Thao Dates


March 18 - Austin, TX @ Club Deville &
March 19 - Austin, TX @ The Parish $
March 19 - Austin, TX @ The Parish *
March 19 - Austin, TX @ Radio Room (BrooklynVegan day party)
March 20 - Austin, TX @ Momo's ^
April 17 - Washington, DC @ Black Cat #
April 18 - Durham, NC @ Duke Coffee House #
April 19 - Mt Pleasant, SC @ Village Tavern #
April 20 - Atlanta, GA @ EARL #
April 21 - Tallahassee, FL @ Club Downunder - Florida State #
April 23 - Austin, TX @ The Parish #
April 24 - Ft Worth, TX @ Lola's #
April 25 - Lubbock, TX @ The Foundation #
April 26 - Santa Fe, NM @ The Sub - College of Santa Fe #
April 28 - San Diego, CA @ The Loft - UCSD #
April 29 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Hotel Cafe #
April 30 - San Francisco, CA @ Independent #
May 1 - Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios #
May 2 - Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey #
May 4 - Boise, ID @ Neurolux #
May 5 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court #
May 6 - Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive #
May 7 - Lawrence, KS @ Jackpot Saloon #
May 8 - St Louis, MO @ Off Broadway Nightclub #
May 9 - Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle #
May 10 - Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern #
May 12 - Northampton, MA @ Iron Horse @
May 14 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom #
May 15 - Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church #
May 16 - Norfolk, VA @ The Boot #

& Kill Rock Stars SXSW day party
$ NPR day party w/ Blind Pilot, Dirty Projectors, K'NANN, Blitzen Trapper
* Hotel Cafe SXSW Showcase
^ KUT SXSW Showcase
# w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
@ w/ Sister Suvi

A Good Day For Science and Progress

Obama lifts Bush's moronic limits on stem cell research.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Coffee Shop (Photo)


, originally uploaded by ccsbandwagon.

Songs of the Times : Then and Now


Hangin' On E Street

Bruce's site now features other artists performing and talking about Bruce's music. Artists up now include Ted Leo, Gaslight Anthem, Avett Bros. and Juliana Hatfield. If Son Volt's version of "Open All Night" isn't up by sundown then the whole page is worthless.

Who are Against Me? Dude's version of "Reason To Believe" is pretty classic. And boy is this song appropriate given the current times.

Visit

Album of Week 9


Bruce Springsteen : Born To Run
Columbia, 1975

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Cleveland, Anyone?


There are very few things that would ever bring me back to Cleveland. I made a pit stop for night in Cleveland back in 1996 and I can't think of another city as depressing as the home of the Rock n' Roll Hall (sorry Orlando, you'll have to settle for second). Granted, I only spent one night in the city, but boy was it an ugly place to be.

But I just may have to head back. On April 1st, the Hall unveils the exhibit "From Asbury Park to the Promised Land: The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen." It's being touted as perhaps the most expansive exhibit they've ever put on.

From Backstreets
The exhibit will be a comprehensive look at Springsteen’s music, from early bands like Child, the Castiles and Steel Mill through his work with the E Street Band and as a solo artist. Several of Springsteen’s guitars will be there, including his legendary Fender Esquire and a custom decorated guitar from the Seeger Sessions tour. Outfits will be on display, too, including those he wore on the covers of Born in the U.S.A., Human Touch, and The River, as well as numerous handwritten lyric manuscripts, posters and handbills from all phases of his career, and various awards and honors. Danny's accordion will be there; the sax Clarence used to record the "Jungeland" solo; even Springsteen's 1960 Chevrolet Corvette, which he purchased after the success of Born to Run.

Will Oldham Playlist


If you are unfamiliar with Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Will Oldham, Palace, Palace Songs, Palace Songs and the rest, it's time to listen to this playlist. This is great music.

Friday, March 6, 2009

NYT : One in 8 Million

What a fantastic collection. I literally felt like I was right back in New York City. Enjoy

Fabchannel To Close

What a shame. I have watched many full concerts via fabchannel.com, including Joe Henry, Josh Ritter and many more. The site will cease to exist on March 13th.

Note from the CEO:

Dear Fabchannel viewer,

After nine passionate and beautiful years of sharing the most amazing concert recordings with you, Fabchannel is stopping. A great number of record labels still won't allow us to record their artists. This prevents us from offering what we need to keep Fabchannel alive.

We want to sincerely thank you for all support through the years! It has been an amazing time, but unfortunately this is where it ends.

With a bleeding heart we're pulling the plug of our online archive Friday 13th of March. Until that time, enjoy your favorite concerts and who knows… we'll meet again.

Justin Kniest, CEO

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Most Appropriate 911 Call Ever

"This is an emergency. If I would have known they didn't have McNuggets, I wouldn't have given my money, and now she wants to give me a McDouble, but I don't want one," police quoted her as saying. "This is an emergency."

Twitter

It seems you can't turn on the tv, read an article or login to Facebook without seeing something related to Twitter. I have no idea what RT means but everyone seems to be doing it. And then there are the @ symbols, which I assume connotes someone's Twitter handle, although I'm sure "handle" is not Twitter enough.

I will be the first to admit that I spend far too much time on many of these mind-numbing sites. I gave up MySpace about a year ago and have since fallen face-first into the Facebook bandwagon. It truly is an obsession for many, and at times, I feel like I'm one of them. Whenever I should be focusing on the tasks of the day, I often find myself scouring photos, many of which were uploaded by people I barely know. This is depressing. And when I'm not on Facebook, you can find me on ESPN, Techcrunch and a slew of other sites that offer up instantaneous feeds. Sometimes it's hard to break free. Thankfully, I balance visits to these sites with sites that offer much more than a momentary high.

And now there's Twitter. I created an account maybe six months ago when I was working in the space. I think I tossed up two or three boring updates at the outset but haven't gone back since. Although I thought there was no limit to how far I could go with this web 2.4 garbage, I guess I've hit a wall. Time could change my opinions on this, but Twitter absolutely drives me nuts. It's just one more means of diluting dialogue and in-depth thinking. Oh, I know that sounds incredibly pretentious, but there's little nuance or curiosity; it does little more than spit out nuggets of oftentimes meaningless and thoughtless nonsense. It's like the Bush years all over again. I'm not going to travel the predictable and say, "I don't need to hear about what you're having for lunch," because there are obviously people who do care what you're having for lunch. What unnerves me about this is what I've mentioned above. We now live in a country and world that's moving too fast. People are generally never anywhere because they're always looking ahead or updating pages or making plans. Those plans never lead to being in the moment; they're simply stop gaps to what's next.

Let's relax, folks. Oh, I completely understand the lure of Twitter and the like, but enough already. We live amongst parks, people, oceans, record stores, libraries, cafes, deserts, and so forth. Let's enjoy these things based solely on what they are.

I give it three months before I'm updating multiple times an hour.

Feist To Appear on New Wilco

Isn't she terrible?

According to Pitchfork:
To help guarantee a world-class effort, Jeff Tweedy and Co. invited Feist up to their Chicago studio to record vocals for a new Wilco song called "You and I", Rolling Stone's Smoking Section blog reports. "Feist and the dudes in Wilco met at the Grammys last year, and she hit it off with everyone," Smoking Section says. "She's a Wilco fan, and the guys love her music, so they've kept in touch over the past year. Mr. Tweedy is a huge fan of duets, and wanted to work a duet into the new album. Feist was their first call. Everyone who's heard the song has been 'blown away.'"

Gordon Brown Wants To Hot Tub w America

Animal Care and Control

When I considered offering up a little time to volunteer with animals, my first thought was SPCA. Although they do some great things, I'm glad I spoke to a friend who convinced me to go with SF Animal Care and Control. For one, when I went to SPCA to ask about volunteer opportunities, it appeared to be a bureaucratic nightmare. The folks working there were mildly robotic and everything seemed to be centered around rules. When I went to Animal Care & Control (next door), the people were much more down to earth. And where SPCA seems to take the "good" pets, Animal Care takes anything that comes through its doors, and treats all pets with great care.

I'll admit that I was initially turned off by the almost ten hours of training I had to go through before being permitted to spend time with the dogs. But man, after going through the whole process, there's little question that it's necessary. I'm pretty sure they do this more to weed out those who aren't serious about volunteering. As each class passed, more folks seemed to fall by the wayside.

After about six weeks of going through the courses, yesterday was my first day on my own. I took a few dogs for walks and once the rains came, just hung out in a few cages with a number of good pups. It's a sad place to be at times, but thankfully, most dogs do find their way into homes. And the people who work there do what they do for the love of it. They're obviously not paid well, despite doing a great service and having to endure a lot of very hard work, both physically and mentally.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hidden Love : A Benefit for Peter Case


I just learned of this today. If you're not familiar with Peter Case or The Plimsouls, well, it's probably time to change that. His 1995 solo record Torn Again is easily one of my favorite records of that decade. If you pick that up and like it, next up should be 1989's The Man with the Blue Post Modern Fragmented Neo-Traditionalist Guitar. Yes, that's really the title.

If you've got a few extra bucks, you can lend a hand here.

Now Playing: Bruce Springsteen @ Nassau Coliseum, December 31, 1980

This very well may be the greatest live recording ever. They played forty two! songs.

Set List:
Night
Prove It All Night
Spirit in the Night
Darkness on the Edge of Town
Independence Day
Who'll Stop the Rain
This Land Is Your Land
The Promised Land
Out in the Street
Racing in the Street
The River
Badlands
Thunder Road
Cadillac Ranch
Sherry Darling
Hungry Heart
Merry Christmas Baby
Fire
Candy's Room
Because the Night
4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
Rendezvous
Fade Away
The Price You Pay
Wreck on the Highway
Two Hearts
Ramrod
You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)
Held Up Without a Gun
Midnight Hour
Auld Lang Syne
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Jungleland
Born To Run
Devil With a Blue Dress On
Good Golly Miss Molly
CC Rider
Jenny Take a Ride
I Hear a Train
Twist and Shout
Raise Your Hand

This is some of the only known footage. Bruce is SO pumped.

Magnet's Over/Under on Wilco

What crap = classic.

Read

New Eels Due in June

Four years since the fantastic and massive Blinking Lights and Other Revelations, the Eels return on June 2 with the release of Hombre Lobo. Eels frontman Mark Oliver Everett obviously remained busy penning a memoir and leading a PBS documentary on his father, but it's good to see that new music is on the way.

Monday, March 2, 2009

An Exercise in Springsteen

A good friend and fellow Springsteen enthusiast thought it would be interesting to try and group Springsteen's career into three slots and compile a 12-song compilation for each. Basically, the time frames would be Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ (73) to Nebraska (82), Born in the USA (84) to Ghost of Tom Joad (95) and finally, everything since.

This was the hardest exercise of my life, and that includes the time I had to do (zero) pull-ups in front of every girl in my class in 1990. But here it goes...


1973-1983
Born To Run
Wild Billy's Circus Story
Racing in the Street
Thunder Road
The River
For You
Badlands
Atlantic City
Backstreets
4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
Stolen Car
Jungleland



1984-1995
I'm Goin' Down
Human Touch
I'm on Fire
Youngstown
Better Days
One Step Up
Darlington County
This Hard Land
If I Should Fall Behind
Downbound Train
Janey Don't You Lose Heart
Streets of Philadelphia



1996-2009
John Henry
The Rising
Long Time Comin'
The Wrestler
Into the Fire
Terry's Song
Old Dan Tucker
My City of Ruins
Land of Hopes and Dreams
Working On a Dream
You're Missing
Devils & Dust


Ten More
The Price You Pay
Adam Raised a Cain
Drive All Night
Highway Patrolman
Darkness On the Edge of Town
Spirit in the Night
Incident on 57th Street
Kitty's Back
The Ties That Bind
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)

Dean & Britta at Magnetmagazine.com


A nice Q&A plus they're guest blogging this week.

Go there

Dow Closes at 6763.29

Service

Where have the days of good service gone? It's pretty unreal that some businesses can survive with such god awful treatment of their customers. We now come to expect adequate service at best at restaurants, stores and so on, and such mediocre service is usually met with, "Wow, they were very nice." Well, no, they weren't.

The most common treatment seems to be very rushed service. I guess that's a sign of the times as folks no longer have time to be in the moment, or to allow a moment to extend beyond four seconds. Everyone's on their phone, getting in quick exercise, at a meeting, twittering about the weather or making plans while they're at dinner with friends.

There's a local fish restaurant that Noreen and I go to and the girl who usually serves us is incredibly sweet. She doesn't necessarily go out of her way, but she always has a genuine smile, never rushes us and always returns to check on us. We're always so happy with how we're handled.

Right now I'm sitting at a shop having my car serviced. I checked out a number of places via Yelp and this location got rave reviews. The consensus was that the service is unmatched and you won't be ripped off. I've now been in twice and although the service is good compared to most dumps, I'm not impressed. For one, they are always eager to get you out of the way. They have that, "Man, I have to get to something else NOW" look at all times. I mean, what would that extra twenty seconds cost you? They are nice guys, but it's the constant rush that's just unnerving. And this is what we now call good service? How hard would it be to say, "Have a good morning" or "You seeing Buckner at the Independent?" I mean, give me something. As I'm typing this, one of the owners just asked me a question and before I could respond, he was out the door.

So are the times, I suppose. I was hopeful that this downturn in the economy would lead folks back to caring about service, community and back rubs. Maybe if the dow hits 1500 folks will start to come around.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Four Books


Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: Kids' Letters To President Obama Edited by Jory John, Non-Fiction, 2009 : 8.1


The Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle, Comic Memoir, 2008 : 8.0