Wednesday, June 29, 2005


I've previously mentioned that the car I recently aquired has a am/fm/cassette player. I'm sure I've mentioned that as the am/fm portion offers little of value to me I was stuck with my tape collection, which has had only minor growth since 1994.

This recently has meant listening to Yes and Def Leppard (there have been other bad influences as well) and trying to cope. This didn't work so well so a couple weeks ago I went to the one Zia in the Phoenix area that still has cassettes and picked up half a dozen. Three are stellar and will be played repeatedly; the other three are, well, better than REO Speedwagon and Joe Satriani (mostly because I've heared REO, etc more.) This half dozen was, certainly, the most diverse set of music I've ever purchased in one go.

At any rate I picked up seven more at Zia today so I figured this was as good a time as any to report back on the first group.

Billy Bragg: Talking with the Taxman About Poetry - I guess I figured it was $2 and my friend had talked up his collaboration with Wilco. Very British folk... not bad... but not entirely engaging either.

John Coltrane: Blue Train - This was instantly my favorite Coltrane album. Granted I'm not all that familiar with his catalog (not that I have to point that out) but I will wear this one out. Works well at the job, too.

Bob Dylan: Greatest Hits - I saw the Volume II today... but didn't pull that trigger. I knew many of these songs but none of them very well. The lyrics - especially from a fundamentals of poetry sense - are fantastic and some of the music is cool (see Subterranean Homesick Blues... and yes, I'm sorry (what) I (said should have) screwed up that (somewhat) informal QB thing since I was an ignorant dolt concerning Subterannean Homesick Alien and the source of that title) but... ehh. I either need to hear much more - albums, not greatest hits should be my rule - or less.

Public Enemy: He Got Game - There's no Copland here (not that that would be a bad thing), just to clarify things. I like Flavor Flav-featured songs here more than normal (read: some) and while there are some misses the standout tracks such as "He Got Game" and "All You Need Is Jesus" are plenty to carry the album. This was a good movie; I need to see it again.

the Replacements: Pleased to Meet Me - I knew 4 of these 11 from All For Nothing, and beyond those (all fantastic songs) we have "I.O.U." and "Never Mind." Some great straightforward rock that fills a large hole in my collection. This tape will also be played until it breaks.

Muddy Waters: King Bee - Classic Blues artist I never have really gotten to know. This one hasn't done much for me yet but it's good enough to listen to. From the AMG review: "Not the place to start a Muddy Waters collection, but a good one to add to the collection after you've absorbed the classics on Chess." Heh.

Of the seven I picked up I got one each from the three of the artists above you'd think I'd want more from - a little surprising given the small supply I had to select from - and three artists I already have CDs by and Come On Feel the Lemonheads.


It looks like I've topped out at 10 shows for June. From my earlier list I added Kathleen Edwards but missed the Colorstore show on Friday to hang out with friends and the Architecture in Helsinki due to camping. Then there's the Rogue Wave/Helio Sequence show tonight... and Warped Tour going on right now... but I'm not going to go. I need to catch up on laundry, miscellaneous nonsense and, most importantly, sleep. And blogging.

Enon were OK, I'm not terribly familiar but they played enough stuff I recognized for that not to be the problem. Toko's keys monitor wasn't working so after the first three songs she played bass and didn't sing lead at all, which cuts down on their variety. Better, however, were the opening bands, Sparrow, from Vancouver, and Thunderbirds Are Now! from Detroit. The latter were upset (well) that Detroit had just lost to the Spurs but they lit the place up. They had not played Phoenix before and asked the crowd how many knew their music; I knew who they were but hadn't heard their music. Now I own both CDs they had for sale.

Last night marked the Moutain Goats return to Modified. Darnielle played an odd set, including fewer songs from The Sunset Tree than I expected - no "This Year", for example. This is due to the shortish set (only about 45 minutes) but it also made room for other tracks such as The Color in Your Cheeks... which I had assumed that I'd never hear live. There were other older songs I didn't recognize (such as "The Recognition Scene which somehow I knew was from Sweeden) and a pair of mellow songs from Tallahassee - the title track and Game Shows Touch Our Lives. The 4 or 5 unrecognized songs, rather than alienated me, impressed upon me even more forcefully how great of a songwriter John Darnielle is. I own his last four proper albums; I need to just keep going.

The first band to play was Tierra del Fuego, who played the Colorstore/Goodbye Blue Monday show at the Emerald Lounge. They are a local band that has only started playing though the members are from established locals including Rum Tenor and ...And Guppies Eat Their Young so they're not like a band just starting out. I tried to google their name... and got nothing of value even including "Phoenix." I added "Rum Tenor" and my blog was the second hit. Anyway, enough of this... they have an alt-country type sound and some fantastic songs. I'm looking forward to catching them again.

The second band was the Double from New York. I'm not sure how to describe them but were stellar. Very experimental, noisy guitar. The synths and the general sound made me think of Suicide (though one should not read too much into that.) I need to listen to their CD (their next one is due out on Matador in September) and see what I can say there.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


I got home from work today at a reasonable time so I'm able to do more than sit on the chaise and half-watch the Pistons game.

This involves visiting the website for the Slow Singal Fade, an LA-based shoegazer-esque band that opened for Electrelane. All three bands that played that night at the Troubadour were excellent, I would've bought SSF's CD if they were still around after the show, I did buy the EP that Nashville-based Be Your Own Pet had for sale - very energetic art(y) punk - and, well, I already own all of the albums/singles Electrelane had for sale.

Getting sidetracked already I'll point out that I've recently had a good run of opening bands; Goodbye Blue Monday (from Thursday), the above plus Street Dogs - opened for BR on Sunday, they were good straight up punk though not quite CD worthy, and, as my friend noted, "a little too Boston" - and the two bands Sunday night (opening for Dressy Bessy): Hot IQ and The Jessica Fletchers, both good, fun psyche-pop bands, from Denver and Oslo, respectively. Hot IQ were advertised as sort of a cross between Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Thermals... which makes some sense even if it sort of oversells them.

I find it odd that I managed to stay in the second row of bodies and keep my glasses on the entire time at a Bad Religion show at the House of Blues Sunset Strip. I guess I was near enough to the front to miss the circle pit getting mostly pushing and the occasional crowd surfer.

The funniest part of the show was when Greg was talking about their recent show at the Hollywood Palladiam and how it was recorded for the upcoming DVD: It's going to be released in, uhh, August or September... err... I'll have to check with the label [walks over to Mr. Brett, they whisper back and forth a bit] The DVD is out September 20th. (I may be wrong on the date but that's not important.)

I would not have bought a car with an manual transmission if I lived in LA. Phoenix has neither the hills nor the traffic, much less that glorious juxtoposition of the two. Continuing along these lines I finally figured out why Highway driving usually yields better gas mileage than City driving: most "City" driving involves lots of lights and traffic jams. I don't see those in my driving (well, very rarely) so I couldn't understand why Highway driving - at higher than optimal speeds - wouldn't be worse.

Yes, I know many people in Phoenix have long commutes and that many have slow commutes but the options for avoiding these both more varied and more reasonable in Phoenix than in, say, LA.

Yes, I know LA has much more going on... but a good argument could be made that it's too much, and not merely because almost everything is a pain to get to. I live in southern Cave Creek and am 25-35 miles from downtown Phoenix or Tempe... but in the evenings travel is only 30-45 minutes.

I finished Diary by Chuck Palahniuk. I sort of had to rush through it - which was basically just budgeting the time; it was easy to read - so that I could finish it in time to leave it with my friend in Pasadena. I also returned The Confusion to him and received the newer novel by both Palahniuk and Stephenson in return. I have not yet updated my queue to include these developments.

I tried to leave Distress too but he had already gone there. In fact, at the BR show, after I pointed out that camera phones are the (poor quality) loophole around most "no camera" policies he asked what the security staff would do if they came across implanted corneal video recording devices (as a serious question, forgetting that something similar happened in Distress.)

I am just now getting a chance to listen to the CDs procured at Amoeba; this is one bad thing about not having a CD player in the car. Another is when your Creative breaks. Ugh.

Monday, June 20, 2005

90 Days

I got my Creative about 120 days ago. It has a 90 day warranty. Guess what just stopped working? Being past warranty means Creative offers no support other than the simple FAQs posted on the website. This hopefully will turn out to be false (or atleast severely overstated) but I'm gonna have to wait to find out.

Fortunately it was fine for my trip to LA and back. Fortunately I have all the music on my computer harddrive.

Unfortunately I am now (at least temporarily) with tapes and radio both in my car and at work.

Saturday, June 18, 2005


Wow. I just bought tickets for a rock show... for me and my parents. I mean, I have half-season tickets for the Phoenix Symphony with my parents, but that's a little different.

The White Stripes are coming to town a couple weeks after my father's birthday in August and I figured he'd want to go. It's at the Dodge Theater and we have seats seats so for this situation that can count as a good thing. Inviting my dad didn't occur to me when they played at Mesa Amp, an outdoor GA venue.

I'm not sure what he'll think of the new album - not sure what I think of the new album - but he's big on the other stuff, songs like Ball and Biscuit, Death Letter and Stop Breaking Down (yes, I know only one of those is actually Jack's song.)

It'll be, err, interesting.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Lap 1

The Emerald Lounge is a dive bar - which is not to say that it's dirty and crawling with rats but that it's dark and empty. There are two rooms, a front room with a bar and a few booths then a back room with a jukebox, little tables and a small stage where bands play. The latter is, of course, why I go there. I don't mind that it's dark and sparse on the entertainments (no darts, pool tables or even a Golden Tee) but I don't like how quickly (and how often) it fills up with smoke.

Downtown Phoenix is a little closer to me but in Tempe they have no smoking in the bars.
I still smell like smoke this morning but I can breathe so I'm doing alright.

Anyway I caught the first of four consecutive shows last night; Colorstore with Goodbye Blue Monday and Tierra del Fuego. It was probably the most crowded I've seen the Emerald Lounge, though quite a few folks wandered out after Tierra del Fuego. (Not quite as extreme as the last show I saw there; I was shocked by how many people showed up for Curium, Blink, Half-Handed Cloud and Fatigo... but 50% were there for Curium (and left after they played) and another 40% were in the remaining three bands.)

GBM are from San Diego and are starting out on a three week tour that takes them as far as New York before looping back through Denver and Billings... which makes for a lot of driving. I was quite impressed by how strong they sounded, enough to buy their new CD and wish I had more cash on me. First impression the sound struck me as similar to early ATDI (biggest difference being the vocals), to make a rough, rough comparison.

Colorstore might've been off a little bit but part of that may be that they've been playing quite a bit of new music that they were working on during their break. Still a good show, though.

After showering and breakfast I shall be off to Hollywood for the next two laps, Electrelane and Bad Religion... after which I'm driving back to Phoenix for Father's Day/my older sister's birthday (hopefully bearing gifts from Amoeba) and Dressy Bessy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Somewhere Else

The Kathleen Edwards show was fantastic last night. I was a little wary while we were having pre-show dinner at the Sonaran Brewing Company around the corner, the recent sell-outs (including the Bad Religion show I'm going to in Hollywood this Saturday) had me nervous. There was no reason for it, though, as there was plenty of room in the parking lot and - in stark contrast to the Of Montreal show the previous Monday where there were under-21 folks packed shoulder to shoulder in the whole front area - they had chairs and little tables set up around the stage. The crowd might've been 100-150 (rather than ~350.)

Matt Mays opened with a 45 minute set; his inbetween song banter was around as entertaining as his songs... partially because I never quite got a feel for how serious he was being. It often came off (to me) as quite ridiculous but he certainly wasn't up there cracking up. The songs were good, too.

Kathleen Edwards played after a short break, starting out by announcing that two of her band members were at the bar; they had tried to set up the drum set but it took up half the stage so she fired them for the evening. Thus it was Kathleen, Jim and Colin playing for about 70 minutes (closing big with a Gram Parsons cover and "Back to Me") before a short encore break then came back for three more songs.

I just loved it; the two friends who came along loved it as well (enough to buy CDs, even.)

I would've bought a shirt (which would've been killer to wear to the BR show on Saturday) but the largest size they had was Large. Since they were American Apparel shirts I would've needed an XXL... because they run small and they shrink (even when washed in cold water and hung to dry.) And it's not like I'm all that big, I'm 6', 200#... which is above average for an American male but not but much (2', 20#?). Oh well. The shirts feel fine and the sweatshop free aspect is cool... but it'd be nice if they weren't terrible shirts.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


Two sold out shows in a row. I don't get it. The Greeley Estates pre-Warped Tour kickoff show yesterday night was cut off the same as the Of Montreal show on Monday. This may not be entirely correct as I don't know how they do capacity for an all-ages show in a venue with a cage.

The Clubhouse probably holds something like 700 people... but it is often split into an all-ages area from the stage to the bar and then a 21+ area which is about the same size. When I got in at 6:45pm the underage area was packed and there were maybe a dozen people scattered around the bar. As the night wore on the 21+ part filled up but it was never as packed as the front... even as underaged fans left.

All 7 bands playing were locals and people don't often stay after their band plays. I guess I have to admit to this but [a] I saw (all) 5 bands that played before the Stiletto Formal and [b] I had to pick up my brother to give him a ride to Phoenix. Granted, he wouldn't've minded if I took another hour or so but I was still trying to find a way to get tto the Colorstore show at Paper Heart.

The Stiletto Formal were great, they played five songs off their EP along with one brand new one... which increases the total number of songs I've heard from them to 8 (they played a different brand new one May 13th at Modified; that one was called something like "Give Me 50 CCs of Anything Strong") though they might've also played non-EP tracks the first time I saw them.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

In State

It's a good thing I had a ticket for the Of Montreal show; they actually had to turn people away. The show was sold out... and if I had shown around 8pm like I did - I left with about 6 minutes left in the 4th quarter of the Pistons-Heat game and listened to the end on the way to the show - without a ticket I probably would not have gotten in.

Tilly and the Wall didn't have any vinyl copies of their album with them; they're almost out entirely. Maybe a lot of other people figured that they'd spend their money on the vinyl since they already got the mp3s from the Team Love website which offers them for free.

I did, in fact, not go to the shows 06/07 - 06/10 which I stated I probably would not go to. I did, however, stop at Zia and pick up half a dozen cassettes to listen to in the car when I don't want to use the Creative. So far I absolutely love Pleased to Meet Me (I had heard the Replacements' All for Nothing comp but no actual albums) and I've also listened to King Bee by Muddy Waters. UP next, I think, is Dylan's greatest hits followed by some PE, Coltrane and Billy Bragg. Then it's back to the hits of the 80's and early 90's that is my tape collection - aka a lot of Bad Company, Satriani, Queen and Rush with a little Catherine Wheel and Alice in Chains.

One of the CDs I got at Zia - I had planned to avoid that section... which shows what a stupid planner I am - was Kathleen Edwards' latest, Back to Me. I listened to all of both of her albums on Rhapsody after reading Hanson write about her and picked this up to increase my listening possiblities before the show on Monday at the Rhythm Room... which means I heard about her just in time, eh.

This one thing I love about Rhapsody; I can actually hear songs, albums and artists folks refer to, be it Matt in his 500 Songs listings or people talking about random bands on the Coachella message board.

I still haven't figured out which show to go to tonight. I guess the Paper Heart is closer than the Clubhouse... ugh... I'm very ambivalent here.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Last Days of Disco

I have no interesting frame for this at this time so this will go here as a placeholder. I will not be surprised if I either can't think of anything better or just plain forget about this opening statement. Anyway, the following are recent things going on and changes; the aggregate being uncharacteristically significant (though some listed are still minor):
  • I am back to working 7am - 3:30pm: I had worked 10:30am - 7pm since the start of the year; that schedule was my idea... and I was shocked when it lasted more than a few weeks. We were busy at work and this effectively made the lab I work in bigger by staggering shifts. I wholly got used to sleeping in until 9:30am... to the extent that if my alarm didn't go off I wouldn't wake until around 11am (which only happened twice.) I was never very good at waking up early and getting things done before work; I was good at staying up past 2am. Getting home at 7:30pm (or, more often, after 8 or even 9pm as I usually work OT) makes for a short "normal folks evening" but it was nice for shows that started at 8 or 9pm and went past midnight.
  • I got a new cell phone: I went from the default Nokia to a newer Samsung. OK, this one isn't all that exciting. My original service contract wasn't up until August but Sprint lets you get the same new signup discount on a phone if you wait 18 months... plus I got to change my plan to one where I'll save around $10 a month... which will pay for the phone upgrade in 8 months.
  • I am flying to Michigan in July: I technically am only flying to Illinois and Arizona... but most of the trip will be spent in Michigan. Almost all of the extended family lives in Michigan somewhere. The itinerary thus far: flying into Chicago (Saturday),taking either a train or a rental car to western Michigan ... and then slowly making our way to near North Canton, OH for a wedding on the following Saturday (and the rehersal dinner the night before.) The return flight is out of Cleveland on that Monday. Oddly the Detroit roundtrip flight was more expensive as well as more driving.
  • I traded in my Trooper and got a Civic: I utterly despise the car search process. My Trooper was a '93 and I had recently went over 160k, it had been a while since I had used it as a 4WD... and the projected repair budget to keep it running was unacceptable. I will get better gas mileage, my insurance should drop and... I lose my CD player. I'm back on cassettes for general commuting (short trip anyway) and my Creative with a tape adapter when I want something more. Hmm, let's go into this a little more: I hate looking for cars. There are either far, far too many options or far too few. I have never paid attention to cars, I can't tell make/model much of the time without seeing the bits on the back that give it away, I have never cared about car racing of any stripe... you could not call me a car lover. This is approximately the only area of my life where I'd love to have a product simply assigned to me by the government. I don't care about the differences between cars, I just want something that runs, isn't tiny and is efficient. I like that I got something so common, so generic, so boring. I am not a bumper/band sticker person so there probably won't be anything unique about the car. The only break in this is that the car is a forest green rather than silver/grey.
  • I am currently blogging about personal shit: I am much happier to have personal details be included not as an end unto themselves but because they come out naturally as a part of other discussions. Enough is revealed necessarily and incidentally; I want stuff about me to be implicit rather than explicit, generally. It won't happen again, I promise.
That's all to report currently.