Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I need 3 packs of Marlboros? You need?

An unusual barter request found on craigslist NYC.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

NYC: snowden + delicious sandwich social + make out party

Some upcoming happenings in the city:

Jade Tree Record's buzz kings Snowden played the Sine-E on Thursday and hit South Paw in Park Slope, Brooklyn tonight. Their heavily reverbed, drone-heavy sound is indebted to Interpol for sure, but (thank god) without the Ian Curtis fixation. This tune got stuck in my head bad:

Snowden - Anti-Anti (from itstoolong.com)

Attention sandwich-makers and sandwich-lovers: the Delicious Sandwich Social happens this afternoon at Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Bring a sandwich, keep 1/2 and submit the other. The sumbitted sandwiches get redistributed randomly so everyone gets a different 1/2 sandwich (and the name of the person that made it - thus "social.") Something new for sure.

Central Park Makeout

Date: Thursday, August 31st
Time: 7:00pm
Location: Sheeps Meadow (enter at Central Park West and 66th)
Cost: Free
Summary: "Come hang out and make-out at Central Park's Sheeps Meadow. The makeout party is free, and for no particular cause, other than to promote shameless kissing in public. (This is a kissing-only event, so all you exhibitionists contain yourselves, please!). In conjunction with Central Park Makeout, The All State Café 250 w72nd St, just west of B-way) has agreed to do some cheap and fun drink pre and post makeout party. "

Friday, August 25, 2006

eko vino: beef & iron wine

A perplexing medicinal, usually found in the "Hispanic" or "Ethnic" section of the drugstore. I have picked up this bottle several times but never mustered up the courage to buy a bottle. It does actually contain 7% alcohol, which, of course, has led me to fantasize of wild, beef wine fueled orgies (So drunk! So strong!!!)

Strangely, The Daily Slope also ran a brief story last year featuring the Eko Vino and other Hispanic-marketed medicines, remedies and cosmetics. I find it hard to believe that these products are only available in Park Slope, Brooklyn (where I also live.) Anyhow...

The product is a relative of a whole range of crazy old remedies that contained sherry or port, iron (and/or other minerals) and beef broth or sometimes, cow's blood. Hearty.

Iron & Wine / Calexico - History of Lovers

Thursday, August 24, 2006

fast & jittery: orange juice + the wedding present

The UK has a grand tradition of fast, chaotic and vulnerable pop that reaches back to the post-punk era. Pehaps one could even trace the thread back to Skiffle and Mersey Beat, but that's probably more of a stretch.

From Glasgow, Scotland, Orange Juice pioneered the nerdy and romantic art-punk jangle that has has become a permanent part of the indie landscape. You might even call them pre-twee. An impressive collection of their first recordings (1980-1981) was released by Domino last year as The Glasgow School, and contains the track below. Orange Juice never really made any cash, but frontman Edywn Collins eventually had a big (and unlikely) hit with "A Girl Like You" in 1994.

Orange Juice - Blue Boy
buy it

David Gedge, the singer-songwriter who fronts The Wedding Present is a doomed romantic, as well as being an avid student of the spastic jangle. First emerging in mid 80's, TWP also represent a bit of a missing link between the depressed British alternative rock of that decade (The Smiths, The Cure, New Order, Echo & the Bunnymen, etc) and the rowdier American indie-rock of the 90's. Plus, they were produced often by Steve Albini. All the Albini trademarks are here on this track from 1989's Bizarro: crushing bass, abrasive guitar, buried vocals, huge drums.

The Wedding Present - Crashed

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

ear protection for babies

The Peltor Junior Ear Muff is just right for concerts, races, shooting and other general noise protection...Another benefit to these muffs is that they don't pose a choking hazard, as earplugs sometimes can when used by very young, unsupervised children.

close: duplomacy + pedro the lion + sebadoh

Duplomacy have released a beautiful album of sweet, intimate songs, arranged with lots of hard, buzzing edges and sonic detail. A very close, organic record. Give these two a spin:

Duplomacy - Stars
Duplomacy - Coppertone
buy it

Duplomacy's first foray into professional recording was an EP recorded by TW Walsh, one-time partner of David Bazan in Pedro The Lion, another group who always had a great grasp of the intimate, although in usually in a more morose, sin-haunted way. This is the lead-off track from 1999's "The Only Reason I Feel Secure Is That I Am Validated By My Peers ."

Pedro The Lion - Criticism as Inspiration

With the recent re-release of Sebadoh's 1991 masterpiece "III", Lou Barlow has been getting some good ups lately. Lou crafted some of the most beautiful, honest, uplifting and self-loathing music there ever was. And, oh yeah, he's real good with that intimate thing too (wrapup!) This classic is taken from 1992's "Smash Your Head on the Punk Rock." and has been covered by both Superchunk and Death Cab for Cutie.

Sebadoh - Brand New Love

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Farewell World Wide Wing Commander

Robert Brooks, the founder and chairman of Hooters died last month.

Mr. Brooks...was affectionately referred to as Hooters World Wide Wing Commander

Fly on, little wing.

Monday, August 21, 2006

page france + wimp factor 14

A very nice track arrived in my inbox the other day. Baltimore's Page France make some folksy and twee indie-pop. They are on the excellent Suicide Squeeze label, also home to Minus the Bear, Crystal Skulls and Chin Up, Chin Up.

Page France - Junkyard

The song called to mind the similar stylings of long forgotten Wimp Factor 14 from Pittsburgh. I always had a soft spot for those boys. This tune is from a 1991 7" on Harriet Records.

Wimp Factor 14 - Train Song

Sunday, August 20, 2006

bivouac - Avant | Après

I had the good fortune of attending the Avant | Après event last weekend. It was staged by bivouac, a NYC based label specializing in avant garde electronica and noise.

The higlight of the show was Nim was from Sweden. His rig was extremely simple: a cassette walkman (with cassette), one signal processing unit and a pair of scissors. He manipulated the transport machinery of the walkman with his hands and the scissors to create a percolating set of beats. He then moved cassette tape over the heads of walkman with his fingers, essentially scratching and dropping samples. Very musical, focused and well thought out.

Download this track from Nim. No title, just this explanation:
I found two interesting pieces of metal in the faculty cellar: a piece of a ladder and an oblong surface.
The setting was also striking: ISSUE Project Room, an arts space located on about a 1/2 an acre of ground overlooking the Gowanus Canal.

See more pictures of the event on Flickr.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Silent Disco

Something for the folks in NYC - event to be held in Washington Square Park, West Village:
Saturday, August 19th 4:00pm-10:00pm: DJs spin music transmitted directly to wireless headphones, and people dance like crazy to sounds no one else can hear. Bring your own FM headphones, or borrow a pair from presenters The Madagascar Institute. Located on the Big lawn (northwest quadrant). FREE.
Presented by the The Madagascar Institute, also responsible for "Silent Fireworks" and "Dueling Re-Enactments."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Art of the Shiv

Just found this striking and frightening photography piece, Dangerous Beauty: The Art of the Shiv.
The shivs shown here, from the collection of designers Chris Kasabach and Vanessa Sica, were confiscated more than twenty years ago from New Jersey’s Rahway Prison (now East Jersey State Penitentiary), a maximum-security facility that houses more than 1,500 inmates serving sentences of twenty-five years to life.

New Ill Lit album "Tom Cruise"

Ill Lit traffic in a mournful and convincing strain of rootsy indie rock, spiked with noise and electronics. Tom Cruise is their third full length (or fourth if you count the Burakumin - Early Mourning album from 2000, also featuring vocalist and songwriter D. Ahearn.)

After two years in and out of the studio, the completed Tom Cruise shows the Los Angeles group reaching a new level of songwriting and studio sophistication, and even, dare I say, slickness. Gone are the clumsy reaches at drama and rudimentary folk structures that marred some the band's earlier efforts, replaced here by soaring arrangements and genuine pop diversity. Take a listen.

Ill Lit - This is not a good time
buy it

Monday, August 14, 2006

global warming & some strong opinions about horses

Been having some fun (if you can call it that) at StopGlobalWarming.org lately. It allows you sign an ongoing petition (almost half a million onboard now,) calculate your carbon savings (via actions that you can take) and assess your impact via the amount of people that you "invite" to sign the petition. Laurie David (wife of Larry) is the top organizer, having brought on 83,045 people. I also noticed that Andy Stern of Wal-Mart Watch and the SEIU has brought in almost two thousand people. You can also check out who has signed up in your neighborhood through a cool little Google map mashup. Nice.

On a funnier note, horsehater is the most gut-busting thing I have come across in ages. Nasty and vulgar laughs. Avoid if you are sentimental about horses. If not, dive in and don't forget to check out the merchandise section.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Mark Mallman vs Tom Petty

I recently received some information about Mark Mallman's new recording on Badman, Between the Devil and Middle C. He's described as similar to Elton John and David Bowie with a "theatrical Freddy Mercury-like Delivery". Now I enjoy the glam rock quite a bit more than the next guy and have been deep into the Queen lately ("Spread Your Wings" anyone?) so this got me interested.

However, it seems to me that (at least with the track "Death Wish") Mallman really uses Tom Petty's "You Got Lucky" as his blueprint; not so glam at all. You do the A/B.

Mark Mallman - Death Wish
buy it

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - You Got Lucky
buy it

Never Mind The Coifed Man Behind The Curtain

BoingBoing this morning here is pointing to a piece at MSNBC that suggests that much of the terror and attendant inconvenience (as selfish and short-sighted as the word "inconvenience" sounds in this context) related to this past week's revelation of a nascent plot to explode as many as 10 commercial airliners en route from the UK to the U.S. was probably amplified by the Bush Administration. Here's a quote:

"In contrast to previous reports, the official suggested an attack was not imminent, saying the suspects had not yet purchased any airline tickets. In fact, some did not even have passports."

The nut of the article is that British agencies felt less urgency to arrest the alleged terrorists/suicide aspirants than their American counterparts and intended to surveil the suspects for an additional week (on top of the year they had already been monitoring some of the participants) before acting. The U.S. apparently pushed for arrests immediately. And we all know who got their way. What's that new Thom Yorke number: "I'm a dog, I'm a lap dog, I'm your lap dog..."

I am particularly annoyed by this occurrence because I have to at least partially agree with sentiments expressed this morning by commentator Nancy Giles of CBS Sunday Morning (and the voice behind some of your favorite pharmaceutical ads), whose overblown oration and facial close-ups so early on a Sunday regularly irritate me. Ms. Giles' comments, which I can't track down on the CBS web site, relate generally to a sinking feeling that the announcement of the arrests last week was in some part intended to divert the attention of everyday Americans away from something else.

On the upside, I love how BoingBoing refers to the suspects as "hair-gel terrorists." If I hadn't seen pictures of the suspects I'd probably picture them as a shiny-haired band of Pat Rileys and Ricky Ricardos. So I don't know, maybe the whole thing is a wash. Incidentally, the lead story at CBS Sunday Morning's web site right now: "The Carefree Lives Of Slackers."

Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "Kairo"

Just watched the 2001 Japanese version of "Pulse", which has been recently remade (probably poorly) for the American audience . The original is not the most frightening of horror films, but it manages to wrap two of the most disturbing trends in modern Japanese culture (Hikikomori or "social withdrawl" and mass suicide) into a remarkable existential ghost story. Alienation and loneliness are the real horrors of the film, pushing society to total collapse. Definitely recommended.

Matt Bailey lays out a succinct survey of the cultural issues at play in the film at notcoming.com
Maggie Jones wrote a fantastic piece on Hikkomori for the New York Times Magazine.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Mastodon/Converge coming to NYC

My stomach has been churning, anticipating the punishment to come at the Mastodon/Converge/The Bronx show on September 8th @ Webster Hall. Mastodon specializes in a muscular, technical and very textural brand of metal and they have been my starting point for all things hard and heavy over the last year. Their 2005 album Leviathan is a sprawling concept album based on, of course, Moby Dick. These bruisers are serious.

Mastodon - Island

Their new record, Blood Mountain, arrives on September 11th. Stream the Maiden-riffic new stuff from their myspace page.

Converge are coming from the more progressive hardcore side of things; I was just introduced to them last week. Omigoditsfullofstars. These guys are smart and pummelling and even know when not to play. They also have mastered that art of sounding completely unhinged and in-control at the same time. Definitely my new favorite band.

Converge - Last Light
buy it

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Lieberman loses in Democratic primary

18 year Senate veteran Joe Liberman conceded victory to Ned Lamont in the Conecticut primary an hour or so ago; it has all got me a bit worried.

Lamont basically ran againt Lieberman's support of the Iraq War and of the President. Now as anyone can tell you, I'm no backer of Bush or of the war. But I get a little nervous when a man who sponsored tough, bi-partisan climate change legislation, is endorsed by NARAL because of his pro-choice views, is fighting for lobbyist and campaign finance reform is being villified as some kind of Republican stooge. Also, his close association with President Bush has allowed certain pundits to paint him as a hardcore social conservative. This is the same guy that the Christian Coalition awarded a score of ZERO on their 2004 Senate score card, the same score as Hilary Clinton and Chuck Schumer.

We all need Senators who can reach across the aisle, not to mention guys like Lieberman who are smart and usually on the progresive sides of the issues. The Democrats will dig their own grave if they try make themselves over into a single issue (anti-war) party and purge their ranks accordingly. Keep that tent big.

Hockey Night upcoming album preview

I posted a track by Hockey Night many months ago, placing them next to a post about Thin Lizzy. As it turns out, these guys are way into the Lizzy and their new album looks like it will trading in their faux-Pavement moves for a more arena-rock oriented style. Very pleasing to one such as myself. The band was kind enough to send me a few demos from their upcoming album (but forgot to put me on the guest list to their show at Cakeshop! Bastards.) Anyway, they rocked that little basement as it was meant to be rocked: with jokes, shirts off, spilled beer, over-loud guitar solos and two drummers that absolutely bring the party. Positive vibrations. Apologies to the band for posting this so long after the fact...

Hockey Night - Psychic Lightning (demo)
Hockey Night - Save the Clock Tower (demo)

Monday, August 07, 2006

someone at Opera should be fired+

OK - this has to be the phoniest, most obvious and utterly unconvicing marketing campaign ever. These "archetypes" (Candy, Kyle, Monica, Ellen, Glenn & Marcus) are so far off the mark, they look like characters from a terrible TV show... plus why do all the graphics look like they were stolen from Apple?

Also, the new Yahoo avatar generator is good for an hour or more of solid laffs. Don't miss the pets and the angel wings. Requires a Yahoo account.

songs sung in unexpected languages

I have a themed posting to offer tonight: songs sung in unexpected languages by famous artists. I'll bet there's a whole blog dedicated to this somewhere.

The first track should come as no suprise; ABBA are Swedish and the Scandanavians are always good with the foreign languages (they kinda need to be.) In fact, ABBA recorded songs in Spanish, German, French, Swedish and English during their career and have an entire version of their greatest hits album in Spanish! Fellow Swedes Roxette do too.

ABBA - Waterloo (German Version)

Rockabilly crooner Roy Orbison provides the next track, also in German. Strangely, this sounds like it would be perfect for a slow dance under the stars at the Biergarten. Gotta get out to that spot in Astoria at some point. Roy also recorded a song in German called San Fernando, which besides being funny for the obvious reasons, would would have connected nicely to ABBA (through their song Fernando.) Unfortunately, that song was pretty boring.

Roy Orbison - Mama (German Version)

A few obscure facts:
1) David Lee Roth speaks fluent Spanish.
2) David Lee Roth recorded a Spanish language version of his solo debut, "Eat 'Em and Smile."
3) David Lee Roth released an album in 2003!!! It's called "Diamond Dave." This man will not be stopped. Please click and help me figure what the hell is up with the cover photo.

David Lee Roth - Asi Es La Vida (That's Life)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Crockpot Pulled Pork

I made this recipe last weekend and it made my whole building smell like pork. I served it on soft rolls with a Coleman's mustard, rice vinegar-based cole slaw. It was, as they say, the shit and I got much kudos at the Sunday cookout.

This recipe is mostly combined from a few I found online, with a few "twists" (AKA I forgot to buy some stuff at the store.)

4 pounds pork shoulder
1/2 cup cider vinegar
medium onion - quartered

2 1/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp janes crazy mixed up salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp colemans dry mustard
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp salt

1 cup of cider vinegar
2/3 cup of water
1/3 cup ketchup
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp hot dried red pepper (those long mexican style ones)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper

trim fat from pork shoulder with a filet knife (this worked well for me)
cover with the rub, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 8 hours.

place pork, onion and 1/2 cup of cider vinegar in a crockpot and cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours.

drain crockpot of all liquid and remove onions. pull pork apart completely using two forks. remove excess fat but leave the bones. add the BBQ sauce and cook on LOW for 3 hours. remove bones and cook for another hour.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Tilly & The Wall bring smiles

Well, it's been mighty long since I posted anything here. I did get married, go on a honeymoon and find out that I'm having a little girl, so I think I can be excused.

I would also, in the interest of keeping this blog active, like to broaden the topics we cover here. Look for music and more politics, as well as all sorts of other items like urban planning, food, technology and whoknows.

In terms of music, Tilly and the Wall have been bringing me the smiles lately. They have an exuberant, pop-centric thing happening that is reedy and ultra-earnest. More uniquely, they use marching band figures and melodies seemingly stolen from some forgotten high school musical - like I said, smiles. These guys would go great on a bill with the New Pornographers...

Tilly & The Wall - Bad Education
buy it

how to get to universal health care

A truly astounding piece profiling Andrew Stern of Wal-MartWatch was printed in the June issue of the Atlantic Monthly. You may know Walmart Watch from their efforts to unionize Wal-Mart and pass Fair Share legislation in various states: laws that target large employees and basically force them to raise their level of health coverage. All worthy causes to be sure, but what captured my imagination was Stern's vision for how the USA (finally) might attain universal health coverage:
Spending around $5 million annually, Wal-Mart Watch has pushed anti-Wal-Mart laws in dozens of states, leaked damaging internal documents, and helped make the company known as much for its exploitation of government health plans as for its business acumen. Over the last year, and very much against its will, Wal-Mart has been moved to the center of the national debate over health care, and Stern has drawn one step closer to what he’s really after.

Stern has something much grander in mind even than unionizing Wal-Mart. “Ford wasn’t created to be a health-care provider; it was created to produce cars,” Stern says. “My goal is to get Wal-Mart’s leadership out there in traffic and holler, ‘We can no longer compete in the global economy when health care is factored into the cost of our products.’ If Wal-Mart’s CEO, Lee Scott, were to come out and say, ‘We need a national health-care system that works for everyone,’ then it’s a whole new ball game.”

In Stern’s thinking, if the world’s largest company could be coaxed or bullied into publicly favoring a national health-care policy, here’s how things might play out: a rush of other companies already beset by health-care costs and accustomed to mimicking Wal-Mart would fall in line, putting business on the same side as labor. Governors burdened with soaring Medicaid costs might also join in. The pressure on the federal government would be overwhelming. Stern, in other words, is seeking to turn the Wal-Mart effect to his own ends, harnessing it to transform health-care policy just as it routinely transforms business policy. It’s an audacious plan…
Read a more complete excerpt here.