Friday, April 27, 2007

Words = distracting; Tori Hunter = hilarious; Schilling = douche

I don't think I could be any less motivated to study for the final round of exams of my law school career (...hopefully). To think I'll be done in a week and a half makes me giddy as all get-out. Regardless, because of the aforementioned studying, I've been on the instrumental tip lately. That means jazz, classical, afro-beat, reggae -- hell, anything so long is it doesn't have words.

Speaking of afro-beat, one of my favorite albums I've recently picked up comes from Brooklyn's own Antibalas. Although in a league of their own, they fall somewhere between Fela Kuti and Tortoise (definitely leaning more towards the former). Here are a couple tracks from their latest release, Security:
  • Antibalas - I.C.E.
  • Antibalas - beaten metal

    It's nearly impossible to talk about instrumental indie music without bringing up Austin, TX's, Explosions In The Sky. Some of you may already be familar with them and not even know it, as they scored the soundtrack to the film Friday Night Lights [yeah, that high school football one--crazy, huh]. Well, here's a whole friggin album to feast on.
    The Rescue:
  • day one
  • day two
  • day three
  • day four
  • day five
  • day six
  • day seven
  • day eight

    If you're looking for a little more fueled up, riff-orriented indie rock, sans words, look no further than Kinski:
  • Kinski - hiding drugs in the temple [part 2]
  • Kinski - semaphore

    In baseball news, Tori Hunter [MN Twins] got drilled in the face yesterday by KC Royls' Zach Greinke. This comes just days after news broke that he may end up getting disciplined for sending the Royals a few bottles of Dom. P. champaign for the Royals sweeping the Detroit Tigers last September, allowing the Twins to come from behind to win the American League Central. KARMA'S A BITCH TORI. Hilarious nonetheless.

    Also, apparently there's speculation that the bloody sock Curt Schilling was wearing in the '05 World Series was a fake. O's announcer Gary Thorne declared, on air, that Doug Mirabelli - Schilling's former teammate - told him it was a publicity stunt. Curt Schilling begging for publicity?!? Get out of town! Now he's betting $1 million clams that it's real blood. As if they'd go to Cooperstown to test that thing. That's all baseball needs: more negative hype. Regardless, Schilling's still a douche and Mirabelli's still average, at best.

    Have a boss weekend!
  • Monday, April 23, 2007

    Indie Bands Still Love You Boris Yeltsin

    So Boris Yeltsin passed away at the ripe of 76 today; heart failure or something. Say what you will about the Ruskie, but he drafted a pretty decent constitution back in 1993, which remains in place today. That's obviously more than you and I could do while drunk on primo vodka.

    Anyway, what a great opportunity this is to say a few words about one of the hottest indie acts to come out of the Show Me State in the past few years: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin.

    Hailing from Springfield, MO, SSLYBY have been kicking up dust in the indie circuit for the better part of this century; touring relentlessly and mostly releasing stuff on their own, embracing DIY ethos. That is until they grabbed the indie critics by the balls and kissed them on the cheek with their 2005 full length, Broom. The buzz picked up and next thing you know, BAM! - Polyvinyl (home of Of Montreal, Mates of State, Braid, Owen) picked them up and gave Broom the proper release it deserved. Since then they've been spreading their infectious indie-pop glow all over the place.

    Here are a couple tracks for ya:

  • oregon girl [from Broom LP]
  • modern mystery [Daytrotter session]
  • yr broom [Daytrotter session]
  • methane river ["a song we recorded in texas"]

  • Catch them on their current U.S. tour, or meet up with them across the pond while they trek through the UK and Germany. No word as to whether they'll be stopping by the Motherland of Russia just yet...

    Wednesday, April 18, 2007

    Feist+Bitching+Mashups+Baseball+Will Ferrell & a Cussing Baby=Banter

    Check out this super fun Feist video for "1 2 3 4" from her upcoming album, The Reminder. I would go on a spiel about how the choreography and costumes are totally awesome, but I am a MAN.

    Anyway, I cannot wait until I'm done with school. Only a couple... more... weeks. Although the end is very near, it's getting tougher to stay motivated. Honestly, it's getting even harder to tolerate my fellow law students. To think that these folks will be my peers in the working world is pretty frightening. They're just such, uh, DORKS. Go figure...

    I've been totally digging this new mp3 blog called The Hood Internet. They post mashups combining all of your favorite indie artists [modest mouse, flaming lips, the shins, broken social scene, etc] with today's hottest hip hop/r&b artists [r. kelly, lil wayne, cam'ron, clipse]. Still confused as to what a "mashup" is? Wiki explains it here. I highly recommend the Broken Social Scene vs. R. Kelly mash of "I'm a Flirt (Shoreline)." Even if you aren't familiar with either track, the tune just grabs ya.

    Re: baseball: Cards fans are on the brink of total panic. I'm not going to piss the bed just yet, but I'm definitely concerned. Practically the whole lineup is asleep at the wheel (maybe not the best analogy, considering our skip'). Anyway, as usual, C-Russ explains our whole debacle over at Bugs and Cranks.

    That's all I got for now. Adios...

    UPDATE: Do think Will Ferrell is funny? How about cussing babies? Yeah, this video's for you:

    Friday, April 13, 2007

    Friggin' Friday!

    I knew today would be a good day when the alarm clock woke me up with "Cover Me" by The Boss followed by "Walk on the Wild Side" by Lou. Not too shabby for a radio station. On top of the righteous tunes, I was even more surprised that I was even able to get out of bed. I played 3 straight soccer games yesterday [we lost in the finals - bunk] and by the time the day was over I felt like I'd been run over by an 18 wheeler. Anyway, here's some randomness:

    Speaking of Lou Reed, head on over here for a live Reed set from 1972 (Hampsted, NY). Big ups to jefito on the post. It may have been recorded 35 years ago, but the quality is great.

    Re: Baseball: It's good to see the Birds on Bat slide into first place in the NL Central. The real test will come this weekend when they face some nasty Brew Crew pitching. We'll face Sheets tonight, Capuano on Saturday, and Sup will make his St. Louis homecoming on Sunday. If we can take 2/3, I'd be more than happy. Also, GET WELL SOON CARP! Is anyone else surprised the national media ain't throwing 'roids accusations at Pujols right now considering his lackluster start? Just sayin'....

    Imus is a friggin' goon. Who the hell is he to make fun of someone's hair?

    Confirmed interviews for the next Dudes Mag: Riverboat Gamblers, Mike Park (activist, musician, owner of Asian Man Records), Against All Authority, to name a few...

    Lastly, I'll leave you with a Mixer for the weekend. I'll keep it short and sweet in hopes of people actually downloading these truly awesome tunes.

    the Promise Ring - best looking boys
    the Coup - we are the ones
    Old 97's - lonely holiday
    the Hold Steady - your littlee hoodrat friend
    the Weakerthans - plea from a cat named virtue
    Yo La Tengo - don't have to be so sad


    Sunday, April 08, 2007

    Interview: THE HOLD STEADY

    This is an excerpt from an interview I conducted for Dudes Magazine, issue #9.

    If you’re still unfamiliar with this hard-drinkin’, Springsteen/Thin Lizzy-lovin barroom battalion, what the fuck are you waiting for? After churning out what was considered one of the best albums of 2006, the Hold Steady hit the road to bring the kids what they’ve been waiting for: a PARTY. I was able to catch up with Craig Finn [vocals/guitar] and Tad Kubler [lead guitar] and chat about their latest release, baseball, and—of course—partying.

    Getting on to the new album, Boys and Girls in America. Would you agree that this probably your most ambitious album, musically?
    CRAIG: Yeah, I think its—musical is exactly what it is. One of the things I tend to concentrate on (in the past) was my vocals. And one of the things I hadn’t focused on as much in the past was what the music was doing. And so what we really tried to do was focus on the music. And this one is more of just five guys listening to each other and playing the music together. And that’s obviously an important part of music.
    TAD: Oh yeah, definitely. I think that was pretty intentional. I think that we wanted to try to do something we hadn’t done before and try to grow a little bit as a band. Also, Franz and Bobby both came in to Separation Sunday kinda right before we went into the studio. So, with all the touring we did up until this album, those two obviously brought a bunch to it. And on top of that, Franz is such a great musician. He and I sat down and did a lot of the arrangements together and he’s a really big part of the writing process.

    Was there anything in particular you guys did this time around, in terms of your approach to this record?
    TAD: One thing that I tried to do was practice these exercises that would improve areas of my playing that I thought I could improve. And I kinda came up with a lot parts for songs in doing that, which I knew in the back of my mind would probably help me do that, but we’ll just say it was serendipitous. And then me bringing pieces in to Franz and then us sitting down and working out arrangements really worked for us. Where as with Separation Sunday it was more just Craig and I bringing in parts and going from there. Basically, we wrote this one a lot more as a band. Also, I think we had a really good idea, from the beginning, of what Craig wanted to kind of be the narrative theme for the record. Its not a linear story like the last one was, but all the songs do touch on the particular them of boys and girls in America.
    CRAIG: Well, I think one of the big things was—we’ve used producers before, but this time we were more interested in finding an “outside” producer. Someone that wasn’t necessarily a peer of ours. The relationship was purely based on Him, and the records he produced.

    This is John Agnello, correct?
    CRAIG: Exactly. He was super enthusiastic about it. We talked to a lot of different producers and his name continued to come up. In seeing our band live you realize how much we communicate to each other, on stage while we’re playing. He saw that connection we have live and one thing he wanted to do was make an effort to create that kind of space in the studio where its not only physically comfortable, but mentally as well. We tracked a lot of this together, whereas with Separation Study we did a lot more of the tracks individually.

    Your lyrics tend to illustrate incidents from your past. Are most of these ideas recollections from your past, or are a lot of them drawn from everyday occurrences.
    CRAIG: I think the more you drift a certain distance away from being 17 or 19, the more you understand being 17 or 19 than you did when being that age. And so a lot of its influenced by that and being able to wrap your head around that time. A lot of these incidents are necessarily things that happen to me, one-on-one with other people. But they are the types of things that would happen when I was growing up. It has certainly influenced my real life, its not just in the recordings.

    What kind of stuff inspires you on a day-to-day basis in writing?
    CRAIG: I think the stuff I tend to write more about is stuff that just comes up in conversation that I find funny. You know, a lot of the things I write down are mostly funny, to me anyways. I like to draw influences from just signs on the street or bits of conversation that I pick up and find humorous. Stuff like that.

    Tell me this, if The Hold Steady were the Minnesota Twins, who would be each player.
    CRAIG: That’s a tough one! I’d say Bobby would be Nick Punto—our drummer, because he kinda small. Galen would probably be…maybe Joe Nathan cos he’s kinda rock solid. And a, Franz would Joe Mauer because he has the most facial hair. Tad would be Morneau because he—I don’t know, just because he’s the loudest and probably the most powerful.

    Couldn’t he be Kuble just for name similarity’s sake? [Tad’s last name is Kubler]
    Oh yeah, I forgot about that. But he doesn’t play that much, so I won’t do that to Tad. And for me, I think I’d be Santana just because I wanna be Johan Santana.

    You guys were just featured in recent Rolling Stone where they eluded to a story about when you were still playing with your previous band, Lifter Puller, and you had an opportunity to kick it with Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros. Can you tell us a little more about that?
    CRAIG: Well Joe Strummer came to a show at the 400 Bar, in Minneapolis. He came with Billie Joe Armstrong, who we knew because he married this girl from the Twin Cities. And he walked in and I thought he was just going to stay for a song or two. Well he ends up staying for the whole set and he really enjoyed it. And eventually he ended up getting his band of the bus because he wanted to show them what a rock’n’roll band looked like. And so all these sleepy Brits come strolling into the club. And then he hung out with us for about an hour or an hour and a half after the show. It was maybe the best night of my life. He kissed me on the lips and we made him speak Spanish a bunch.

    You guys have the reputation of being a hard partying bar band. I’ve read, and heard, a lot of other artists talk about how they don’t drink or get high before their shows. What makes them such pussies and you guys badasses?

    TAD: Well, you gotta dance with who brought ya. And that’s just kinda how we roll. It’s not something we put too much thought into. Its just kinda like, this is how we have a good time. And I don’t want to put a huge emphasis on the fact that we like to get fucked up. I have a two-year-old daughter and I like to think that run a band that’s been fairly successful. There are a lot of responsibilities that go along with this. But you know what, when its happy hour, its happy hour. And that’s that!


    Wednesday, April 04, 2007

    I guess it's official...

    We swooped a crib back in Nellyville. Pretty wild. They threw the "sold" sign up so I guess that really means it's ours. My first project once we move in: cover all of the windows with tin foil, start using crack, and kidnap a white girl to torture for a few days. Nah, just kidding. Besides, who really does that?

    Anyway, most of you are probably aware of my love for The Hold Steady. Well, apparently the dude in charge of music at Minnesota Twins games - where half the band's from - loves 'em too. They recently recorded a fun-as-hell version of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and it's actually being played at the Metrodome during games. If you love baseball and rock'n'roll, you have to agree that this is pretty awesome. Go HERE and have a listen; download it too. Click here for an article explaining how the whole idea came to life.


    Monday, April 02, 2007

    Finally! Baseball...

    Spring has sprung and baseball has begun! Shit yeah! I'll go ahead and warn y'all now that for the next 6, err hopefully 7, months I'll be throwing in baseball banter here and there. This also means that the days of constantly referring to the Cardinals as the World Series Champions are officially numbered. Booo. Anywho, here's an image Viva El Birdos shared that I found pretty nostalgic. It's a screen-shot of the gamecast of the final out of the World Series.

    For more coherent and intelligent Redbird-related posts throughout the season, head over to Viva El Birdos. Also, don't forget to stop by Bugs & Cranks where our buddy C-Russ is holding down all things Cardinal. It's getting pretty heavy over there [see the comments] so go show Chris some love.

    Is it just me, or does this never get old?