Saturday, September 22, 2007

Kanye. Oakley Hall.

Finally got the new Kanye West, Graduation. The dude is on fire. Three albums, three masterpieces. My little bro was dead on: Graduation comes in a solid 2nd place. I don't think anything'll beat College Dropout. Dude came out with beats blazing. Late Registration was dope too but the difference between it and Graduation is that the latter trims out all the fat. No hokey skits; less tracks; straight to the point. Dude utilizes way more electronics this time around also, which works well. This is a must have. See for yourself:

Kanye West - drunk and hot girls [via h.t.f.a.f]

Also swooped the new Oakley Hall, I'll Follow You. If you ask me, they may've just released they're best album. Their two previous efforts were friggin' good too, so it says alot. This time around you can tell the band has really hit their stride. The rootsy psychadelic indie rock is still there, but what sets this one apart is the bands' willingness to lay back in the cut and ride the groove. Seattle Weekly said it best: "Americana they are not. The Hall is onto a whole new thing, and that thing is pure American rock music."

Oakley Hall - angela [via l.a.u.]
[stream the whole album over at merge records]

Hope y'all have a righteous weekend. Mine started off pretty well. Last night I went to the ball game and hit a bar afterwards. Some cougar flipped out on me for throwing rocks into the bonfire and told me (a) i'm reeaallly ugly, and (b) i have man-tits. Honey, I can meet you half way on the ugly deal, but man-tits? I weigh like 160?!? She must've had other shit going on though. She was crying when she was yelling at me. Her poor friends just acted like they didn't know her. Funny shit...

Anyway, I'm hoping to head downtown today to check out Lucero and Soul Asylum. It's flippin' free so you can't beat it...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"You Win Some, You Lose Alot..."

Sorry for the lack of posts. The past week has been far from awesome but I've managed to scrounge a few reasons to stay amped.

The first one being this Table Tennis [Pong] arcade machine I got. Who would've thought two lines and a dot could produce so much excitement? This sucker's a real treasure and I'm happy to have found it a wicked basement to hang out in. Welcome bud...

Yeah, as it turns out, the fun didn't stop there. Found another steal of a deal on this World Series - The Season baseball arcade game. Oh man, this one is mega sweet. Spring-loaded control panels really add to the wicked-fun gameplay. Soooo boss.

Aside from that, I guess I should pick up where the last post left off: The Cardinals fell on their face and it's really a disappointment for citizens of Cardinal Nation. Whatev's. We've had an amazing run [i.e. playing in 2 out of the last 3 World Series]. This just wasn't our year - didn't have the team.

The big question is whether or not Tony LaRussa will skip town. Honestly, I consider myself as loyal as they get to T-La. Always have been. But I wouldn't be bummed if he left. I'd still back any team he took over and I'd be happy to see a fresh face in the Redbird's dugout. As weird as it may sound, I'm excited to see how this awful season shapes next year's team.

Also, I'd love to hear some predictions on who the next manager will be in the event T-La leaves St. Louis. The most obvious guess would be The Secret Weapon, Jose Oquendo. My pick would be Joe Girardi. The dude proved he could coach last season by winning manager of the year... only to be canned by the Florida Marlins. Seriously Florida, do you really hate winning that much?!?

Have some tunes...
[can you see the sunset... put me on a punk rock trip. can you tell?]

American Steel - shrapnel
Propagandhi - anchorless [via sunset]
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - me and mia
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes - leavin' on a jet plane
the Oranges Band - ok apartment
the Weakerthans - plea from a cat named virtue

Sunday, September 09, 2007

How's It Gonna End?

Can the Redbirds experience any more adversity this season. Quick recap:

- LaRuassa gets pinched on a DWI during spring training.
- Josh Hancock dies in an awful car accident
- Scott Spiezio leaves the team and checks himself into rehab for substance abuse issues.
- Juan Encarnacion gets drilled in the face, shattering several bones in his eye socket, which ends his season and quite possibly his career.
- After a fairy-tale comeback story, Rick Ankiel's name gets linked to an HGH (performance enhancing drug) scandal.

Seriously. You can't make this stuff up. It would truly be storybook ending if they managed to sneak into the playoffs and heck - maybe even show up in the World Series. All odds are against them and they're still 2 games behind the Cubbies and Brew-crew. The Cubs will roll into town next weekend and if the Birds can't bring their A-game to this series, they'll be hammering their own coffin shut.

Hopefully, we'll see the same resilience they showcased last October, which would truly be a storybook ending to a tumultuous season.

Enjoy some appropriate tuneage:

TOM WAITS - how's it gonna end?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Interview: Mike Park

Mike Park: musician, activist, record label owner, wedding officiator, father of new little girl, husband, and–most importantly–a downright decent dude. I’m probably leaving something out but regardless, that’s a heck of a resume. We recently had the opportunity chat it up with this righteous dude – check it:

You have recently taken a break from touring due to the birth of your daughter, Maggie. How is she and how has having a child impacted your writing, if it has at all?
It's been a wonderful experience thus far. I realize I'm at the honeymoon stage of child rearing, but hey it's been awesome so far. I've been writing silly songs, singing them to her. Songs about zoo animals and smiley faces. Not sure if I'll ever record them, but who knows? Maybe a children’s album is inevitable.

It seems that as an effect to you taking a little break from touring and whatnot, you've started a push towards picking up more artists. Please give us a little rundown on the new Asian Man artists.
Maybe, but definitely not consciously. I have a ton of music coming out:
-the remainder of the QUEERS re-releases (8 albums total)

As other "indies" have tried to expand and get bigger, you've consistently kept to a smaller operation. What are the biggest advantages this has on the artists on your label and to the livelihood of Asian Man Records?
I don't know if there are any advantages for the artists. I don't do a good job at promoting them at all, but I'm really up front about this fact from the beginning, so they know what they're getting into. It's made the working relationship very open and friendly. People on the outside would ask: why would any band want to work with you under these circumstances? My answer: I have no idea?? I'm puzzled myself.

I've heard you comment on the state of the music industry. CD sales are obviously down. Does this impact the indies as much as it does the huge companies?
I can't say for certain, but I would think not. But first of all, what exactly is an indie record label? Is Drive Thru, Victory, Fueled By Ramen an indie? Compared to Plan-It-X, Very Small Records, or Asian Man. It's hard to say these names in the same breath as an indie. Regardless, I think CD sales are down for everyone and effects them equally, but hurts the bigger companies because hey...let's face it, they’re driven by numbers, money, and success.

You've dedicated alot of time and energy to your Plea For Peace foundation. I understand that you have big things planned for the future. Please tell me a little about what's in store and maybe even shed some light on what you've been doing over the past year or two with the foundation.
Geez, I could write a novel about the trials and tribulations regarding PFP. Basically, San Jose sucks. It's expensive and unaccommodating towards what we are trying to achieve which is a youth based music venue. We've raised $60,000 so far, but this is chump change in this part of the US. Without proper funding we'd be out of business in 6 months. We're trying to learn more about grant proposals, city assistance, etc.. But it's been an uphill battle. And we are smack dab in the middle of going full board with this.

I know you're a huge Oakland A's fan. Have you read Moneyball? If so, is it a stretch to draw comparisons from how you run Asian Man and how Billy Beane runs the A's?
Of course. I'm all about Moneyball. I never thought about the comparisons, but yeah…I can see Moneyball in the Asian Man philosophy.

I'm going to list a few different bands. If you could, share some of your favorite memories/moments with each band:

Slapstick: young midwest kids having too much manic panic in their lives

Angelo Moore: Genius front man, singer, musician, dancer, poet, and overall nice guy

Alkaline Trio: Helped shape an entire generation of punk. Will be regarded as a historic band in future years.

Blue Meanies: Musical prodigies playing hybrid SKA. Taking the sound to new levels.

MU330: The most underrated band in the history of punk/ska whatever you want to call

What Asian Man release have you found yourself listening to the most over
the past 10 years?

Alkaline Trio - Goddamnit. Hands down the most listened to record on Asian Man by me.

If you could pick one album you released that you felt was criminally under-appreciated, what would it be?
Polysics – Hey, My Friend Bob.

Buy Mike Park's albums. Read his fun blog. Check out his record label. Support Plea For Peace.

***This interview is also featured in issue #10 of Dudes Magazine.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Have Some Tunes...

Snoop Dogg - gin & juice [via I.A.]
Dismemberment Plan - what do you want me to say?
Mates of State - proofs
Hot Toddies - wet dream
The Weakerthans - watermark
Andrew Jackson Jihad - rejoice
Lifter Puller - space humping $19.99
Pavement - rattled by the rush
Heavens - another night
Jets To Brazil - resisitance is futile