Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Tomorrow I voyage to Portlandia, and in order to properly enjoy the flight, I need a Marvin Gaye biography and a bevy of enticing sounds.

While in the midst of (procrastinating) making an knockout travel mix for my journey, I thought I'd pull a little mini-mix together (procrastinate) for you, courtesy, the post-Muxtape online mixtape....

The Anomalies - "1830"
Two dope MCs explore a textured sonic soundscape of rock & hip-hop, with poppy Franz Ferdinandesque undertones...

The Field - "Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime"
This 1980 Korgis hit has been covered by everyone from Beck to Erasure, but homeboy gives it a haunting pulse and a new life...

Hesta Prynn - "Seven Sisters"
Dude, sorry people went sour on Northern State, but if the result is this kind of trip-hip-hop sing-song jam, I'm totally down with Miss Hesta doin' her own thang...

Moray McLaren - "You Make Me Feel Like A Star"
Man. This song is just so pretty. I probably like it so much because I wish someone would sing it to me...

seagull - "End Could Come"
A supberbly fuzzy, anthemic, smart Aussie indie rock earworm...

Wardens - "xxyl" & "Enjoy The Show"
This wouldn't be right if I didn't include a pair of my absolute favorite songs right my own band...

Woods - "Rain On"
I cannot get enough of lo-fi folktronica; it's like sonic bacon or Twinkies or Coke Zero or whatever your vice is...


Monday, May 11, 2009


This weekend was transformative. The air shifted; the taste of bittersweet so tangible.

As most weekends do, it began on Friday, innocuously enough. And then, just past noon, it soured on a dime. My mother lost her job for the second time in a year. I offered her words of encouragement - the type that promise that these things happen as they do so that you're propelled forward in life. She and I both know that she'll move onward and upward, but that doesn't mean it doesn't sting.

Then an hour later - the souring day turned rancid. My aunt Karen, like my uncle Roger - her husband - not three years ago, suddenly collapsed at home and died. Found by one of my cousins each time. The shock hit my abdomen like a medicine ball. What happened? No one knows. But it's heartbreaking.

I've never felt compelled to divulge this kind of intimacy on a blog, over the internets, for all of you friends and strangers alike, but this weekend evolved into something profoundly affecting, and it seems right to write.

Later that evening, after I broke my eyeglasses and after my cat sailed out of my window like a flying squirrel by attaching himself to my screen with every claw and pushing outward on his magic carpet of freedom (I found him some time later), I went to bed puffy-eyed, tear-stained, and concerned that there was no way in holy hell I would be able to run a 5k - my FIRST 5k - in the morning.

But I got up, laced the shoes, and went.

I stood in line, waiting for the race to start, earphones in, conscious of the shirt I was wearing - a T-shirt made by a friend, of a friend - Lowry - who just endured a bilateral mastectomy and is in the process of kicking cancer's ass, preparing for an unanticipated and unexpected round of chemo to start in a few weeks. I was proud to run for her.

As Miley Cyrus cried out that the race was on (this is L.A., after all), I slowly churned through the throng, reading the backs of every T-shirt in my eyeline - "I run to support my mother," "I am a survivor," "I run in memory of my sister." Then there were the photos on the T-shirts. The words, the photos, the dates commemorating a loved one's death... "Running Mix" kicked off on my iPod and it was then that Lykke Li caught me off-guard:

"And don't you let me go, let me go tonight..."

And I started to cry. Big fat tears carving through the thin layer of sweat I was already accumulating. I cried for everything - for my aunt and my family, for my mother's job loss, for Lowry, for these people on this course, and the people who couldn't be on this course, and for myself, somewhat in awe that I was even attempting this race in the first place.

That moment forever redefined Lykke Li's "Tonight" for me.

It's an amazing thing when a song's meaning morphs so utterly and completely - and instantly. Just a week ago, that song propelled me around the reservoir, thighs and butt pumping in rhythm with its assumed metronome. Not an ass-kicking song, by any means, but it was a running anthem for me, nonetheless.

Now it sits in my iTunes, overtaken by the powerful moment at that Start Line, weighed heavy with emotion.

My tears soon dried, my mind refocused, and I continued running, more benign fare pumping through my earphones. I made it all 3.1 miles to the end of the race without stopping once, and I decided to turn off the music as I entered the Coliseum. I didn't want an artificial soundtrack for the homestretch. Then I saw my friend Bella waving me on, I saw the finish line, and I heard "Tonight" in my head, and I cried this time, totally overwhelmed and elated.

I cried once more this weekend, very quickly, silently, and unnoticed, while hiking up to Sandstone Peak, the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains, with my friend Rebecca. After several hours of mildly strenuous hiking, and a steep scramble to the top, we stood on the peak, looking out over miles of mountains, towering over the clouds. While Rebecca climbed over the monument at the top, I felt the familiar sting welling in the corner of each eye. But this time, it was not preempted by any sadness; it was sheer exhilaration. The sting retreated as quickly as it came.

If I - afraid of heights as they come - could climb to the top of this peak, one day after running my first 5k, and two days after receiving some emotionally draining news, I must be stronger than I think, both physically and emotionally.

I think I'll reclaim "Tonight," not as a song reflecting a moment of gut-wrenching emotion, but rather, a moment of mind-boggling triumph.

I will.

Lykke Li - "Tonight"

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Coachella was about two things for me:

1. Sir Paul McCartney
2. Other Stuff

I've already waxed on about how Macca stole the show, from loving tributes to Linda (on the 11th anniversary of her death) to the fireworks spectacular of "Live And Let Die" to thousands of people singing "Hey Jude" in perfect unison, but in the category of "Other Stuff," we have:

- M.I.A. (well, mostly her dancers and Rye Rye, who was thankfully there to pick up the rap slack left by M.I.A.'s underperformance)
- Hipster craptards who spent the entire day in the VIP area drinking, admiring one another, and waiting for Jared Leto to sulk by, instead of actually checking out bands
- Horn section from Antibalas + Tunde's badass Latin shuffle = another great TVOTR performance
- Peeing in an air conditioned bathroom behind the stage, only to emerge into a delicious photo op with Kanye "Fishsticks" West
- Getting a contact high at the Fleet Foxes show
- 10pm pizza salvation


When Tanya and I checked in to the Hilton Garden Inn in arid, beige, geriatric Hidden Valley Rancho Mirage, California, we were told that our room was given away due to our checking in a day late (never mind the fact that management okayed the late check-in). We sulked, we pleaded, we finally got a room. Before we left the front desk with our hard-won room keys, Snarky Front Desk Guy slipped us each a small grey bag that said "Welcome." He kind of smirked and half-winked and sent us on our way.

When we arrived in the room, it was a suite...with one bed. There was certainly a pull-out couch, but considering it was upholstered with slippery old-man-polyester circa 1972, we thought it wise to ask for a room with two beds, instead. Snarky Front Desk Guy said that the hotel was booked solid, and shooed me off. I sulked back, buoyed only by the promise of Macca later in the evening...and the "Welcome" bag of free stuff. You know how much I like free stuff.

Tanya peeks in hers - "Eh. Coupons." I look in, shampoo/conditioner samples, ponytail holders, Aleve, Pepcid AC, and...

What? No. What?? Noooo. What???

....Silky Glide K-Y Jelly. For Her Pleasure.

Needless to say, upon checkout, we both left our samples for the housekeeping staff.

The next day, Tanya and I hopped into Ruby to pick up Cornflake and head over to the festival. While admiring the relative non-tackiness of Cornflake's room, we saw a menu of spa options for Spa Esmerelda. Curious, we opened it...and then saw this offering:

Experience this romantic treatment in the spa garden and enjoy the warm desert sun, flowering gardens, and the soothing sound of cascading water. Your therapists will prepare a private bath of herbal elixir to soothe. While soaking, you and your partner will be able to "play in the mud" with an interactive facial mask. Your treatment sanctuary will be adorned with rose petals as you enjoy an aromatic massage.

Two questions immediately arose:

1) How exactly will you and your partner "play in the mud?" Why is "play in the mud" in quotation marks? Is the massage therapist hanging out with you? In the mud? "Playing?" Is "playing" just a euphemism for "sexing?"

2) What exactly is an "interactive facial mask?" While you're "playing," are you using your pointer finger to trace funny things in your partner's facial mask? Is the therapist tickling you while you have the mask on?

I think that my friends who went to the Michael Jackson auction exhibit today were less creeped out than I was after reading that.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Ridiculous Amount Of Time It Took Me To Get Home From Culver City At Noon Today: 50 minutes

Ridiculous Amount Of Time It Took Me To Drive From My House To Just East Of Palm Springs Today: 4 hours

Artists I Wanted To See At Coachella But Missed Because Of Said Traffic And Also Because The Stupid Hotel Totally Screwed Up Our Reservation And Wasted Thirty Precious Minutes Of Our Time: The Black Keys, Leonard Cohen

(Supposedly) Gay Celibate Husband I Finally Got To See Perform For The First Time And During Whose Performance I May Have Immaculately Conceived Said GCH's Baby By Way Of Osmosis: Morrissey

Reason All That Driving And Shit Was Worth It: Paul McCartney

I wasn't even going to come out to the desert at all (keywords: desert, dry, hot, people on drugs flailing around with glowsticks), but then tickets and super VIP passes magically worked their way into my paws and I couldn't say no. Tanya and I piled into ole Ruby and crawled across the 10, only to arrive at our hotel and find out that they gave our room away due to some front desk misunderstanding/malfunction.

We missed the Black Keys, and we arrived just in time to catch a few Leonard Cohen songs. What I did hear was deep and dark, and did nothing to belie his 73 years. Break it on down, brotha!

Then on to the main stage for Moz, a man I've pined for since the Smiths served as part of my high school trifecta of mopedom. My impressions, you ask?

a) Morrissey is one hot bastard
b) His voice is still panty-droppingly torchified
c) Multiply that by 20

The only odd moment for me? When he started pinching his nose and grimacing and cutting short lines to his songs, explaining, "I can smell burning flesh, and I hope to God it's human."

Dude, I know you're a veggie, but a) that was creepy, and b) have you never performed in a festival setting before where there's meat a-cookin'?

He ducked offstage, presumably to vomit, then returned and said, "The smell of burning animals is making me sick; I just couldn't bear it," then proceeded to swagger around, grimacing a bit. It totally unsexed the whole thing for me...and oddly, caused me to crave an In N Out Burger, plain, protein-style.

But Paul, OH PAUL!
If you've never seen Paul McCartney live - which I haven't, until tonight - you MUST. He is the consummate performer, he has a catalogue spanning over 40 years (and he performs songs from across the spectrum), and his band kicked all of the ass.

Ok, and there were fireworks. Fireworks always win in my book.

But really - Paul McCartney? PAUL MCCARTNEY?


I must admit that I kind of wrote him off in the "old guy milking his iconic status for dollars" category, but tonight - all three hours, three encores of it - proved me entirely wrong. His performance was simply the best rock show I've ever seen. EVER.

I just want to hug Paul McCartney and never let go.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


When I think of Ryan Gosling, my mind naturally darts to The Notebook - not because I have some sort of estrogen-wired theatrical hard-on for chick flicks (I don't), but because I met him on the set of that movie.

I answered an open call listed in the Charleston City Paper, and though I had to pass up the opportunity to be cast as Nurse due to a work conflict, I was later granted the meaty roles of Moviegoer, Soldier's Girlfriend, and my pièce de résistance, Swing Dancer.

Yes, Swing Dancer.
You had no idea that I could swing dance?
Oh...that's because I CAN'T.

I was on set one day, preparing to channel the inner-workings of Carnival Girl's soul, when the casting director started pointing at me, then walked over to me, followed by director Nick Cassavetes.

Casting Director: We like your look. Can you shag*?
Dumb Me: No.
Nick Cassavetes: Well, can you swing dance?
Quickly Wisened Up Me: YES!

* If you're not familiar, shag is a type of dance popular in the Carolinas (esp. mid-century), popularized by the most awesome Phoebe Cates vehicle of the same name

And so I found myself wearing half-size too small shoes from the 40's, working with an impatient choreographer who assumed I actually knew how to swing dance when I said "Yes" to Nick Cassavetes.

One day, we were rehearsing some very important background dancing for a carnival scene in which the Ryan Gosling character dangles off of a Ferris wheel, trying to get the Rachel McAdams character to take him up on his offer of a date. In between scenes, Ryan planted himself at the side of the stage and worked his way through a cup of ramen noodles.

Shy Stupid "Oh, wow, he's so cute" Me: Oh, ramen noodles! Yum!
Ryan Gosling: Yeah, they're pretty good.
SS"OWHSC"M: Man, I just LOOOOOVE ramen noodles!
RG: Right. It sounds like it. You can get some in the catering tent if you're hungry.

And then I walked away, mortified by the exchange that had just occurred.

I saw Ryan oot and aboot once at a photo show here in L.A., and my gut reaction was, "OH SHIT, that's the guy I orgasmed over ramen noodles to." Then I remembered that I was probably one iota of one speck of his memory, and I slunk away.

Long story short, I'm thinking about Ryan Gosling because he has a band, Dead Man's Bones, with Zach Shields, and they posted a new video just this week, and it's pretty great.

On a visual level, the vid totally appeals to my undying desire that Alfred Hitchcock rise from the Great Beyond and continue making cheeky, yet haunting noir (dream setting: Savannah's Bonaventure Cemetery). I keep hoping for a starring role when this film is made, but sadly, ole Hitch probably hasn't seen my epic turn in The Notebook, and also, he's still dead.

On a musical level, the song is a lo-fi, funereal barge of beauty that morphs into a tambourined clap-along folk barbershop revival, then transitions back into a raw tape-rolling, wind blowing twilight lament.

AND it features the children's choir from the Silverlake Music Conservatory. Five outta five stars for this alone.


DEAD MAN'S BONES - "NAME IN STONE" from biz3 publicity on Vimeo.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Today I earned the privilege of becoming Headmistress of the School of Stupid Stupids.

I received an unsolicited package in the mail yesterday from I sized it up, gave it a few squeezes, and concluded that it kind of felt like a package of sanitary pads, which would technically make sense coming from, even though I never have and never will order pads from the internets.

Curious, I ripped through the weird mylar baggie envelope-y thing the pad-feeling things were wrapped in and I was pleased to find that inside, it was decidedly NOT pads, but rather a set of photo-coasters that my mom sent.

[My favorite photo-coaster, you ask? The one featuring my lil sister and I sporting our Ralphie For The Modern Era very shiny Candies tracksuit pajama Christmas presents. At the time the photo was taken, my sister put hers on and said, "I feel like a 12-year old Mexican girl." When Kevin saw that particular photo-coaster, he said that she looked like Lady Sovereign. Six or a half dozen, I say.]

Anyways, back to that Headmistress of the School of Stupid Stupids business.

I keep a shredder in my office so that all of those identity thieves prowling the dumpsters outside my apartment can't, you know, steal my identity, and I use it to shred anything with my name and/or address on it. The weird mylar baggie envelope-y thing containing the photo-coasters totally qualified as bearing both.

Before feeding it into the shredder (the 2nd cheapest one available at Target, by the way - I figured the cheapest one wasn't a good idea, but also didn't feel like springing for anything moderately expensive, so 2nd cheapest won out), I paused - should this go in there? Should I just go mental on it with my scissors to prevent identity theft?

No, no, no. The only way to keep my precious personal information private would be to put it in the shredder. I'll just fold it a few times and pass it through.

So I feed it in slowly...and the shredder starts chewing at it...and chewing...sloooooowly...and then I notice a bubble forming at the top of the weird mylar baggie envelope-y thing...and it begins to feed even mooooore sloooooowly....

And then it just stops.

I try reversing. I try using another piece of paper, then an envelope, then a folded-up cover of some magazine I got from Mo's swag bag at SXSW. No dice. This bitch is stuck.

It dawns on me - maybe I shouldn't have stuck a weird mylar baggie envelope-y thing into a paper shredder.

I unplug it and look at the 6 diagrams printed on top of the shredder and decipher their meanings, in order to see if this guy was meant to handle anything other than paper:

- Danger! Warning!
- Don't put babies in here
- Don't high-five the machine while in operation
- Don't put neckties in here
- Don't put 80's hair metal bands in here
- Don't spray paint graffiti on here

Long story short, I ended up sitting on the floor for well over 15 minutes, using a dull pair of scissors to dig out every last stretchy piece of weird mylar baggie envelope-y thing from the shredder's teeth. Eddie Cat Halen watched on in fascination.

If a piece of machinery indicates that you shouldn't feed it babies, neckties, or 80's hair metal bands, you probably shouldn't feed it weird mylar baggie envelope-y things, either.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Local Natives opened the show I attended at Spaceland last night,but due to working late on ye olde podcast and driving around for what seemed like ten hours looking for a parking spot, I missed them.

Thankfully, Laurie saw them and told me how amazing they were, so I checked them out online today and was incredibly disappointed...

...that I missed their damn set yesterday.

I'm sure they get the Fleet Foxian (and possibly even Bon Iverian, during their slower moments) comparisons (sparse songs, harmonizing), but thought I really love both of those artists, Local Natives have something a bit different goin' on - more of a pop sensibility, a bit more flair for the percussively dramatic, and the potential to be anthemic.

NEXT L.A. SHOW: Bordello, Wednesday, April 8 (tix)

This vid is them doing one of their songs ("Airplanes") acoustically in an abandoned floor of a NYC building. Pretty, sparse, haunting, and kinda down home all at the same time...


Sometime the buzz'll gitcha...

And then it will toss you off, half-baked, unsatisfied.

Such is the case with half of tonight's show at Spaceland - a post-SXSW double-bill of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Austin's own White Denim, both highly recommended to me by various friends and hangers-on during (and after) the festival. When Laurie mentioned that she was headed out to see them both tonight, I parted with $12.25 and joined her, stage left, ready to fulfill the promise of palpable, frenzied capital B-U-Z-Z.

Sadly, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart were just...good. A quick flip of the ole dictionary will tell you that Good ain't Bad, but it's definitely not Great. I like shoegaze, I like a buzzy synth. I like double-guitar attacks. What I don't like are slightly-too-precious-and-shy twee vocals that are nearly inaudible, and when a band has all the stage presence of my grandma taking a nap.

(Love you, gramma.)

South-By Strikeout, sadly.

But White Denim made up for it with their space-rock blues, entirely captivating, even when they tread a wee bit too close to the fuckin'-rockin'-out vs. totally-jammin'-dude line.

Guitar Guy had an array of pedals, including a much-lusted-after Boomerang that I stared at for most of one entire song, and he used them to dive into psychedelia and layer on sounds no doubt culled from teenage years spent immersed in 70's prog rock.

Drum Guy sat front and center and threw alla his weight on the floor tom and the crash, making delightful loud noise after delightful loud noise. Though I called these guys out as being "space-rock blues," Drum Guy didn't dwell in the blues-rock ghetto, and though I loves me a good blues-rock experience, he spanked the blues with a hint of punk and I loved it even more.

Most surprising to me was Bass Guy, who looked like he was swept out of algebra class at the Rock n' Roll Middle School For Clean-Shaven, Ruddy-Cheeked Androgynes, but he ground into his four strings like he was having his way with Carmen Electra or something. You know it's a good show when you're noticing the BASS PLAYER.

No offense to all of you bass players, but really - who watches the bass player at a show? Unless you're a bass player yourself, or you're the mother of one, or you're hoping to bone one because neither the singer nor the guitarist are available and the drummer is just too crazy-seeming, NO ONE pays attention to the bass player.

So kudos you, Pat. Or Sam. Or Chris. Or whatever your name is. Kudos you.


Monday, March 30, 2009


Halfway through The Grates' set at Spaceland tonight, Giselle shouted out, "MY CHEEKS HURT!"

Presumably, from smiling for a solid twenty minutes straight.
I totally empathized.

On the way home tonight, I tried really, really hard to think of when I've seen such a happy band.
Nope, can't think of such a thing. The Grates are definitely The Happiest.

Drummer Alana sits unassumingly at her kit, permagrin slapped from cheek to pudgy cheek, playing all herky jerky like a kid simultaneously overstimulated and trying to rein in their sugar high.

And singer Patience? White socks cranked around her knees, she bounds around the stage, Siouxsie after shooting up rainbows and lollipops with a sprinkling of meth backstage. She's transfixing, hopping and pointing and smiling and bouncing and Roger Rabbit-dancing and twirling onstage, getting off on the most genuine of connections with her audience. She peeeenches our heads with her forefinger and thumb, dedicates songs to us, comes out and dances with us, places her hand on our shoulders familiarly as she encourages us to join her in chorus. Simply put, she is Happy personified, and I love it.

The icing on the ridiculously sweaty, joyful evening? Unfurling a $20 bill, asking for a T-shirt and a CD, and having Patience lean in conspiratorially to tell me, "'re getting an extra T-shirt in there. It's like there's a menu and you just ordered off of it. You ordered off the menu and you get an extra T-shirt," then patting me on the shoulder, thanking me, and pumping her fist in the air. Awesome.

Watch - "Aw Yeah" by The Grates:

Friday, March 27, 2009


Why is it the men who always reject me?

Case in point, excerpts from the email I just received:

"It could, under different circumstances / planetary alignments etc, have made it all the way..."

I did read that the next few weeks were supposed to be a crapalicious time for we Cancers...

"I sincerely wish that we could..."

Coulda, shoulda, woulda....

"If you're interested in some more detailed feedback, I'll do my best to provide it..."

You know, I'll give him this...most guys aren't this amenable to talking about why it didn't work out. there won't be a 33 1/3 book on Sleater-Kinney's One Beat this time around.

Bummer, bummer, bummer news to start the weekend, but I'm thankful and proud that my proposal made it to the shortlist. Thanks to all of you who supported me along the way. You're all superstars.

Off to have a tiny little pity party...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

SXSW - THE AFTERMATH (AKA - YES, THERE WAS A DAY 4) there was a SXSW - Day 4, but I just never got around to posting about it.

That's not to say that it wasn't awesome.
It was.
Or that I didn't see some great music.
I did.

It's just that I went to bed on Friday night feeling like a pound of live Maine lobsters had taken up residence in my entire digestive tract, from gut to throat, and by the time Saturday evening rolled around, I could barely speak, much less muster the energy to comment on what I enjoyed all day through my germy haze.

So let's take a trip back down memory lane. If I recall:

Like a zombie, I amble down Red River to the Red Eyed Fly, to see Lights On at noon. But it's noon:oh:five and the doors are shut. Hmpf. I catch a glimpse through the back - Oh! There's Chris! And Daniel! They will see me! They will let me in! [Ignore fire ants burning my entire esophagus] Texts, calls...ignored. I run into Chris Mollere and we make small talk. Clearly he just woke up, as well. When we finally get in to see the band, they are kick-in-yer-pants electro-synth rock greatness. Why do I have to feel like scorpions are crawling up and down my throat? Why?

Blindly make my way to the beautiful French Legation Museum grounds. Trip a little as I walk in, because my throat is burning like I just spent an entire week crossing the Gobi. Buy water. See Mo. Make feeble attempt at conversation with various people, all of whom probably thought I was either extremely hungover or on really bad drugs. Excuse myself to go die a painful death in my hotel room.

As soon as I drag myself back to my bed, Daniel texts that Lindsay Wolfington is around and wants to meet me before she flies home. In 20 minutes. Drink the last Emergen-C in one hot, fiery gulp. Eat cough drops like after-dinner mints. Die a little more inside. Walk 16 minutes to meet Lindsay. Meet Adam Swart. Drink mojitos to quell the sensation of hot lava inside of my neck. Pray the alcohol kills whatever bacteria have taken up residence in there.

How did I get here? Did I walk? Did someone carry me? I know that I mingled and talked and acted human, but I did not feel human, that I assure you. I think I might have scared Amy Treco with my ghastly pallor.


Hot Tea. Ice water. Alternate. Conserve my voice. Feels like this may be my last meal before death takes me in her burning grip. At least it was really tasty.

Tried for a 2nd round of Efterklang, but the line was down the alley. In my weakened, delirious state, I cannot stand in an alley. No. Mo texts. I join she, Ric, & Ben for some comedy at Esther's Follies. Ric hands me a whiskey. It burns the burn that is already burning in my throat. But I am still hopeful that germs are dying with every sip.

The homestretch. I may faint. I eat 20 Luden's cough drops and drink all of the free water in the cooler. I try not to collapse on Mo and Bronson. Leila Moss lifts my spirits with her slinky Lady Jagger dance moves and raspy howling. Silversuns do her one up with their CAPITAL R-O-C-K. Drew Barrymore pushes in front of us for "Lazy Eye," hippie-dancing, arms-a-waving. I barely recognize her because I am certainly two steps away from death's doorstep at this point.


So that was Day 4, in case you were wondering.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I have the chills, a sore throat, and bags under my eyes. Don't expect any fancy writin'.

- Vitamin-packed lunch w/ Shayla of W+K
- Scraggly, dirty garage blues of The Fumes
- Atmospheric waves of shoegazey sound from School of Seven Bells
- N'awlins food, cajun grooves, and fine folks @ Bug par-tay
- The overstuffed cab ride and photo session back across the rivah from the Bug par-tay
- Mojitos and mingling at Bank Robber/Zinc par-tay
- Cajoling my way (with the solicitor) into the NZ party, though I only caught 1 or 2 Cut Off Yr Hands songs before I got let in
- Detour to The Infamous Ric Baca Pool Party, leaving with Metallica press pass around my neck
- Boiling Pot!!!!!!
- Skipping Metallica for a 2nd dose of Mumford & Sons
- High-thumbing w/ Baca, Ben, & Mo

- Hoofing all the way over to Scoot Inn to hear some Nino Moschella, only to find myself sick as a dog
- Waking up today with swollen glands

But I shall forge on, Emergen-C willing.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Soon as I headed over, work summoned me to hotel room, but I put it off enough to enjoy some hearty Nina Simonesque blues scat-bellowing & minimalist tribal drumming. Steel drum! Dude! Where'd that come from?? Do it again!

Ran into Eric Danton of Hartford Courant. And uber-Last Town Chorus fan button man guy. And Trish Wagner. And David Hirschland. And gave Marky Mark a big hug. Then wached he and Gary sing sweetly folksy timeless tunes. Beauty.

Took awesome photo with Mo, as we do. Drank free delicious shot of something and something. Then rocked the fuckity fuck out. Singer is something special. Like "special kid" special. And that's why I loved her. Tube socks! And white polyester shorts jacked up to her armpits. And high voltage rock n roll. And the drummer smiled nonstop. I love smiling drummers. I should smile more when I'm playing. Noted.

Eat. Rest. Eat. Rest. Juliette Lewis, flower in hair. Eat. Rest.

Tuba, trumpet, violin, accordion = gypsy jammin'. Sorry to the guy I kept elbowing not-on-purpose. And thank you for remaining stoic in the face of adversity.

Hey UFO peeps! Word to the up. I like the way our favorite Irish folk rock duo is now incorporating copious ukelele. Uke it up.

BUST. The lines for these were here to nevereverever. Find Daniel Higglesbeebigglesbeeboo, Nike JT, & others instead. Impressed by Daniel's meticulously ordered, notated, & bolded schedule. Wish my own included "sleep."

Sweet, delicious, melodic, 7-man surprise. I clapped, I danced, I marveled. Sing so pretty, play so pretty, moustache so pretty. All-star jamz, xylophone included. Top notch awesomeness.

Finally, after nearly 48 hours of text/phone tag, I meet up w/ Kevin Taylor & Libby from the Shooting Gallery. Drinks, rememories, awesome times. Eyes start crossing. Start walking back to room. Well, hey Britt Daniel! Lookin' good. You can turn my camera on any ole time.

Now. Had to skip the Deep Vibration because I may die if I don't sleep. Not an exaggeration. Good night.


Up at 4:15am. Text from Sir Ricardo Baca at 5am. Double-planing it to Austin. Caloric intake: a Luna bar and a coffee

Ridin' w/ funny, road-weary Irishmen (The Guggenheim Grotto) on day 1,245,555 of their US tour. Delicious BBQ, first calories after Luna bar & coffee, besides caffeinated mints. (Yes, you read correctly). Start to feel human again. Enjoy the company of Domino, Native Tongue, The Guggenheim Grotto, Max Tundra, Mara from Bug, Mike from McCann Erickson, & JT from Nike. Belly full.

Synthesized 80's lite through a veil of blonde bangs. "She could have been in Labyrinth with David Bowie. Who's got the baby with the voodoo? You do!" I say to Mo. She laughs. We hydrate.

Move closer, in Avett anticipation. Meet Carter w/ Rollo & Grady - he skools us in how to get yungins to gitcher drinks when you're at a show. It works. Carter is magic. Heartless Bastards...not so much. First two songs promising walls of wailing blues rock...and then it crawls into a wall and sits there like a dull midtempo country rock lump. They play for entirely too long. We fidget. They close with a number that included three REPEATED solos at the end. Like they're Primus. Or Zeppelin. Or...

Delicious. Happy happy times. A yungin brings me whiskey on the rocks. Good kid. Ric Baca & Denver gang appear and hugs all around. Delicious hugs and happytimes. But what...5 songs? Turns out the Heartless Bastards, true to their name, played 20 min too long and we all lose out. But Avetts are awesome. And they play a catchy tune from upcoming Rick Rubin album, for which I am simultaneously nervous & excited.

Mo and I stumble in after Kevin Taylor mentions he might be at Emo's post-Obey. No Kevin, maybe b/c it's Emo's Jr. I just want to say "Elmo" when I type that. This show is THE RAD. (Except for the couple ballroom moshing. Perfect description.) Loud, melodic, punk, spazzy, tuneful, masterful noise orchestrated by 5 superrad Canadian kids. Their guitar broke. Their drumhead broke. Then they said, "We're still looking for a place to sleep tonight. We have a tent. We're sleeping in a tent and our stuff's broke." And then the rocked the shit some more.

I go solo. (Rollin in my 5.0, with my ragtop down, so my hair can blow? No.) I realize my Artist band will gain me entry to Artist Lounge, so I go in just because I can. Boring. But there's drinks. Head to Friends. Mumfords = Sweet English trio, looking tired and harried, begging forgiveness as they were stuck at La Guardia (cesspool) Airport for 10 hours today. Somehow, their keyboardist, Ben, did not make the cut. Is he still at La Guardia? Was he deported? Is he in a holding cell? Who knows. But they're sweet little British bluegrassy folksy sweetie pies and though I wanted to deck the girl in front of me who kept drunkenly falling backwards onto me, I had a tender Mumford moment. Even sans Ben.

Mo is plotting Thurs. I'm plotting sleep. Did I mention the been up since 4:15am L.A. time thing? Yeah. I did.


Sunday, March 8, 2009


The 2+ year hiatus is over.

Begin the musical stalking:



Wardens demo to surface very, very soon

Friday, March 6, 2009


This morning as we prepared to record Episode 24 of the iTunes Weekly Rewind (feat. the music of The Watchmen, Neko Case, Simon & Garfunkel, and the 20th anniversary of Do The Right Thing), Bobs & Rockbarry were chatting during his call-in about PPP, and I slammed my pointer finger ("index finger," my ass) down on the Talk button:

"Dude, PPP is amazing. We rep them for licensing. They. Are. Awesome."

Then I picked up my laptop, opened my iTunes, and started playing PPP's "On A Cloud," which is just a massively dope, catchy shoop-a-doop hip-hop ride to funkytown. And then I held up my laptop and pushed the Talk button again, and danced around in the control room, swangin' my hips with my laptop in the air. Bobs bobbed his head; Rockbarry couldn't hear or see me because he was calling in to the studio. Everyone else laughed.

Then Bobs requested a copy of the album and Tanya looked it up on her iPhone.
Because "On A Cloud" is the jam.

You have to check these guys out. I'd toss an mp3 up here, but that wouldn't be kosher since I rep them for licensing via my job at Sugaroo!, so you'll have to do the legwork yourself - I can assure you an iTunes download or (egad!) buying the physical product (their brand-new album Abundance) is totally worth it. These guys are the new wave of old school master craftsmen of hip-hop and they're gearing up for a well-earned breakthrough, I hope -

PPP MySpace: Go to "On A Cloud" feat Karma first. You'll thank me.

(Yeah, that one guy totally looks like a baby Tupac.)

It made me think about the redonkulous amount of music that passes through my ears on a daily basis. Some of it is meh, for sure, and some is good, but there are some really, really stellar artists that I have the utter privilege to pimp out on a daily basis. I should probably be turning you on to these every now and then.

Here be a few nuggets for now...



Beginning her ascent from the alt-country ghetto into the greater consciousness with her last release Fox Confessor Brings The Flood, Neko Case is finally allowed to own the stage (in the case of Los Angeles in June - the Greek Theatre!) that is so rightfully hers on Middle Cyclone, her 6th solo album after leaving the New Pornographers. Her voice is a singular powerhouse, a bellow both wild and willfully wrangled that simultaneously hits below the belt and forces you to fall in love with her. If you're not a fan of "alt-country" or "country," give Neko a chance. Her music is a complete and utter knockout, and her voice a weapon of mass destruction.

Listen to "People Got A Lotta Nerve" from Middle Cyclone. Then go buy it. If you haven't already.

(And despite all of you naysayers that don't like it for whatever tightassed reason, I think the cover art for this album is badassedy delicious. That woman is not just a firecracker, she's one of those giant wads of dynamite tucked under Wile E. Coyote's armpit).

The Swedish pop train will not be stopped.

You don't know them, and you probably won't hear about them for a while, because a) they're in Sweden, and b) they haven't yet released an album stateside...or in Sweden. But they're about to...and it will be a pitch-perfect piece of expertly crafted power pop, heavy on the infectious choruses and sunbright guitars.

Mikey & the Gypsys MySpace: Go straight to "Echoes" and "Monday." It's like snorting pixie stix while doing a keg stand.

(Since the upcoming album - Enormous Shows Combined is not yet available in full, head over and download the Caravan EP from iTunes to get your sweet Swede on.)

Multi-instrumentalist genius-man

This man works harder than Manny Ramirez or any of those other pro sports crybabies, that I can assure you. He is a wizard of the recording studio, the jammiest of jammers, funkmaster fresh, soul brotha #1, commandeer of a mental musical army. In Shawn Lee Hits The Hits, he Shawnicized everything from Eve to Outkast to Gorillaz to Amy Winehouse. And on his newest, Soul In The Hole, he Shawnicizes the shit outta...wait for it...soul. Guest vocalists galore, spot-on production, total jams.

Preview & buy Soul In The Hole on the Ubiquity Records site - same label as PPP, these guys are clearly purveyors of taste. Start w/ "Jigsaw," feat Nicole Willis, and march on from there.

(When you're done foaming over Soul In The Hole, venture over to iTunes and download Shawn Lee feat. Nino Moschella - "Kiss The Sky" - you can thank me later. Or in a comment or something.)

Now I need to go feed my Eddie Cat Halen so he stops chewing on my leg.

Monday, February 16, 2009


The last 24 hours have been a hearty bounce on the musical equivalent of the sweet spot on a tennis racket..

HELL YES: 33 1/3
Considering I've already blasted this across the internets, it's now old news, but for the sheer joy of it - my proposal for Continuum's 33 1/3 series ( on Sleater-Kinney's One Beat has been moved forward onto the shortlist. HOLY HELL YES!!!

I WANT TO WRITE THIS BOOK. I really rolled it around in my head for quite some time before sending in the proposal. Hell, I even suggested in my proposal that I probably wanted to write this book after my virgin listen of One Beat. It's an album that has personal meaning to me, but I don't propose to worship drooling at its little indie altar...I see a real story behind its making, it's place in and the demise of the riot grrl canon, and numerous other things I'd be jinxing myself to vomit into the blogosphere. I would totally rock the fuck out of this book for you, friends, acquaintances, and general public, even if you've never heard a single Sleater-Kinney song in your some-odd decades on this earth.

In fact - let's remedy that right now. Courtesy the official Sleater-Kinney website (both from One Beat, of course):

One Beat.mp3


Dude. Dude. Dude. Thanks to Rachel from Woodwork for turning me on to this...

Avant-garde percussive blues opera that is neither a) as hippie-dippie as the band name might make you think nor b) as pretentious as my description might make you think. Caught their set at Amoeba tonight* and it was raucous and beautiful at once. Sister has some freaky/gorgeous pipes, brother can bang some serious textures out of those drums (reminding me a bit of when Liam Finn goes all shit-nuts on the drums and then loops them and then goes even more shit-nuts on them, but this guy does it without even having to loop them).

Maybe I shouldn't refer to them as "sister" and "brother," now that I think of it, a'cause they're married and all. Neither here nor there.

Instead of my getting all tangential, just check them out for yerself:

*RE: Amoeba - I was there to check out the band, but also to pick up the new Dan Auerbach and Bon Iver offerings. I saw You Are The Quarry on sale, as well, so I thought I'd add it to my Moz arsenal, considering we've been dancing in the same air at the Sunset Marquis as of late...le sigh...

Ok, back to the story. So I go to the check out counter and present the dude with my selections. He starts to ring them up and then I look at them: Morrissey....Bon Iver...Dan Auerbach...and I feel compelled to blurt out:

"OH. Well, it's a rainy day. Don't think I'm going to like, go home and put these on and cry and stuff. Ok?"

Counter dude: "Sure. Ok."

I pay for my saddoe music and when I grab it at the other end of the counter, Counter Dude fires off a sly little zinger:

"Enjoy your crying."


Completing the triad is my newfound obsession with Scott Walker. I've heard of him, but I've never really listened, until Mo invited me to join her at Bronson's last night for Rock Music Movie Night. Now I need mo' Walker.

Bronson screened the Scott Walker doc 30 Century Man to a small room of friends/music nerds, and it was pretty special. The doc is heavy on the music, necessary since Ohioan Walker became a British recluse of sorts over the past few...decades...and his music has generally not been released in the US (aside from imports, some of which I found tonight at Amoeba).

Now, homeboy is not for everyone. But if you have a yen for art rock, Eno, Bowie, Antony & the Johnsons, and the freakier side of Radiohead, you'll find something here to latch onto. Walker's voice is a wounded spectre against a backdrop of haunted (art)house creaks, booms, and rattles and his lyrics are absolute mysteries (even exec producer Bowie laughs at one point during the doc at how ludicrous some of it is).

The doc opens next Friday, Feb. 27th for a weeklong run at Landmark's NuArt Theatre, and I highly recommend you set aside a few bucks and 90 minutes to check it out if you consider yourself any music fan whatsoever. There's also a par-tay/tribute show next Wed. at Bordello feat. the ubiquitous John Doe, Ann Magnuson, & a slew of others. You should go there, too.

In the meantime, here's the trailer. Dig:

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Friends, drank a lil whiskey for momma, a'cause her proposal for the 33 1/3 series has just moved onto the shortlist:

Hard to maintain bladder control and all with the excitement, but try your best. I know I am.

Monday, February 9, 2009


I drove home from work this evening with clogged sinuses (and a bit of a clogged mind). I thought about traffic, I thought about work, I thought about love, I thought about music, I thought about dinner, I thought about friends, I thought about my damn sinuses.

And then I stopped thinking.

The San Gabriels hulked in front of me at the end of the 10, like it was a runway to the moon. They were totally dipped in snow, peak to horizon, and because the sun was setting, they glowed a faint My Pretty Pony pink. It was magical.

I divvied my attention between these glowing rose behemoths and the road (maybe they should have a no-staring-at-pretty-mountains-while-driving law, in addition to the no-talking-on-cell-phones-while-driving law). They were like smooth peaks of strawberry ice cream jutting out of a bowl of palm trees. Delish.

I try not to take this city (or the amazing opportunities it's afforded me) for granted - but sometimes you forget. THEN you see giant pink snowy mountains on your drive home and you remember and you're totally thankful.

You want to see a picture?

I don't have one.

I mean...dude, I was DRIVING.

But here's some photos from last year's Olympic National Park trip to give you a sense of just how sexy mother nature can be...

Monday, January 5, 2009


Nerdy spectacle-sporting white guys love us! They really do!

Well, at least Ira Glass does. Team iTunes Weekly Rewind just enjoyed a spiritual high after receiving a lovely email from Mr. Glass indicating that not only does one of the most famous names in radio listen to our podcast, but he actually likes it. Just waiting on our ringing endorsement from Elvis Costello, and we should be set...

In other news, I was reminded the other day of the HackTone Records press release I co-wrote last year with David to promote our dear Marky Mark Olson, delineating how he emerged the winner of a hard-fought sales battle against Kanye Norway. Image below courtesy of Cable & Tweed, who ran a lovely excerpt from the release...

NOVEMBER 9, 2007


The rock-solid numbers just don’t lie—alt-country troubadour and founding member of The Jayhawks Mark Olson has outsold hip-hop popster Kanye West in Norway’s hottest music feud.

Explains a relieved Olson, “I said I would retire—just plain stop making records—if I didn’t outsell him in Norway. Luckily, my fans still believe in the power of romantic folk rock.”

After a tense few weeks spent combing the blogosphere and eyeballing the charts, Olson heaved a sigh of relief, learning that his solo opus The Salvation Blues has clearly trumped West’s Graduation, selling hundreds and hundreds and hundreds...and hundreds more copies to Norway’s esteemed audiophiles. The beef is over and Norwegian music fans have declared Olson the undisputed winner.

As of press time, the defeated West has yet to comment. Critics are abuzz with speculation that Olson’s Norwegian triumph in the sales wars may even push the embattled 50 Cent further towards retirement in the wake of West’s Scandinavian flatline. The message is clear—Olson’s got game and the hits will keep on comin’.

The trash talking leading up to this point has been fairly nonexistent, mostly because Olson’s a nice fellow and because, well, Kanye probably wasn’t even aware of the Salvation/Graduation feud in the first place. But that doesn’t stop HackTone Records’ David Gorman from commenting:

“This is a great day for romantic folk rock and for HackTone in general. We have nothing but respect for Kanye and we look forward to a rematch when both he and Mark are ready to drop their next joints on the Norwegians. Either that or Kanye and Mark could just bury the hatchet and collaborate on a new track. Mark’s a wonderful lyricist and a terrific harmony singer, qualities Kanye can no doubt appreciate.”

Team HackTone remained professional throughout the nail-biting chart-climb, but maintains Gorman, “We always secretly knew that when squared off, Mark would totally top Kanye, especially after the Norwegian press went bonkers over the album. Victory is spelled O-L-S-O-N and man, it’s sweeeeet.”

Indeed, the Norway critics still can’t stop throwing stars at a pleased Olson and his album. Says popular daily paper Dagsavisen, who rated Salvation 6 out of 6, “Et fint etterord til et album som fra før var så godt som perfekt.” Not to be unsportsmanlike, but it’s pretty much a sure thing that Kanye was barely a blip on the Dagsavisen radar.

Olson, ever the kind soul, is quick to add, “But that Kanye’s a good guy—seems real nice, a hard worker...salt of the earth.”


Sunday, January 4, 2009


Occasionally I'll throw you a bone from my journalistic past, mostly when I can't think of anything witty to post in the present.

The Elected's crabby Blake Sennett

(From Charleston City Paper, 11/8/06)

Dear Blake Sennett,

Thanks for talkin' to me today, before debarking in — wait, what did you call it — "Shittown"? "Doodooville"? (FYI: I'm pretty sure the locals call it "Cleveland." Just think about that before you launch into any on-stage shout-outs.)

Anyway, I was really surprised when you played at the Farm last year with Rilo Kiley and packed it. That place never gets full. Well, except for that time GWAR played. But I had to leave early because I felt sick. GWAR will do that to you.

But here's what I really want to ask you, Blakey: why did you sound so morose on the phone? I know that the whole Rilo Kiley touring with Coldplay thing probably wore you out, because you had to spend several weeks dodging Gwyneth and the wee Martins, but are you really that depressed? I mean, we pretty much started our phone conversation with you telling me, "I hate life," and then kind of sarcastically suggesting that my own life was probably "full of vigor and a yen for each day." Not lately, but that's beside the point.

But seriously, dude, the new album by your "side project," The Elected, is called Sun, Sun, Sun! Now, isn't that a happy name for an album? The music's pretty upbeat, although all of the songs on there seem to be about what a lonely dude you are — love lost, breakups, lost lovers, and the like (which you reluctantly pointed out were autobiographical, after pretty much telling me that you hate talking about your songs and giving me the bozo generic "I guess I just write about life stuff" line).

Blakester, don't you have happy things to talk about? Do you always sound like Conor Oberst without his Zoloft? Is there not a joyous bone in your body? I mean, you're in not just one, but two popular bands. People love your music. People want to curl their fingers around that new moustache of yours and pat you on your suede-vested back, and not just because they like guys who dress like they just dropped in from the '70s.

Despite the sad-sack lyrics, you generally write the kind of pretty songs that make me want to snuggle up on a bearskin rug in my nightie and write in my journal. With a cup of hot cocoa. It's warm stuff, and I'm just having a hard time reconciling that with this guy on the phone whose only response to my heaping piles of hot praise was a limp offering of, "I don't know. We bring the thunder, I guess."

Maybe you needed to talk about other things — like the CMJ Marathon, where you were playing last week! I figured we were on the right path when you called me "Shawntizzle" and offered to have your bassist sing a song at the show I was attending. We were buds! But then, you turned right back into Señor Sarcasmo and launched into a parody of CMJ-goers by spazzing out into the phone, "It's 2001! I've got to see Clinic! Oh my god, it's 2002 and I've got to see Ladytron!" right up until you hit 2006.

Actually, I didn't really mind that so much. It was at this point that you kind of commandeered the conversation into forcing me to go online and search for the name of the headmaster, or deacon, or whatever-the-hell-he's-called for the Polyphonic Spree (which we discovered is Tim DeLaughter, not TimmyLovesnake, as you suggested).

You know, I realized that you were probably just tired. You did sound kind of happy when you told me that Elvis Costello once called bandmate Jenny Lewis to share his love for Rilo Kiley. The sun shone for a brief moment, Blake-o-rama, and that gives me hope that you might just keep on making good music instead of diving headfirst off of a cliff.


(I really love my new pet name — you said it with such warmth)

Thursday, January 1, 2009


So I did it.

Yesterday, on New Year's Eve, I submitted my first book proposal. Despite my later appearance at Tiki Ti to sip sweet, rummy dranks with sweet, rummy people, this is how I truly let 2008 go raucously into the good night, my final truly meaningful act of the year.

For those of you who are curious, I submitted a proposal to Continuum's 33 1/3 series ( Each book in the series is written by a different author and tackles a different album; I chose Sleater-Kinney's One Beat.

It will be some time before I receive my rejection letter, and maybe then I'll decide to post my proposal in an act of catharsis, but in the meantime, I offer a very heartfelt thanks to all of you who supported me along the way and congratulated me when I was high on a superbad combo of exhaustion and exaltation once I turned that bad boy loose to the emailverse.

I've called myself a writer for the last 7 or 8 years, but no matter the outcome, now it finally feels true.