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.