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.