31 May 2005

blow your own horn

The following are short pieces that I've written in the past little while that I thought were amusing. Or something.

"if you don't know who David Lee Roth is you just don't deserve to live"

"This song reminds me of a tiny car driving down a narrow Japanese highway during a boiling summer, but not for reasons that would make sense to anyone but me."

" I was a boring killjoy for a long time, but I'm working on it."

"He'd react by calling us both idiots and making a sort of angry face. Good times."

"It's probably a bad thing to find your own idiocincracies charming."

"Although I know a request for user participation is as likely to be granted as would be a wish that the Indiana Fairy would somehow move the St. Louis Cardinals to my backyard..."

"...Zaireeka is corn, some potato bits, and a bit of bouillon lying around the kitchen, some of it in the pantry, some of it in the refrigerator."

union station

squarepusher - a journey to reedham

Back around the time I finished college and moved to Indianapolis I got out of touch with my friend Nate. It seems so odd to me now that this kind of thing could ever happen, but the same sort of thing happened with almost all my friends at some point. I can remember a year or two when I hardly ever talked to Dave, as well.

I guess what's weird about it is that the whole time they were right there, it was just that we stopped really paying attention to what each other was doing. I don't really want that to ever happen again, so I'm trying to keep everyone together as best I can. It's all sort of Lifetime movie.

Anyway, the song I've posted today is Squarepusher's "A Journey to Reedham", a song that Nate and I both enjoyed, but not like other songs we've both enjoyed. Usually we both like a song because either we have experience listening to it together, or because we shared it with each other. But in this case I think we both discovered the song seperately.

Somehow, after a decent amount of time apart, we struck up a conversation about the song at a bar one evening. If I recall correctly, this was around the time that Nate was having some personal issues, and listening to him explain why he liked the song seemed to explain everything. He talked about how the song starts out on a path, but all this chaos comes into play and tries to push it off track. In the end, the song ends up finishing on its original path.

I guess that sort of sums how my whole group of friends operates.

25 May 2005

you're invisible now!

the flaming lips - how will we know (mixed down by mike)

One of the worst things about The Flaming Lips "Zaireeka" is that not too many people have heard it the way it's supposed to be heard. If you're not familiar with Zaireeka, it's an album consisting of four cds which are meant to be played on four separate cd players at the same time. Each song on each album has a count off so that you can synchronize the cd players, and then the song starts.

When I was still a college student, I would make the trek from my home town of Trenton to Carbondale, where I would pay Jon a visit. I don't recall Jon ever paying me a visit, which might help explain the nature of our friendship, but I really don't care about that. I've never been worried that spending time with Jon will be boring, even when we end up doing nothing. We all know people like that. At least I hope that most people know someone like that.

Anyway, on more than one trip to Jon's place in Carbondale, he would throw a Zaireeka listening party, in which four house sized stereos would magically appear, and various persons would gobble up various drugs. I vividly remember people laughing for no reason other than the fact that Zaireeka was playing.

In its natural state (played as it is supposed to be played), Zaireeka is a stew of sound you can almost taste. In its unnatural state (ie. playing one of the four discs in a car stereo by itself), Zaireeka is corn, some potato bits, and a bit of bouillon lying around the kitchen, some of it in the pantry, some of it in the refrigerator.

Around the time Zaireeka was released I got into making my own music using a piece of software called AcidMusic. I never really made anything worth talking about (although I did make my own Zaireeka-like experiment called "Tiny Mouse Parade"), but I did get to use the software to mix the four albums into one. The result of that effort is song posted here today.

This particular track is interesting because of the high pitched noise in the background. In the notes for the album, Wayne Coyne (The Flaming Lips singer) talks about experiments in the 50's that were staged to see if the use of noise could change brain function (or something like that). What I do know is that when a single cd of this song was played in a car stereo, it always smelled like something was burning. So maybe it worked? Or maybe car speakers aren't meant to play that high a pitch. In any case, this isn't the best song off the album (the size of the file was too large for the space I currently have available), but it does have the weird noise thing going for it.

If you're into this, let me know in the comments and I can probably hook you up with the rest of the album.

23 May 2005


Hello. I've added a link to Jon's photo blog on the right. His pictures are not only interesting, but also quite pretty. Must be the camera. Look for it under "my isthmus"

iggy and the stooges - search and destroy

It takes a great amount of effort for me to get into old (for conversations sake, let's say pre-1990) music. Even in the case that a new band is strong influenced by an old band (even to the point that the new band may be ripping off the old band), I'll usually the prefer the newer band.

If you offer up the Joy Division/Interpol example (the first thing that came to mind, valid or not), I'll take Interpol's "Turn On The Bright Lights" over anything Joy Division did, short of "Love Will Tear Us Apart". To some people, this is almost blasphemy. Most people don't really give a shit.

Unfortunately, my opinions normally would fall in line more with the first camp of people. If you offer up Muse, for example, I'll hear Radiohead references and immediately dismiss anything Muse could possibly do. But in the case of older music, my strong opinions suddenly fade out.

I think there are a couple of reasons why this happens. I often feel that older music is missing the urgency found in a lot of newer music. In addition, the production of older albums often makes then sound almost distant or insincere to me. Even old punk records seem to be missing these two components.

I guess that's why I enjoy "Search And Destroy" so much. It's completely immediate, the pacing is perfect, and it absolutely refuses to be anything but loud. Even on a radio turned down, the song is just jumping out of the speakers.

To me this feels like too obvious a choice. But I'm putting it up anyway.

* * * * *

As I was writing this, I realized I have no idea who I'm really this for. Half the people that read this are probably going to have no idea who or what the hell I'm talking about.

Or maybe not. I don't even know if I make any sense today.

i hate the word melancoly

sparklehorse - piano fire

If I was making a list of bands whose music I enjoy completely and without reservation, Sparklehorse wouldn't be the first band that came to mind. But I don't think Sparklehorse is the kind of band that's bold enough for instant recall.

That's not to say that Sparklehorse isn't amazing. But I can forget about Sparklehorse for months, and everytime I rediscover them (well, actually it's a him), I realize how great the music is.

Anyway, I was trying to decide which Sparklehorse song to put up, and listened to a bit of every song on "It's A Wonderful Life", and still couldn't decide. I eventually chose "Piano Fire" because it features PJ Harvey, who is another one of my favorite artists (at least in past tense).


music to my ears

yeah, I would like a link from your page, if that's ok. You should try calling again. Everytime you tried I was either sleeping or away from the phone. And when I get away from the phone, you know how I do it. I go millions of miles away.

21 May 2005

camping in Miyazaki...playing with fire. Posted by Hello

20 May 2005

you are invited


A few things I wanted to note: First off, I've added a link to Benn loxo du taccu on the right. It's a blog by an reporter working in Africa which contains a different African song each time. I download everything he puts up, and then never listen to it. I've been meaning to, though.

I suppose his blog is what convinced me to do mine.

Secondly, before I switched the blog over to music, I invited pretty much anyone I knew to use the blog to post whatever they wanted. I want to encourage those of you who were asked to continue to use the blog in that manner. In fact, if you wish to write something about a song, I'll do my best to locate the song and put it up as a link. I would enjoy that greatly. Don't be shy. But don't just make a request, either. I think a person can find enjoyment in music they normally would like just by reading about how someone else feels about it. So it's important that you write a little bit about the song first.

Jon, expect an invite soon.

18 May 2005

user participation post

blood brothers - every breath is a bomb

Although I know a request for user participation is as likely to be granted as would be a wish that the Indiana Fairy would somehow move the St. Louis Cardinals to my backyard , I'm going to ask that you give this song a shot anyway. Because...

The Blood Brothers are coming to town, and although I don't really care what anyone thinks of me, I'm just sort of wondering if I'm too old (or worse yet, too middle class banana republic) to be going to see a band like the Blood Brothers.

The song I've posted is from "Burn Piano Island Burn", an album it took me a while to get, only because I have trouble comprehending record reviews and didn't expect what I heard. The song I've posted is the most accessible song on the record, easily.

It's what some folks would call "screamo" music (emo + screaming), but don't let that put you off. It's not like you're paying to listen to it.

So give it a shot, and let me know if you think you'd be comfortable at a Blood Brothers show. And based off what you think about yourself, I'll decide what I think about myself.

(Another note: There are no women in this band. If you think that higher screamy voice is a woman, you are mistaken. Gina made this mistake.)

16 May 2005

i can't stop looking at bicycles

mylo - sunworshipper

I have a recent obsession with bicyles. Well, maybe not so recent. I've been a fan of bicycles for five or so years now, but lately I've shifted my focus from mountain bikes to road bikes (or what we always called ten speeds when I was a kid). Unfortunately, from what I've read, if you really want to get into road bicycling, you're better off spending (what seems to me to be) alot of money right off the bat, because it allows you to be happy with your bike as you get more and more into the hobby.

I need about $1200.

Anyway, today's song choice is by Mylo, a group or person I know next to nothing about. I read a review of this album (titled "Destroy Rock and Roll") and gave it a shot, and I enjoy it quite a bit. This song has an blatant bicycle connection, but I'll leave it up to you to discover.

I suppose this song reminds me a bit of Air. But the album doesn't have an Air-like vibe altogether; in fact, it's quite danceable and I listen to it alot at the gym.

This one goes out to Jon, because he too likes his bicycle.

* * * * *

I'd also like to point out that this is the tenth song I've covered. Right now I'm thinking I'll go to 100. We'll see what happens.

13 May 2005

bette midler had better write me a song

Apparently i've inspired others to do good deeds.

Nikki, as good a friend as someone could have over the internet, has started her own music blog.

Nikki's been on my livejournal friends list for almost as long as i've had the livejournal, but she has it set to friends only, so anyone looking at my journal hasn't been able to read what she has to say.

Sometimes I think that that's too bad, because she's the sort of person you might brag about... "i know this gal that..." The kind of person I'd never had any experience of even frame of reference with until recently. The kind of people that make you proud to know and talk about.

The kind of person who makes you want to leave comments in their livejournal.

Anyway... I'm adding a link to her music blog on the links side to the right.


five foot ten inch man

kyuss - one inch man

I find it slightly amusing (or more likely, disappointing) that my good friend Nate doesn't really have any form of online existence, only because a lot of what I'm writing here seems to have something to do with him. Although we went to separate colleges (or no college at all...), Nate was probably my closest friend throughout my college years. Because of this, I think we share a lot of the same opinions on everything from which sports to watch on television to how to behave around people we're not familiar with.

My college experience was probably atypical: an hour drive to skip class by sleeping in my car in the parking lot, followed by a 30 minute drive to work in St. Louis, and then a 45 minute drive home at the end of the evening (and I actually have a degree!). I have zero friends that I actually made at college, and my best memory of school is probably playing sega in my dorm by myself (I lived at school for exactly one semester, in which I determined that I was wasting my money living at school). But regardless of all that, I still managed to have my "college years", they were just spent at a friends' apartment in St. Louis.

I suppose one stalwart of the college experience is the road trip, and Nate and I made our first in 1995 (I think). That was the year the Rams moved to St. Louis from Los Angeles, and home game tickets were an impossible find. Luckily the Rams played the Colts that year, so we bought a couple tickets to a Colts game in Indianapolis. I don't remember very much from that trip, except that the Rams scored on their first possession, and that we listened to Kyuss' "One Inch Man" approximately 100 times on the way to Indy.

I pulled the CD out of storage last week. I hadn't listened to it in years. And it's not really the sort of song anyone should listen to 100 times in a row. But I know we listened to it at least 20. Despite the fact that Kyuss' singer was a major liability (and you could barely hear him), the song was in that moment the best piece of music on the planet.

Of course Kyuss eventually split up, and the guitar player went on to form Queens of the Stone Age (a current favorite). Nate and I stopped hanging out as much, and I don't know if he ever bought a QOTSA album. But we still hang out every time I'm home. And he still digs almost every piece of music I give him. So we haven't changed that much.

* * * * *

This really wasn't meant to be a bummer. Somehow everything I write seems to have this melancholy "remember the good old days" vibe. Yuck.

Sorry about that.

10 May 2005

this brain for sale

happy mondays - 24 hour party people

I'm the sort of person who easily falls in love with ideas. Whereas some people might fall in love with a genre of music, I'm more likely to find one or two songs from a genre, romanticise the idea of the people who enjoy that genre, and fill my head with the fantasy of the exciting lives those people are living.

You might find that pathetic, but because of my recent realization that half of what I do is funny as fuck, I find it charming. It's probably a bad thing to find your own idiocincracies charming. Or maybe it's a sign of being comfortable in your own skin.

Back to my original point: Because of the way I easily sell myself to an idea, the film 24 Hour Party People is one I enjoy greatly. The film is filled with music that may be entirely forgetable (depending on who you ask), yet I find the idea of it all highly entertaining and endearing.

I don't recommend the film for just anyone, because if you don't have a sort of rooting interest, it could be completely worthless to you. I didn't really have a rooting interest going in, but as I said earlier, I'm easily sold.

Anyway, this leads to my song choice. This song has a fantastic bass line, but the guitar part just sort of sits on top, almost getting in the way. The keyboard part (the sort of stupid random key stabs) seem to be there only because they had a keyboard in the studio. And the vocals are just the sort of thing I can picture coming out of the mouth of the local drunk (which probably isn't too far from the truth anyway).

Despite all that, I associate the song with the film, and that makes it even more enjoyable for me. I'd be interested to know if the song stands up by itself, and if anyone wants to comment on that, I'd appreciate it.

Enjoy. Or don't. Let me know how it goes.

i never left high school

murder city devils - get off the floor

When I was a teenager (and that felt weird to type), one of the many ways I found to establish my identity was to find a favorite song (usually something aggressive), roll down the windows in my car/truck, and play the song as loud as possible. Not so loud that the music would distort, of course, because I didn't want anyone to know that my stereo was stock. But loud enough that anyone within a 25 ft. distance of the vehicle could hear what I was playing.

When I moved on to college, the habit continued. I'm not sure what I was trying to prove. I realize blaring music out of my vehicle is probably the equivalent of screaming "look at me!!!". But nevertheless, I did it.

The thing is, I still do it. And I'm 29. I guess what I think I'm accomplishing is that someone will hear the music, turn their head, and give me a thumbs up. Or maybe an attractive girl, noticing my fantastic choice of music, will tear off her clothes in appreciation. That's not likely to happen. But still I hope...

Back around 1999, Gina and I went to see Pearl Jam at one of those cookie cutter outdoor ampitheaters in St. Louis. The opening act, the Murder City Devils, weren't well received by the crowd. But they did set their organ on fire, and act I found hilarious only because no one was really paying attention.

I suppose in a way it was their live equivalent of me blaring their song out my car window, which I've been known to do from time to time. It's really a fantastic song for doing so; completely angry and loud and aggresive, but not in a sort of jockrock way. I guess what I'm trying to accomplish with this song choice is to confuse my audience: Yuppie in a VW wearing Banana Republic clothes and a Lance Armstrong wristband blaring punk rock.

It's probably a better idea in my head then it ever was in practice.

09 May 2005

best plan ever

So you may have come here today looking for the Jim O'Rourke track that was meant to accompany the Books track I posted last week.

Instead, here's a story of epic failure:

As I began the process of changing over the tracks, I deleted the file from the Calexico entry, and began to upload the O'Rourke track. When the upload reached roughly the 30% mark, the upload quit and told me I had run out of space.

I then decided the best course of action was to remove the Books track as well, and then upload the O'Rourke track. I quickly hit the delete button and got rid of the Books track and restarted my O'Rourke upload.

At about 50%, the upload quit again. It was then that I remembered that the O'Rourke track ran approximately 10 minutes, and now I've got nothing to work with.

So, I'm going to have to rethink what I'm doing, which is slightly upsetting, because I had a story ready to tell and everything.

Give me a bit to get a hold of myself.

04 May 2005

i've got an idea

the books - be good to them always I had to remove the track because the Jim O'Rourke track is so large that it takes up all my available space

The next groups of songs are going to be songs that remind me of each other. First up is a track from The Books' Lost And Safe.

This track reminds me alot of a track by Jim O'Rourke which I'll be posting in the next couple of days. There's a story behind the O'Rourke song, but this Books song doesn't really have one, except that I like it.



When I started everything over again

calexico - not even stevie nicks

Note: I may have gone a little link crazy.

Around the time I finished high school, my dad got me a job at the warehouse that provided parts to his auto parts store. The job was to serve as a way for me to support myself through college, and I spent a good 4 or 5 years working there. As time went on, I got my friends jobs at the warehouse as well, until about half of the night shift were people I went to high school with.

Two of those people were Nate and my cousin Curt. Since we all lived in the same town, we would commute to St. Louis together. A feature of that commute was late night Mexican radio on KDHX, St. Louis' community radio station (something my new home of Indianapolis is really missing).

As Nate and I would joyously flail about to the latest sounds of what seemed to be the Mexican version of Bon Jovi, Curt would look on in disgust and voice his unhappiness with our musical choice. This only lead to the radio being turned up, and an increase in the ferocity of our dance moves. Eventually I'd turn on the wipers on my truck, scraping the windshield and rear window along with the beat, until everything around Curt was dancing. He'd react by calling us both idiots and making a sort of angry face. Good times.

It really makes me smile now, honestly. Maybe you have to know Curt to know how funny it is.

Eventually we moved on to different jobs. Curt went back to school and then ended up working for the border patrol in Arizona, Nate moved on to a career involving interpretive dance, and I took a job in Indianapolis.

After Nate got married, he and his wife paid us a visit in Indy. On this trip, he brought along an album that he said would remind me of dancing on the way back from St. Louis. It was Calexico's Feast Of Wire, and album that quickly became a personal favorite, but not because it reminded me of dancing in the truck, but because it reminded me of a romantic vision of a life out west. A 2004 trip to Colorado further fueled that vision, and a planned 2006 southwest vacation may push it even further.

In the meantime, Calexico gives me a little taste of what I see in my head.

I added some links on the right

The links go to a couple of other folks' music blogs, both probably written with more skill than I could ever hope to have.

The important things is that you follow this link, scroll down the page and grab that fall song.

02 May 2005

I'll make no excuses for liking this...

phoenix - if i ever feel better

* * * * *

Before I start, I just want to say thanks for the comments. I'd probably do this even if no one was listening, but the fact that there's someone paying attention makes it feel alot more rewarding.

* * * * *

About the time I decided to join a gym, I also decided it was vital that I find upbeat music to work out to. Instead of the standard gym fair of 20-something men either singing about a) why they lost the girl b)the dad never loved them or c)I AM STRONG! AND ANGRY!, I go a different route, one that involves dance music and possibly french people.

One such album I stumbled upon was Erlend Oye's DJ Kicks album, a mix I've enjoyed perhaps more than any other album in the past six months. But to be honest, I've never really listened to it past the 11th track (of 18, I think). I'm not sure why that is, except that perhaps I try to limit my gym visits to an hour.

In order to keep myself entertained during the monotony that is eliptical training, I like to view my training as a form of dance. I've never been a big fan of dancing or dance music in particular, but during my trip to Tokyo two or three years ago, I visited a dance club and actually spent some time on the floor.

While I'm not claiming to be able to dance, I will admit that in that instant I didn't really care. I had alot of fun, and it opened another musical doorway for me. Suddenly I understood the why of dance music.

I realize that some people think of pop music as trash, and I can see both sides of the argument, but what gets lost is that maybe it's supposed to be. If pop music is junk food for the masses, then so what? Everyone likes a Kit Kat from time to time. And if they don't, they're a boring killjoy anyway. I was a boring killjoy for a long time, but I'm working on it.

The track I've put up today is by a group called Phoenix, who shared a similar sort of sound to Jamiroquai, at least to my ears. But please don't let that put you off. Apparently this track was pretty popular amongst the DJ set, but because I'm playing catch-up I'll post it anyway. It's track four of Erlend Oye's DJ Kicks album, but this is the original version from Phoenix's year 2000 release, United.

And it's groovy.