My Uncle Bob won this “major award” (as we are calling it in the fam). Here is what he emailed out by way of an announcement of his achievement:
“Since 1979 I have competed in a competion called the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. You may be familiar with the sport of car rallies, whereby you go out and drive around following explicit directions and try to stay on course and avoid all the pitfalls that have been planted in the instructions. Well, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre is pretty much the same thing, but rather than drive around in a car you can do it at your kitchen table. The whole thing takes place in a Rand McNally road atlas, using a detailed set of instructions.
Interspersed throughout the instructions are 80 questions to test whether or not you followed the instructions correctly. Every question is a trick question, and there are all sorts of devious tricks implanted to throw you off guard, although even if you mess up the instructions eventually get everyone back on the same path. They also have a smaller, simpler rally (only 40 questions) in the summer called the Independence Day Fireworks, coming up soon. If you like maps, as I do, you should check it out.”
He tied for 7th place nationwide. It is so nerdy that it is almost cool. Almost. I come from a long line of nerds, I think I am doomed. Good job, Uncle Bob!
“Point Me In The Direction of Albuquerque“
The Partridge Family
In honor of Uncle Bob, here is one of my favorite kitsch Partridge Family songs. Do not say that I didn’t warn you because I stated several weeks ago that I liked the Partridge Family and I am standing behind that statement. How can you not be touched by such a song of caring, altruism, and slightly creepy picking-up-of-homeless-underage-girls-at-bus-stops?
Okay, now on to the real music . . .
“Marker In The Sand“
I received my copy of the new Pearl Jam album this weekend, three days in advance by mail! It was like Christmas coming early when no one is even looking for Santa Claus. It was fabulous. I know that I have to listen to the album many more times before I can feel comfortable writing up a review, but my initial impression is quite favorable.
And THIS SONG, well, this song just blows me away as probably the standout on the album for me thus far. I am posting it here only until tomorrow when you can and should go out and buy the album yourself. It starts out with hard, almost frenetic guitar licks, flitting across the surface of the song. Then at the chorus it lapses into something slower and beautiful, one of the best melodies that Pearl Jam has ever recorded, one that makes me soar inside. Finally, with about 50 seconds left in the song, the frenetic and the lovely intertwine and complete the song, leaving me with a big ole smile on my face.
This also unintentionally fits in with the mini-theme of uncles reading maps at the kitchen table, and is the b-side from the “Break The Night The Colour” UK single. Lovely little acoustic guitar & tambourine piece that showcases Ashcroft’s unique soaring voice.
“Blame It On The Tetons“
Nathaniel was all of a dither about this song, the b-side of Josh Ritter‘s Thin Blue Flame single, and I can see why – nice, nice, nice. Ever since some kind chap emailed me “Thin Blue Flame” out of the blue back in December, I have been impressed with Josh Ritter, who was a new artist for me. Excellent songwriter and lyricist in his own right, and I like what he does with this song (originally by Modest Mouse) as well. It’s a pretty faithful interpretation, but perhaps a bit more folksy.
Mates of State
This piece of slightly-off kilter pop goodness comes courtesy of our cutesy friends from Mates of State, out of San Francisco. This would be good for a Springtime mix, I think, for days when you don’t want to take yourself too seriously. Plus, I just realized that the opening is completely reminiscent of an ’80s sitcom theme song, but I can’t put my finger on which one. Their new album Bring It Back, while sporting a cover which I find somehow repellent, is getting quite good reviews.
Okay, I am off to read an atlas or something, and make the fam proud.