May 11, 2008

Mr. T says treat your mother right

And you do not disobey Mr. T, especially when he rocks the cutoffs like this:

Treat Your Mother Right – Mr. T

Thanks to Chad for unearthing this gem of awesomeness.

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January 26, 2008

Listen up everybody if you wanna take a chance

. . . Just get on the floor and do the New Kids dance. If you are a female born between 1977 and 1982-ish, you may have found yourself at one time picking your favorite New Kid to moon over (because they are sooooooo cute!), watching the Hangin’ Tough live concert video at a slumber party, or asking for an NKOTB t-shirt for Christmas. Yes, I did all three of these things.

You will also probably agree with me that there is absolutely no need for a reunion, as is being rumored in the media today. Why? WHY?! The only result that can come from this is that someday soon I will find myself driving along and, without thinking, bust out singing “I get up in the mornin’ and I see your face, girl.” And then I will want to drive my car into a wall.

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February 12, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

My pal Jeff Weiss (who runs the finely-wrought and utterly hilarious Passion Of The Weiss blog) also moonlights with the good folks at Stylus Magazine, and you should read his latest opus for them:
Back To The Future vs. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
. It’s just as awesome as it sounds.

Weiss pits two of the most excellent ’80s films against each other on several battles: Better Protagonist, Better Villain, Better Historical Time-Travel Interaction, Better Time-Traveling Helper, Better Time-Traveling Vehicle, Better Token Females, Better Musicians, and Better Sequel(s). Finally a serious discussion of these important qualifiers. The overall winner is my pick as well — although it is indeed a tough choice. Thanks to Weiss for navigating these rocky waters for us and helping us make an informed choice.

Here’s what else I am enjoying this week:

Hardcore Days and Softcore Nights
I completely missed this one when it came around on the 2005 album I Sold Gold (maybe because I don’t watch The O.C.) but when I heard it last week it hooked me instantaneously with its insane, thumping beats and I’ve listened to it since then on repeat. A lot. You will love it — and although the title sounds like it should be the definitive soundtrack to a porn flick, the lyrics are actually tame and a bit cryptic. Aqueduct is the nom-de-mike of David Terry, and he has a new album Or Give Me Death out on Barsuk February 20th. Stream some new tunes here.

Spencer Dickinson
This is a side project featuring Jon Spencer (o, he of the Blues Explosion) and some of the North Mississippi Allstars (Luther & Cody Dickinson). Recorded in 2000, released in Japan only in 2001, this finally made it to the rest of us last summer as the album The Man Who Lived For Love, on the Yep Roc label. One reviewer said this track sounds like “James Brown on a psychedelic bender,” and there’s enough dirty bluesy funk, electric guitars, Memphis horns, and rowling harmonica on this disc to make anyone do a little backporch jig.

Into The Mystic (live)
Van Morrison
This live cut is from the upcoming compilation Van Morrison At the Movies (out tomorrow), which features Van songs used on film soundtracks — and there are a lot. This one is cited as being in Patch Adams, not that anyone would remember the inclusion of most of these songs into the movies referenced (with the exception of the flawless use of “Comfortably Numb” in The Departed). This is a great collection with unreleased versions of Van songs, and a fine place to start if you haven’t previously added anything from the Irish Soulmaster into your collection. There’s something fine in the world when Van Morrison is playing on the radio.

Untitled Demo
Rosewood Thieves
Here’s a sweet little raw bit of material from burgeoning buzz-band The Rosewood Thieves. It’s not at all like the rollicking blues that I’ve previously loved from them, but instead this understated tune is bittersweet and melodic — all acoustic plucking and harmonica. The guys are working on demos right now for their first full-length LP. Unfortunately because of V2 going belly up, they no longer have a label. Once they finish the demos and find a label they’ll be recording at Levon Helm’s studio in Woodstock. Can’t wait to hear the finished product – I think these guys are bursting with talent. [thx for the pic and mp3]

Gimme Shelter (Streetlab remix)
Rolling Stones
Stereogum pointed me in the direction of these Streetlab fellas from Brooklyn, who eloquently remix class songs like this without turning it into something too clubby or dancey. It’s as if your radio that you are listening to ‘Gimme Shelter’ on gets caught up in a tornado, and the music ebbs towards you and then flows back — in and out. Through all of this Mick’s voice comes weaving in. Fantastic. Several other free downloads of their wares are available on the Streetlab MySpace, including a remix of the Smashing Pumpkins song ‘Starla’ that must be experienced.

P.S. – The sun finally came out here this weekend! I went running outside and was going to die (either of sun-soaked happiness or muscular exhaustion, I couldn’t decide which).

August 24, 2006

Odds & ends

Some random interesting things I’ve seen in recent days (to sate you while I put the finishing touches on my most favorite post maybe ever, coming shortly):

Ûž This looks interesting — “Revenge Of The Book Eaters: Shows That Ask The Eternal Question: Words or Music — Which Is Better?
In Chicago tonight with Ben Gibbard & Dave Eggers (and more), Los Angeles on Saturday with Jenny Lewis, Aimee Mann, Dave Eggers, The Mountain Goats and more, and San Francisco on Monday with Zach Rogue (of Rogue Wave), Aimee Mann, Jonathan Richman, Mark Kozelek, Dave Eggers (and more). Finally it hits Seattle on Sept 1, with some of the above folks plus Smoosh and Colin Meloy. (Audio from the recent NY event here, featuring Sufjan and David Byrne duetting).

The Bookeaters events kind of tie in with the recent podcast I contributed to, exploring the relationship of books and music, eh? In any case, sounds like something I would totally love to attend. How ’bout a Denver date? We read a lot here.

Ûž Recommended reading from The Rawking Refuses To StopReinventing The Wheel: Indie Labels In The Digital Age. Thought-provoking reflection on the nature of blog downloads, album sales, hypothetical profit vs. the benefits of publicity for an independent band in the blogging world.

Ûž This one’s for all you ’80s fans out there: A John Hughes Soundtrack Retrospective put together by Derek over at the PureBoredom blog. It includes all those songs you either love or despise from National Lampoon’s Vacation, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Pretty In Pink and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. And in the immortal words of Ferris: “A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, ‘I don’t believe in The Beatles, I just believe in me.’ Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus but it still wouldn’t change the fact that I don’t own a car!” Ahh, the wisdom of the ’80s movies. They could write a book.

Ûž So you think you know songwriting? How do you feel about folks like Tom Waits, Brian Wilson, Isaac Brock and Robert Smith judging your tunes? This year’s International Songwriting Competition is open now through October 16. Have at it.

Ûž Here’s one to file under “Huh. I didn’t know that but now I can squirrel that away in my vast musical memory”: Jesse Malin writes in his latest update on MySpace about the progress of his new album: “. . . Had Kim from The Muffs sing a haunting melody on a track, repaying the background wo-oh’s me and Danny Sage did 10 years ago on the Muffs cover of “Kids In America” on the ‘Clueless’ soundtrack.”

Listen for yourself:
Kids In America – The Muffs (with Jesse Malin & Danny Sage on BGVs)

Ûž Finally, dude sues for the right to bring his dog (Cheekies. Yes, Cheekies.) to the nude beach with him. Because of a debilitating skin condition and post-traumatic stress disorder, the dog is apparently his only true companion. I think if I saw him and his skin condition with Mr. Cheekies at the nude beach, I might develop some sort of disorder myself. I just shivered.

July 17, 2006

What does your favorite New Kid say about you? (aka the post in which I destroy all musical credibility, but have fun)

Last weekend was a girls’ weekend (out of town for that wedding) where I got to lounge around cheap motel swimming pools with friends hearkening back to elementary school. While we laid in the sun, avoided Mr. Skeevy McPervert (who thought that the fact he was there with his kids and his back hair was some kind of turn-on), and consumed the fruits of the included continental breakfast, we discussed VERY IMPORTANT THINGS. Things like, “Who was your favorite New Kid On The Block, and why?”

The discussion started as we were talking about Saira, the beautiful bride, and how we remembered gathering in her living room for a 5th grade slumber party for The Beatles Moment of Our Generation: Getting overly excited (and perhaps squealing a bit) at the NKOTB Concert video. It was a moment of pre-teen loveliness & excitement heretofore known only to us through Judy Blume novels that our moms probably didn’t want us reading.

The manufactured personas of each of the five members of the New Kids spoke to different fans. Did you want the sweet-faced and non-threatening cutie? Joey was the guy for you to plaster in your locker. A bit of rough-and-tumble Boston mystery? Donnie could adorn your textbook cover. I laughed as the 4 of us discovered that we each liked a different guy the best. It made me wonder: What does that say about us?

(Interspersed commentary & pics from my fabulous book of NKOTB textbook covers that, of course, I still have. In re-reading this as an adult, I think this is some of the worst writing I have ever read, and had I not been only 10 at the time, I would have berated myself for liking it.)

Carol liked Jon. She says that she felt sorry for him because no one else liked him.

“The oldest NEW KID ON THE BLOCK is Jonathan Knight. A very responsible guy, Jon helps keep all the other KIDS on track. He loves all kinds of music except heavy metal. He also loves to sing and dance. Jon is a “hands-on” kind of person and likes doing things such as fixing up his room, or mowing the lawn when he has time. Jon is known as the shyest NEW KID, except when it comes to girls!”

Amanda liked Joey. “He was close to our age, and he seemed so sweet and safe. I mean, Monkey Boy — what was his name? (“Danny,” we all answer) — Yeah, Danny had CHEST HAIR!”

Joseph Mulrey McIntyre, the youngest in a family of nine children, is also the youngest NEW KID ON THE BLOCK. He joined the NEW KIDS at the age of 12. He came from a different area of Boston than the other four NEW KIDS. It took patience and determination for Joe to be accepted by the other KIDS, but in time he was able to win their hearts. Joe, a Capricorn, has an extremely positive attitude and is into enjoying things and having fun.”

Nicole liked Donnie. She liked him because he had a goatee. She says, “I liked guys with goatees at that age.” (Ten? Eleven?)

Donnie Wahlberg was born August 17, 1969, in Dorchester, Massachusetts. He is one of nine children. Donnie’s family was a hardworking, close-knit group. Donnie admits to having a bit of a wild streak in his midteen years. Luckily, his music, breakdancing, and a growing interest in drama helped keep him in line. Now the wild and wacky side of Donnie adds to the fun on stage!”

And I liked Jordan. I had the t-shirt (but I don’t love you all enough the scan THAT picture. Come on, I was ten, my mom cut my hair in a modified lady mullet, and the only picture I have is one of us ripping out a wall of my bedroom during a summer remodel project, so I am all cheery and red-faced with too-big front teeth. So no personal illustration). I still hold that Jordan was the cutest of them all, he just had that edge and the cocky confidence.

“Born May 17, 1971, Jordan Nathaniel Marcel Knight was the baby of the Knight family. Jordan and NEW KID brother, Jonathan, were raised almost like twins. Jordan has a distinctively high-pitched falsetto voice and, in the beginning, sang most of the NEW KIDS leads. As a NEW KID, Jordan plays and practices keyboards in his spare time. He is also into composing new tunes and writing new lyrics, which has led him to become the most musically creative member of the NEW KIDS.”

The psychoanalysis is up to you.

PS – Egads, from a Jeff Buckley post to NKOTB. How far I’ve fallen.

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February 2, 2006

Hookin’ up words and phrases and clauses

I am so ridiculously excited about this post. If you are roughly in my age bracket, or if you are younger and have *exceptionally* cool tastes, then you know what I am talkin’ about when I say, “I’m just a bill. Yes, I’m only a bill. And I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill….”

Schoolhouse Rock! was instrumental in my academic formation, and contributed extensively to my mad verbal skills today. As their website says so eloquently; “Every Saturday morning between 1973 and 1985, a classroom of imagination defying enormity was assembled on ABC, run by a small cadre of renegade Madison Avenue ad men. Class sessions were short but intense – squeezed between episodes of Scooby Doo and LaffOlympics, and Underoos met the dress code. No one assigned homework, no one slapped your knuckles with a yardstick, no one beat you up for your milk money. The institution of learning was called Schoolhouse Rock, and if you can recite the Preamble of the Constitution by rote and know the function of a conjunction, you probably attended faithfully.”

Don’t you feel smarter just remembering all this stuff? Three times six is … eighteen! School House Rock was great at breaking down complex issues into easily understood (and damn catchy) rhymes. In 1996 a bunch of their songs were re-done by good people so now you can rock a little as you learn (from the CD Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks). Please enjoy these as much as I do. And all good English majors should remember:
“I get my thing in action (Verb!)
To be, to sing, to feel, to live (Verb!)”


Conjunction Junction – Better Than Ezra

Three Is A Magic Number – Blind Melon

I’m Just A Bill – Deluxx Folk Implosion

No More Kings – Pavement

My Hero, Zero – The Lemonheads

The Energy Blues – Biz Markie

Verb: That’s What Happening – Moby

Also, today is my sister’s birthday – my childhood companion on the couch in our jammies, watching and learning all this stuff, filing away all the tunes into our encyclopedic musical memories. Happy birthday, big sis! Love you!

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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