Monday, July 30, 2012

Found a New Religion Based On You

I'm on a deadline... please talk amongst yourselves.

PS: Is it just me or do these guys sound a lot like the Ataris?

Friday, July 27, 2012


And then there's this:

In the spirit of The Beatles' Love, someone remixed and recombined a bunch of Rutles songs... and...

I'll let him tell you:

During a layover between flights in 2000, Stig befriended the founder of renowned square dancing troupe Circle of Hay. Over beers in the Concourse bar, they discussed the idea of doing a new show using Rutles music but lost touch after Stig's retirement. With the blessings of Dirk and Barry, who were easily reached, work began on recombining classic Rutle tracks in ways that could support a show and give this semi-legendary band another lunchtime.

They made the Sixties what they are today, and we hope we have helped make them that again.

The Circle of Hay/Rutles collaborative production of LUNCH ran for 3 shows at Tulsa's Central Community Center, February 29-31 2010.

I'm sure there was a good reason I missed this important show. But I can't recall what it was; better check my calendar!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dig, Deep

Can't Start A Fire Without A Spark

Elena read her story in class.

It was about something I can't remember. Some barely disguised version of herself going on and on about some trivial event from her childhood.

It didn't ring true. No one wanted to tell her. Because we all liked her.

But this piece was horrible. It didn't mean anything. It felt like a huge monument to nothing.

But no one wanted to tell her.

When we went around the room, no one spoke.

So the professor had to sum up what we were all thinking.

"I know it has a lot of meaning to you," he said gently. "Because you bring all your experiences, all your feelings, all your past, into it. But the rest of us... we're outside. And from the outside, it doesn't seem important."

She bit her lip. "But this is what happened," Elena objected.

"Dig. Deeper," he said.

She turned away. "You could be on the verge of something. Something important. But you have to make us see it. Make us feel it."

Her eyes teared up. She seemed opened her mouth to speak. But nothing came out.

So she ran out of the room. And dropped the class.

Years later, I ran into her. Randomly. In a coffee shop.

And we had a nice talk.

Eventually circling back to that day in that class.

And all she could remember were the details of her story. Which still meant nothing to me.

And all I could think about was her biting her lip. And starting to cry. And running out.

One event.

Two frameworks.

Each one sticking with a different person. For different reasons.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Two Sides of the Same Coin

Twin Songs of Different Mothers?

Is it just me...

Or is this song by Kaiser Chiefs...

...just another way of expressing the sentiments of this song by Dogs Die in Hot Cars?

Happy Monday everyone...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Falling Off the Sky

From New York, North Carolina, and all over the world

There's a new dB's album out called Falling Off the Sky.

It's their first album in 25 years, their first with the original lineup in 30 years.

They've been recording it (slowly) since 2005.

And when I heard about it, I hoped.

But I didn't let myself hope too much. I didn't want to be disappointed.

After all, how many reunion albums by once-vibrant bands arrive with a noisy clunk. You listen once or twice, then wish they'd never gotten back together.

That's what I was afraid of.

The new dBs album has no reason to be good.

No reason to be as good as their classic records from long, long ago.



It is.

They sound just as good as they ever did. But somehow also have the wisdom of their experiences over the past 30 years.

So, courtesy of Bar/None and the dBs, enjoy these tasty tracks from Chris Stamey, Peter Holsapple, Will Rigby, and Gene Holder (with some help from producer/guitarist Mitch Easter):

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

All The Way Through History

Man Machine No Mystery

I wish I'd made this up:

Tween #1: I like that band XTC. My dad listens to them.

Tween #2: When were they popular? The 90s? The 80s?

Tween #1: I dunno. Sometime before we were born.

Tween #2: Yeah. They had that big green record with the horse, right?

Tween #1:I think so. Hey wasn't that the first album that used an electric guitar?

Tween #2: Must have been.

I fear for the future.

Monday, July 16, 2012

She Came Out of the Past

I've got special powers that render me invisible to everyone but you

Tara rolled down the mountain.

In an old car. With bad brakes.

She rolled down like the fog rolling in. Like an old memory that jabs your brain in the middle of the night, waking you from a sound sleep.

She came into town with a vengeance. With memory banks armed to the teeth.

She had information. Some of it true, most of it not.

Years earlier, she'd been one way. Then she'd changed.

I could spend hours speculating about what happened. Hours explaining it.

But that's all it would be -- speculation.

Which rolls under doors like the fog. Or the old car with bad brakes gunning down the mountain pass.

What exactly was this? Dread? Anger? Guilt? The thawing of long-frozen engines?

"Tara's coming back," I told a friend.

"I hope not," he answered.

I told a few other friends. They all had the same answer.

"Isn't she the one who tore your still-beating heart from your chest, ran it up a flagpole, and shot missiles through it?"

Yes. Not literally, of course. But if she'd had the power.

"What makes you think anything's different?" a friend asked me.

I don't know. I don't know how to answer that.

"What makes you think anything's the same?" someone else said.

I don't know that either.

All I know is the feeling. Hard to put into words. Hard to distinguish from memory. Or anger. Or fantasy.

Tara's coming.

So it shouldn't have been a surprise when her text appeared: "I am storming the Bastille of your heart."

Days late. Or maybe years.

I wasn't sure when. I wasn't sure where. I was definitely not sure why.

But one thing was certain: Tara was coming back.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Jettin' Out to Rio

And some other sunny spots

I was listening to the rerelease of Nick Lowe's first record Jesus of Cool (retitled Pure Pop For Now People for the U.S. with a few track changes). It's a great two-disk set... although for some reason I couldn't find the second disk.

If I left it in a rental car in Alaska and you find it, please send it back to me.

This song mentions three of the major record labels from 1978.

Of the three:
  • CBS (Columbia Records in the U.S.) was sold to Sony in 1988
  • Arista was sold to a German company (which also bought RCA) that rechristened itself BMG. Arista operated as a label until it was eliminated in 2011 in a corporate reorganization, which Detroit staffers refer to as "going to the big Pontiac in the sky"
  • Only Atlantic still exists -- and that's probably because it already sold out to Warner Bros. in the late 1960s.
Funny how the world changes...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Just What the Truth Is I Can't Say Anymore

I rolled my eyes. I didn't want to hear it again.

Because I grew up listening to FM radio. And if I haven't heard it a million times, it's probably in the tens of thousands.

And it's overblown. And overwrought. And has that line I've never been able to figure out. (I look it up every few years, then instantly forget it.)

"There's a reason these things are classics," she said to me.

And I sneered. (Inasmuch as I can sneer.) "Yeah," I said. "Because people years ago had no taste."

"Just listen," she said. And she lowered the needle onto the vinyl.

And I closed my eyes. And I forgot all the tens of thousands of times I'd heard it.

Forgot the early girlfriend who loved the song. And the later one who hated it.

I let go of all the associations.

And just listened.

"I know," she said when it was over. "I know."

And while I certainly don't need to hear it a million more times, I get it now. Again.

I understand why it's a classic.

Flaws and all.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Day in the Life Surprise Ending

Yeah, might have seemed a bit too hippie-ish.

Still... this ending is appropriately cool.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Everybody Wants An Egg

How did it last this long?

"These days," she said.

And I waited.

"These days what," I wondered. But I waited patiently.

"These days it's hard to see," she said.

And she sighed.

And gestured at a pile of newspapers. Or maybe the TV.

I nodded cautiously. These days it's hard to tell how to deal with her.

She sat slowly. Sinking her long legs into the couch.


Taking a sip of herbal tea.

"These days," she said. Again.

And I waited. Because often she'd say something insightful.

But not that day.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hey Babe, It's a Summer Rerun

Happy Independence Day

[Originally published July 4, 2009]

For a few minutes in the 1980s, guitarist Billy Zoom left the band X and was replaced by Dave Alvin of the roots-rock band the Blasters. Alvin had previously played with X's D.J. Bonebrake, John Doe, and Exene Cervenka in the acoustic-country collective the Knitters.

Alvin wouldn't last long in X, but he did bring in an amazing song he wrote -- a sad and poignant look at the City of Angels that's worth revisiting more than once a year.

And another version (sung here by Alvin himself) for your holiday listening pleasure:

Ironically, by the time X got around to releasing the song, Alvin was already gone (replaced by guitarist Tony Gilkyson) and X itself would soon be gone (although they'd resurface and vanish again several times in the 1990s).

For years, one of my favorite radio stations would play this song every July 4th at noon. They played it from vinyl and the record was filled with clicks and pops that perfectly amplified the song's story of disappointments and the sad shimmer of hope. A few years ago, that radio station upgraded all their equipment and their library. When they played the song at noon on the 4th of July, the sound from a shiny, newly remastered CD free from surface noises.

It just wasn't the same.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Louder Than a Big Bass Drum

Salivate Like a Pavlov Dog

"Don't tell me," she said.

But I did. I couldn't help myself.

It didn't help. I should've known it wouldn't. But I had to. It was a compulsion.

Looking back, I know the problem wasn't hers. It was mine.

Briefly, she attracted men like flames attract moths.

Until they circle, drawn in by the light and heat that blinds them.

Until it kills them.

And I had to tell her this.

I don't know why.

I can't imagine what effect I imagined it would have for me to speak these words. To tell her this truth.

She denied it, of course.

I can't think of anything else she might have done.

And I stood back. Watching. The moths circling.

The words lingering, sizzling around the flame.

Too late to take back.