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Thursday, December 28, 2006

More vacation crap.

I'm still on vacation, but that doesn't mean I don't have a lot of crap to do. First are these gear reviews for this magazine. Then I'll master an album for a friend in Indiana. After that, I'm gonna try to get in touch with gd about that STN article.

Say, I forgot to tell you something about the trip: We had the privilege of watching an orangutan repeatedly eating his own vomit! At one point, he decided that licking it up was not befitting behavior for a primate of his evolved stature. So he fashioned a spoon from a piece of paper he'd been drawing on with crayons. Making tools! How long before he steals an election and gets our military stuck in an illegitimate and unproductive war?


Preparing to confront the bad guys.


Advertising is for everyone!



Brooke on bridge.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Hold On Dear Brother

Carlpassionssotoughcover_2A few posts ago, I mentioned that I'd recorded a version of the Beach Boys' "Hold On Dear Brother," which was also included in the most recent Contrarian's Corner podcast. Well, I finally got around to mixing it.

The song was penned by then-Beach Boy Blondie Chaplin, who, in the early '70s, joined the group with his songwriting partner Ricky Fataar. The two were previously in rock 'n' soul act The Flames, but put that band on hold to merge with the fading surf legends. The tune has always been a favorite of mine, although it sounds nothing like the rest of the Beach Boys' music.

I tried to keep true to the original spirit of the song, which is decidedly C&W. All of the instruments were played by yours truly. The track includes my debut performance behind a drum set. I think I held my own.

The vocals are mixed too high. Whoops.

Do let me know what you think.

The Contrarian —"Hold On Dear Brother"

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

DC Talk.


There's something fishy going on in there, I just know it. 


Brooke, like many of her countrymen, says "whatevs." 


My crew rolls Exorcist-style.


Did I mention we roll?


Bust a move for inclusiveness!


Me and Brooke and the Great Emancipator. Represent.

Monday, December 18, 2006

New Podcast!


It's been some time in the making, but the new podcast is finally here.

You can call it a special edition, 'cause there's a holiday-inspired motif. Some may find it pretentious and interminable. Those people can go stuff a stocking.

The theme this time around is *spirituality* in music. That doesn't mean I've chosen a bunch of religious songs; far from it. The tunes in this batch were picked due to how they make me feel, which is markedly different from other material. Some challenge my assumptions of faith-based music. Others simply crack me up. A lot of it is pretty personal.

Brooke and I are going to DC tomorrow. I hate flying and am convinced of my fiery demise. If I don't make it, you can play this podcast at my funeral.

Oh, and Happy Holidays!

The Contrarian's Corner — Episode III: The Reckoning

PS: We saw GWAR on Saturday, but I'll probably write about it in the paper rather than here. My column needs some serious padding this week.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I hate muckraking.

Honestly, this could've happened to anyone. Particularly in Whitehall. I mean, I don't even have a license. So go easy on a brother.

Friday flavors.

No, I don't have *extra* tickets to GWAR. You'll just have to watch the Live From Antarctica DVD and make your own sticky fluids.

In even sadder news, Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun has died. He signed everyone, from Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles to Led Zeppelin. An aside: Recording geeks should check out Tom Dowd & the Language of Music, which gives an excellent look at those pioneering early days at Atlantic.

Let's cheer ourselves back up with this video of wee Argentinian kids playing classic metal. Watch the whole damn thing. Thanks, MGP.

In other news, Daniel Pinchbeck — the psychedelic ranger from a couple of posts ago — was on the Colbert Report last night. A previous guest was Peter Singer, the so-called "radical" ethicist and animal rights champion. Whatta week.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Random Precision.

A handful of things I've been too busy to mention:

#1: I was interviewed for the Music Edition of VPR's Switchboard, which aired on Tuesday. Murf from False 45th phoned in to school 'em on the new Yo La Tengo, who they subsequently referred to as "Yellow Tangles" no less than three times. They eventually realized their mistake, but it was pretty funny while it lasted. I do believe you can stream the archive from the VPR link.

#2: Speaking of False 45th, today's '06 celeb retrospective features Ben Maddox of Farm. Yesterday was Tanner & Ben from from Nest Material.

#3: Steve Coogan is really funny. Who among you watches Saxondale?

#4: GWAR is sold out, suckers.

#5 My refined year-end faves ran as a feature on Dusted today. The list is somewhat different than the one I originally posted here, as I took more time to ponder. In addition, the prose is modified to affirm my position as an all-important musical-linguistic analysis operative.

#5: I saw a commercial for Yoplait with two ladies dishing in a spa. This thing could send the feminist movement back by at least a decade. The ad is generally offensive, but when the *actresses* get *deep* it becomes unbearable. Here's an honest-to-goodness example of their exchange:

"Yoplait is like Zen wrapped in karma wrapped in chocolate."

Apparently, this product is akin to the state of stillness that reflects the thusness of all — manifest and unmanifest — combined with the all-penetrating law of binding causality that subtly affects all — manifest and unmanifest — mixed with a sweet foodstuff.

I came up with a bit of copy for their next campaign: "Yoplait is like the ten thousand things wrapped in Kalki's sword of obliteration with a vanilla creme demi-glaze." Feel free to post your own version in the comments field.

I thought I'd be the first to go wide with this one, but evidently other bloggers find it ridiculous, too.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Gift idea.

Bc_2012_4 Looking for something for that mystically-minded, Buddhist-centric, shamanic, night tripping, archetype-oriented, mythically-curious writerly psychopomp in your life? This book would make an interesting choice.

I haven't yet decided if Daniel Pinchbeck is a New World Man or just a drug-addled, dilettante cult leader. One thing's for certain: he's a very talented writer, which is rare in fringe culture. With prose like this, who cares if he believes himself to be the reincarnation of the Buddhist ruler Ashoka? Besides skeptics and historians, that is.

This is my favorite review from

WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!

1. TEOTWAWKI is coming in 2012 because the ancient Mayan Calender [sic] prophesied thusly.

2. Secret messages in UK crop circles, which only the author can understand with the aid of his Super Secret Decoder Ring, confirm the TEOTWAWKI date in the Mayan Calender.

3. If the above is not enough to convince the reader that the TEOTWAWKI arrives on Dec 21st, 2012, the author brings out his final piece of credibility-building information in the closing pages. There he informs us matter-of-factly that he is the reincarnation of ancient emperor Ashoka. I quote from page 372:

"To make matters worse, along with the potentially reality-shifting reception of the Quetzacoatl transmission, I had accessed a hypothetical past life as an Indian emperor, fulfilling all New Age cliches."

The author lost me with that final bit of nonsense. This may get him dates with airheaded New Age chicks, but it doesn't work with the rest of us. Until that page I was working hard to remain credulous enough to keep reading page after page of silly New Age claims, all completely unverifiable.

If you know the author's background, you know his "hobby." My suspicion is that it has killed one too many brain cells.

As another reviewer said, Pinchbeck has "inherited Shirley Maclaine's crown as the new Queen of the New Age Movement."

If you're a New Age stoner, you might like this book. If you aren't, then avoid this pointless nonsense at all costs.

Good thing I already picked myself up a copy. Next stop, Scientology?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

What Goes On.

I'm super screwed right now due to holiday double-production at the paper. That means I'll not be posting as frequently or lengthily as usual.

I promised to talk about the Avey Tare/Kria Brekken show at Firehouse, but my local blog peers have already covered it with depth and insight.

Here's my quick two cents:

Greg Davis was terrific. It was one of the best sets I've heard him play in a while.

AT& KB were pretty fun. I'd been an early adopter of both mum and Animal Collective, but I may have burned myself out on both of them. Me, AC, EC and DPT in summertime VT. That was a few years ago, and I still have deep-psych scarring.

I'll sum up the lovebirds' performance in two words, for your amazement: Crayola Pastoral. Don't bother, it's already copyrighted.

Is it me, or does Avey's guitar style bear similarities to Chuckles Manson?

Do Icelandic ladies favor a diet of helium? (The gas, not the band).

Anyway, I wasn't as taken as other folks, but it was still a neat treat.

Read what SpittingOutTeeth and Highgate have to say.

Also, False 45th gets Neil Cleary to cough up his faves. He name-drops my podcast — sweet!

PS: Look for the next epsisode soon, I swear.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

More random dumpage.

I've got nothing of my own to contribute, so I'll just post on the backs of others.

MGP likes KISS. He and I share an affinity for many things — solitude and Heavy Metal Parking Lot are but two. But on this issue, we will forever be divided.

Filmmaker and Candleblog king Bill Simmon releases the trailer to his forthcoming documentary on Vermont rock legends The Pants.

Check out some "unauthorized Burlington music videos" at SpittingOutTeeth.

False 45th continues their year-end retrospective.

Are you a guitarist and a dirty old man? Here's something for your holiday wish list. (Courtesy Music Thing).

A recent comment got me thinking about limericks. While not as personally fulfilling as haiku, they can be pretty fun. Seven Days food writer Suzanne Podhaizer thinks so, anyway. Here's proof:

"Are you clever about cuisine? Enjoy writing lyrics about the larder? Then you should contribute to our first-ever Culinary Limerick Contest! Email your creations to [email protected]. The cream of the crop will be printed on December 27th. Entries must be received by December 15."

The prize is breakfast for two at Penny Cluse.  Wonder if they'll let you cut the line?

UPDATE: Here's an extraordinarily well-written review from Pitchfork. I don't care what you people think — I want Santa to bring me that Doors boxed set.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Of very minor relevance.

Listening to Dio's Last in Line. Fuck yeah!

Someone got stabbed at the Redman/Raekwon show at Higher Ground. Does hip-hop incite violence? Please advise.

My friend New York Nick read the 120 Days thread, and sent me this link about web communication theory.

False 45th begins its celebrity look at 2006.

Back to work.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Weekend linkdump/Podcast update.

This weekend is full of adventure. Well, actually, just more writing and recording. And secret eating. But here's a tiny spread of that wide ol' web for your amusement:

Dual Onion A.V. Club action: an e-mail interview with *hipster* funnyman Demetri Martin, and, rarer than a sasquatch sighting, a chat with Maynard James Keenan. You no doubt already read them both. Savvy.

The New Yorker's Sasha Frere-Jones is the Galahad of music criticism. Here are his thoughts on Joanna Newsom's new album.

Speaking of crit snits — say hello to your new music poll daddy. As expected, The Village Voice is not pleased.

Should I go to Seattle (that's where grunge lives) to give a presentation? I could offer my quasi-informed, borderline obnoxious opinions about music. Kind of like this blog, but with complimentary pretzels.

Deep Soda have some rough mixes of tunes from their forthcoming album. Set your Rock Phasers to "spazz."

Tanner unveils a new podcast over at Highgate.

In other podcast news, we've decided to host "The Contrarian's Corner" right here on Solidstate. No more extra mouse clicks or dead links — just me, a bottle of vino and a Journey to the Center of the Mind. You can find the first two episodes under "Podcasts" in the categories field to your right. A new edition will arrive very soon.

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