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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Ultimate Argument Settler™

Back in the late '90s, a below-the-radar comedy duo called Scharpling & Wurster unleashed "Rock, Rot & Rule" on an unsuspecting public. The "skit" was originally broadcast on New Jersey's WFMU. It's been years since I've listened this little gem, but it's still awesome.

The segment features one Ronald Thomas Clontle — supposed author of Rock, Rot & Rule: The Ultimate Argument Settler™ — chatting about his new book with host Tom Scharpling. Slow-burn hilarity ensues in the kind of meta-prank that would make Andy Kauffman proud.

According to Clontle, Chilliwack rule, while The Beatles merely rock. Neil Young rots. Suffice it to say, his statements generate more than a few phone calls from incredulous music fans. "Time will vindicate me" is Clontle's answer to his critics.

This a big file, but definitely worth a download:

Sharpling & Wurster — "Rock, Rot & Rule"

If you like it, please buy a CD or something.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Things to enjoy.

I'm married. Our ceremony on Saturday was small and perfect. There's a distinct possibility I'm still hungover, though.

We have a cat named Nadja. There's also a group on the Montreal-based Alien 8 record label with the same moniker. Both the cat and the band are awesome. But I can only post an MP3 of the latter. For fans of Godflesh and noisy doom:

Nadja —Incubation/Metamorphosis Buy

Before and after the hitch-fest we played Back to Black, the latest record from Brit-soul badgirl Amy Winehouse. Ms. Winehouse is fond of drinking, sloppy affairs, punching journalists and heckling Bono whilst he makes speeches about poverty and AIDS. So, you know it's wonderful wedding music. You're unlikely to hear another major label offering this good all year. 'Cause it sure as shit aint the new Modest Mouse, Johnny Marr or no.

Anyway, here's my favorite Amy Winehouse cut:

Amy Winehouse — Me & Mr. Jones

I'd post something from the new Wilco, but I'm afraid Jeff Tweedy would punch me. I'll tell you this much: it features quite a few guitar solos by Mr. Nels Cline. And there's nothing wrong with that.

You know how I have that love/hate (mostly hate) thing going on with the Flaming Lips and Aaron Sorkin? Welcome to my personal hell. Thanks to Lisa Crean for bringing the whole horrorshow to my attention.

What's the difference between frat boys and indie dudes? Not much, according to this Seattle Weekly report.

I'm gonna be on the radio every Tuesday morning on The Point FM. DJ Charlie and myself will chat about music and this-and-that. We taped the first episode today. That's right, it's pre-recorded — I'm not what you'd call an early riser. If you are, check out our maiden voyage at 8 a.m. tomorrow.

Over and out.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Beantown blues.

Gotta head into the office in a minute or two. It's gonna be a fairly busy Monday. But I gotta get something off my chest.

I've always kinda despised the band Boston. My reasons are both simple and complex, as is the case with a lot of music that rubs me the wrong way. There's definitely a love/hate aspect in this instance. I remember being 16 years old and almost buying [Boston guitarist] Tom Scholz' Rockman Distortion Generator (he actually designed it himself, which I still respect) because I thought he had cool tone. It must've been the weed.

On the other hand, Boston represented everything wrong about '70s "corporate rock" that the punk movement rightfully sought to destroy. I don't put the blame entirely on the band -- it was more a case of tighter formatting for FM radio, and the realization that super-slick, three-minute rock cuts moved more units. Either by accident or design, Boston's arrival coincided with the end of the era of free-form, WKRP-style broadcasting.

It's tough for me to turn against a fellow studio geek like Scholz; part of me has great admiration for a guy willing to spend eight years on an album because he was disappointed with the sound of the last one. Especially considering said LP went double-platinum. But if I have to hear "More Than a Feeling" one more time, I'm gonna take a radio station hostage like in that movie.

So why did I choose today to bitch about Boston? Because lead singer Brad Delp died last week. Frankly, my chief concern upon learning the news was that I'd have to hear them on the radio every time I got in the car. Which is the only time I listen.

But there's more to the story. Delp, 55, was by all accounts a really sweet guy. He just wasn't cut out for the business. And that's likely why he took his own life via carbon monoxide poisoning in a bathroom in his New Hampshire home.

Read about it here and here.

On a brighter note, I started recording a metal-ish tune this weekend, and I'm getting married on Saturday. I guess it's a Lion King cycle-of-life thing.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Contrarian.

I've had a few drinks. Here it is:

The Contrarian — "Robin's Egg"

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Neil Cleary rules.

Not only does he have the mad grammar skills to call me out on this here blog for my (extremely rare) vocab gaffes, he's also one of the most all-around talented musician/songwriters out there.

This morning, I finally listened to Neil's new effort, I Was Thinking About You the Whole Time, all the way through. What a saucy little record! It's something of a "concept piece," from the perspective of a partially repentant Lothario who drags around a sack o' broken lady hearts. It could be the most narcissistic thing I've ever heard outside of hip-hop. But it totally works.

And hey, you gotta write what you know. Kidding. I hope.

Here's a cut from the disc, which is currently being "shopped around," as we say in the biz:

Neil Cleary — "The Go-Ahead Girl"

What a fine opening track. Neil, feel free to sue me for posting this MP3.

Speaking of new music from self-absorbed neurotics, I have a tune that I've been dicking around on lately. I'll put it up later tonight.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Bandmates wanted?

I've spent most of the day here at 7D moving the office around; we recently took over some adjacent real estate. There's been lots of huffing an puffing and general chaos. With all the commotion, it's tough to get any real work done.  But the upside is that us writer-types now have an awesome new workspace. 

But enough of that.

Check out this hilarious Craigslist ad, courtesy our pal Delancey Leathers.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A song-a-day? No way... OK.

I don't feel like working on the club listings, so you get two posts in one day. Hope it makes up for the dry spell.

Lately, I've noticed that there's a new spate of songwriters composing and recording a tune a day for some predetermined amount of time. I can't name all of the artists I've heard about who are doing this, but there are at least four. And I just got an e-mail about another one today.

Exhibit A:

Hey Casey,

Just a little note about a new artist I've been working with, who is coming your way soon.

He's solo artist who goes by the name of Paleo. For the past 300-something days, he's been living out of a van, playing a show nearly every day, booking the tour as he goes, and writing and recording a song each day for a project that he calls The Song Diary.

You can check out the 330 songs he's written so far here:

So I listened to a few of them, and they're not bad; definitely part of that New Weird America/Fried Troubadour thing that the kids are all tunin' in and droppin' out to.

Still, when you write that many songs, they can't all be good. It takes me like, three months to record a tune, and even then I hate it. Which means I either suck (which I steadfastly refuse to accept) or my standards are too high.

But this Paleo kid, well, he's alright with me. He's playing Fort Nest in Burlington  — whatever the hell that is — on April 8. Also on the bill: Pretty & Nice, Anna Pardenik, and These United States, who I also just checked out. They're good. Go here for more (or less) info.

The stuff.

Sorry for the uncharacteristic lack of posts; I've been pretty busy at work. Then there's the head cold I've been battling, which meant no blogger meet ups or shows — just lots of soup, Claritin™ and The Wire. We did manage to visit my aunt in Hinesburg last Friday, though, where I drank way too much and told crazy stories to her (hopefully) bemused children.

I was hoping to have another podcast put together by now, but in between the upcoming wedding and my general panic about where the hell we're gonna move and what I might do there, I've been rather distracted.

You know how I always bitch about how indie-rock is boring as shit these days? Well, someone agrees with me.

Also in SF Weekly: "The situation can't be unfucked," says ex-Arthur editor Jay Babcock. Read why here.

I get to talk to one of my heroes, Lindsey Buckingham, in a wee little while. I'll let you know how that goes.

UPDATE: I just talked to Mr. Buckingham. Nice fella. I was psyched that he didn't shy away from questions about Fleetwood Mac. Of course he's probably heard them all by now.... Oh yeah — he plays the Flynn on April Fool's Day. And I'm currently listening to live Uriah Heep, 'cause our General manager Rick Woods is insane and he just threw the CD at my head [insert devil's horns].

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Stopgap post.

I'm having a "business lunch" today, can you believe it? Nor can I. I think it might be my first one ever.

Actually, I gotta split and go to it now. But I'm posting to say that I'll likely post again a little later. So keep your heads together until then.

In the meantime, check out this Japanese War Tuba.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Cute little video.

L_d10dfaa6cbf12497b272f78a8169f9df Just got an e-mail from Arthur Adams, erstwhile leader of San Francisco pop act Blammos. Adams, a onetime Vermonter, now haunts the Bay with fellow Green Mountain ex-pats David Stockhausen and Tim Marcus, both of whom play in his band.

Adams wrote to tell me about a brand-new music video for the Blammos tune "Girl of My Dreams." In it, our hero prances throughout sunny SF, charming the pants off young ladies in the street. [Ed. note: Not literally. Although he's probably capable of such a feat.] I found it amusing that most of these gals look like they could be from Burlington.

Learn more about the shoot here.

Or, skip that shit and go straight to the video.

Keep in mind that this is a high-quality clip, so you might wanna let it load before viewing. But it's totally worth the wait — trust me.

Happy Monday(s).

It's gonna be a busy day for yours truly. First I have to do that trick where I pull a column out of my hat — or ass, depending on your politics — then I have to prepare for an interview with a local celebrity. I'd tell you who, but that'd spoil the fun, wouldn't it?

Enjoy a few start o' the workweek snippets:

Has Springsteen lost his mind, or did April 1 come early?

Here's my official take on the new Of Montreal record, as published by Dusted. It's a long-form review, and I happen to think it's one of my better ones.

Our pals at Spitting Out Teeth continue their music/movie trivia contest/giveaway. Get yrselfs over there and win!

OK, time to spin words into gold. I might check in later....

Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday is for everyone!

Tonight there are a couple of decent choices for live local music. Particularly, if you're a rocker.

I've been told that this is a lull in the winter storm, but I know you guys and girls are a brave lot. I might see you at one of these shows, who knows?

Tonight at Metronome is the Strangeways Recording "U-haul benefit" with Carrigan, Tell No One, Brixton Guns and Zac Clark. See this week's column for the details.

The Monkey House in Winooski features balls-out rockers Party Star and indie weirdos The Cripples, who are returning to the stage following a spate of recording. You'll only find Party Star in this week's *official* club listings, 'cause the venue didn't tell me The Cripples were on the bill. So goes booking in our little burg.

Other Friday thoughts:

This might strike many as patently obvious, but Bob Dylan's self-titled debut is really quite good. It's easy to overlook, because there's only like, two originals on the entire album. Also, I can't stand the picture on the cover. The dumb corduroy cap he's wearing coupled with the smart-ass look on his face just plain annoy me. But the music is great, and, when placed alongside his most recent efforts, almost completes a circuit. Thanks to our General Manager Rick Woods and Spitting Out Teeth for simultaneously (but independently) reminding me of this little gem.

I've been posting a lot of weird metal-ish stuff here lately, so allow me to balance it out with some nice pop by a fella named Richard Swift.

Swift grew up poor and religious, but that didn't stop him from busting out and getting his songwriting swerve on. His stuff is in the grand tradition of Harry Nilsson and Paul McCartney, but a tad scruffier than the latter, and certainly not as awesome as the former. But who can be, really? To these ears, Swift is kinda like a less flamboyant Rufus Wainwright. But you be the judge:

Richard Swift — "The Songs of National Freedom"

Richard Swift — "The Million Dollar Baby"

That reminds me: Jason Cooley once gave me a vintage Harry Nilsson LP, "Son of Schmilsson," for my birthday. It was awesome.   

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