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Friday, February 29, 2008

Rock and a Hard Place

I can't decide if this is ridiculously awesome or just plain ridiculous, but Hard Rock Cafe — which is basically to music what Hooter's is to, um, food — is unveiling an amusement park this spring, featuring a slew of rock 'n' roll themed rides and other assorted attractions aimed at separating fanny pack-clad morons from their money. I'm guessing they're going after the growing demographic of folks who get their jollies watching fast cars turn left. But I could be wrong.

Based in Myrtle Beach, Hard Rock Park — clever, no? — will open in June with a geezer rock extravaganza of epically lame proportions. Headlining the two-night concert: The Moody Blues and The Eagles. Gag me with a pitchfork, run me over with a rolling stone and spin my head 'till my vertebrae snap. I believe I have a new definition of hell.

However, as with any theme park, the real story is the rides. I have to admit, I am a sucker for roller coasters and "Led Zepplin: The Ride" sounds freakin' great. But I wonder if the ride simulates driving a Rolls Royce into a swimming pool?  And if you throw up, are you supposed to choke on it to get the full experience? So many questions.

Oh, and speaking of The Moody Blues, "Nights in White Satin: The Trip" basically looks like "It's A Small World" for middle-aged folks with flashback issues. Actually, that one sounds kinda fun.

There's also something called "The Magic Mushroom Garden," which, I kid you not, is aimed at toddlers. Nice.

Since it's Friday afternoon and I have nothing else to do at the moment, I thought I'd offer some suggestions for rides and attractions I'd like to see, should I ever find myself in that part of the world, which I can almost guarantee I won't. Feel free to add suggestions of your own!

The Amy Wine-house
This is basically just a bar, and given the likely clientele, probably wouldn't even serve wine. Unless they ran out of High Life and prescription medicine, of course.

The Great White Light Show
Too soon?

Jeff Buckley's Ragin' River
See above.

Britney Spears Day Care Center

For cracked out moms on the go.

George Micheal's House of Wax

Just don't use the restroom.

Aerosmith's Love in an Elevator
Think Disney's "Tower of Terror," only, you know, really crappy.

Aha's "Take On Me" Fun House
Actually, this one would be pretty sweet.

R. Kelly's Wild Ride

You must not be at least this tall to get on this ride.

The Hall of The Presidents of the United States of America
One hit wonder showcase. By the way, what the hell ever happened to those guys?

Man, I need a hobby.

Have a great weekend, Solid State!



I'm not sure if any of our regular readers have kids, but if you do, or if you perhaps just have a special bay-bay in your life that you'd like to take out for an afternoon on the town, I highly recommend this Saturday's Dan Zanes show at Higher Ground. The two afternoon matinees are actually sold out, but I did spot some tickets online, so it might be worth looking into.

Up until one year ago I worked as a nanny here in Burlington. It was a pretty kick-ass job for a pretty kick-ass family with one hell of a kick-ass baby. Isaac and I did everything together, including afternoon dance parties. Often. Preferably to The Cars. Or Johnny Cash. Isaac loved both.

His older sister, however, on more than one occasion, returned home from her mornings at preschool with her nose already turned up to my ipod.

"Can we listen to something else?" she would ask, and I would cringe, knowing that 'something else' likely referred to chirpy twerpy kids songs, not too friendly on the adult ear.

That was up until we discovered Dan Zanes. Or more specifically, his 2003 release of maritime songs, "Sea Music".

Unless you too have spent afternoons grudgingly dancing to children's voices cracking over choruses of "London Bridge is Falling Down," I can't quite express the gift that is Dan Zanes. The former member of the Del Fuegos started exploring kid's music when he and his wife had their first child. What he came up with is a refreshing simplistic style that kids and adults both love. It's fun, hard not to dance to, and never grating on the ears.

I really wanted to go to Zanes' show this weekend. In fact, I really really wanted to interview Zanes, who aside from being a pioneer in the world of bearable children's music, also started his own record label for the exact purpose of marketing it. But I will be heading down to my parents' house in Connecticut, and my little music loving friends are at their new cousin's bris in Jersey.

So will you please go and tell me how it is? Zanes will play at noon and then again at 3 PM. You might have to buy scalped tickets... but it might just be worth it.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

You Know It's a Slow Day When . . .

Astley2From now on, all of my reviews will be in pie chart form. Or perhaps bar graphs.

Birdies, baby!


I have a special place in my heart for both musicians and nonprofits, so when I hear about other businesses working to unite the two, I get a little giddy.

Which is exactly what happened when I stumbled upon Yellow Bird Project. Are any of you familiar with this Montreal-based organization?

Basically, the kids at Yellow Bird get indie bands to submit t-shirt designs for charity. The coolest part is that each design directly benefits a nonprofit of that specific band's choice.

Some of the bands are pretty obscure (they were all approached directly by the organization), but two of my favorites, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Rilo Kiley are included on the list.

My favorite of the designs has to be that of Montreal-based band Stars (includes members of Broken Social Scene), which can be seen here.

So if you happen to be looking for some hip new duds, buy them at Yellow Bird and feel good about your purchase.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Busy B.


Sorry for the utter lack of post-age but I'm feeling a little insanely busy. Like, oh my gosh Monday night was crazy. From work, I went straight to the Y to run the dance recital of my baby girls. Then it was off to my new writer's group for a little pasta and self-deprication. Next I sped over to my new favorite elliptical at my new favorite gym. After that, I dropped by the house I am sitting to check in on things. Then I sped over to Kinko's to run updated flyers for an upcoming Wyld Stallions Records event, all before I finally made it home to bake cookies for my designer as a thank you, both for fixing the WSR flyer, and for liking cookies more than cash.

By the time I stumbled into the Monkey with the updated flyers, clad in dance pants, Target-brand Uggs, a hoodie and an old jean jacket I thought, "This is it. This is the night my mother is going to make good on her long-time fantasy of signing me up for TLC's 'What Not to Wear'."

But luckily Stacy and Clinton were not waiting at the bar complete with cosmopolitans, and I was able to make it back to my house-sitting abode in time to FINALLY load Mardi Gras pictures from my camera to my computer... the delayed point of this entire post.

Did you all Mardi hardy?

As Dan just told you, he and I (and the lovely Joanna) sure did. I'd say our float was the most glitter to ever hit the marketplace, but let's face it. This is Burlington. There's always some fabulously-clad LeMay girl waiting just around the corner...

I won't bore you by reiterating the awesomeness that Dan just relayed, but I will show you pictures! The Cave Bees totally held their shit on the moving float. The moving float made all the more hazardous by screaming Seven Days-ers. And since Dan, Joanna and I somehow ended up positioned IN the band, I was able to get some pretty up close and personal shots:


And now you know what it feels like to be on a float with a band.

Of course, being on a Seven Days float with a band also includes a little bit of this:


And we can all always use more of that.

Anyway, I checked out the Cave Bees' MySpace and it looks like their next show is not for another month, but I figured I would give it a quick plug anyway. March 28 at Metronome, mark your calendars now.

If they rock half as hard as they did at the circus, it's sure to be a good time.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Party Gras, Bro

Sweet Jesus. What a ridiculous orgy of drinking the Mardi Gras Parade is. I guess that's not really a shocker, given that the annual bead fest is Magic Hat's biggest event of the year. But to be perfectly honest, we're three days removed and I still feel hungover. Thanks Lucky Kat!

Prior to my employment with Seven Days, I worked for Alan Newman's beer barony in various capacities for close to four and a half years. I started out pouring growlers in the Artifactory, eventually became the store's Assistant Manager (OK, assistant to the manager) and then switched gears, moving behind the scenes to learn the brewing arts. When I left, I was a centrifuge operator, which isn't nearly as interesting as it sounds. In retrospect, I'm pretty sure the only reason I stayed so long was to play on the company softball team. That, and finding a new job takes effort and I'm a lazy, lazy man. But I digress.

During my tenure, I worked through four Mardi Gras parades, but only actually saw "the action" on one occasion. The other three years I was stuck slaving away at the brewery while everyone else got to play. Two years ago was the one and only time I was allowed to ride on the company float. Frankly, it was kinda lame. Oh sure, there was beer. And beads. And throwing beads, before and after drinking beer. But something about tossing cheap plastic baubles to inebriated tourists left me cold. Or maybe it was the actual cold. Who knows? Anyway, my expectations for this year were justifiably tempered by my previous experience.

Boy, was I wrong. The Seven Days parade experience is vastly superior to Magic Hat and it ain't even close.

For starters, everybody dresses up. If you didn't see it, our float had a circus theme and we went all out. There were lions, tigers and gorillas ("oh my!"). We had a ringmaster, a strong man, a mime, a stunt man and clowns. We even had a bearded lady, who may or may not be writing this very blog post . . . ahem. In fact, our float was so good that we technically received the most votes for the "best float" competition as voted by the revelers. But since we're a sponsor we can't actually win . . . we got robbed!

Secondly, the beer is the same. The cool part is that if you're not affiliated with MH, you can choose to drink their beer or — gasp! — something else. Plus, we had jell-o shots. My pinky is still purple from scooping.

But the piece de resistance, the coup de grace, the bees mutha-effin' knees was none other than Burlington garage-rawkers Cave Bees who rocked and rolled from the Hood Plant parking lot, down Main Street, up Church Street, down Cherry Street and all the way back to Seven Days' offices. There were plenty of other bands playing on floats, but Cave Bees blew 'em all out of the water.

I still found the actual bead tossing somewhat off-putting. Grown men boxing out small children for 3 cents worth of plastic crap is nothing short of pathetic. However, thanks to my time playing second base for MH, my aim is impeccable. Vengeance was mine as beads, frisbees and moon pies flew straight and true, frequently finding their targets — i.e. the foreheads of overaggressive louts jockeying with kids for position. That part, I have to admit, was waaay too much fun.

In closing, I have to say I had a blast — though I could have done without the drunken tool-fest downtown during the parade's aftermath. Plus, I'm told this year set record highs in donations to the Women's Rape Crisis Center, which is really the point, right? Well, that, and binge drinking. But mostly it's the charity.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

News Leak!


My sources tell me (and by 'my sources', I do mean fellow regulars at the Monkey), that there is talk of a new community television show.... all about local music.

The project will be spearheaded by one of the scene's own songwriters, and will feature on-air performances by our local favorites.

I smell possible collaboration with The Radiator!

Further details are not yet ironed out, but I'll keep you posted as things come into fruition!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Burned Out

No, no. Not me. I'm not burned out. I just got back from a mini blogging vacay, remember?  I'm speaking of one of my favorite music "journalists"/cultural analrapists, David Thorpe, who today published his final Burn Unit column for Boston's The Weekly Dig. And yes, I realize I've used the term "cultural analrapist" at least once before on Solid State. Sue me. I just love "Arrested Development," OK? Speaking of which, did you hear they're definitely maybe turning it into a movie? That can only be awesome. Or a huge mistake.

This is a sad day indeed. I have a vague, half-recollection of a Beantown friend mentioning the end of The Burn Unit to me over the weekend. But frankly, most weekends spent with this particular friend result in vague, half-recollections. Must be all those forget-me-now pills. That, or I just blocked it from my memory. Either way, it sucks and I'm pretty bummed. True to form, Thorpe gives no true indication of his plans, post BU. He does run down his all-time least favorite columns though. But why are you reading it from me? Click on the link in the first paragraph and read it yourself, dammit.

And while you're there, you can check out this blurb about Burlington ex-pats Pretty & Nice, who just signed a deal with Sub Pop spin-off Hardly Art. Their song "Georgia Belle" has been in frequent rotation on my Tuesday night bowling league mix. It's amazing how well it works sandwiched between the likes of Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me" and Brazilian Girls' "Pussy." Don't ask me why. It just does.

In any event, I'd like to express my appreciation and "pour some out for my homie," David Thorpe. The Burn Unit was one of my two favorite columns — the other being Bill Simmons' The Sports Guy on I'm gonna miss you, man.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I Am Everyday People

Over the last few weeks, I've sort of been immersing myself in hip-hop, including the local variety, which continues to impress me both in terms of overall quality and variety. I've made no secret of the fact that, generally speaking, the genre is not particularly my forte, especially compared to my knowledge and understanding of rock, indie rock, country, alt-country, bluegrass and folk music. You know, cracker music . . . totally kidding. But I'm a quick learner and with the help of folks like GTD's Burnt MD and VT Union's Nastee and DJ A-Dog, among others, my education has been progressing nicely. And it's been a lot of fun to boot.

Speaking of Burnt MD, I should mention that his hip-hop open mic night, "The Spot," has just been made a weekly event. Every Tuesday night at Metronome you can sample some of the area's established and up-and-coming talent and, if you're so inclined, join in yourself. I've been a couple of times and really enjoyed it. The freestyle ciphers are a sight to behold.

Back to the point, one of my longstanding issues with hip-hop — and granted, this stems from a lack of full comprehension on my part, historically, anyway — is the seemingly widespread braggadocio that infects the lyricism of so many bigger-name artists. It's almost as though being good isn't enough. You have to tell people how good you are repeatedly and at every opportunity, lest your audience isn't perceptive enough to figure it out for themselves. Not only that, but if you can point out how lousy everyone else is in comparison, you get bonus bling. Frankly, it's rather tiresome.

I should make it clear that I'm by no means condemning hip-hop in general. There's a significant population of artists, particularly in underground circles, who avoid the tactic altogether and focus on making points unrelated to how big their, um, diction is. My personal taste just tends to align more with those artists.

With that in mind, I wanted to pass along a couple of videos I stumbled across this weekend. They're by a comedian named Jon Lajoie, who has been making some waves on Funny Or Die and was recently featured on Howard Stern. Submitted for your approval — and with an obligatory Parental Advisory warning — "Everyday Normal Guy."

And the sequel, "Everyday Normal Guy 2."

Monday, February 18, 2008

Back In The Saddle

Soooo . . . how have you been, Solid State?

I know what you're wondering. Where the hell have you been, Dan? That's a complicated question, frankly. But I'll give you the Reader's Digest version.

I needed a break.

There, I said it. Sometimes, you just need to step back and recharge the old batteries and I sort of unintentionally took last week off to do just that. And I'm glad I did. I really feel much better, thank you.

It's not that I didn't want to write. I sat down a number of times last week with every intention of knocking out a blog post or two (or three). But for the first time I can remember, I stared at my computer screen and it simply stared back. Nuthin'. Every scribe faces bouts of writer's block from time to time, but this was something deeper. I honestly had nothing to say. It was scary, to tell the truth.

Everything I tried to write came out sounding forced and trite, so rather than waste my time or yours, I simply didn't post. Fortunately, Bridget has been able to keep things rolling right along in my absence. She's good like that. Scratch that, she's just good, period.

Friday night I went to Nectar's to catch The Jazz Guys, Sweet Ass Pussy and Heloise and Th . . . er, James Kochalka Superstar. I hadn't seen any of those bands in quite a while and was really looking forward to unwinding with some cold beer and good tunes. As it turns out, that was just what I needed.

Nectar's was packed. I haven't seen that many people out for a completely local lineup in years. I arrived in time to catch the tail end of Sweet Ass Pussy's set, which was thoroughly rockin'. Then Kochalka took the stage and did what Kochalka does, which if you're not familiar with him, can be mildly unsettling.

I was with a few friends who had never seen JKS and new little of James beyond reading American Elf in "the" Seven Days — By the way, it ain't "the" Seven Days. Just Seven Days. Just like it ain't RiRa's. Just RiRa. I hate that shit. And while we're on the subject, why the hell does What Ale's You have an apostrophe? Then again, why does What Ale's You even exist? But I digress.

Anyway, I tried to give my friends the rundown as best I could: Longtime Burlington musician/cartoonist/writer/artist, wrote the the song for the short-lived Fox sitcom "The Loop," yadda, yadda, yadda. Then, just as I was getting to the part about Nickelodeon using his music, off came the pants. Awesome. "Will that be on Nick at Nite?," they asked.

The older folks in front of me — whom I believe were Jazz Guys Maarten and Herb van der Poll's parents — seemed to take it in stride. Being on the shorter side, my view is often obstructed at live shows, and for once, I think I came out ahead as I was never afforded a clear view. But one particularly inebriated dude I spoke with described the proceedings thusly: "He really has splendid nuts." Well played, sir.

The Jazz Guys followed and were in fine form. I still remember their first shows some years ago at Radio Bean. back then, they were one of my favorite local bands because they really weren't very good. Defiantly so, in fact. Now, I think they're one of my favorites because they're really good. But they still have the same flippant attitude I found so endearing when they kind of sucked. It's the best of both worlds really.

They started their show with a special Valentine's Day movie which led to a guest appearance onstage from Jason Cooley. I couldn't find the entire film online, but I did stumble across the trailer. Here it is:

I left between their first and second sets, fully satisfied and a little tipsy. The evening was a great reminder of how much people in this town care about their local music and left me feeling re-energized and grateful. There was a ton of great incredible music to see this past weekend — if anyone caught Apes at the Monkey, I want a full report — and we should consider ourselves lucky to have so many people with such vested interests in the vitality of our little scene. Sometimes you just need a breather . . .



The plan was for me to write a nice post for you all summarizing the music-related movie I watched this weekend from my Netflix. Unfortunately, my cold is back. And it was about halfway through the documentary that even the collective cuteness of the Bens (Lee, Kweller, and Folds) couldn't keep me from passing out on my futon.

So no wrap up yet.

Although I would like to say to the aforementioned cold; seriously? No, really, seriously? I eat healthy, I work out to a fault, I sleep so much it affects my social life, and I take my vitamins. I mean, what better tequila-mixer than a little Emergen-C?


Anyway. After the movie clicked off and the TV was back on, I did dream a little MTV-News that might interest some of you. And a quick on-line check this morning affirmed that it was true.

That is, rapper Common would like you to write a lyric about the importance of HIV-testing.

I tend to jump around from cause to cause, but I've always had a special place in my heart for the importance of HIV-testing. In fact, two years ago (my god, have I really lived here that long?) I decided to try and meet some new friends in the music scene by compiling a CD with just that message, in support of Vermont CARES. It's actually how I met most of you, dear readers, as you were pretty much all on it! Swale, The Jazz Guys, Nest Material, Pretty & Nice, even Dan!

Anyway, I know that most of you don't write rap (although I did catch Lee's wigged-version of white rapper this past Thursday...), but luckily you don't have to. Common is just looking for a good message - in any genre. The bad news is that you have to be 25 or under, which I'm pretty sure eliminates a large part of this reading audience. The prize? Common will perform the lyric on MTV networks - which I know is a major goal in all of your lives.

If you do happen to be interested in the contest, you can check out all the details here.

And I promise, once this cold finally gets off my back (I mean, seriously!) I will write something other than regurgitated MTV.

Friday, February 15, 2008

RIP Music Industry


I got this email in my gmail today and had to screen shot it to share with you all. Please note who sent it to me:


Great. Not only is the music industry dead, but now its personal grim reaper is literally sending me emails about it.


P.S. If the music industry is really dead, why would I want their help in achieving success and recognition? I mean, seriously?

Thursday, February 14, 2008



Back in high school my girlfriends and I talked quite often about V-day. To us, the term did not mean Valentine's Day, a holiday pretty nondescript without paychecks or driver's licenses. To us, V-day meant Vagina-Day. Or the Day (capital D) marking the first time our mothers forced us to visit the OB/GYN for our... girly appointment.

To us, V-Day may as well have been D-Day.

Obviously that's not the kind of V-Day this post is about. But I figured I would do my best to make you all feel good and awkward in preparation for what's to come.

Because what's to come is pretty damn awkward.

Much like V-Day, Valentine's Day has never been one of my favorite holidays. Super-emo crushes and mix-tapes, on the other hand? OH SO TOTALLY MY SCENE.

Now let me take you back to a time I like to call 2003, or more affectionately, sophomore year. I was living in the backwoods of Maine, studying writing, selling merch for a pop-punk band called gocasual, and in my spare time, throwing pebbles at the lead singer's window so he could buzz me in to hang out.

Dude, whatever, our dorm security was tight.

And I may have also had a crush on him. A crush the singer remained completely unaware of until I did as every musically-inclined college sophomore girl did, and made him a mix-tape to explain how I felt.

OK FINE, it was a CD. I wasn't cool enough for cassettes, OK?

I remember presenting my friend with the CD, not a particularly unusual thing for me to do, and telling him, "You have to listen all the way through and figure out the message." And so he set off to do just that.

Later on that day the singer ran the track with his disc-man, while I ran my little butt off on the elliptical (some things never change). Then, much to my horror, my friend approached me while I flailed on the ever-graceful machine and, headphones still in place, declared loudly, "I FIGURED IT OUT! IT'S THE STORY OF A HEARTBROKEN LIFE!"

Kids, I will repeatedly write about coming close to falling off the elliptical, but that was the only time that the elliptical itself fell apart and onto the ground with the extreme mortification of the moment.

"Uh, no," I stammered. "Keep guessing!"

In the end, the singer did guess the message of the mix, and it brought us closer as friends. Not boyfriend and girlfriend, however. After all, he was busy with that teeny blond girl next door to him - the one with the heavy eyeliner who could put both legs behind her head. And there are some things even a long workout on an elliptical just can't change.

Feeling sentimental, I dug my own copy of the mix out this past weekend and gave it a listen. My first thought was WOW, did I ever like some god awful bands. My second thought was that the message was embarrassingly clear, and how it took the singer two guesses to figure out the meaning is beyond me.


Anyway, if any of you are currently crushing hard and looking for a creative confessional Valentine, a similar mix could do the trick.  Of course with all of today's legal confusion surrounding the subject of mix-tapes and mix CDs (if it's for private use, is it OK? They won't tell us), my official advice is to go with a "suggested play list". It might sound lame, but whatever, so is Valentine's Day.

DO start with Weezer's "El Scorcho." There has never been a more charming line then "I'll bring home the turkey if you'll bring home the bacon."

Do NOT under any circumstances include "Short Stories With Tragic Endings" by From Autumn to Ashes. I am embarrassed to admit that this song served as a clincher on my own mix, but will enthusiastically affirm that it should never serve that role (or any role) from here on out.

DO include "Pamphlateer" by The Weakerthans. Or anything by The Weakerthans. They are Canadian. And amazing. And always will be.

Do NOT include songs by both Midtown and Rufio. And The Promise Ring. AND Alkaline Trio. Unless you too are designing your mix for the singer of an aspiring pop-punk band.

DO consider the option of movie soundtracks. Or more specifically, DO consider "Sally's Song" from The Nightmare Before Christmas as a possible closer. It's pretty dead on, and if we're honest, Tim Burton will always earn cool points.

Really though, the most important thing is to remember that today is just another day. If you actually plan to make a CD, do it today, or tomorrow, or never, but do it because you mean it, not because some holiday is pressuring you to. I believe it was Andre 3000, a very wise man, who once said, “Everyday is the 14th.” Consider that advice, and live by it.

And stear clear of errant ellipticals...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Grammy Recap Recap


So did everyone watch the Grammys on Sunday?

Yeah, me neither.

I had planned to skip the televised awards show in favor of Burlington's own (live! and in person!) Gregory Douglass at Higher Ground. Unfortunately my raging head cold deemed otherwise. Which would have made me the perfect Grammy audience except that by the time the cold drop-kicked me that one last time, I didn't feel like watching anything other than old episodes of 90210 (God bless Netflix).

I did follow the news leading up to the awards show as I found it pretty amusing: namely that concerning everyone's favorite crack-head, Amy Winehouse. So I checked all my favorite gossip sites again Monday morning to see how it all went down.

What I found was somewhat alarming.

Apparently, the masterminds behind the awards show figured they should celebrate their fiftieth showing by featuring every big name in music to ever make it big ever. And three, four, or even five at a time. The stories even made me wish I had tuned in, so I could let you know if Beyonce really can match Tina Turner note for note.

[Obviously we all know the answer to that one: no one can. After all, Tina will forever be the only person to ever get the entire OP asking in unison, "what's love got to do with it?"]

Checking with the Rolling Stone online photo gallery confirmed my fears: designers at tabloids all over the country were surely fired this morning when it was discovered that last night's bizarre pairings deemed their photoshopping skills unecessary. Need a shot of Keely Smith with Kid Rock? Done. John Mayer with Alicia Keys? All set. John Fogerty and Little Richard? Yup. Yoko Ono and Beyonce? You think I'm kidding at this point... but I'm not.

There's even a picture of Cher with a normal haircut. And not just any normal haircut, but MY SAME NORMAL HAIRCUT!

My favorite picture in all my recap-research though, has to be the one of Amy Winehouse awaiting news of her wins for "Rehab" from rehab.

Oh, dear Amy, what will we do with you?

In more political news, Barack won a Grammy to match Hillary's. His is for the audio version of his book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream. Hillary nabbed hers back in 1997 for It Takes a Village.

And the race continues...

Friday, February 08, 2008

Farm Noise in Boston?

It seems Boston really is the "Hub of the Universe." This week, at least. Continuing on a theme from earlier in the week, S'nalban's/Enosburg Falls' finest, Farm, was glowingly reviewed in a recent edition of Beantown's voluminous indie music rag The Noise. Reviewer Ryan Bray refers to the trio's terrific 2007 release Gray Birds as "arguably one of the best records you've likely never heard." Well, I have heard it. A lot. And it's hard for me to disagree. Congrats, boys. When can we expect the new disc?

On a totally unrelated note, have you folks seen the documentary "King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters?" If you like Donkey Kong, fierce competition and even fiercer mullets, I highly recommend it. The film centers around two gentleman widely acknowledged to be the best Donkey Kong players in the world and one man's quest to gain acceptance in the surprisingly exclusive world of competitive gaming. If it sounds ridiculous, it is. It's also thoroughly engrossing and, at times, genuinely touching. Perhaps it was just lingering effects of The Game That Shall Not Be Named, but I found myself rooting with as much enthusiasm and vigor as any sporting event I've seen in recent memory. And for me, that's saying something. Chills, I tell you. Chills.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. As for myself, I'm playing the bachelor for a night or two as m'lady is out of town. I'm thinking greasy pizza, cheap beer and bowling. It's the simple pleasure, folks.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Rock the Vote


I am writing this post as we near the end of Super Tuesday. You know, the momentous day where pretty much everyone in the country made their vote in the presidential primaries. Except for us Vermonters. We like to do things at our own pace up here, and voting is no exception. Which is why we'll be waiting almost an entire month to officially weigh in on the debate.

Before the 2004 election, I wasn't really concerned with the primaries. My vote was simply "Not Bush". I hated 'No Child Left Behind,' I hated the 'War on Terror,' and I especially hated that his stupid entourage of SUVs was constantly making me late to my job as a lifeguard at Kennebunk Beach.

This time around, I'm glad for that extra month. I've had a hard time figuring out my feelings on the democratic candidates, and while I know I'm not really a fan of Clinton, I've yet to decide any official reason for supporting Obama.

At least until my dad emailed me this video.

[Here's where things get musical!]

I'm not sure that I pulled a concrete justification for a vote out of this video, but my feeling was so strongly in support of Obama, and my emotions so on edge when it ended, that it served as the kick in the pants I needed to give this guy some proper research.

I won't preach to you about my findings, since they'll all be contingent on personal opinion, but I wanted to share the video that got me in a voting frame of mind. Leave it to to serve as my motivation. Maybe he'll inspire you as well.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Damn You, Smittens! Damn You!!!!

Nahhh. Just kidding. How could anyone ever "damn" The Smittens? There just so darned . . . cute. Like, a puppy-eating-an-ice-cream-cone-in-a-sailor-suit kinda cute.  But they're also a great band that's continuing to gain notoriety beyond the currently gloomy borders of our insular little burg. (Note to Tom Messner: Seriously, dude. Snow or rain. Make up your fucking mind. If I fall on the ice one more time, I'm suing.)

Here's a link to an article published yesterday in the Boston Phoenix about our hometown twee-ty birds. It's one of the better profiles I've read on the band and I kinda I wish I'd written it first. Oh well. Still, it's a good read and succinctly captures the quintet's irrepressibly perk-tastic charm.

If chipper ain't your bag, here's a hysterical collection of celebrity obituary previews from David Thorpe's latest Burn Unit column in The Weekly Dig.  I didn't know this until I read it in Thorpe's column — and promptly cross-checked the facts, of course — but apparently the Associated Press actually prepares obits ahead of time (prehumously?) so they can semi-eloquently break the news the moment a star passes away. They were busted when an early draft of a Britney Spears obit recently leaked to the mass media. For the utterly pop-ignorant, Spears is still alive. Totally nuts. But still alive . . . for now.

How creepy is that? Could you imagine knowing that somewhere, someone is eulogizing you while you still live and breathe? It sounds like a Stephen King novel: A struggling writer gets a gig penning celebrity eulogies and a funny thing starts happening: they die exactly as he describes. He goes mad with power and becomes a celebrity in own right for his uncanny ability to predict death. But then the AP hires a new celebrity obit writer . . .

Actually, that's not bad. I smell a screenplay.

Really loading up on the Beantown rags today, for some reason. Must be a lingering subconscious reaction to the Super Bowl . . . sigh.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Loves horses, and Eli Manning too...


So how bout that Super Bowl, eh?

Uh, yeah. I don't actually watch football. Baseball is my sport. And frankly, intensely watching a team from March through October requires a few months of rest from any sports coverage.

But if I had to claim affiliation to any team, it would be the Patriots. If only because I spent just about every Sunday of my college career hanging out in my friend Brian's apartment with the game on. Everyone else was there for the football. I came for our friend Aliza's famous spinach artichoke dip.

And so I clearly remember the celebration after the 2002 Patriots victory, and that of 2004, and 2005. A part of me felt like I should have made the trek back to Maine to watch the 2008 game with the old gang. And the old dip.

Instead I went to my childhood home in Connecticut, land of brown winters and big box store strip malls.

And Giants fans.

Yep, it's true. Not only did my grandfather play college football with Giants defensive end legend Andy Robustelli, but I spent my Super Bowl Sunday at the home of my best friend from high school. My best friend from high school and her entire New York fan family.

But it was all ok. And you know why? Because New York or New England, there was one thing we could all agree on: Tom Petty.


I mean let's be honest for a second. No matter how much hype the Super Bowl halftime show gets, no matter how many people claim to watch it, it blows. It's all lights, and flash, and medleys, and nipples, and just... not my scene. I'd actually rather watch football.

But when I heard that Tom Petty had agreed to perform, and had promised no medleys and no dancers, I was definitely curious.

My verdict? Overall, I enjoyed it.

Petty kept his word. No medleys and no dancers. Of course, there was a crowd to rush the stage and 'sing along' (many appeared to not actually know the lyrics) in brightly colored tee-shirts with obviously-issued identical flashlights. But, meh, that was unavoidable.

The band delivered four great American rock songs, appealing to all generations. And at our basement party of five Giants fans and one Patriots fan-wannabe, we all sang along. And sat there through the entire thing. Which is really the whole point, at least in the eyes of the NFL. If they can guarantee views, they can continue to charge a high price for advertising.

My only real concern was that I'm pretty sure Tom Petty flat-ironed his hair.

Which is just... bizarre.

Almost as bizarre as that underdog upset.

But in all seriousness, congrats to the Giants fans. That was a pretty amazing thing your boys pulled off last night.

Now get them a new home base, would ya? Because according to their season's record, The Meadowlands just isn't lucky enough for a team that can now call themselves the 2008 Super Bowl Champions. And the only group able to muster enough force to stop that uber-human strength generated by the shine of Brady's straight-toothed smile.

Friday, February 01, 2008

I wear my face on my sleeve


Are you all aware of the "sleeveface" phenomenon?

I was not. That is, not until Ward and friends over at Middlebury College's WRMC 91.1 introduced me by way of their blog. Which you should check out. It's relevant, updated often, and has a background of colors much too bright, but adorable in its own private-school-dance-party kind of way.

Plus the writers all have cute shoes and apparently no shirts.

Wait, what?

Anyway. Sleeveface occurs when an individual uses a record sleeve to obscure his or her face. Simple? Yes. Awesome? Suprisingly, also yes.

Following the links from the WRMC blog, I found a facebook group, a flickr group, and of course, the homepage for the movement,

My personal favorite of what I've seen is this one, posted by a Henry Covey:


I have not yet tried my hand at making my own sleeveface, as if vinyl translates to coolness, I am decidedly stuck in the eighties... but I might be able to pull off a fun Bowie or Michael Jackson...

How about you kids? Anyone have a sleeveface to share?

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