San Diego Radio Sucks Quite A Bit

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fox 5 San Diego Sucks Ass

Fox 6 used to be pretty cool, despite the obvious leanings of some of their more idiot morning show personalities. Their evening news shows used to be pretty liberal - much more "fair and balanced" than your regular Fox News bullshit.

As you probably know, they've replaced 6 with 5, taking over the ex-UPN, ex-WB, ex-WTF station. And don't you know, they kept the "news personalities" from the old station.

The agenda stands. It's your old friends, the anti-freedom, ANTI FUCKING AMERICAN REPUBLICANS that only want to take away your freedoms and scare the living shit out of you so you'll obey.

Even longtime cool chick Chrissy Russo seems to have surrendered to the dark side. Sigh.

Good won over evil this time, after two elections where people just didn't make enough of a fuss about a bullshit result, but it's still not enough.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Antony and the Johnsons - Walt Disney Concert Hall - Los Angeles, CA

Wow. I'm really not sure how to sum this up, so I'll use a phrase from my oftentimes concert partner in crime, Mr. Conner:

It was awesome. The musicians were amazing, the venue was amazing and the crowd was amazing.

Antony performed with the LA Philharmonic this evening at Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. This is a truly inspiring venue, both inside and out. Designed by God, or at least God's Assistant, this thing is gorgeous to look at on the outside, and almost scary to be inside of. Kinda like a superstar model.

Antony took the stage at about 8:15 with a group of approximately 18 musicians, a full brass section, oboe, bassoon, piano, percussionist, and clarinet, to name a few. Not to mention the conductor, who was exciting to watch as well. He just did what he did so well.

They played for probably about 90 minutes, including one encore, which included a very long story about one of Antony's role models in New York. He also shared that he'd only met the LA Philharmonic the day before, and had practiced with them twice before the performance. Describing how he explained the songs he said, "I told them, OK, for this one, imagine you're a fish..."

Most of the songs were ones I wasn't familiar with. He only did one song from I Am A Bird Now (For Today I Am A Boy), and I assume most of the other songs were from his recently released Another World EP and from his debut album. However, I did catch his touching, yet somewhat funny cover of Beyonce's Crazy In Love. A bit different than the version David Byrne treated us to with The Extra Action Marching Band at the Hollywood Bowl a while back, but it was still pretty amazing.

Another highlight: 30 seconds of silence during one of the songs. Honestly. Without exaggeration, it was at least that long, and nobody took a breath.

This was one of two shows on this US tour. He plays on 10/16 at The Apollo in NYC(!!!!!), and then two dates in London at the end of the month. Truly, this was a special evening. It's not every day you get to see a transvestite sing torch songs with a miniature symphony.

Oh, I should mention, I went to throw out my gum in what I thought was a trash can, but had to take it outside to find one.

"I thought it was a trash can, but it wasn't, I told my companions."

"What was it?" they asked.

"It was," I started, grasping for a word, "art."

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Trifecta Phase Three - David Byrne @ The Greek Theatre Los Angeles, CA

I just got home from The Trifecta, now complete after watching David Byrne perform songs he and Brian Eno worked on together. Well, mostly. The crowd kept screaming for Psycho Killer, which didn't fit the mold, but neither did Burning Down the House, as he admitted.

The set consisted of about a half dozen songs from the new album Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, and the rest of the set seemed to be made up entirely of old Talking Heads songs.

Don't get me wrong, the set was fantastic, complete with three dancers (two of them very, very sexy), three backup singers, two percussionists and another guitar player onstage. However, I was really hoping for something, hell anything from My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. I don't think he played a single song off of that all night, but I'm sure my good friend the Fountain Valley Lounge Lizard will point out if I'm right on that one.

One of the greatest things about the night was that the crowd were absolutely into it the entire time. So much so, in fact, that after two encores, David conferred with the band to see if they'd be up to do one last song. They closed out the night on a bit of a slow note with the title track from the new album.

All in all, three great nights of music, three very, very different shows, and all three exceeded our expectations.

Back to reality now. Sigh.

Look for a more complete review of My Bloody Valentine soon.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Trifecta Phase Two - My Bloody Valentine

There are two types of people in this world: People who have seen My Bloody Valentine, and people who have not.

I feel like I've evolved.

What can you say?

We all agreed on one thing. That to describe it is next to impossible.

I feel like I've had my chromosomes rearranged without a kiss.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Trifecta Phase One - sigur rós

"I think, maybe, you all should stand up," the lead vocalist of the Icelandic enigma sigur rós suggested. The band had played nearly its entire set to a seated crowd at San Diego's Copley Symphony Hall, and we happily obliged. The four piece band was joined by four extra drummers, all pounding in unison on individual drums strapped to them as the band played gobbledigook, the opener from their most recent album, Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (With a buzz in our ears, we play endlessly).

To say they merely played this song robs them of something, as it was a celebration of the entire set, the most energy imparted from the band to the crowd, and vice-versa. The song is in stark contrast to much of the band's beautifully sad, cinematic material, with three members playing acoustic guitars instead of the usual keys, guitar (often with a bow) and bass guitar. As the crowd clapped along happily, two figures appeared at opposite ends of the stage with massive cannons, and, along with two other stationary cannons, produced an orgasmic blast of confetti the likes of which I have never seen.

Keep in mind folks, this video was taken from the balcony. We were SHOWERED in confetti.

Here's one more glimpse of what you may have missed.


I haven't posted about what Conner and I are calling The Trifecta. The Trifecta is our three-day concert and drinking binge that marks the (almost) halfway mark between now and Coachella. Three shows, three days, three cities. That is, if Santa Monica is a city, which I think it is.

Here's the itinerary:

10/1/2008 - Sigur Ros - Copley Symphony Hall - San Diego, CA
10/2/2008 - My Bloody Valentine - Santa Monica Civic - Santa Monica, CA
10/3/2008 - David Byrne - The Greek Theatre - Los Angeles, CA

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Juan MacLean Rewrites the Manual

Just got back from seeing The Juan Maclean in Los Angeles.  I have to say that overall it was pretty amazing.  At their worst, this group highlighted just how hard it is to perform electronic music live.  At their best, they blew the doors off the place.  I thought the girl from The Octopus Project played a mean theramin, but she's got nothing on Juan.  He was like a symphony conductor with that thing.

They opened with a song from their upcoming album The Future Will Come, available "In a month that's not this one."  I'm not sure if that means next month or just some month in the future.  Hopefully it's coming out soon, because the first song, and many of the other new ones, sound very promising.  Wikipedia says 2009 but who knows.

After the second song of the set, a familiar spectre revisited the band.  Massive technical difficulties.  This time, instead of delaying the start of the show, it stopped it.  The band gathered around a malfunctioning device for about five minutes while the small but dedicated crowd heckled the band.  Juan responded by being totally transparent.

"We're going to do something now that's really embarassing," he began, "we're going to have to pull out the manual," he finished, holding up the user guide for the synthesizer.  The crowd laughed.  It felt like the crowd was made almost exclusively of true fans and people who genuinely understood how difficult it is to do electronic music live.

It takes Nancy Whang, Holy Ghost! and Juan MacLean to technically support an ailing device necessary to perform Give Me Every Little Thing 20080913 - The El Rey, Los Angeles, CA

When they finally got the thing going, the crowd came back in full force.  Though their biggest track was a little rough, it showed great tenacity for the band to come back from such a long break at the beginning of the set.

There were some great moments and some not-so-great moments during most of the rest of the set.  When Juan announced that the band had only one more song to play, "but don't worry", I looked at my watch. The band had only been playing for about 50 minutes, and I wondered if they could possibly have an encore planned.  Nope.  I have no idea what the last track was, but it was an 18-minute multi-orgasmic opus that started minimal, built to a climax, exploded, went back to climax level, and repeated the pattern over and over.

Juan admitted that it wasn't a perfect performance, but we don't go see The Juan MacLean for perfection.  We go see this act because, as one girl at Coachella put it, "We wanna dance."  

And dance we did.

The Juan MacLean plays The Casbah in San Diego this Monday night.  Don't be stupid.  Check it out.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Antony and the Johnsons To Play Walt Disney Concert Hall 2008-10-16

The first time I heard I Am A Bird Now, the most recent release from Antony and the Johnsons, I wasn't quite sure what to make of it.  Here's a guy with an almost angelic voice, race car driver-like control of trills and a torch song range reminiscent of Nina Simone, but I couldn't see it.  Not on the first listen.

Still, I was intrigued enough to listen again.  And fairly quickly, again, and again, and again.

It's puzzling to me now, when I can't listen to songs like Hope There's Someone without tearing up, that I didn't get it the first time I heard it.  But I knew there was something there, and that kept me listening.  His voice absolutely destroys me, makes me hurt in the pit of my stomach as if I'm actively experiencing what he's singing about.

The act has an album due Oct 7, 2008, so it's strange that this tour is so truncated.  Using the business model of Radiohead's Kid A tour, there are two dates.  One in New York, and one in LA.

If you're up for something truly unique, please, please, please catch this show.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


We managed to catch the Monday show at the Hollywood Bowl and the show at Cricket here in San Diego, formerly known as Coors. Both were sold out, and apparently the Cricket show's attendance was almost 20,000. It's hard to pick which was better, but if pressed, I'll take the Monday show at the Bowl. We got Tell Me Why, a cover of a Neil Young song from the album After the Gold Rush, as well as Go Slowly, a hauntingly moving song from CD 2 of the In Rainbows box, which everyone was calling "the blue song" due to the cool lighting.

We got to Cricket at 3:45 p.m., saw the show, and got out of the parking lot in TWO MINUTES. To put this in perspective, our pal Bill didn't make it out of the lot for TWO HOURS. Yeah. Not only did we get Talk Show Host, Airbag, How To Disappear Completely, Paranoid Android, Climbing Up the Walls, Lucky (damn, so many songs from OK Computer!!), but we made it back to my place in a record 25 minutes. Not too shabby.

I'm embedding a link to Thom and Johnny playing Portishead's The Rip from Portishead's fantastic return to form, Third. Also, here's a link to a YouTube video I made at the Bowl of the end of Karma Police, and the entire closing track, Idioteque.

We'll miss you, Radiohead. Thanks for Webcasting your final show from Santa Barbara. It was a little choppy at first but after the first half it was nearly flawlessly transmitted from the 'net to the lappy to the TV and sound system. To quote Homer Simpson, "A class act, all the way." Then again, he was talking about God, but I'm pretty sure I could worship this band and not be poked with a pitchfork in the afterlife.

Find more videos like this on w.a.s.t.e. central

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Juan MacLean Coming to The Casbah September 15, 2008


Anyone who waited for their epic soundcheck at Coachella will remember four things:

1. The soundman telling Juan that he "needed to hear the cowbell a few more times"
2. Juan saying, "fuck the cowbell, let's get started!"
3. A woman near the front shouting what was on everyone's mind: "We wanna dance!!"
4. While the set was a skimpy 20 minutes (while the soundcheck was easily double that), it was one of the most memorable moments at Coachella 2006.

Talk about leaving 'em screaming for more. The abbreviated set forced the band to deliver 50 minutes worth of energy in less than half the time. This totally made up for the fact that, when the soundman finally agreed to let the band play, Juan announced, "OK, I gotta go take a piss," and disappeared for a long slash.

Sucks that it's on a Monday, but if you're willing to make the trip to LA, they're hitting the excellent El Rey Theatre on Saturday, September 13. If you can get your lazy ass to San Diego's Finest Venue that Monday, you're in for a very, very rare treat.

And speaking of a treat, here's something from this post that Microsoft Word suggested I change. The world needs teachers.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Film School + Swervedriver @ The Casbah

It's rare that you get an evening of entertainment as mind-blowing as this in San Diego, but with a sold out crowd, it was clear that the word had gotten around. Swervedriver, a band many of us missed back in the early 90's, attracted a full house of dedicated fans.

As you know, we're pretty big fans of this band, and were pretty pleasantly surprised to find out at the last minute that they'd been added to the Coachella lineup. We'd already purchased tickets for the Casbah show, and it turned out to be a fantastic move.

First up, LA's Film School. I can't remember how I got turned onto these guys, but I found myself listening to their self-titled album about a hundred times in the first month after I got it. It sounded like shoegaze made by people who loved shoegaze.

Film School took the stage a little after 10, and commanded both the stage and the attention of the audience for the duration of their set. Fantastic projections on behind them and ethereal, psychedelic, feedback-drenched atmospheres made me want to go out on a high note. Seriously, I almost decided to leave for fear Swervedriver couldn't top these kids.

I'm glad I stayed. Swervedriver gave a much different performance from the one we saw at Coachella. "It's the venue," said Conner wisely, and indeed it may have been. A Friday night at The Casbah is quite something else than a Sunday afternoon in a tent in the desert. They did a fantastic number of tracks from Mezcal Head (opening with For Seeking Heat, the final encore was Duress) as well as their first album, Raise (Son of Mustang Ford was the first encore, Rave Down was near the end of the set). It was a night of highlights, including Duel, which got the loudest cheers of the evening, and Bring Me the Head of the Fortune Teller, one of the more recognizable tracks from Ejector Seat Reservation.

Honestly, the whole was bigger than the sum of its parts. If you didn't catch Film School, you didn't get the whole picture. I honestly don't remember a bill like this since the legendary Tarantella / Pelican / Mono triple bill a few years back. It was awesome to see a sold out crowd for this one. Swervedriver often gets lost in the list of the original shoegaze artists, even among fans of the genre. Tonight proved that Film School may be the heir apparent of the genre.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ticketmaster / TicketBastard / TicketRapist

I am so fucking sick of this.

First, Ticketmaster crashed while I was trying to get Radiohead tickets for my girlfriend's birthday (ok, they were a little bit for me, too).

Next, when tickets for the show I was so desperately trying to get weren't available, TicketMaster suggested I check some kind of motherfucking sister site, that offered last row tickets at the Bowl for that show $140 (normal price was around 1/4 to 1/3 of that).

Now, I get this email from Andrew Hewitt and Bill Silva advertising tickets "at auction" for various events they're promoting.

On the streets, it's called pimping.

On the Internet, it's called capitalism.

I guess BSP also stands for Butt Sucking Pirates.
Or buttfucking succubus puto.

Come on, add your own, it's fun!!

Gentlemen, you can shove your ivory backscratchers up your asses.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

One Day 'til Coachella - list of stuff to bring

Some of you virgins may wonder what you should bring to the festival.

Let me break it on down for you:
  • Tickets - don't forget these, dingus.
  • Anything that has to do with your hotel rezzers - have you confirmed in the last five minutes? I have.
  • Sunblock - This year it's going to be 98-100 degrees each day. Hehehe. Only the strong survive.
  • Cel phone and charger - 'cuz sometimes you get reception on the field, and when you don't, you can always text
  • ATM card, credit card, and ID
  • several pairs of shorts
  • several t-shirts
  • PJs
  • Unna-ma-pants
  • sox
  • shoes (not good ones, closed-toe, they're going to get dirty)
  • any medications you're going to need to make it a comfortable experience
  • toiletries like toothbrush, toothpaste, contact solution, floss, and for chrissakes, deodorant
  • extra contact lenses
  • glasses
  • music (duh)
  • reading material
  • camera and case
  • $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
all other things can be begged, borrowed or bought, brothers and sisters.

It's Coachella time. See you on the other side.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Four Days 'til Coachella - Metric

OK, first, let's talk about the history.

I discovered Emily Haines, the lead singer for Metric, at Coachella when she sang with Broken Social Scene. She was good enough that I made myself remember her name and look her up after the festy that year.

It was then that I found the band's debut album, Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?, which is actually a really fantastic debut album, especially if you're a teenage girl. OK, OK, so I've got of teen chick in me, you got me.

But seriously, it's good.

I listened to it a ton of times, liking it more on each listen. And then I went to see some friends in Detroit and suggested we go see Metric opening up for another band in that whole Canadian cult of bands, The Stills, who I'd only heard of.

Metric opened up and came out strong, Emily using her sex appeal as much as she possibly could during the show, which was fine with me. She's not unattractive. But then she started getting pissed off that the whole crowd wasn't screaming for them. My friends and I were dutifully bobbing along, singing and cheering.

But I guess that wasn't enough. She got more and more flustered throughout the show, and finally ended up storming off, taking her keyboard with her as she left the stage. I know Detroit audiences have a bit of a reputation, but I think the audience was so indifferent towards the band that it was a bit self-aggrandizing for her to even assume that the band would proverbially cross the street to piss on her synth if were on fire.

During the break, she walked into the audience. My friend noticed her and we flagged her down, complimenting her and thanking her for playing. She had this fucking look in her eye like she'd rather be anywhere else in the world at that time, literally tapping her foot as we tried to explain that we were cheering for her the whole time.

Then The Stills came out and blew them the fuck away. I'm always impressed when a band I've never heard takes the stage and completely holds your attention for the duration. The weird thing is, I haven't heard anything of theirs since.

Now, having said that, I saw them at Coachella a couple of years back, expecting to experiencing the same attitude from her. But Coachella is a weird bird. Everyone in a tent is generally there to see the band that's playing. If people don't like it, they have the choice of four other stages/tents, the food courts, the shwag stand, or even the bathrooms to choose from.

Metric really delivered at Coachella, and Emily was much sexier without the "come on, cheer for us!" attitude. I have to admit, I wasn't quite as into the second album as I was the first, but they really made that show at Coachella something to talk about.

And that time, it was about the music, not about the attitude.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Six Days 'til Coachella - Verve

When the subject of this band comes up, my best friends will tell you not to get involved. Don't discuss this band with him, they warn, you'll see the worst of him.

Let me tell you my tale.

Before they were sued (or whatever) by Verve records, "The Verve" was called Verve. When I first heard of them, I was going to Michigan State University, and I knew several people who worked in the local record store. These guys were the same crew that turned me onto Lush, My Bloody Valentine, Spiritualized, all the bands I've carried in my heart every day since the early 1990s.

Most people don't know that before Urban Hymns, which was total shit compared to everything else they've done, there was A Northern Soul, which was a masterpiece compared to Northern Hymns. Before that was the amazing debut album A Storm In Heaven.

I was introduced to the group when their first three singles came out, All In the Mind, She's A Superstar, and Gravity Grave.

All In the Mind was a bit of a jam for a shoegaze band, which they were back then. It was a great song, complete with driving yet psychedelic guitars and lyrics that were forceful without being angry. But the real surprise was one of the b-sides, A Man Called Sun. Listening to this song was liketaking mescaline in the desert, and even now, it conjures up the feeling of wind and sand blowing through your soul while McCabe's guitar and Ashcroft's lyrics drift through your head.

She's A Superstar is one of those power ballads that alternately soars and explodes. It's almost like Mogwai on quaaludes, a dream for underwater headbanging. Feel, the other track on the single, is even more subdued, and doesn't come close to anything like a rolling boil. It's a great, slow song, best saved for a slow dance with someone at the end of the night after a few bottles of good wine, or a few bowls.

Gravity Grave was the last single the band released before A Storm In Heaven, which was another head shaker. Not quite as rocking as All In the Mind, though more driving in a groove dimension. The b-sides on this weren't quite as strong as the others, including an even more slowed down live version of A Man Called Sun.

When A Storm In Heaven was released, we couldn't believe it. It was at least as good as the singles, and was in line with the sonic flavor Verve had been cultivating throughout the first singles. Somehow, they played Detroit on a Thursday and Grand Rapids on a Sunday, so I knew it was possible to see them twice in four days. I didn't have a car at the time, but drummed up some interest with my roommate Smokey and two other friends, and we took the trip to St. Andrews' Hall. An amazing show.

That Sunday, I was still basking in the afterglow of the show, when another roommate Beth asked me why I wasn't at the show. I told her I didn't have a ride. She grabbed me and two different people and we hopped in her car and headed to the show at The Reptile House in GR.

I remember Acetone opened up, they had this song that blatantly ripped off a riff from Issac Hayes. When Verve took the stage, someone passed Ashcroft a joint. He stepped up to the mic and announced, "Look what someone gave me. Well, we can all share." He hit it, passed it to the band, then passed it back into the audience.

The Reptile House only held about 150-200 people, and makes The Casbah look like an arena. It was one of those shows I'll always remember.

When I saw the group again a few years later at The Palace in Hollywood (now known as Avalon), my friend Jeff and I were all the way up in the balcony. The band had gained quite a bit of notice since we'd seen them back on the first US tour. Something just fell flat with that album and with that show.

I won't go on about how I thought Bittersweet Symphony was one of the worst turns for the band's career ever, or how I pretty much swore them off after that, or what a prick I think Ashcroft is.

Last year, they released The Thaw Session through NME, a UK magazine on par with Rolling Stone here in the states. I downloaded it, and was delighted to hear that it sounded like the old stuff. Not the singles, but sort of like lost recordings between the first and second albums.

I'm actually open to seeing The Verve at Coachella. I know they're going to do some stuff I absolutely abhor, but I have high hopes that they're also going to play some of the amazing songs that I have inside of me despite the sell-out of UH.

I guess the sweet irony is that they never made a dime off of Bittersweet Symphony. Come on, if you're going to steal a song, at least make it good.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

8 Days 'til Coachella - Stars

So tonight, I finally gave a proper listen to Stars, which is frequently referred to as a "Broken Social Scene side project." But let's face it, there's like 50 people in BSS, so it would be like referring to the USA as a United Kingdom side project.

I listened to the band's latest release (to my knowledge), In Our Bedroom After the War, and I have to say I liked it quite a bit. I probably should have listened to Set Yourself On Fire, which has been around longer, has a cooler name, and might be more representative of the group's sound, but fuck it. I'm going to base this review on this particular album.

What I like about it are the not-too-breathy-but-just-breathy-enough female vocals on tracks like The Night Starts Here and Midnight Coward, though same gets a little tired on My Favourite Book.

I like the arpeggiated basslines of songs like this one and the intro, The Beginning After the End. It's instantly catchy, sounding like you might have known this stuff all your life. Maybe that just means it's not the most original chord progression in existence, but if that's true, I don't care. What's original anymore anyway?

Take Me To the Riot sounds like the music Belle and Sebastian *should* be making these days, with its simple yet effective piano riffs and even simpler bass. I should probably comment on the lyrics, but on the first time through I'm just enamored with the catchyness of this track and I don't want to ruin it with too much analysis. I have no idea what they're saying but it doesn't really matter too much. Extra points for using "off" time signatures.

The Ghost of Genova Heights starts a little shaky, but hits strong at the chorus with vox reminiscent of Scissor Sisters, trippy detuned synth and slightly whacked-out delay effects. Yes, me likey that.

Personal is the first track that really gave me goosebumps. It's particularly effective if you've ever had a planned encounter with a stranger. The subdued piano complimented by the warbling pad sound perfectly capture that mixture of excitement and anxiety that accompany one to a blind date. At times it brings to mind that floaty, drugged-out feeling experienced when listening to BSS's Bandwitch.

Stars. Hell yes.

Monday, April 14, 2008

10 Days 'til Coachella - Bond do Role

Hmmm... not sure what the hell to make of these miscreants because they don't talk English and they sample stuff like Man In the Box by Alice In Chains. Plus they're from Brazil, which is the home of both CSS and the infamous Two Girls, One Cup (read: NOT a band).

Sure, I love samples, dirty words in foreign languages, and even the occasional Alice In Chains song if I'm really, really drunk, but somehow I don't see myself crossing the polo field to piss on this band if they were rumored to be on fire. Or "en fuego," if they spoke Spanish, but since they're from Brazil, I'm guessing they won't.

For those of you who like hip-hop, gabber, or other shitty music, don't miss this group. Me, I'll be staring into the sun to maximize my entertainment dollar.

Friday, April 11, 2008

13 Days 'til Coachella - Swervedriver

I don't know how I missed this, or when they were added, but Swervedriver is now on the roster for Sunday at Coachella 2008.

I'm still in shock. I mean, shit, it's possible that someone's hacked the Web site and that Swervedriver isn't really going to be there. It doesn't really matter to me anyway, it would just be a sneak preview of what we're in for at The Casbah on May 30. A welcome preview, nonetheless, but still. I'm sure it will be a much different show, for better or for worse, but I'm down to hear both, as long as they're not up against Love and Rockets or Spiritualized or Justice.

Swervedriver went through a progression, like all good bands do. Listening to the transition from Raise to Mescal Head was logical and invigorating. Although Duel was no Sci-Flyer, it's still one helluva track, and has moments of sheer excellence. In fact, both albums have so many killer tracks it's hard to pin the peak of the band's existence on either of the two releases.

Ejector Seat Reservation was much more subdued, but not necessarily in a bad way. I have fond memories of Bring Me the Head of the Fortune Teller, the title track, and especially Last Day On Earth. Progression's a good thing, and while it wasn't quite as rockin' as the band's previous offerings, it was still in line with what I was hoping for, and still kept my interest.

I have to admit a few things here. First, I only own copies of EJS and 99th Dream, their last album. Also, I went to catch them live with a dear friend of mine one night at The Casbah. I offered to drive, and once we parked the car, we decided to get a bit irie. OK, well, more than that. We figured we wouldn't be walking, much less driving anywhere else for some time, so we kinda blew the doors off.

We stumbled several blocks to the venue and saw another band's name on the chalkboard on the door. I asked the doorman, "Isn't Swervedriver playing here tonight?"

He replied, "Dude, I think I'd know if Swervedriver were playing here tonight."

Sadly, we'd misread the San Diego Reader ad for the show. It turned out they were indeed playing that night, but across town at another club. Being far too intoxicated to drive, we decided to kick around the finer alleys of midtown until I was sober enough to navigate us back to his place in Sherman Heights. We drank homebrew and listened to Raise until we passed out, hoping they'd be back again.

Karma has a strange way of paying off. Now we have tickets to see them at Coachella AND The Casbah.

To quote that kid in Animal House when the half-naked girl flies through his window, "THANK YOU, GOD!"

Thursday, April 10, 2008

14 Days 'til Coachella - Prince

What the fuck?!

Prince was added today as the "Saturday headliner." I immediately checked the page to make sure Portishead was still on the bill. Thankfully, they are.

I'm actually really happy that Prince has been added, but I would have loved him to be added to Sunday, the day that everyone's STILL saying has the weakest lineup. Despite such heavy-hitters as Love and Rockets and Spiritualized, Sunday's headliner of Roger Waters is pretty fucked up.

So now we get Prince on Saturday. Prince was the first concert I ever went to. I was in junior high. I bought a white Hanes t-shirt and dyed it purple with RIT in a pot on my mother's stove. My parents made a lot of jokes about that I didn't get at the tender young age of 14.

My friend Phill's mom's boyfriend took me, him and my friend Dean to Joe Louis Arena in Detroit for the seventh show of seven sold-out shows in Detroit. It was the final night of the engagement and the final night of the tour, and we were in the nosebleed seats of the middle "upper bowl," which is JLA terminology for "shitty seats."

This was 1984, the Purple Rain tour. Shiela E opened up, and rocked the place down to the foundations with a ten-minute percussion solo. Gotta love a chick that can bang. On the drums, I mean, hehehe.

Prince delivered one of the most memorable shows I've ever seen, complete with ejaculating guitar solo. seriously, his guitar sprayed some sort of gizlike substance into the audience. I guess that's when I learned that it's not always the worst thing in the world to be out of the spooge range of a rock star's instrument.

Prince plays Saturday, but in my opinion, Saturday is now totally overbooked.

Keep hope alive for My Bloody Valentine making a surprise appearance on Sunday.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Swervedriver / Film School to play Casbah!! May 30, 2008

Helllllllllllllllllll yess!!!!!! Swervedriver at The Casbah in San Diego.

Back when grunge music was taking over this stupid country, my friends and I were listening to bands you'd never heard of back in 1991. Verve. My Bloody Valentine. Lush. Chapterhouse. Radiohead.


Swervedriver was always the dark horse band of all the Shoegaze artists we listened to, but damn, they were something else. And then, before I could see them live, they broke up.

I saw Spiritualized two nights in a row at London Hammersmith on a somewhat misguided trip to catch up with my friend Bill back in like 2001. I remember he didn't show up the first night, but then I hung out near the will-call window the second night, stalking his ass, and heard his unmistakable voice heading in my direction. We spent an hour outside with some distinguished guests trying to get rid of extra tickets, and saw one helluva show from the balcony.

After the gig, Bill caught up with Tim, the keyboard player, who he'd known for some time. Tim got us all backstage for the afterparty, but while we were waiting, Bill pointed out a person of interest to me.

"See that guy," he said, "you know who that guy is, right?" he asked, somewhat rhetorically.

"No, who is he?" I replied.

"That's the lead singer from (the then-defunct) Swervedriver."

"Really?!" I was amazed. "I'm going to go talk to him. You wanna go?"

"Nah," he scoffed, "I got nothin' to say to that guy."

I walked up to Adam Franklin, a little chuffed, and simply said, "Hey, I just wanted to say thanks for all the great music."

He looked at me quizzically and asked, "Who do you think I am?"

I replied, "You're the lead singer from Swervedriver, right?"

He just kind of smiled and admitted, "Yeah, I am."

That was cool.

Now they're back together, and touring with Film School, who proudly and reverently carry the tradition of shoegaze into the modern day.

To quote our own Three Mile Pilot:

"What is the lesson in this? Bliss! Bliss! Bliss! Bliss!!!!!!"

Sunday, March 9, 2008

46 Days 'til Coachella - The Black Lips

There's a lotta hype about these boys from Atlanta, I tell ya, and I'm listening to 'em now. I only listened to a couple of songs, both from their 2007 release Good Bad Not Evil:
  • Veni Vedi Vici sounds a bit like a song Quentin would have petitioned for the Pulp Fiction soundtrack back in the day.
  • O Katrina! sounds a little more like the typical three chord monte you come to expect from punk bands, with a dash of surf rock thrown in for the fuck of it. Maybe that's genius irony, maybe it's a little too soon to be joking about it, but either way, it's pretty catchy.
I gotta make this quick, 'cuz I got a Masters degree to finally nab, but I think the poppy, punky tunes, along with their rumored antics onstage, could make for a memorable surprise discovery for those of us who haven't seen 'em live.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

60 Days 'til Coachella - Datarock

I have to say that Datarock is not at all what I'd thought from the name and the look of their (twice) self-titled 2007 album (called Datarock Datarock, that's the name of the band twice, get it?), but then again, it's probably best not to judge a book by its cover.

According to Wikipedia, the band hails from Norway, which isn't too hard to believe. The first track on this album makes it clear that English isn't their first language just because of the heavy Scandinavian accents. The sound of the album is varied enough to be interesting, yet cohesive enough to maintain a certain type of sound. The tracks range in feel from electro pop to power punk and everything in-between. Sometimes sounding like yet another band that nods its head to Talking Heads (no pun intended), sometimes sounding like a band that was somehow overlooked for the soundtrack to Repo Man or Decline of Western Civilization (Part I), but always fun, upbeat, and bouncy, never taking themselves too seriously.

So yeah, I'd recommend checking them out. They could be fun.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Radiohead in San Diego August, 2008

I've narrowed it down, I think:

Radiohead have posted their city list for their tour here.

They're confirmed to headline All Points West in NYC on August 8 & 9 (per Pitchfork, here.)

Now there are rumors about Radiohead headlining Outside Lands Festival August 22-24 in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park here (originally found at Pitchfork's site).

So if Radiohead's tour dates are in the order in which they'll be played on their site (which is plausible, except for the jump from Indiana to Los Angeles, then back to Montreal to do more dates in the northeast), then they should be here in San Diego sometime between August 11th and August 21st.

Hmm... maybe I don't have it figured out after all. As long as they're coming, I'm good. It would actually be cool if there was some time between the LA gig(s) and SD show(s) so we could catch them in two places without running ourselves totally ragged.

But hell, it's Radiohead. We'll do what we have to do :)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

63 Days 'til Coachella - Porter

I'm listening to Hatful of Corruption, which I have to hope is some sort of nod to The Smiths Hatful of Hollow, but somehow I doubt it. The music isn't bad, it's a little reminiscent of WIG, minus the charm and enigma of Preston, back in the Detroit scene circa 1991.

The songs are short enough to keep my interest, and I think if I were more into this type of stuff, I'd probably really like it, so points there.

It's just a little hard to put my finger on this, it's got elements of Alice In Chains, the bad stuff from Queen, plus the bad stuff from Monster Magnet. Yeah, not a glowing review, but somehow, it's not all that bad.

Nothing I'll be crushing people to get to the front row for, but nothing I'll poo-poo. I'm so masculine.

I think these guys will either be one of the best bands in the early slots or up against Portishead or some other amazing, relevant band, and even their girlfriends, who are probably only dating them for tickets to the big festy, will sneak off to marvel at the relative glory of some other, more deserving band. Like any other band but American Bang.

Yeah. They don't suck HUGE balls, but they're making kissy-kissy faces at that big scrotum in the sky. Don't cry yourself to sleep if you miss them, but if they're the only thing going on and they're in a tent, it's probably a better option than sunstroke.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

79 Days 'til Coachella - Justice

My friend Benjamin said that Justice was a highlight for him last year, but I didn't get a chance to see much more than the end of their set. I love the Sahara tent, all the smoke, mirrors, and undercover agents that make PLUR a near-reality are always there.

Justice is a little hard to pinpoint, but they can't help but draw comparison to Daft Punk. Maybe 'cuz they're French, maybe 'cuz they're good. But if I had three words to describe their music it would be:

1. Jacking
2. Pumping
3. Pulsating

I'm not sure what I heard when I first listened to this group in May 2007, but for some reason I'm liking what I'm hearing a lot more now than I did back then. I don't know if I'm listening to anything different, maybe just differently. Their sound is about as electro as Vitalic at Training Bra, but maybe I'm finally getting used to that sound. Damn, has it been four years since my friends Bep and Unix launched LA's premiere monthly electro club?!

Who knows? It's just finally clicking for me, and blipping and bleeping and all that other good shit, too.

So if that sounds like something you might be into, by all means, stand behind me during their set.

Monday, February 4, 2008

80 Days 'til Coachella - American Bang


You fuckin' pussies, come on, Van Hagar clones in 2007?!!?!?

These guys have figured out where everyone's been before and have decided that's where they need to be right now.

Hey, assholes, The OC was CANCELLED!!

Finally, the first band I'm not going to be pissed if I'd missed.

Jeebus, to paraphrase myself,

"This band makes me wanna THROW UP!"

Friday, February 1, 2008

83 Days 'til Coachella - Deadmau5

Mmmmm damn, I love electronic music.

I'm just listening to Deadmau5, who are on the not-so coveted smallest-font line for Sunday. That means they could be up against a big headliner like Roger Waters, and that would be just fine with me.

Satisfaction is a groovy, sax riffed house track with just the right amount of electronic sass. Enough repetition to be hooky, but not enough to be annoying. This is the true hallmark of electronic music - does it make you want to dance but leave you wanting more? Yeah. Deadmau5 is some good stuff.

Satisfaction is from their 2005 offering, Get Scraped, which starts off with the Butthole Surfers 22 Going On 23 nod turned progressive breaks track The Oshawa Connection, which brings to mind Vegas-era Crystal Method stuff. But being from Canada, this guy Deadmau5 is anybody's guess, and happily so.

The next track, Intelstat, seats itself firmly and comfortably in the realm of pure (PLUR?) trance (tarnce), and unapologetically pumps through a steady kick/snare line and arpeggiated, flanged and delayed melody. Takes me right back to the turn of the century, and dammit, I'm glad someone is still making good music like this, complete with ethereal chanting, without resorting to crossing into the realm of cheesy hard house.

I remember meeting this one girl, it must have been four or five years ago... she told me that both she and her boyfriend spun records, and when I asked her about her style, she replied, "Hard trance," bopping and smiling like she'd just named her favorite My Little Pony character.

Aah, these kids today. There will be some boppin' in the Sahara Tent when Deadmau5 take the stage. No word yet whether it will be a DJ set or a somewhat live performance, but it's amazing what you can do with computers these days, just ask DJ Peretz.

Oh wait, he uses a DAT. That's not quite a computer.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

84 Days 'til Coachella - Grizzly Bear

Where the hell have I been, and how did I miss these guys?

Dammit!! They're not listed for Coachella. That's really too bad, as they really remind me of early Verve meets, well, an even more reverb-drenched early Verve.

Grizzly Bear
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Saturday, March 1
Walt Disney Concert Hall

They're just really, really good in my book, which means you'll either love them or hate them, as you love or hate me ;)

84 Days 'til Coachella - Man Man

Image from

We've got this pretty cool late-night program on Fox 6 here in San Diego called Fox Rocks that showcases all the music that's coming to town. About 1 1/2 - 2 years ago, I saw an episode that showcased this band opening for The Firey Furnaces at The Epicentre up yonder in Mira Mesa, but nobody else wanted to make the trek. To be fair, it was probably a mid-week deal, and it was definitely an all-ages affair. Two strikes in my circle.

I knew I was missing something pretty good, though I'd never heard more than a brief snippet of what they sounded like. Now that I'm trying to check them out, I'm not finding more than a few samples here and there, but they do sound promising. Reminicent of Tom Waits on Frank's Wild Years (which happens to be my favorite album in a LONG line of close seconds) but I think the hipper among us might draw comparisons closer to Modest Mouse's relatives from The Old Country, wherever that might be (as long as it's Italy or Eastern Europe).

All's I know is that their song Young Einstein on the Beach from their Six Demon Bag album is definitely NOT a nod to the fucking Counting Crows song of nearly the same name.

They're just interesting enough to be intriguing, and just intriguing enough to pull me away from a familiar sure thing playing in the same time slot.

I love that a company that makes rolling papers have a Web site (, and that it features shots of bands like Man Man, Beirut, Blackalicious, and Dinosaur Jr.

Monday, January 28, 2008

87 Days 'til Coachella - The National

I think this band is a good thing.

I heard a couple of tracks tonight from their album, Apartment Story (which is a great name for an album by a band from Brooklyn, by the way) and while I can easily point a finger toward their influences, I like where they're coming from.

The music is honest, simple, and pure, reminiscent of The Pogues with an American (and sober) Shane on vocals. There's a healthy dose of Echo and the Bunnymen thrown in, a tinge of Interpol, and just a hint of The Smiths, all in the right proportions.

The singer also brings to mind the smooth vocal stylings of Morphine's Mark Sandman, whom we lost to a heart attack on stage in Rome on July 3, 1999. I had tickets to see them and Soul Coughing together, but both bands broke up as a result of Sandman's demise.

Hey, at least he died doing what he loved, hey?

The National must be pretty big, because they've got billing on Friday before Pitchfork faves Animal Collective, and one of my favorite Icelandic bands, Múm.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

89 Days 'til Coachella - Modeselektor

OK, so first, I have to admit, I thought the name of the band was MOD SKELETOR, a nod to the less gay villain from the old He Man cartoons, which was, let's face it, pretty gay. Not that I ever watched that shit, but my little brother was into it.

Tonight, Coachella has changed their poster from the day by day look to the "hey look at us, we've got a million fucking acts and you'd just better come for the whole thing to make sure you see it all" look. And who's got top overall billing? Roger Waters. Hmm. OK, not sure if that's the best move, but I'll bet it's all driven by the presale and then the offical onsale tickets from yesterday.

So I decided that tonight was the night to check out MODESELEKTOR. I poked around on the 'net, and, lucky me, I found out that they'd just remixed a Thom Yorke track, from his excellent solo album The Eraser, called Skip Divided. Supposedly it's just come out, and there's also a Burial remix on there that's probably worth its download size in gold, but I'll have to check that out later.

MODESELEKTOR has a bit of a Butthole Surfers thing going on with their homepage, just check out their Web site so you know I'm not lying. Their music is hard to pigeonhole, which is fine with me, because it's a sure sign that I like it. But it does have several things I tend to like, including:

  • Trippy sound effects

  • More reverb than you can shake a stick at

  • Lots of (exclusively?) electronic-generated beats, bleeps and noise

Points off for the weird hip-hoppy track called The Darkside of the Sun, but they offset it with enough Atari 2600-type noise that it's almost forgivable. It feels like you're listening to Sugarhill Gang in a washing machine while blowing tanks away in that old game that came with the 2600, Combat.

Damn, where have all the good games gone?

Friday, January 25, 2008

90 Days 'til Coachella - Architecture in Helsinki

"You know... the architecture in Chicago... always brings to mind the question... How many words have the third letter to be 'k'?"

So said a very far gone Butthole Surfers bassist in a video called Blind Eye Sees All - Butthole Surfers Live in Detroit.

So what does Architecture in Helsinki bring to mind? I'm still trying to figure that out. They're definitely not one of those bands you'd imagine to have mass appeal. Something between a more listenable version of Animal Collective and a less listenable nod to Oingo Boingo or B-52's or something. Like a lot of bands I like these days, the percussion gives a more than subtle nod to Talking Heads, and I can appreciate the fact that they're just weird enough to piss off the squares while the more open-minded among us will eventually be shakin' it to the infectious rhythms of songs like the ones on 2007's Places Like This.

They kinda look like Belle & Sebastian, ya know? But with the hormones in the right places. And unlike the foppy Scots, they don't eschew the electronic psychedelic goodness. Truth be told, we'll probably all be soaking in it. And that's just fine with me.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

91 days 'til Coachella - Kraftwerk

Even though I've seen Kraftwerk twice, once at Coachella 2004 and once at The Greek in LA later that year, I'm still extremely excited to see the founders of electronic music.

I'll never forget watching The Pixies on the main stage that year. It was their first tour in over ten years. The last time I'd seen them was in 1993. After their set, Kim Deal announced into the microphone, "See y'all at Kraftwerk tent!" The crowd stuck around to SCREAM and cheer for about five minutes while the band posed for pictures.

After that, there was a tactile flow of people all swimming towards the Sahara Tent where Kraftwerk had just started. It was nearly impossible to get closer than 40 feet from the tent, but my man Jay grabbed me and shouted something, yanking us both into one of the openings on the audience left side.

We saw people standing in the rafters, a place I never thought would hold human bodies. After each song, the swell of applause was loud enough to be an act all its own.

"For all we know, they were just up there surfing the 'net!" My friend later told me. Sure, watching four bald German guys standing in front of laptops may not be some folks' idea of fun. But for everyone in that tent, it was like watching history unfold. Well, sort of. And not for everyone.

These two teeny-bopper girls were talking back and forth in the tent, trying desperately to understand why everyone was so enamored with the act.

"What's the deal with these guys?" The one asked the other.

"I don't know, I guess they're new or something," replied the other.

Aaaah, youth.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

93 days 'til Coachella - Kavinsky

When: Saturday
Tracks: Wayfarer, Grand Canyon, Testarossa Autodrive
What it sounds like: Jan Hammer meets Vitalic at afterhours

Just listening to this act for the first time, and Wayfarer is just good jumping around fun shit. If I'd heard it for the first time at Coachella I'd definitely be bopping around, flipping here and there like a near-al-dente piece of pasta in hot water. It's kind of got that Miami Vice theme song thing going for it, and kind of sounds like he was hanging out with Vitalic for an elongated weekend before writing it, but man, does it get the point across.

Grand Canyon is a bit more on the grand scale (think Tangerine Dream in Risky Business, but more dramatic and compressed). Hmm, no pun intended there, but maybe they're one step ahead of me. Anything's possible.

With an album (EP?) title like 1986, maybe my observations aren't so stunning. The Tom Cruise flick was released just three years before, and TD was still soundtracking back in '86.

Testarossa Autodrive, from the Teddy Boy offering (2005), sounds a bit like a tribute to the music played during an old-style arcade racing game, the kind where you and seven stoned friends sit down in a basement arcade in a college town and try to outshift each other on a series of Poll Position stand-up machines. Either that, or the music heard during a cut scene from some game lacking grammar check - the kind of game that has errors that would make English teachers' heads explode, and inspire a phenomenon on par with All Your Base Are Belong to Us.

So needless to say, Kavinsky is my first really amazing find for Coachella 2008.

Hey, does anyone want to trade a $0.25 Pinball Pete's brownie for a $0.25 shot of super syrupy cola?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Friday, January 18, 2008

Coachella 2005 Pictures from

A few years back, an angel from one of my email groups gifted me her hotel room for Coachella. I've only spoken to her on the phone once, after I'd checked into the hotel, and haven't spoken to her since, but she's one amazing person.

See, you can't transfer your reservation for a hotel at Coachella. The hotels have waiting lists as long as the lineup for all three days combined, and so you have to just tell the hotel you won't actually be there, but your friend will be showing up and paying the bill. However, if anything goes wrong, whoever booked the hotel gets stiffed with the bill.

I'm not sure what she does, or how she does it, but she's got some of the most AMAZING pictures of Arcade Fire from 2005 up on her site. Check out the whole photo array here:

Please, do yourself a favor and check them out. I'm not sure how she got so close, but she did, and we can all enjoy.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Coachella 2008 - Give Me 'Head


I've been waiting all year to hear who will be headlining Coachella 2008, and all I can say is, those bastards better get me some My Bloody Valentine. I know The Breeders are reuniting, and to be honest, I really don't give a flying fart about them. It's great if you like them, but if you do, you weren't into The Pixies back in the early 90's, when they were still playing shows.

I saw Los Pixos when they played Saint Andrew's in Detroit back in 1993. I'd been experimenting with bootlegging techniques, and thought I was the bee's knees back then, with my little Panasonic cassette recorder and my Radio Shack microphone. I had long hair, and wore contacts, but for that show, wore my glasses so I could wire the mic up the back of my oversize flannel shirt, and up the back of my scraggly long hair.

What resulted was the best boot I'd made to date, though it was totally mono, it was very listenable (early failures included Nine Inch Nails, circa 1990, and Jane's Addiction, circa 1991).

So come on, Coachella, give me 'head. I don't care if it's of the Portis' or Radio' variety, or even Bucket', but help a brother out. I had a dream that Radiohead was headlining (no puns here) Saturday, and that Portishead was the second headliner on Saturday. Yeah, not MY dream lineup, but as long as they weren't playing at the same time...

I mean, yeah, that'd be so amazing, but I'm not stupid. If that lineup does come to pass, please burn me as a witch.