San Diego Radio Sucks Quite A Bit

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.