Saturday, September 29, 2007


VILL DU LÅNA EN MAN by Anni-Frid Lyngstad.

More bonus blogging! This time it's bonus Saturday Swedish blogging, dedicated to Laura, in honor of Freddie Ljungberg for having his goal against us ruled out for offside (and then losing), and for any other ABBA and/or Charlie Rich (!) fans out there. Have a good Saturday, and come on Sooners!

...never mind that last bit. Better luck next year!



Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Maine blogging

Just for old time's sake! The Times this morning has an article on Maine microbreweries, and Doug from the Atlantic Brewing Company is featured. Those were the days, huh?

We spent that night in Bar Harbor, the home of our last two microbreweries. The first, early Sunday afternoon, was the Atlantic Brewing Company, home of the ubiquitous Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale, among others. The blueberry brew is a little sweet, and it ships to 21 states.

At the brewery, in the Town Hill neighborhood near Acadia National Park, the company’s owner, Doug Maffucci, was tidying up the grounds, which include a modern warehouse, a barbecue restaurant and a landscaped beer garden.

Mr. Maffucci, 51, a trim Colby College graduate, was at his most animated when he described the little details of the grounds, which was once an apple and dairy farm. “What I love is watching it be full of people, they’re sitting here enjoying it,” he said, “and they’re not even realizing why it’s comfortable. They’ve been driving, or they were in traffic, or they got their lobster dinner about two hours late, and they just sit down and go, ‘Aaaaah.’ ”



VINGSLAG (ft. Johan Tuvesson) by Kalle J.

This track today I'm a little obsessed with. The featured sample will be instantly recognizable to Bacharach/Walker Brothers fans out there (I know there are a few), and is the key to the song. The sample itself is more than a little piercing, sped up, house-y. Everyone knows how you can transform a sound by snipping it and looping into a sample, and there's a little of that going on here. The first time I heard this track, I was skeptical about the sample and the song itself during the first verse, but the sound wormed its way into my head by the end of the song and ends up delivering a decent emotional impact. Hard to describe (evidently!). But I like it. And it comes with a video too! Back to playing around with the ceiling.


Photo: Ceiling cracks (3).


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Paint the ceiling, part 1

First of a series, hopefully, and hopefully one which doesn't end in tears.

We've been needing to repaint the ceiling in our living room for the longest time. Towards the front of the room, there are a constellation of ceiling cracks that have gotten progressively worse over time. They've long since driven Amy to distraction, whereas I've been pretty good at ignoring them (in part because I figured I would be the one to have to fix them. I was right).

With Google, a paint store down the block, some able friends and relatives, my resources are actually pretty good. Good enough to overcome my ineptitude? (We'll leave that question unanswered for the time being.)

Today we started our project in earnest. First I investigated. I climbed up onto a chair and felt one of the cracks. Snap! Is paint supposed to snap off in big tiles like that? This is going to be a mess. So after staring at the ceiling a while longer, Martin and I took one of the chips down to the paint store to find out what we'd need to fix the ceiling and to match colors.

So we walked into the store and found a salesmen. "What do I do about this?" I asked, handing him my chip. "Well you'll have to peel back all that paint, spackle it, sand it, prime it, and paint it." "Yeah I guess so huh." (I didn't promise there would be anything remotely interesting about this project, by the way, which is why it's hidden below the fold.) I looked through some paint colors (it's "true white"), browsed around the store a little bit, and didn't buy anything. Real effective.

Now I'm back home blogging instead of painting. This will probably end up being a 46 part series if every installment is as incremental as this one!



BE PART by Kocky (feat. Jens Lekman & Rosanna).

You may recall (I'm sure you do!) that last December we posted a podcast that Stu did with Jens Lekman over in Iceland. You can watch it again here. During their little chat, Stu asked Jens how his new record was coming along, and Jens said it was almost finished. Fast forward to today and it is quite finished (but hasn't yet been released in the U.S.A.). Definitely pick it up on October 9, it's excellent.

Jens was also talking about about how much he enjoyed collaborating with other artists in the podcast, and today's track is the fruit of one such collaboration. What little I've read about Kocky is his debut album was a big deal this summer in Sweden, and on the evidence of "Be Part" (aka "Be Part Of It All"?), the hype is deserved. It's pop electronic dance music not a million miles from Justice or Daft Punk. It's so good it has a video! Check it out below the fold.


Photo: Ceiling cracks (2).


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"Let us be frank about it: most of our people have never had it so good"

I was going through the archives of the blog last night looking for something and noticed that I used to post a little bit more than just a song every Monday-Wednesday-Friday. I got away from it once I started wedding blogging, but I don't have an excuse now.

Sometimes I wrote a little bit about sports. During the first couple of months of this year, when Arsenal were playing really well, there were quite a few posts. Then Arsenal lost the Carling Cup final, Henry and Van Persie got hurt, the season petered out, so that stopped. But now, well, now we've never had it so good! Apart from winning a trophy, have we ever had such a good week? We crushed three teams, including Spurs, quite convincingly, and went top of the league for the first time since 2004. Cesc Fabregas has come of age much like Ronaldo did last year. We announced that we are now the "richest" club in England and have loads of money in the bank. Not to mention the oft-predicted and much-anticipated Chelsea implosion may have finally begun! Beauty!

Things change quickly, so the saying goes, and that's true, but who cares about tomorrow, let's enjoy it while it lasts, etc etc.

The other football team is ticking over nicely too, coping pretty well with a tricky Tulsa team and solidifying its place as the best of the "other" undefeated teams after USC and LSU. As a bonus, OSU's coach has made himself an international Youtube laughingstock by losing his cool over some stupid newspaper article. (Personally, I think "laughingstock" is a little generous. Yes, he looks completely ludicrous stalking the podium like he's Howard Beale. But it's no surprise, and a little creepy, that the target of his mad as hell grandstanding happens to be a childless woman. That'll show her, eh Mike?)

Anyway, another thing we were doing on the blog is noting births among our crew. As many of you know, Nick, a very-pregnant Kim, and Sabina were at the wedding last month, and now it's Nick, Kim, Sabina... and Ramona! Here's Ramona and her sister. Too cute!

I'm heading home for a little bit next week so I picked out the next series of tunes last night. I like them, but they aren't too hip. So enjoy this week's hipness while it lasts, don't worry about tomorrow, etc. etc.


Monday, September 24, 2007


WHEN I GO GYMNASTIQUE by Société des Admirateurs.

Good excuse for the late start this morning: we narrowly averted another flooding event at the casa. Some hose in our kitchen was leaking and when I went to check it out it practically came off in my hands--rotten. Fortunately we caught it quickly and except for having no water for a couple of hours I think we'll be fine! In the meantime I think we're going to try to figure out how to paint our ceiling, so it's all housework all the time.

Things may be dull and domestic in real life, but I've been wanting to get a little hip-hip-hipper here on the blog. To that end, I've been making concerted efforts to listen to more Swedish music this year, because the Swedes are the coolest cats on the planet. Except for the Greenlanders (maybe), but you never know.

My favorite resource for music for Sweden has been a blog called Swedes Please. A couple months ago I randomly pulled up a track by a group called Société des Admirateurs. I can't say why I did that, but I'm glad I did. It's a super cool piece of Eurodisco, and it makes this blog immeasurably hipper, starting today.


Photo: Ceiling cracks.


Friday, September 21, 2007


PANDORA'S BOX by Procol Harum.

As far as I'm concerned, Procol Harum is one of those awful groups that has an inexplicable cult following, like "Whiter Shade of Pale is fine, but you should really check out 'Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra' if you want to hear true prog genius." No thanks.

So is there any Procol Harum worth listening to? How about their last album, produced by Lieber and Stoller, and absolutely despised by their "true" fans. Maybe, though counterintuition only takes you so far (the album is called "Procol Harum's Ninth" [Beethoven get it?] after all). Maybe, mainly because of the majesty of the lead single, Pandora's Box.

This is excellent art pop. A bit of exotic instrumentation (marimbas still being a little unusual in 1975), a little swing to balance the ...ambitious lyrics, overall it strikes a good balance between the art and the pop.


Photo: West side.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007


SUBMARINE DOWN by The Negro Problem.

Next up is Submarine Down by The Negro Problem, a.k.a. Stew. I heard Submarine Down a couple weeks ago on East Village Radio during a set by Greg Caz. I made a note of it and went to get it on Amazon. Unfortunately, their first album is out of print, so no luck there. But strangely enough, the song was available on iTunes, so I got my own copy beamed to my computer from Steve Jobs.

Instant hooks, this song. A fun nerd game might be to pick out the songs it sounds like. Yellow Submarine, of course (Well, it actually sounds like more Beatlesque than Beatles). My pick for soundalike song would be Vanishing Girl by the Dukes of Stratosphear (a song I'd post if I hadn't put up Brainiac's Daughter a few months ago). Maybe you can come up with a better one. Regardless, an excellent art-pop song, definitely worth a listen.


Photo: Charlton Street.


Monday, September 17, 2007


COULDN'T I JUST TELL YOU by Todd Rundgren.

(Prelude: We had an eventful weekend here--Friday night Amy and Windy and Sabina and Martin played DDR all night while I was off with Ned and John and Alex listening to the Walkmen try out some new tunes in Williamsburg. Saturday morning was the most enjoyable football match in a long, long time. No analysis here, but I scared Sabina a lot by screaming at Abou Diaby through the TV, then doing three silly jigs in quick succession. Then Saturday afternoon Amy and I went out to an Oktoberfest party hosted by the Piepers. We were in full (fake) Bavarian gear and had a blast. Yesterday we recovered.)

Anyway, back to the tunes. I sat down for a bit this morning and tried to decide what to play. I've stumbled into a lot of great new stuff the last week or so and nearly put that up. The new Jens Lekman, in particular, is a pleasure. But for today I decided to put up a classic. Something/Anything?, is a super album, and unlike "Greetings From L.A.," it's an album my Dad managed to share around back in the old days. Couldn't I Just Tell You? is possibly the best cut there, at least the best song you might not have heard a million times. Archetypal power pop.


Photo: Vandam Street.


Friday, September 14, 2007




Today is a special treat whether you know it or not. During the 90s when CDs were the primary mode of delivering music, there were periodic fads for "hidden tracks" on the discs. The first kind of these hidden tracks would simply be extra songs tagged on at the end but not listed on the label. Pretty soon they would add a period of silence between the last song and the hidden track (kind of like an extra movie scene after the credits have rolled, you have to stay around until the end). I think they did this on both Pearl Jam's first album and on "Nevermind," to name just two. Occasionally the hidden track would be given its own track number (often track 69, how clever).

The cleverest (not to say lamest) innovation was the use of pre-track gaps to hide tracks before the first listed song on the album. Meaning, if you put the CD in and played it, the music would start with track one, but if you put it in, played it, then immediately rewound backwards, you could scroll all the way back to the beginning of a hidden track and listen from there. Extremely annoying, even more so because iTunes doesn't recognize these tracks, making them more or less inaccessible to people that listen to music with iPods.

Blur's most recent CD, "Think Tank," has one of these hidden tracks on it called Me, White Noise. It features Phil Daniels talk-singing, a little like he famously did on Parklife. It's also pretty good. But I hadn't heard it in years (see above). A year or two ago, I came across an alternate version of the song with Damon doing the vocals. Worth hearing. But last night I decided I'd try again to free the original version. It turns out that with a couple of simple programs and a little elbow grease, you can record digital copies of the CD, including hidden tracks, and then convert to mp3. Which is exactly what I've done here. So without further ado, here are two versions of a rare Blur song. Have a nice weekend, be well.



Photo: World Cup Final (3).


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It's all fun and games until someone loses...

...and you'll have to click the link to find the answer to the latest development in the OU-Texas rivalry. Some friends and I used to meet in a bar every Christmas to exchange presents and catch up on life. One year we convened in that Henry Hudson's pub, but everybody left with their organs intact, as far as I know.




January 2001997 John and I drove down to all the way down to Austin from Waco to buy two CD singles. The pre-leak internet era, obviously.

I'm pretty sure we found them at Waterloo Records, but no matter. I do remember it was getting late when we got back in the car, we listened to both of them about 5 times each, then called Corbett right away to come over to hear for himself when we got back.

Woodpigeon Song was a B-Side to CD2 of the Beetlebum CD single (which is what we'd gone to Austin to get). For whatever reason, probably due to the lengths we went to to get it, I've always been a big fan of Woodpigeon Song. It doesn't go out of its way to be charming. It's just an incomplete demo, no bridge, draft vocal, cheapy sound effects... but honestly I love it. I'm told by iTunes (it's sad I know this, but I do) that in the last 5 years it's in my top-5 most-played Blur songs, just ahead of the A-Side itself.


Photo: World Cup Final (2).


Monday, September 10, 2007



Up on the island I dropped in on somebody's conversation about five best bands in the world and they put me on the spot. I got to three, I think. The third band I named was Blur, which surprised myself and made me lose my train of thought. Blur? No one that knew me in college would be surprised at that, but college was a while ago now. And I don't much listen to Blur all that much anymore. But in vino veritas, so the other day I decided I'd have a listen to the back catalogue and see how I felt. I only listened to Parklife and had really mixed feelings. On the one hand, I loved it; on the other, it is so strongly associated with a particular period of life (the Shiloh years, for short) that I didn't much connect with the music itself.

Then I went on youtube looking for some vintage Blur footage from 95-97, and surprisingly didn't find that much. I did watch this video from the 1995 Brat Awards, which appropriately enough made me laugh and wince in equal measure.

That's all a long-winded way of getting to this sentence, which says that I decided that in the very least I should put up a few Blur rarities this week. First is Beachcoma, a b-side from their For Tomorrow single. Over the years this drowsy, languid sound has shown up more and more in Blur's front line material, but as of The Great Escape the band had a famous disjunction between their poppy A-Sides and their stoned B-Sides. Beachcoma is a good example of the latter.


Photo: World Cup Final (1).


Friday, September 7, 2007


My favorite candy bar and favorite drum break. possibly. plus gorillas. Also, I love this comment: "rubbish - explain it to me please!" Someone should rename their blog that.

via TTL Estoy Con Stupido.



NIGHTHAWKIN' by Tim Buckley.

Happy Friday to you! I know a lot of people my age are big fans of Jeff Buckley, who's been dead ten years and only released one album. It's always been curious to me, not because he's sh*t, but his dad, Tim, was such an underrated superstar. where's Tim Buckley's cult following?

That's my feeling about it, which makes it a little embarrassing for me to admit to you that there's one album of Tim's that until recently I'd never really listened to: "Greetings From L.A." It's embarrassment and regret, regret because I sure as hell wish I'd been listening to this record ten, twelve years ago, back when I was young and single. What a monster sound he gets, and it's so, so raunchy. I have a vague memory hearing that the reason why I shouldn't bother with this record because it was 'ridiculous' and 'decadent' and Buckley had 'lost his muse' or 'sold out' or something, but that's dumb. This is a great album. Nighthawkin' isn't one of the great songs on it, but it's short and sweet, and I love the guitar fills climbing all over the singing girls. That's all I've got. Enjoy your weekend. No Arsenal (but more Arsene), but Oklahoma is lining up against Miami, so we're not short of entertainment.


Photo: Balikci Sabahattin.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007


LORD HELP ME by Donny Hathaway.

As I've picked back up music blogging here on the sly, I feel like I'm only writing for an audience of one (or maybe three: Hi Mom & Dad!), so I'm not as concerned about picking any particular theme this week. This week's theme is "songs I've been listening to lately." Unless it becomes something different on Friday.

Lord Help Me was something that was bouncing around in my head a lot the week or two before the wedding, which was at least amusing because I certainly felt comfortable with everything going on. But privately amusing, because I wasn't going to risk bringing it up. Both because I didn't want to be put on the couch just then, and also because who wants to spurn help wherever it comes from? Plus, it's got a great communal vibe to it with those backing vocals that I was hoping would be there for the wedding itself--it helped me get in the mood.

Anyway the main reason for listening to it is a) it's a great song, and b) I'm pretty sure Soul Sides had only recently posted it--in any event it only just got put on my radar. I hope you enjoy it too, now that it's on your radar.


Photo: Scaffolding.


Monday, September 3, 2007


THE GIFT THAT KEEPS GIVING by Super Furry Animals.

Happy Labor Day! We're very much trying to get back into the swing of things here, but the world is conspiring to make it easier for us. Our flight from Turkey landed early, Sarah had the apartment well in hand, Martin was happy to see us, I got to watch all of the Arsenal highlights from the past three weeks, I got to see Oklahoma hang half a hundred on some team in the first half, Arsenal won in style yesterday, and we had good company for dinner both nights we've been back. And, to the extent we're recovering from jet lag, we have an extra day off to sort that out!

Still, I'm not fully back on my game yet so I won't bore you with too much commentary on the song today. It's from the Super Furry Animals' latest release, and it's been a favorite here for a couple of months. It fills me with good vibes.


Photo: Ferry on the Golden Horn.