Five Democrats opposed the public option: Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.).
Wed, Sep 30 - Born to Run
Fri, Oct 2 - Darkness on the Edge of Town
Sat, Oct 3 - Born in the U.S.A.
Thur, Oct 8 - Born to Run
Fri, Oct 9 - Born in the U.S.A.
This one deserves a bit of a review. One thing to keep in mind regarding my ratings: As you might suspect, my grades are obviously skewed towards my interests. This is one of the highest ratings I've lobbed thus far, but I certainly wouldn't put this up there with a lot of the great fiction I've read over the past few years. The reason for the high mark is how closely this book hit home.
Merge Records has always been one of my favorite labels. They signed Richard Buckner, arguably one of the best songwriter of the past 15 years, yet someone who likely doesn't eclipse 2,500 in overall sales per record, and they signed him when his minimal popularity was already fading. They have also put out some of the best records of the past 15 years, most notably 69 Love Songs, Girls Can Tell and Funeral. But most importantly, Mac and Laura at Merge affirmed why I decided to pursue a career in music from the outset. They are undoubtedly in it for the right reasons. They release music that they love, often times knowing that the music won't sell. But they just can't help themselves. When something dives deep, they need to be the conduit to get it out there. This is what music was about prior to the post-Nirvana world, but has been lost in many corners of an industry scratching to keep their inflated expense accounts and overnight platinum records.
Over the course of 13 years in music, I searched for such a home time and again. I found such a feeling in one company and after a near three-year run at said company, it was heartbreaking when it came to a close. But now 20 years in, Merge Records has made it, and they've done it with class, passion, spirit, honesty and most importantly, taste. This book takes you inside that world. From the years on the road as Superchunk to the explosion that was the release of the Arcade Fire's first record, we're let inside this incredibly exciting yet challenging world of an independent label. Thank you to the folks at Merge for doing what they do.
- This Merge book is thus far the most personally satisfying book I've read in ages. Every story and line has me giddy, and man I hate the word giddy. Reading about the beginnings, Jeff Mangum's love for wiffle ball and Stephin Merritt's crazy thinking is just heaven to me. This is the stuff I live for.
- Hearing of the demise of Rhino Records is unbelievably sad. Rhino is one of the few major label subsidiaries that still puts out excellent music.
- It's also tough to read about the continued demise of last.fm. This has been my favorite digital music site for the past five years and it just appears that CBS was not the right fit. Almost all of the folks who built the company have jumped ship.
- I really want to see this.
- This is the first year where I've completely lost interest in football. I'm now a one sport jackass.
- I have Sundazed on my mind. Oh my, do I.
- The first two songs on the next Thao record are very great.
- Tomorrow I head East for a few weeks and then I hope to head to Central America for a bunch of days (leaning towards Guatemala). I would say that my posts will be infrequent, but I highly doubt that will happen.
The post party at that classic bar in DUMBO will never be forgotten.
01 Laminated Cat.mp3 - Loose Fur
Some classic quotes:
"I suggested a Doug Sahm song or something for us to cover. And Mac said, 'I don't quite think that's the direction we're going with this, Laura. Here's our new song 'Smoking Hooch with the Flume Dude.'" (Laura Cantrell)
"We had a band called Dust Buster, in which the main instrument was a dust buster. It was, like, high concept." (Jim Wilbur)
"I met Mac one night at a party at my house, when he was literally rifling through my records. And I had this Buzzcocks record, this weird import, that he hadn't seen. That was our first conversation." (Glenn Boothe)
"Steve kept saying my leads were like the guy from REO Speedwagon, which was intended as an insult. But I secretly took a small amount of pride in that, because I was a big REO Speedwagon fan when I was twelve." (Mac McCaughan)
"When we got to Boston we were blown away that we got $300! Between 18 people! We were just cold-calling people saying, "You know, we've got a three-band bill. We have a 7-inch." (Jim Wilbur)
Full review upon completion.
All that being said, there are a few programs right now that represent some of the best television in a pretty long time. And this past week's episodes affirmed that claim. If you've chucked the TV or have it on the permanent off mode, these shows may provide some reason to tune back in:
Curb Your Enthusiasm : This season's premiere was one of the best episodes in years. The show has suffered a bit the past few seasons, but last weekend's opener was superb. There were about ten lines or moments that had me laughing like a bearded asshole. "I'm an 82 man, myself."
Mad Men : I know this one's obvious, but this show really is that good. They occasionally falter (the awful dance scene with Campbell), but overall, this is about as good as TV dramas get.
The Office : Arguably the funniest sitcom ever.
Bored To Death : Alright, I've only seen one episode, but any show 1. on HBO, 2. based in Brooklyn and 3. starring Schwartzman, must be classic.
Hung : Pretty excellent first season.
Entourage : Not as good as it used to be but still certainly worth the 30 minutes.
The next to come to mind would be Ramsay Midwood. Sometime around 2000, I walked into the Lakeside Lounge in New York and heard the opening to the track "Spinnin On the Rock." Instead of taking my usual seat at the bar, I stepped past the jukebox and into the small back room. Midwood sat alone, guitar in hand, and transported me to the Mississippi Delta or the swamps of somewhere. I sat for about an hour and listened to a style and authenticity that I can't remember seeing in some time. It was like listening to Junior Kimbrough but he looked like a messier Larry Brown. When the show ended, I picked up the wonderful Shoot Out at the OK Chinese Restaurant and listened for weeks. Midwood has done very little since, but that night, and this record, remain entrenched in my musical mind.
via the Matador blog:
Ever since that fateful night in late 1999 when Pavement left the public eye with a final show at London’s Brixton Academy, we’ve often fantasized about the day when we could finally tell the world “yes, Brooklyn Vegan scooped us, Pavement are back.”
After years of speculation, the most important American band of the 1990’s is returning to the stage, with the lineup of Mark Ibold, Scott “Spiral Stairs” Kannberg, Stephen Malkmus, Bob Nastanovich and Steve West reuniting for dates around the world in 2010. Please be advised this tour is not a prelude to additional jaunts and/or a permanent reunion.
Described in their own Wikipedia entry as having experienced “moderate commercial success”, Pavement’s catalog for the Matador, Domino, Drag City and Treble Kicker imprints has come to define in the eyes of many the blueprint for independent rock over the past generation. In spite of this, the records are still pretty fantastic, and we’re fully prepared to remind you of such with a details-to-be-determined compilation album planned for release sometime in 2010.
The first show announced is a New York performance on September 21, 2010 at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. Things worked out really well when Diana Ross played Central Park in 1983, and we have no reason to suspect Pavement’s return to the live arena won’t generate similar headlines.
A pre-sale begins at 10:00 AM EDT on Friday, September 18, 2009 (tomorrow). The password for the pre-sale is ZOWEE . The general on-sale is slated for 10:00 AM EDT on Friday, September 25, 2009. Please note that tickets will be available without surcharges from the Nokia Theatre box office in Times Square and from Earwax at 218 Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg.
The new Spiral Stairs LP/CD/digital album ‘The Real Feel’, Scott Kannberg’s first album under the S.S. nom de plume after two Preston School Of Industry long-players, is available October 20, 2009. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks are playing 4 Australian shows later this month, and plan to begin recording their 5th album in the near future.
This is the most transparent example of political corruption yet. If Baucus can pull this off, then the entire Democratic party should be replaced in the next election. At least the Republicans don’t say they want to help the people as they’re stabbing us in the back. They just get to the stabbing. -JCon
About 63 million Americans voted for Obama back in November, and I'd imagine that a large portion of those were firmly behind health care reform, and reform that included a public option. After months of bickering, lies, and little other than selfish concern from Congress, Obama's proven, thus far, to be severely lacking in conviction and leadership with respect to this cause. He's let Max Baucus and a handful of others shape the bill, and not only does the Baucus bill not contain a public option, but it doesn't have any republican support. If the right won't support this, why on Earth was a public option not included? And where's Obama been on all of this? Sure, he talks a lot, but what are his positions? He's made the public option out to be of little importance, when in reality, it's hands-down the most important component of real reform. He may still get a bill, but it won't be reform. This is not change.
And then there are the two wars. Where is Obama on Iraq? Will troops still be out by next year? Afghanistan? As things continue to spiral, what are Obama's plans? All I've heard is "more troops." Really? That's all you've got. What about Bush's tax cuts? Haven't heard a peep about those. The environment? Is this even part of his agenda?
I like Barack Obama. I welcomed his presidency with elation. But he has gotten off to a poor start and I'm starting to wonder if he has the backbone and fortitude to run a country that can so easily be taken over by special interests, the media and well, just about anyone with a loud voice and a compelling lie. Obama has proven to be a strong closer, and on issues like health care reform and two wars, I sure hope that legacy rises once again.
On October 3rd, I'm set to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band for what I can imagine may be the last time. With Springsteen turning 60 in a few weeks and a portion of the band in their mid-60s, I'm guessing that Bruce soon goes it solo.
I would estimate that I've seen Springsteen about 40 times, at least ten of which have been at Giants Stadium, where I will be seeing him this go 'round.
Since I'm fairly certain that both Bruce and Jon Landau check in on this blog regularly, I'd like to provide my dream set list.
Shut Out the Light
The Price You Pay
Janey Don't You Lose Heart
Devils & Dust
Adam Raised a Cain
Incident on 57th Street
Darkness on the Edge of Town
Reason To Believe
Racing in the Street
I'm on Fire
Working on the Highway
4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
This Hard Land
Wild Billy's Circus Story
Tenth Avenue Freeze Out
Born To Run
The Ties That Bind
For some reason, despite being very different bands, I always think of Big Star and The Replacements as playing in some bizarre league together. Perhaps it's just that they're two fantastic bands that never really got their due, Big Star especially. Most of my good friends are more fanatical about The 'Mats and while I adore both, I've always sided with Big Star.
Sometime in the early 90s, Big Star were essentially my introduction to power pop. Around this time, I recall going to an all-vinyl record store in a run-down Jersey town with my brother. As was always the case when we stepped into a record store, we both manically jumped from letter to letter trying to land that huge "find" before the other. On this day, I hit the jackpot with #1 Record and Radio City. I already had the CD, which included both records, but to have them separately, and on vinyl, well, I was sweating with excitement.
If you don't own a Big Star record, seriously, just buy the box set, and buy it tomorrow. This is a fantastic band, better than just about any active artist right now.
"In My Hour of Darkness" : The Rolling Creekdippers
"Love's Gonna Live Here Today" : Buck Owens
"Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" : Ramblin' Jack Elliott
"Atomic Power" : Uncle Tupelo
"Boil My Strings" : The Gourds
"I Still Can't Believe You're Gone" : Willie Nelson
"Sin City" Beck & Emmylou Harris
"She Thinks I Still Care" : George Jones
"He Don't Care" : Kelly Willis
"Blue Eyes" : The International Submarine Band
"Surprise, AZ" : Richard Buckner
"Long Gone Lonesome Blues" : Hank Williams
"Looking at the World Through a Windshield" : Son Volt
"Black Soul Choir" : 16 Horsepower
"Redemption Song" : Johnny Cash & Joe Strummer
"Sing Me Back Home" : Merle Haggard
"Spinnin on the Rock" : Ramsay Midwood
"Reaction" : The Figgs
"Broke My Heart" : Tim Easton
"Lucky Shoe" : September 67
"Magic In Here" : The Go-Betweens
"Powderfinger" : Neil Young
"Safe and Sorry" : Nathan Moore
"You Try Sober" : Absentee
"Triggers and Trash Heaps" Centro-matic
"Orangeworker" : For Squirrels
"Winter Time" : Drug Rug
"Testament To Youth In Verse" : The New Pornographers
"My Heart's Not In It Anymore" : The Steinways
"Started" : Chip Robinson
In the retirement community of Vizcaya in Delray Beach, Fla., retiree Judy Goldstein said she had been fearful of the rumors of "death panels" and was encouraged by what Obama said to try to clear up confusion.
"I was listening to all the negative things, especially since I am a senior citizen. I said, 'Oh my god, they are going to put me to sleep,'" she told NPR.
"I don't consider myself stupid, but I was really believeing it, because I did not vote for him," Goldstein said. "A lot of things about him I did not like, so I am glad I heard this tonight."
From 1996-2000, Brett and Rennie Sparks, otherwise known as the Handsome Family, put out three consecutive great albums, but since then it's really been one clunk-job after another. This year, after nearly a decade of forgettable efforts, they've returned with Honey Moon, a record so consistent from top-to-bottom that it may indeed be their best. I suggest you buy it either via eMusic or via somewhere else.
The Glands : The Glands
John Cale : Vintage Violence
Leonard Cohen : New Skin For the Old Ceremony
The Brian Jonestown Massacre : Take It From the Man
- "I am not the first president to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last." Perfect.
- Wonderful start: convincing, heartfelt and tough.
- Mitch McConnell does not put me in a good mood.
- "Those on the left?" Isn't that your side Mr. President? Oh lord, he's heading down the compromise route again.
- Will he just call Max Baucus an asshole already?
- Nice three points but way too vague. There better be specifics on the way.
- Okay, here they come.
- If I don't hear "public option" in the next 90 seconds I'm putting on "Hoosiers" and playing nerf hoops.
- Thus far, I am not all that impressed; sounds pretty watered-down.
- McCain's pumped.
- Did Biden just nod off?
- Finally he explains the massive costs of ER visits, debunking the "Why should I pay for his/her health care" that most self-serving Americans use as their main reason to oppose.
- The republicans remain seated as Obama shoots down the "death camps" claims. What imbeciles.
- Finally mention of the public option. But man, he doesn't sound convincing in his support of it. It's amazing that he can't ask Americans to help pay for a public option, yet we can pay for two wars, out-of-control defense spending and a million other wasteful things.
- Oh lord, he's still reaching out to republicans?? Good luck.
- Cantor is texting. What an ass.
- Diane Feinstein is clearly baked.
- I really wish the chamber turned into a full-on rumble.
- I'm not impressed thus far. He's compromising again instead of making this a moral initiative.
- They've had six months to come at you with "serious proposals." Give it up, Barack; it ain't happening. Huge mistake to invite these fools into the discussion again.
- "The character of our country." Damn straight, Barry. It's something that seems completely lost right now.
- Pretty solid close. "We did not come here to fear the future. We came here to shape it."
- If we were to live in a highly-educated country, that speech would have been universally championed. Since we do not, I'm skeptical.
All told, I'd give it a B. I think he still has a shot of getting some sort of bill passed, but it'll likely be a skeleton of what it should be.
Back to Yanks.
Thao's first record We Brave the Bee Stings and All was among my favorites of last year and one of the few 2008 releases that I still listen to often. Her soph release Know Better Learn Faster is due on Oct 13 via Kill Rock Stars. If you purchase via the KRS site, you can get discounts on a show in your neighborhood. I'm totally doing it. Buy stuff.
The next six months or so was a mix of babysitting, setting up gigs at anywhere that would take us (the two highlights being Irving Plaza and a night in Boston where we nearly killed each other), drinking, listening to revisions and repeat. I remember showing up at his apartment one Sunday afternoon and seeing the joy on his face as he was about to play me "When I Fade" for the first time. He played it once. I asked him to play it again. I was blown away. I couldn't believe that I was playing an integral role in this record. Well, I didn't add a note or a lyric, but I was on hand for the entire process.
When it was finally completed, with touches added from Chip Robinson, Ambel, Anna Goodman, Mike Daly and others, I had in hand an incredibly personal and naked expression of an artist and person leaving everything for all to see.
To this day, my involvement on this record brings on incredible pride. Every song is stunning, and to have been there to witness their formation, is something I won't soon forget.
I've recently found a lot of parallels to what's happening in our country to the behavior that we all witness on Facebook. Like many, I have a wide array of "friends" on Facebook, ranging from "real" friends to colleagues present and past to a whole slew of assholes I went to high school with. (I mean seriously, have the 100 additions from high school brought on one rekindled friendship? No. (Ok, Dan L. and Jill A. are exceptions.) The majority of you annoy me even more now than you did in the halls of our tedious high school.) But to the point: If you even keep up casually with people's updates, photos, etc., everything we're witnessing above is really just a steroids-version of what we see on this social-networking service. Most updates are "Look at me here," "I have the best kids ever," "I ate dinner with (insert b-list celebrity)," "Look at my new car," "I am a serious asshole." It's just nonsensical self-inflated basura. You'd think that such a massive and open community would inspire people to communicate, share knowledge, share the arts, share real-world experiences. But no, it's a bunch of fools running around flexing their muscles. Some will say that I do the same as I'm always inserting links back to my half-assed blog, and honestly, they'd probably be right. But I, at least, try to share some music or art that inspires, a policy issue that I'm passionate about or something of value.
Do I sound bitter? Perhaps. But I'm just growing increasingly baffled at what a self-centered society we all call home. Because to me, it's starting to feel less and less like home.
If anyone has any tips, please hit me up at ccsbandwagon at gmail dot com.
- I have 100 eMusic credits and literally can't find anything. Maybe my five-year run is about to come to an end. (I do appreciate the 50 freebies eMusic just tossed my way. I suppose that massive price increase didn't go over so well?)
- Eugene Robinson talking about the possibility of a democrat running against Obama in 2012. I know, it's a bit early (like, *really* early), but dems are so on edge about this health-care bill that they could abandon Obama in droves. I do appreciate the progressive caucus saying: "no public option, we vote no." Wait, there are elected leaders with courage? Obama's presidency is growing more tenuous by the day. If he had stood firm with the public option from the outset, it would pass with flying colors. Now we'll be lucky if we all get a free toothbrush.
- I went on perhaps my first "hike" ever today, and I must admit, it was quite enjoyable. After gumping for a few miles, I found myself still full of energy and commenced booking into the woods and up some fairly steep inclines. When I hit the top and Slobberbone's "Your Excuse" kicked in, I nearly jacknifed into the bay.
- On the way home, I stopped into Safeway to pick up some nuggets. Comedy moment: I asked the bubbly lady at the deli counter how the turkey was (I haven't eaten turkey in probably two years) and she offered up a sample, which, no joke, was at least 3/4 lb. I laughed and held it up. "It's delicious," she said.
- How tedious were the Facebook health care status updates today? Good lord are Americans lazy slobs. How about e-mailing or calling your representative? I'm not saying some aren't, but many probably feel they've done their job by copying and pasting someone else's idea into their silly Facebook update.
- The next time I hear someone say "killing it" in reference to a band, I likely may use those two words on myself. "Fail" comes in a close second.
- As I consider the possibility of moving, I've yet to even mull an American city. I don't have the first clue how to go about moving to Canada or somewhere else where I can get away from the flag-waving, eagle-tattooed bigots that seem to actually have influence in policy debates, but I outta explore.
- I'm in for Springsteen at Giants Stadium on Oct 2 and 3. I'm wondering if I can make it to Kansas City to see Wilco on the 6th. I'm also wondering if Frank White will let me crash on his couch. Add in Dylan in Berkeley on the 11th and that's my top three of all-time all within nine days.
If you're in the Bay Area, here are additional air-times:
Thu, Sep 3, 2009 -- 3:00 am
Sun, Sep 6, 2009 -- 11:00 pm
Mon, Sep 7, 2009 -- 5:00 am
Thu, Sep 3, 2009 -- 8:00 pm
Fri, Sep 4, 2009 -- 2:00 am
If you're not in the Bay Area, I don't know, figure it out .
AVC: Have you ever noticed any big differences living there as opposed to living in the U.S.?
JP: Well, I moved here from New York City, so the difference is pretty amazing. I really enjoyed living in New York. I loved it, actually. This, Toronto, as far as the way it looks aesthetically, it’s not exactly my favorite place. But it’s different. You know you’re not in the States. It’s hard to explain. I will say that having traveled a lot around America, I don’t miss the flag-waving. We don’t really have that up here. People here are proud of where they live, but it’s not the same. I like not having Jesus billboards stuffed down my throat wherever I go, or NRA billboards. And I do enjoy having my health care paid for through my taxes. When I left the States, I was self-employed, so I was paying, I don’t know, $500 a month for my health insurance. And up here, my taxes aren’t $6,000 a year more, and yet the health care I’ve had here is fantastic. So I think it’s really kind of cool to live in a place where it’s kind of a right of all the people to not go bankrupt if you break your leg, or to die of something because you can’t get treatment.
AVC: Plus the money is so pretty.
JP: The money is, isn’t it? Except if you look at the $5 bill, I don’t know what the dude’s name is, but he looks just like Joe Lieberman. So it kind of bums me out to see a fiver.
I walked amongst these plants or ferns or whatever they are for a few hours, and man are they beautiful. I kinda wanted to just dive into the middle and sack for a few hours.