Sunday, October 30, 2005

Dialing Iceland

Ever wondered what a phone conversation between P. Diddy and Bjork would sound like? Well, someone with a wicked sense of humor did and created a cartoon based upon it.

My favorite line is when P. Diddy tells Bjork that she's a kooky French bitch.

Courtesy of Insound.

Metros Go Down in Flames | Again

Growing up, I was a fan of the New Jersey Nets. It was a tough row to hoe and I believed that I would never see a franchise as cursed as the Nets. However, that was before the Metros were born in 1996.

Before moving to Vermont, I was a Metros season ticket holder from their inaugration in 1996 to 1999. In their first game ever, the Metros lost on an own goal at the very end of the game. That single game was a perfect projection of the pain that fans would endure over the next ten years. But I missed the sign the soccer gods were sending to the fans and proceeded to become a fan of the great pain merchants of Major League Soccer.

Well, the latest installment of that pain occurred last night when the Metros were thirty minutes away from upsetting the top team in the Eastern Conference, New England Revolution, in the first round of the MLS playoffs. The Metros had an aggregate lead of 2-0 following a beautiful goal by Youri Djorkaeff. At this point, I allowed myself a moment of hope and wonder as I realized that the Metros would be one game away from the championship match if they held onto this lead. It was exciting to even harbor such thoughts. However, over the next thirty minutes, the curse returned. New England scored three times over the next half-hour to knock the Metros out of the playoffs.

The pain continues.

Second Vermont Republic | Update

I didn't go to the secession convention on Friday and apparently, the main newspapers didn't attend it either. I can't find any articles in any of the common daily newspapers regarding the convention. However, The Vermizzle has a great post up about the speech given by the keynote speaker, James Kunstler. Based upon talking to someone else who heard the speech, it sounds like The Vermizzle's report is very accurate.

By the way, Kunstler also gave a similar speech across the street later that day at the Vermont Planners' Association's annual meeting. The Times-Argus did cover that speech though.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Mountain Goats | Dartmouth College | 10/28/05

Last night, jds and I headed down to Hanover, NH to Dartmouth College's Rocket Fuel Club to catch The Mountain Goats. Hanover is a little less than an hour away from Montpelier and all interstates so it was a very easy trip.

Neither one of us had ever been to the Rocket Fuel Club so we no idea what to expect. The club is in the basement of their student center and was really simple to find. As we were walking to the club, we saw The Mountain Goats' visionary, John Darnielle, sitting at a table in a conference room. It has to be one of the most sterile "backstage" area in rock. Nothing crazy is going to happen backstage at the Rocket Fuel Club with everyone peering in through the conference room door's window as they walk to the club's entrance.

The club itself has the look of a disco leftover from the 80's with blinking lights in the dance floor and uncomfortable vinyl furniture surrounding the edges. The other thing you immediately notice is that there isn't a stage. The band is just set up on one side of the club. Thankfully, I'm taller than the average concert-goer but it still gives a cruddy view of the band.

jds and I quickly headed over to the bar to grab some beers. The pleasant surprise here was that the beer cost as much as entrance to the show...nothing. Granted it was PBR but going home with the same amount of money as I left with is always a blessing. Plus, they had a huge bowl of halloween candy available for everyone to enjoy. Hey, for $41,355 a year, those are the kind of perks the students get and I'm more than happy to glom off of them.

The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers opened the show. I wasn't familiar with them before learning they were going to be the opening band. However, I had found a few mp3 files from their website to check out before the show. Based upon those mp3 files, I had expected them to be a folk based rock band. This proved to be a very wrong assumption as they proceeded to generate a lot more noise than I ever expected. jds noted how much they sounded like Radiohead and Interpol which was very accurate. There were even some chord progressions that led me sing Radiohead tunes to myself. Overall, they were OK but didn't inspire me to learn any more about them.

Around 11pm, Darnielle and his bass player, Peter Hughes, took the "stage" (aka the performance patch of carpeting). They didn't have any other band members with them which was slightly disappointing but not horrible. Perhaps some keys would have been nice to add in but its absence didn't hinder the show.

I had never seen the Goats before but had heard about Darnielle's facial expressions and repoir with the crowd. Both of those traits were on full display, which, combined with Darnielle's confidence and comfort with performing, made for an enjoyable show. They opened up with "Source Decay" which quickly got everyone into the show. They did a few tunes from their great 2005 release Sunset Tree such as "Love Love Love", "Dance Music" and "Lion's Teeth" but the set list included a wide variety of tunes. By the way, the guy in this photo against the pole with the green and pink striped shirt was the biggest Goat fan there. He spent every song leaning against the pole with his eyes closed mouthing the words. He never missed a word. I got the sense that he spends a lot of time laying on his dorm's bed listening to Darnielle over and over again.

One downside to the show was the excessive number of talkers during the show. There were probably 200 or so people in this small club but with such a low barrier to entry into the club, the show attracted Goats fans as well as friends of friends of friends of Goats fans who were just there to socialize and coat their tummies in PBR before heading out to the night's parties. For most of the songs, Darnielle's voice and guitar could drown out the talkers but the soft tunes were largely ruined. Perhaps charging just a nominal fee to get in would weed out a lot of the talkers but it wasn't that big of a deal for me. It didn't ruin the night.

For the last few tunes, Darnielle brought the gang from The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers back out on stage. Together, they performed a cover of The Silver Jews' "Pet Politics". Being a big Joos fan, I was very excited. I had never heard a band cover them at a show. However, "Pet Politics" is one of my least favorite Joos tunes but Darnielle shortened the boring chorus and rawked it up a bit. The combination of those two things made the song sound great. It was a nice cap to a good evening. The crowd tried to bring the Goats back out for a second encore but Darnielle was done.

Hopefully, the Rocket Fuel Club will book more shows next semester. The absence of a stage is annoying but everything else about the place is so easy, that it makes it another good club for our area. The Hold Steady will be there on Nov. 18th but I'm planning on seeing The Black Keys in Montreal on Nov. 17th so I'll be wiped out on the 18th.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Bob Mould | Interview | The Believer

The October issue of The Believer has an interesting interview with legendary Bob Mould. The interview touches on Mould displeasure with the current music scene, his love and involvement with professional wrestling and new album, Body of Song.

The interview isn't available online but here are a few quotes to chew on:

BM: Music has gone from being a very important standalone art form to the soundtrack for other mixed media.

BVLR: You mean the way that, suddenly, every television show has an accompanying soundtrack CD?

BM: I'm just trying to think about it now. It used to be a sort of religius experience to go to see bands. There would be hundreds or thousands of people gathering for this common experience, and you don't even see that so much anymore. I mean, you do, but everything is sort of down one level from where it used to be. And now I think people are really fond of the kind of event where there's maybe fifty like-minded people. So, weve really created this world of niches.

I remember seeing this happening over the past ten or fifteen years. I remember the first time I got a CD in my mailbox from AT&T, promoting their new 56K modem, and it had, like, four free songs on it. I looked at it, and - you know, I remember getting Archies songs off the back of cereal boxes in the 60's - But I looked at this and went, "OK, so now something that they wanted me to pay for is showing up for free in my mailbox." This was almost ten years ago. I just thought, "This is the beginning of the end. The business is so desperate that they're going to start giving it away." And sure enough, they did, and then all the online mp3, P2P stuff happened.

BLVR: But that, in itself, doesn't necessarily mean that music has become devalued, right?

BM: Maybe I'm too removed now because I'm older but I'm just not sensing the sort of affinity that used to be there. You know, when Don Kirschner's Rock Concert came on and Alice Cooper came out with a snake, everybody talked about it for a year. They were like, "Holy shit, there was this freak on television with a snake." That was before everything was so overexposed and burned out in ten minutes. There was mystery; there was conjecture about what this guy was really like. That's all gone now.

It's always "cringe-worthy" to hear comments from older musicians, that don't seem to keep up with emerging music, commenting on the current music scene. They always take a negative stance and show their ignorance of the scene at the same time.

None of Mould's points really tie together. They seem to be a shotgun approach to ripping today's bands and fans. It seems he is distant from the club scene these days and is piecing together cliche arguments against that scene that he's overheard at dinner parties. However, his general point is that people are apathetic towards music these days. This may be true on the major label side of the business but if he spent some time checking out the indie scene, I think he would challenged to call it apathetic. In fact, David Bowie and David Byrne, who do seem engage in emerging music, would probably disagree strongly with Mould.

The scene isn't any better or worse than it was in the 80's when Husker Du was prominent. It's just still in the tiny clubs and if you aren't in those clubs, it's easy to miss and hence dismiss as worthwhile.

Here are a few quotes regarding his involvement in pro wrestling:

BLVR: In the late 90's, you took another break from music to work for World Championship Wrestling before emerging with another stylistic departure, the largely electronic Modulate, in 2002. I want to know everything I can about professional wrestling. How did you get that job?

BM: It was through friends of friends. I'd dabbled in it a little in Minneapolis in the 1980's, sort of got let in to the inside and learned how it worked. I had creative ideas, and I talked to people [at WCW] - a position opened up because there was a regime change - just imagine any kind of TV show where the writers are rotated. For seven months I sat in on the committee that basically wrote and produced the TV shows. I was in a very stressful position because I was the last stop before people went through the curtain. It was my job to make sure the show looked right. You know, that the show hits all the marks, I guess, in a Broadway sense. All the time cues. I had to tell the referee to speed things up or slow things down. Or tell the guys to do this or do that.

BLVR: That seems like a huge responsiblity.

BM: It was kind of kooky. I got that responsibility put on me by the head writers, and I think I handled it well, but I was there for seven months working with a couple of different writing staffs. The numbers were sinking before I got there, and I wasn't able to help turn it around. I went home and they tried other people and went out of business in a year. I did the best I could.

Over the next two pages, Mould explains the history of pro wrestling, his childhood love for it and how he thought wrestling had lost good character-based stories in favor of silly stunts.

BLVR: What did the other writers think of your ideas for more fleshed-out, old-school characters? Did anything make it through?

BM: There would be days when I would be sitting on committee, just listening to people bullshitting, just trying to brainstorm, and one week I remember I just said, "OK, I'm going to see how far I can push this." And I just started saying crazy stuff like, "Why don't we have this match where these two guys who really hate each other are fighting in a cage. They're fighting over this girl - we'll have the girtl chained up on top of the cage and they have to climb up the pole to get the key to unchain her so that she can climb up another pole to get some Viagra." And the head writers were like, "Man, you're on fire today, Bob! This is unbelievable!" And I'm just sitting there going, "Oh man. My time here is limited."

There were people in the WCW - talent who had really gripping personal life stories - being homeless at a young age, getting mixed up in drugs, people who were rock stars in Mexico - there were all these true fascinating verifiable lives and you could do video packages on these people to try to bring some reality back. Because when you lay out a story like that, where somebody had an abusive childhood, then you've got people's attention. Then, month's later, you can do something with it. But, you know, they wanted Viagra on a pole. What can you do?

Interesting interview to say the least. There is also a good interview with author David Sedaris where he discusses the crazy stories readers tell him at book signings. Plus, the king of soccer and music writing, Nick Hornby, is always great in his monthly column.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


My review of PossumHaw's Split-rail appeared in Seven Days this week. It's not an album I would normally take time to listen to but I enjoyed it and haven't deleted it off my iPod. It'll be good for a mellow playlist here or there.

Damn, PossumHaw moves fast. I just pulled up their website and they already have a quote from the review up on their home page. They grabbed "an immensely enjoyable debut" from the review. The full paragraph was:

The real question is: Which one of today's bluegrass groups will recast this antique art form into a truly new mold? The Velvet Underground did that for rock and, more recently, Uncle Tupelo did it for country. While split-rail is an immensely enjoyable debut, it doesn't quite amount to a bluegrass revolution. It'll be interesting to see where they take it from here.
I'd love to hear a band take liberties with the roots of bluegrass and give it a modern artistic interpretation. It has great potential and I'm sure someone someday will seize upon it. PossumHaw didn't show that vision on this album but perhaps that isn't their thing; which is fine. I just wanted to use the end of the review as a soapbox to throw it out there as an idea and a challenge to Vermont's bluegrass scene.

I just noticed that PossumHaw didn't link to the full review. Hmmm, I wonder if they aren't happy with it. I doubt it. It's a favorable review. They probably just didn't want to put a link in their site.

The band is having a CD release party on Nov. 3rd at Club Metronome (9:30-11:15).

PossumHaw - Come On In
PossumHaw - Fire of '89
PossumHaw - M. Case

By the way, if you enjoy reading good ass-ripping reviews, check out the jamband smackdown Casey laid on Steve Kimock this week. It's a cornacopia of good lines.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Reminder: Free Mountain Goats Show @ Dartmouth Friday

I figured it would be worthwhile to post a reminder that this Friday, The Mountain Goats will be rolling into Hanover for a free show at Dartmouth's Rocket Fuel Club. According to the Goats' booking agent, the doors open at 9:30 and the Goats will take the stage around 10:30.

The Rocket Fuel Club is located in the Collis Center which I think is the student center. Regardless, Collis Center is the building on your left at the traffic light for Main St. on top of the hill. It's across the street from the green. You can see it on this map of the campus.

The Dartmouth Free Press has a nice preview of the show.

The opening band will be Chapel Hill's The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers (this has to be the worst year for band names ever). Based upon the two mp3 files available on their website, they sound like an interesting band to catch.

The Mountain Goats - Two-Headed Boy (NMH cover)

The Prayers and Tears... - Concerning Lessons Learned From the Aliens
The Prayers and Tears... - Cannot Eat Better Not Sleep
The Prayers and Tears... - Against Pollution (live Mountain Goats cover)

The Spinto Band | Bennington College | Dec 3rd

For the next few months, Vermont can lay claim to new pop sensations The Spinto Band. Two of the band's seven members attend Bennington College. However, Thomas Hughes is scheduled to graduate in December and his brother, Sam, is rumored to be leaving school at that time to focus on the band full time. In the meantime, The Spinto Band is Vermont's finest new pop band.

When they aren't sitting in classrooms, the band hails from Wilmington, DE. This summer they released their debut album Nice and Nicely Done to a great deal of acclaim which is a lot more than I ever did with my summer breaks. Their sound isn't anything ground breaking but the songs are pretty infectious. With so many band members and a wide assortment of instrument, they get a very layered effect which, when combined with their pop hooks, makes for a very likeable album. The weird thing is that one of their lead singers sounds just like Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. What are the chances that two bands would release debut albums this summer with lead singers that sound like that. It certainly isn't a classic signing voice but it works.

On Dec. 3, you can catch their swan song to Bennington College as they play the Downcaf. It'll probably be a pretty rocking show considering the band, the small venue and the number of friends/fans they'll pack in there. Unfortunately, we are having a party that night and I won't be able to make the show.

The Spinto Band - Crack the Whip
The Spinto Band - Oh Mandy

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Christmas is Only 61 Days Away

I was once watching late night TV with a friend when an ad for some knives came on. The ad promised that you could turn an apple into a duck with this knife. My friend turned to me and said, "Who the fuck would ever want to turn an apple into a duck?"

It was a very keen observation on his part and one I think about whenever I see something like this. It's a's a guitar amp!

They're a bit pricey for a Christmas gift at $149 ($99 if you supply the toaster) but what musician wouldn't love one. I'm not a musician but I personally like the ones with mag wheels.

courtesy Music Thing

Monday, October 24, 2005

New Owners for Riverwalk Records?

Back in July, I posted about Riverwalk Records, Montpeliers vinyl record store being up for sale. The owner, Patrick Mullikin, was asking $39,999 for the record store and the Howard Bean Cafe in the back of the store. I hadn't heard anything about a sale but, based upon the sign in the window, it looks like it's been sold.

The store is currently closed and a lot of the promo posters have been removed from the windows. However, there is a sign in the window that says it will be re-opening soon and that they are interested in buying records, turntables and other merchandise. Plus, you can still see all of the racks of records in the store. They are just covered in plastic and pulled away from the walls. It looks like they are getting ready to paint. Those few things gave me the impression that the place had been sold.

The store's website is down so I then tried to pull up the old sale listing Patrick had placed on BizBuySell. However, I got a notice saying that the ad was no longer available but if you Google "Riverwalk Records" and chose the cached site for BizBuySell, you get this page. It appears that the ad had been updated with a lower price ($24,999) and a headline saying "Currently under deposit! Act quickly if you are interested." So, you don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to guess that he dropped his price $15K and found himself a buyer.

I'm glad to see the store is still in business despite the fact I don't listen to vinyl. It's always been a good store to hang in and go through the racks. Hopefully, it'll be successful for the new owners. My only question is whether the new owners will continue the Green Mountain "Bob Dylan Wanna-Be" Contest.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

First Snow

The forecast for last night was for just rain. However, as we came downstairs this morning, we found our first blanket of snow of the season. It was only a thin covering of snow but still enough to generate some excitement. The irony is that if I'll probably see a similar coating next April and be posting about how friggin' tired I am of winter. But for right now, it's fun to see it on our yard.

Yesterday, I had spent the morning at the Montpelier Ski & Skate Swap getting ski equipment for my son. The swap is a great place for good deals on equipment. I got skis, bindings, poles, boots, helmet and goggles for my son for $87. It's all used equipment but he doesn't care. It's new to him. However, the combination of getting the equipment yesterday and seeing the snow this morning prompted him to prematurely ask to go skiing today. It's tough to explain to a 3-year-old why this isn't enough snow to ski but he finally capitulated.

Instead, we headed outside for some snowball baseball and sledding before it all melted around noon. It was a lot of fun to clown around in the snow and a good reminder of the upside of winter. However, I kept thinking that this is just the first of seven straight months of seeing snow. It'll get old in the dark days of February but for right now, it's a good diversion.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Jose Gonzalez | Love Will Tear Us Apart

Jose Gonzalez is a Swedish folkie that all the kids are raving about these days as he stopped by NYC for a few performances. He hasn't clicked me for me yet but I am digging his acoustic cover of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart".

My freshman roommate was a big Joy Division fan and used to play the song regularly. However, I never appreciated it until hearing Nouvelle Vague's bossanova version earlier this year on their fantastic self-titled debut. Now hearing an even more stripped down version of the song from Jose Gonzalez has increased that appreciation. When a song can be performed so many different ways and be enjoyable each way, it has to be a well-built tune.

You can stream Nouvelle Vague's cover of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" here.

Jose Gonzalez - Love Will Tear Us Apart (courtesy songs:illinois)

Friday, October 21, 2005

New York Doll

extrawack! has a great review up on his blog of the documentary New York Doll. It's about the bass player, Arthur Kane, of the legendary punk band, The New York Dolls. extrawack! saw an advanced screening of the film and his description of it whetted my appetite for it. It sounds great.

Locally, our best chance of seeing this film is if The Savoy Theater brings it to Montpelier. However, the owner of the Savoy, Rick Winston, may not be aware of the documentary or any interest in the community in seeing the film. So, if you are interested in seeing the flic, please email the Savoy Theater and request it. Their email address is: film(at)savoytheater(dot)com.
A friend, who works for the Vermont Film Commission and is on the board for picking the movies for the Green Mountain Film Festival, said they are just starting the process of choosing the pictures for next March's festival. So, this would probably be a good time to contact the Savoy about the movie.

UPDATE: I just tried sending an email to the Savoy and got back a message saying that they had exceeded their storage limit. I'll try to stop by there to talk to them about it, I guess.

30,000 Bees vs. 30 Hornets

Candleblog has a link dump up with a link to a cool video showing a battle between 30,000 honey bees and 30 hornets. However, if you are squeamish about bugs or have to mow the lawn this weekend, you may not want to watch this one.

The Detroit Cobras

Sometimes a band sounds exactly like what they look like. Look at The Detroit Cobras over there. You know you are going to get something rocking with a filthy sexy bass line that'll fuel either a party or your excessive speeding. That's exactly what they deliver with the song "I Wanna Holler (But the Town's Too Small)" off their new album Baby. It's a little Elvis, a little Motown and a big scoop of grimey rock club.

I haven't heard the full album but a friend (thanks, cj) sent this track over the other day and it's been getting a lot of "play counts" ever since. The band has been around since 1994 releasing albums full of cover tunes but if the rest of Baby is as good as this track, it may finally be their day in the sunshine.

The Detroit Cobras - I Wanna Holler (But the Town's Too Small)

Second Vermont Republic

A good Vermont blog is The Vermizzle which has a post up today about the Second Vermont Republic movement and it's upcoming convention on Oct. 28th. Basically, it's a secession movement. They want Vermont to be it's own country (which it once was; hence the name of the movement).

The Vermizzle does a good job of laying out the basic ideas behind the desire to be a separate country. And while I agree with the sentiments, I don't back the movement for two reasons:

1) A few months ago there was an article in the Montpelier Bridge that laid out the case for secession. The big economic point was that there are other countries in the world as small as Vermont that are very successful financially. They then listed Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Luxemborg, Leichtenstein and a few other tax havens for the rich. Quite frankly, if the choice is between remaining a part of the US or becoming another tax haven for the rich, I'd much rather keep Vermont the way it is today.

2) The other reason I'm not supporting the movement is that the organization seems to be run by conspiracy theorists. The September issue of their newsletter, Vermont Commons, was dedicated to 9/11 and basically spent all of its ink railing against the US government and its cover-up of its involvement in 9/11. Here's an example:

What about Building 7, how does steel melt at 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit, what were those reported explosions inside the two towers heard by firemen and other victims, how come the Israelis didn’t show up for work, what about the extraordinary United and American Airlines put options that made someone a fortune, why was no photographic evidence of the crashed Boeing 757 shown in the Pentagon’s west wall, but only an impossibly small 15-foot hole, and how come the FBI snatched up that Arlington gas station’s video camera immediately, before anyone could see what was filmed, and no interceptions were launched in time, even to protect the world’s most defended structure, the military heart of the nation? And on and on. These questions ballooned out of me, building each upon the other, sickening in their scope and ambiguity.
That's just crazy talk. As much as I disagree with the actions of the federal government at times, I don't think they were involved in 9/11. Just typing that last sentence feels crazy. A friend of mine was involved in the movement and recently resigned. He told me that the fringe has taken over the movement. Between his comments and that September newsletter, I'm not going to get behind the Second Vermont Republic.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I Think Someone Stole Something

Can't afford the cash for one Apple's new video iPods? Do you care if your merchandise could double as evidence? Well, for the less discerning buyer, someone is dumping a lot of Samsung 1GB mp3/mp4 video/photo players on eBay. The things even have FM radio and a line-in recording function. All for less than $100 including shipping.

It's not as cool looking as an iPod but you can't beat the price...unless you get ripped off.

Also, jds found a video review of the player courtesy of c|net. They're pretty high on it for a low-cost player.

Two other mp3 player notes:

1) In the comments, jds referenced his $3.99 mp3 player. His explanation and links are here.

2) Have you ever wondered what the inside of your iPod looked like? Engadget has the story of some stockbrokers who opened it up for an investment report.

Vemont Music Update

Time to take another look at what all you crazy mugs are buying and listening to in Vermont these days. Courtesy of Seven Days, here is what the top records sold at the local indie music stores were for the last week:

Buch Spieler - Montpelier

1. Neil Young - Prarie Fire
2. Kanye West - Late Registration
3. Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine
4. Patti Casey -- The Edge of Grace
5. Bonnie Rait - Souls Alike
6. Sheryl Crow - Wildflower
7. Bob Dylan - No Direction Home Soundtrack
8. Rolling Stones - Bigger Bang
9. Gorillaz - Demon Days
10. Leo Kotke/Mike Gordon - Sixty-Six Steps

Pure Pop - Burlington

1. Atmosphere - You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having
2. Danger Doom - The Mouse and the Mask
3. Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine
4. My Morning Jacket - Z
5. Neil Young - Prarie Fire
6. Damien Marley - Welcome to Jamrock
7. Broken Social Scene - Broken Social Scene
8. Iron & Wine/Calexico - In the Reins
9. Sigur Ros - Takk
10. Wolf Parade - Apologies to Queen Mary

Exile on Main Street - Barre

1. Neil Young - Prarie Fire
2. Bob Dylan - No Direction Home Soundtrack
3. Sevendust - Next
4. Bon Jovi - Have a Nice Day
5. Gary Allan - Tough All Over
6. Switchfoot - Nothing is Sound
7. Herbie Hancock - Possibilities
8. Jack Johnson - In Between Dreams
9. B.B. King & Friends - 80
10. Rolling Stones - 40 Licks

Vermont Book Shop - Middlebury

1. Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
2. Big Joe Burrell - I'm a Lucky So and So...
3. Neil Young - Prarie Fire
4. Patti Casey - The Edge of Grace
5. Dar Williams - My Better Self
6. Nanci Griffith - Hearts in Mind
7. Sinead O'Connor - Throw Down Your Arms
8. Anoushka Shankar - Rise
9. B.B. King & Friends - 80
10. Richard Thompason - Front Parlour Ballads

The last time we looked at these lists, Ween was in every list. Now...nada. They blew through like a rapid moving storm. This week's big winner is Neil Young as he sits in the top five of all four lists and tops two of them. Nobody else sits on more than two lists.

The oddball store this week is Vermont Book Store. Sinead O'Connor? Big Joe Burrell? Dar Williams? Nanci Griffith? Anoushka Shankar? I know they all have 2005 releases but it's still an odd collection of artists to see in the top ten of any record store.

Now, here is the list of the most frequently listened to bands among the members of the Vermont group on Last.FM (we're up to 27 members!):

1. Sigur Rós
2. Belle and Sebastian
3. Broken Social Scene
4. The Decemberists
5. Of Montreal
6. The Velvet Underground
7. Weezer
8. The Clash
9. The Magnetic Fields
10. Death Cab for Cutie

There's still a big disconnect between the lists from the record stores and the list from Last.FM. The only band to find it's way onto any of the lists above and this list is Sigur Rós. The Decemberists, Belle & Sebastian, The Clash and Death Cab for Cutie continue to hold their spots in the top ten since late September though.

In a manner of full disclosure, here is my list from Last.FM during the same time period:

1. The New Year
2. The Light Footwork
3. Palace
4. Serena Maneesh
5. Wolf Parade
6. The Hidden Cameras
7. The Promise Ring
8. Sun Kil Moon
9. Nouvelle Vague
10. Hound Dog Taylor & the House Rockers

If Last.FM captured what you listened to on your iPod, then Wolf Parade would be a lot higher for me. Otherwise, the list is fairly representative.

Best MLS Goals of 2005

Climbing the Ladder has a great compilation video available of 44 of the best goals in MLS this year. However, it doesn't include any goals from the final weekend including Dwayne De Rosario's bomb against LA.

You have to follow the link and it takes a little while to download but it's worth it. I would have chosen something other than Girls Aloud's "Long Hot Summer" as the background music (perhaps The Go! Team's "Huddle Formation") but it's his video; not mine.

By the way, you can now vote for the MLS Goal of the Year. I'm voting for Amado Guevara's injury time equalizer for the Metros. The Metros would still have made the playoffs without it but it's a beauty and damn dramatic.

There is also a cool soccer highlights video up on 16 Horsepower. It even has Robert Carlos' sick free kick from a few years ago that curls around the outside of the wall and just inside the right post.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

US World Cup Uniforms

Nobody is ever going to mistake me for a fashion maven but I do take an interest in the uniforms of the US National Soccer Team. Why? Because I always fear a return to the denim uniforms they wore during the 1994 World Cup.

Now that we have qualified, the job is up to Nike to design the uniforms which can be scary based upon some of their designs over the years. However, if Logan's Revenge is to be believed, we may have some sharp looking kits for Germany (thankfully, no lederhosen).

Logan's Revenge is a mysterious blog written anonymously by someone who claims to have inside information about soccer in the US. The rumors are that it is written by longtime soccer journalist Jeff Bradley who happens to be the brother of former MLS coach Bob Bradley. Regardless who it is written by, the rumors and speculation make it a fun read.

Logan's Revenge is claiming that the 2006 World Cup uniforms will be throwback uniforms with a racing stripe down the left side of an otherwise solid colored uniform. He likens it to the uniforms that were worn in the movie Victory (above) and the recent Juventus away jersey (designed by Nike)(below).

As long as they don't junk it up (as Nike is capable of doing), I think that would be a snappy look. The team would look sharp and it wouldn't be an embarrassing jersey to wear as a fan.


A friend sent me a link to this blog today. It's a comic strip featuring birds talking about all sorts of random crap but mainly maknig fun of the internet and indie rock fans. The strip runs hot and cold but there's enough chuckles in there to make it worth the trip.

It's hard to read these two that I pulled out but if you click on the comic, it'll show you a larger version.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Bob Dylan & Bennington College

This is an odd little piece of Vermont's musical history that my friend at Bennington College told me about over dinner before the Jens Lekman show.

Bob Dylan twice played Bennington College in the early 60's before becoming the musical monolith he has become. His first performance there was in 1961 when he opened for Rev. Gary Davis. The story goes that when Dylan heard that Davis was only getting paid $75 for the show, he told the promoter to give Davis half of his own $50 performance fee. Dylan said Davis should never play for less than $100. If you are unfamiliar with Davis, he was an old bluesman who did a killer version of "If I Had My Way" which The Grateful Dead renamed "Sampson and Delilah" and had a minor hit.

Dylan returned to Bennington College in 1963 shortly after The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan had been released. While on campus, Dylan shared the lyrics for the yet-to-be-released "The Times They Are A-Changin'" with the school's literary journal, Silo. Silo then printed the lyrics which became the first known published appearance of the song. That issue of Silo is now obviously a collector's item and goes for about $45.

There is something ironic about "The Times They Are A-Changin'" being first seen in the most anachronistic state in the country.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Thomas Denver Jonsson

Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of the Oldham family! The thrill of victory...and the agony of defeat! The human drama of the Oldham's musicianship! This is False 45th's Wide World of Oldham!

This week's episode takes us to Grums, Sweden where we find Ned Oldham performing on Thomas Denver Jonsson's upcoming album Barely Touching It (due Oct. 28th in Europe via Kite Recordings; who knows when in the US). Ned is the big brain behind The Anomoanom and occasional collaborator with his brother Will.

Ned and TDJ bang out a tune ("Silverboy") that sounds like it could have come right off of any Anomoanom release (which is a good thing). It's got that rocking twang sound that people like to compare to Neil Young. The other track from the album that Kite Recording has available is TDJ doing a duet with Nina Kinert.

Now back to more to cliff diving from Acapulco with Will and Paul.

Thomas Denver Jonsson - Silverboy
Thomas Denver Jonsson - Dreams at the Film Club

Rockin' & Trippin'

What's cooler? Playing a rooftop gig in Burlington or tripping over a monitor while being filmed during the climatic ending of your rooftop gig?

I don't know much about musician/cartoonist James Kochalka but I found this clip on Icebox Records website and thought it was funny. Apparently, a few years ago, Kochalka was playing a rooftop gig in Burlington and got caught up in the big finale to the song when a pesky monitor got in the way.

You can see what happened here.

Iron & Wine | Calexico Coming to Montreal

Want to see how a bunch of guys from Tuscon and Miami behave in the cold of Montreal in December? Well, check out the Iron & Wine | Calexico supergroup on December 8th at The Spectrum.

The two bands will be coming to the area in support of their recent collaborative EP In the Reins. Both bands will play a set alone and then they'll join each other on stage for a few tunes. As a fan of both bands, it sounds like a good night of music.

The show is a little on the expensive side of indie rock shows. The cost is $30.60 Canadian which translates to about $25.70 US. However, considering that you are seeing two good bands plus hearing their collaborative work, it seems like a good deal.

If you order your tickets from the Spectrum website, be careful about what show you click on. The show is listed as Iron & Wine and then the next show listed is Canadian geezer rockers April Wine. So, with the small font, it's possible to click on the latter.

Iron and Wine | Calexico - Dead Man's Will (courtesy of Said the Gramaphone)
Iron and Wine | Calexico - Red Dust (courtesy of Radio Free Internet)
Iron and Wine | Calexico - 16, Maybe Less (courtesy of Radio Free Internet)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Hidden Cameras

A good cover song falls into one of two buckets. It's either a new interpretation of a well-known song or a straight cover of an unknown song in an attempt to bring more attention to that song/band. On Thursday night, Jens Lekman pulled off the latter by covering The Hidden Cameras. I missed the song title (I even missed the band's name but a fellow from Sweden corrected me) so I'm not sure which tune he did. However, I know I enjoyed the song enough to be interested in learning more about the band.

I'm still trying to figure out the idea behind Joel Gibb's Toronto-based chamber pop band but the few songs I've found have been great pieces of foot-tapping joy. Apparently, they book themsleves into churches but perform with gay male go-go dancers on stage with them. They say playing in churches makes economical sense but it must create a few headaches for themselves. I also can't figure out the red blindfolds. Regardless, the songs stand on their own without any help/hinderance from their stage show.

The Hidden Cameras - Doot Doot Plat
The Hidden Cameras - Music is My Boyfriend

Friday, October 14, 2005

Jens Lekman - Bennington College - 10/13/05

Last night, I rode down the spine of the Green Mountains to Bennington to catch the King of Swedish Pop, Jens Lekman. I had never seen Lekman live and had no idea what to expect but I left wanting to see him many more times.

I also had never driven from Montpelier to Bennington before and had heard horror stories of slow traffic on Route 7 and of it taking over three hours. Well, despite rain, fog and darkness it only took 2 hours and 15 minutes to get down there (without anyone else on the road, it only took 2 hours on the way home). I can understand why Route 7 might be a hassle with traffic but besides "rush half-hour" it doesn't seem that bad.

I met an old friend, who works at Bennington College, for the show and dinner before hand. He wasn't aware of Lekman before I asked him to go to the show (in fact, up to showtime, he kept calling him Hans Lekman which was funny) but he's a big music fan and always open to new stuff. Before the show, we grabbed dinner at a cool restaurant in North Bennington called Pangaea. Interesting varied menu and a cool space. I had the Moss Burger which was a good call for a pre-show meal.

We then headed over to the campus for the show. I knew Nedelle was opening for Lekman and scheduled to on around 10pm. I didn't know anything about Nedelle but wanted to check her out. So, we got to Downcaf, the student pub where the show was scheduled, around 10pm. As we walked up to the place, I could through the windows that the place was empty. We rounded the corner to get to the door and saw Lekman just hanging out with the band by the door with only a handful of staff and students inside.

I immediately flashed back to my experiences with The Pernice Brothers and The National and said to my friend, "I can't believe this is fucking happening again! Three shows in a month with just me and the band. What the hell is wrong with Vermont? Or is it me? I'm the kiss of death for any concert. Bands are going to start asking me not to curse their shows by showing up."

After paying our $5, we walked into the empty room with the few people there staring at us like we had just trespassed into their living room. The Downcaf is basically four walls and a bar with a one foot high stage in the corner. Concrete floors. Brick walls. Exposed ceiling with pipes and steel I-beams just waiting for the chance to crush the sound of the most precise musicians. At this point, the night was looking like a downer.

But, as Dylan says, the darkest hour is just before the dawn. That is when I noticed the drink prices. Draft beer was either $1 or $2 and soda was $0.50 with unlimited refills. Well, at least it won't cost us much. I grabbed a Coke for caffeine reasons and my friend got a beer before we slinked over to the corner to find a booth that'll hide the akwardness of the moment.

However, over the next twenty minutes, students started trickling in. By the time Nedelle took the stage with her acoustic guitar there were probably about 20 people there. Most of them were sitting on the floor which was good because they took up more space and made the crowd look larger.

Nedelle is your classic folk singer with a beautiful voice. In fact, her voice reminds me a lot of Laura Veirs. Her first three songs were done solo but then she started adding in members of Lekman's band inlcuding Lekman himself. First she added the cellist and violinist for a pair of songs. Then Jens joined the party for a tune before Jens' drummer and bassist climbed aboard too. It was a nice way to show off her different sounds. I think I like her best with the full band but my friend liked her solo stuff the best. A little bit for everyone. Regardless, it was good enough to get me to buy one of her CDs after her performance.

I also picked up the US Tour CD that Lekman was selling. It's a four song EP that he burned himself on some blank discs he bought at the store. It doesn't get much more DIY than that, folks. It has for songs on it with the first track being my favorite (based upon the two spins I gave it on the way home).

By the way, I tried to take some photos but the batteries in my camera had died. So, all you get are these child-like renderings that I scratched together to give you an idea of what it looked like. For some reason, putting my horrible drawings up here seemed pretty funny to me. But it also gives you crude idea of the scene.

During the break, they must have called all the students or something because somehow the students knew exactly when to show up. What initially looked like another evening of listening to a musician play to a dead room turned into a fairly well attended night. In the end there were about 75 people there for the show which isn't horrible for a school with only 600 students and zero promotion. Hell, I had to beg for info from the booking agent to find out about it. Plus, it wasn't just the number of people that flowed in before Jens took the stage, it was the fact that they were pretty lively. As the set rolled along, more and more people started to dance to the point I thought I was at a sock-hop. It was a fun crowd and made for a memorable show.

Lekman took the stage around 11pm with his aforementioned band. Plus, Nedelle and some other guy who looked familiar joined in on the side of the stage for occasional backing vocals. Despite my fears of cruddy sound problems, they sounded great. Jens vocals were mixed a little low but it must be tough to mix his voice in a live setting since it's so deep. However, the low vocals didn't ruin the show.

He started with "We're All Going to Die" (I assume that's the song title since it's the only lyric) and then went right into "Happy Birthday, Dear Friend Lisa". Since I didn't have any expectations, I was really happy with the upbeat nature of the show. Jens seemed to be enjoying himself and he packed the short set with a lot of poppy numbers. I don't remember every tune or the order but he did "Black Cab", "You Are the Light", "Julie", "Do You Remember the Riots?", "I Saw Her at the Anti-War Demonstration" and a cover from a band that I thought he said was called The Happy Cameras but I couldn't understand him. Google doesn't show any results for a band by that name so he probably said something else but he described them as a band he likes but they are "very bad at selling records". He tied together "Do You Remember the Riots?" and "I Saw Her at the Anti-War Demonstration" by telling the love story behind the songs and how he blames George Bush for his love problems. It was kind of funny. There were a few other tunes too but either I didn't know the name of the song or have forgotten it. Four hours of sleep will do that to you.

Lekman has a lot of stage prescence. Not in a rock-n-roll animal kind of way but in an amusing animated way where you don't stop looking at him. As he switches from ukelele to guitar to whistle to some West African thumb plucking box harp, you get the sense that he is enjoying being up there and is confident in what he is doing. Confident but not cocky. Just comfortable with the spectacle.

Towards the end of the show, he took out the West African instrument that I mangled in my description above. He said he likes to play it because it reminds him of snow despite being from West Africa. The odd thing is that the instrument makes the exact same sound as a button in a children's book my son has called Dream Snow by Eric Carle. So, Eric Carle seems to agree with Jens regarding the feeling of snow from it.

Lekman did a quick encore with his ukelele while standing solo down in the crowd. The crowd was very appreciative and Jens seemed a bit surprised by the loud cheers for one more song. However, he also seemed like he was up against a deadline and needed to get off the stage (it was just before midnight). So, in an attempt to appease the crowd, he took his ukelele with him and said that the show was over but if anyone wanted to hear another song, they should asked him directly and he would play it just in front of them. He then made his way to the back of the room.

If I didn't have to drive two hours home and get up with the kids at 6am, I would have asked to hear "Maple Leaves". How can you come to the maple syrup capital of the world and not play "Maple Leaves"? Right? But it didn't matter, it had been a fun night and it left me with the desire to see him again. My friend said he really enjoyed the show too despite not knowing any of the songs. A new Lekman fan was born.

This show was the first stop in a two week coast-to-coast tour. So if you get a chance to see him, I would strongly recommend it. Jens is the King of Swedish Pop.

UPDATE: In the comments, a fellow from Jens hometown of Gothenberg said that the name of the band they did a cover from is The Hidden Cameras (not the Happy Cameras).

UPDATE: Also in the comments, jds of Latitude 44.2N named the instrument I didn't know. It's called a kalimba. Thanks to both of you.

ONE MORE UPDATE: The four tracks on the US Tour EP are:

  • Run Away with Me
  • How Much You Mean to Me
  • Me on the Beach (Nagisa ni te)
  • Jag Tyckte Hon Sa Lonnlov
UPDATE: Evemeyer, who posted a brief review in the comments here, posted a few pictures she took of the show on this site. She was on the other side of the stage from me but, from this photo, you easily see how accurate my etchings were above.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Road to Berlin

The US national soccer team wrapped up World Cup Qualifying with a good ending. By beating Panama 2-0 in Boston last night (and Mexico blowing it against Trinidad & Tobago), the US finished World Cup Qualifying in first place for the North American region called CONCACAF. The US has qualified for numerous World Cups in the past but has never finished first. A great accomplishment.

Now the question is whether the US will get one of the eight seeds in next June's World Cup in Germany. In theory, the eight seeded teams are suppose to be the best eight teams in the world. The advantage of being a seeded team is that you won't have to play one of the other seven seeded teams in the first round of the tournament. A nice advantage.

Here is the arguement for the US getting one of those top eight seeds:

  • The US finished eighth in the last World Cup in 2002.
  • The US is currently ranked seventh in the world according to FIFA's own rankings.
  • The US was the best team in its qualifying region (there are six regions in FIFA's world).
Here is the arguement against the US getting one of those top slots:
  • In the previous World Cup in 1998, we qualified but finished last of 32 teams.
  • The FIFA rankings are crap and nobody understands the statistical equation that generates them.
  • Our region is not one of the best two regions in the world. Europe and South America are the best.
So, it basically boils down to the fact that FIFA never announces what their criteria is for determining the seeds. They say it is loosely based upon past performances but there is a major fudge factor invloved in the final decision. Therefore, historically, the seeds other than the automatic seed for the home team) have gone to the traditional powers of soccer. The US is an up-and-coming program and far from a traditional power. In fact, most major soccer powers still don't acknolwedge the success and advances the US program has made. Sprinkle in some international politics and you have a recipe for an old boys club and backroom negotiations that will likely prevent the US from getting a seed.

Having said all that, here is who I think will be seeded:
  • Germany (host)
  • Brazil
  • Argentina
  • Italy
  • France
  • Netherlands
  • England
  • Spain
A lot of people believe Mexico will get a seed ahead of a European team like Spain or Netherlands but Mexico has flopped in a number of World Cups and struggle with the same respect issue that the US does.

By the way, as a result of T&T's victory over Mexico, they will now play a home-and-home playoff against Asia's fifth best team (either Bahrain or Uzbekistan). Imagine the travel headaches trying to get from Tashkent to Port of Spain. I just ried to buy a one-way ticket for that trip for kicks but Travelocity melted down and said it couldn't do it. So I broke it up into Tashkent to Tokyo and then Tokyo to Port of Spain. You'd be looking at about $6,000 in airfare and a shitload of time with cramped leg space. Happy travels, guys.

Enough rambling. On a music note, I'm off to see Jens Lekman. Here are a pair of live tunes he put up on his website:

Jens Lekman - You Are the Light (live)
Jens Lekman - Your beat kicks back like death (scout niblett)

UPDATE: extrawack! has a good post up about his trip to the US-Panama match. Also, for U2 fans, he has a nice review and photos of one of the NYC U2 shows (from in front of the stage).

ANOTHER UPDATE: 16 Horsepower has a post that explains the Uzbekistan-Bahrain situation. It looks like T&T will be facing Bahrain in the home-and-home playoff. Whichever team qualifies for the World Cup will be the smallest country to every qualify. Let's go Soca Warriors.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Palace Music Live in Burlington

Not now but 10 years ago. In 1995, Will Oldham and his latest iteration of Palace played at Club Toast in Burlington and the guy from Bradley's Almanac was there to record it off the soundboard. The guy even saved the poster from the show. He's an amazing archivist but I wouldn't ever want to help the guy move.

The sound quality is very good although it isn't the most rousing performance by the band. On the upside, the set list has a lot of tunes from the lo-fi beauty Viva Last Blues. Each tune can be downloaded as a separate tune. However, Bradley doesn't keep the files up there forever so if you want these tunes, you should act sooner than later.

My favorite track is "Untitled" but mainly because that song always kills me. I'm a huge sucker for it. The Liam Hayes cover is a nice tune too.

By the way, according to the comments on Bradley's Almanac, Palace played another show in Burlington in October 1995 that turned into a complete train wreck (including Oldham flipping off the crowd). This isn't that show. It's the earlier one in June.

On a related note, Will Oldham (as Bonnie 'Prince' Billy) has a live album called Summer in the Southeast due in stores on Nov. 15th. It's recordings from various shows he played in small towns across the south in early 2004.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Light Footwork

One of my favorite bands since the late 90's has been the now-defunct Beulah. Beulah held down the sunny Califronia sunshine pop end of the Elephant 6 recording spectrum. They put out some of the most hummable, put-a-smile-on-your-face tunes of the last ten years. Unfortunately, they broke up last year.

Well, they're back baby! Not actually...but close. Members of Beulah have been caught contributing to the debut album from Palo Alto newbies The Light Footwork. The album is called "One State Two State" (perhaps a subtle tip of the hat to fellow northern Californian Pavement's "Two States") and, based upon the four songs available online, sounds like it could have come right out of Beulah's catalog. Although I wonder if they'll be hearing from Dr. Seuss' lawyers regarding the album's artwork.

I just learned of these guys yesterday due to a post on You Ain't No Picasso and the songs have very quickly grown on me. Hell, they didn't even need to grow on me. They arrived fully ripe and accessible. If you like these tracks, you can order the album directly from their website for a mere $8. 11 tracks for $8. Good deal.

The Light Footwork - Coastlines are Landmines (recommended)
The Light Footwork - Rapture Good, Rupture Bad
The Light Footwork - The Art of Everyday Conversation Part 1 (exclusive from You Ain't No Picasso)
The Light Footwork - Exit Row (from their MySpace site)

By the way, one other note, there is a live version of a new Belle & Sebastian tune also available on You Ain't No Picasso. The sound quality isn't great but if you are itching to hear something from their next album, here it is. Despite the sound quality, the song sounds promising.

Serena Maneesh

Do you like your melodies cloaked in fuzz? Your vocals lingering with a bit of echo? Do you still pull My Bloody Valentine's Loveless off the shelf? Got a thing for indie rock bands from Norway?

If you nodded your head to any of those questions, you should realize that body motions that function as sign language are useless over the internet...and check out Serena Maneesh.

Serena Maneesh isn't a person; it's a band from Oslo. Their self-titled debut album came out this summer in Europe to strong reviews. However, the US release won't be until October 25th. Their sound is more immediately accessible than My Bloody Valentine but they clearly have that early 90's fuzzy sound going on. Think Loveless, Goo, Slanted & Enchanted, etc.

Here are two tracks from their debut album:

Serena Maneesh - Drain Cosmetics
Serena Maneesh - Un-Deux

You can also watch a video for a song off one of their earlier EPs here.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Out of 5

Out of 5 is a site that is well worth bookmarking. Here is the deal: Every week a few folks choose a different theme for a mix CD. Some of them work on the song selection and the others work on the album's artwork. Then they put it up on the site for your listening pleasure. The songs stream automatically when you open the site but you can also download the mp3 files.

This is the second week that I've checked it out and it's been great both week. The first week's theme was covers which eclipse the originals which led to me discovering Stevie Wonder's cover of the Beatles' "We Can Work It Out" and Al Green's cover of "I Want to Hold Your Hand". I hadn't ever heard either tune but both are amazing.

This week's theme is "One Voice. One Acoustic Guitar." I'm still making my way through the tracks but, so far, every tune has been a keeper. It's definitely a great site to bookmark and check each week.

UPDATE: I was just playing around with some of the site's url's and found the titles to a few previous mixes. Before the two mixes mentioned above, they had:

  • Songs About Trains
  • Songs From Movies...But Not Themes or Title Songs
  • Five Reasons to Feel Bad
I could find the album covers but not the song files.

The Guy Can Dance

I'm not sure if the word "dance" is the best way to describe what David 'Elsewhere' Bernal does. Regardless though, it's still cool to watch him do it. Check him out in this video here. The video is from some sort of a talent show called Kollaboration. Bernal is the third dancer in the video.

There is another video of Bernal here. However, I think the video from Kollaboration is better.

Thanks to Insound for the tip.

Free Mountain Goats Show @ Dartmouth

That's clams...el zippo casho...arrive with an empty pocket and leave with a head full of memories. Latitude 44.2N has all of the details.

Since I'm expecting to attend this show, I would like to take a moment to thank all of the wealthy parents of Dartmouth's students for paying the exorbinant tuition and fees that will allow me to feed my music addiction for free. You are all much too kind.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Adu's Goal

He still has a long way to go in his development before he's a worthy starter on the US National Team (I saw "worthy" because he may get a cap at some point simply for marketing reasons) but when you see flashes of brilliance like his goal the other night, it makes your heart flutter. It's easy to forget that he's only 16 years old and playing against grown men.

You can watch his goal against Real Salt Lake here.

Also on a soccer note, the US plays another World Cup qualifying match this weekend. It's against Costa Rica (in CR). The US has already qualified but the match means a lot to the Ticos who are still fighting with Guatemala and Trinidad & Tobago for the final berths.

Du Nord has a good round-up of all the weekend's qualifying action.

One last soccer note: here is a great example of why soccer is a blast to watch in the US. Christian Gomez is one of the leading goal scorers for DC United. However, for last week's match against the Metros in NJ, Gomez was suspended due to a red card in his previous match. Well, what do you think Gomez did with his week off? Nope. Gomez packed up his family and drove up to NJ for the game, sat with the other DC fans and bang a drum to root his teammates on. Being a Metros fan, I wasn't happy that DC crushed us 4-1 but I give huge props to Gomez for being so loyal to his teammates and fans. In an era of pro athletes looking down on the fans that put thme up on pedestals, soccer is chock-full of players like Gomez who just love the sport and its fans.

Free Hearing Test

Do you ever worry that you've done some damage to your ears after years of listening to music at jetliner decibels? Me too.

I try to where ear plugs when I expect a show to be very loud but I go without a lot of the time if the band has a more nuanced sound. Plus, just blaring music in the car and now iPod has possibly taken it's toll.

Well, Occupational Hearing Services is now offering a free hearing test over the phone. You dial 800-222-3277 between 8am & 4pm (Mon-Fri) and ask for the hearing test. You need to have paper and pencil ready. The lady then plays the test for you. The test is basically a series of tones (some high and some low). Each time you hear a tone, you mark it on the paper. Then you repeat the test for your other ear. The lady then comes back on the line and asks how many tones you heard in each ear and tells you how well you did.

I was pleasantly surprised with the results. She said I did very well and the ones that I missed were possibly related to the fact that I was using a cordless phone (use a corded phone if you can). So, like a chain smoker who just got a clean bill of health, I'm going to go blast GBV's "Unleashed! The Large-Hearted Boy!" in my office.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Peter, Bjorn & John

I just realized that it's been a full week since I posted any new bands. I've been too busy dicking around with other silly posts. Well, to get back on the saddle, here is a trio out of Stockholm named Peter, Bjorn & John. They just released their North American debut album called Falling Out.

Like their counterparts in Scandanavia, they are master pop craftsmen. To challenge themsleves they even mixed in the vocals from one of those Speak & Spell Toys from the 80's into their song "Far Away, By My Side". Those crazy swedes!

Seriously, their songs are well-built tunes with lots of pop hooks but they bring it a little stronger than a lot of the pop bands I've been posting here. The second tune is their cover of The Concretes' "Teen Love".

You can get the album for $10 through Parasol. One last note about them...if anyone can get their website to work please let me know how you did it. I'm stumped.

Peter, Bjorn and John - Far Away, By My Side
Peter, Bjorn and John - Teen Love

You can also stream another song, "It Beat Me Every Time", from the Parasol page.

Thanks to Swedesplease for tipping me off to these guys.

Montpelier Bi-Centennial Celebration

Can you believe it's already been 200 years? That's right. It's time for Montpelier to celebrate the 200th anniversary of it being the capital of Vermont.

This weekend, Oct. 7th - 9th, Montpelier will be playing host to parades, fireworks, orgies, "Taste of Vermont", public floggings, concerts and and art exhibits. You can get the full schedule of events here.

I would normally be partaking in the "Taste of Vermont" and the parade (Montpelier has great friggin' parades). However, the weather looks like crap from Friday afternoon straight through Sunday. Plus, I'm going to Montreal Saturday afternoon for a night of dinner and drinking with friends. So, I'll miss a lot of the action on the statehouse lawn.

I guess I'll just have to wait for the 225th anniversary celebration.

UPDATE: The weekend's celebration was a complete bust. It rained all weekend and all of the events were either cancelled or poorly attended. We watched the parade under cover from the porch of the Pavillion Hotel building but the parade stunk. I don't know if some groups/people that had planned to be in the parade cancelled or if they actually planned a short parade but the whole thing lasted a mere ten minutes. Disappointment.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Peak Foliage

It's that time of the year again. The time when the trees turn warm colors and RVs with monogramed mudflaps choke our byways. For those of you that won't be visiting VT to see the leaves on our trees die, I decided to take some pictures around town for your enjoyment.

I don't know if it is technically "peak foliage" or not right now but there is a lot of color at the moment and the weather is about to turn nasty over the next few days. So, a lot of leaves are going to come down which probably makes today just about as good of a foliage day as there will be this year. However, the colors seem to be rather muted this year so overall, it isn't the best year for this stuff.

This is the view of Wrightsville Resevoir from Horn of the Moon Road just north of Montpelier.

These photos are from up on North Street. This one is looking north up Route 12.

This one is from the same spot but looking south back at downtown Montpelier.

This shot is from Cliff Street looking down on Montpelier. There were two other shutterbugs there snapping photos at the same time I was there today. So, it must be a good photo spot. However, they had much nicer equipment and hence better photos.

I was really stinky since I took these picures on the way home from lunchtime pick-up basketball. So, those other two folks were giving me the "What the hell is that smell?" look.

And finally, the obligatory shot of the statehouse building. Tourists ride for hours on tour buses to take this very same photo. Now, through the miracle of science, you can right-click save-as and avoid the whole ugly journey sitting next to a bunch of blue hairs from parts unknown. By the way, the building isn't usually dressed up in all of that bunting. The bunting is only there as part of the Bi-Centennial Celebration this weekend.