Saturday, January 27, 2007

"What did the chicken do?"

Yesterday I had the privilege of seeing Tom Toles speak at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center. He seems like a nice enough guy. I got to kill two birds with one stone: I saw a political cartoonist who I'd been a fan of since I was ten (Can you be a fan of political cartoons at ten?) and I finally got around to visiting the Art Center before it moved to a new building next door. Ahh, the sense of accomplishment I felt just by standing there!

The standing-room-only crowd

Buffalo News editor Margaret Sullivan introduced Toles. Afterwards she stood next to me to catch her friend Toles' speech. "They have you speak," I whispered as I turned to her, "but they won't give you a chair?" She laughed. Now I'm in with the Buffalo Elite.

The picture quality sucks so you might have to enlarge this: Tom Toles describes how he draws George W. Bush. Get it? He's a right-wing-nut.

Toles also used the term "Mess O'Potamia" a full fifteen years before Jon Stewart.

A couple more by Toles. Why not?

So Tom Toles took a job at the Washington Post but originally worked for the Buffalo News, but that job is now taken by a guy named Adam Zyglis, who used to draw for the Canisius College Griffin. This was around the time that I wrote for the Griffin (short-lived, don't ask), but especially around the time that roommate/Best Bud Dave wrote for them, who coincidentally did an internship in Washington for the Buffalo News. Someone at the talk even thought I was Zyglis (?). I also co-starred in the 1988 movie Criminal Law with--that's right--Kevin Bacon!

As required by law, here's another photograph of a Herd About Buffalo statue.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

One More Hour

Artvoice: The Day The Music Died

By the time you read this Home of the Hits will have closed forever. Today, on its last day open for business, I went in to see what was left over. Considering how it used to look--walls covered in tee-shirts and bins overflowing with CDs--the place had pretty much been picked clean. While some of the remnants were surprising (a couple good U2 albums on vinyl) most was useless (Dashboard Depressional). I and a dozen other crate-diggers worked through the remaining detritus. During the afternoon the owner was selling six used CDs for $10.

[I prefer syrup!]

Here is where I bought my first Pavement album for $1 (a radio promo with a messed up tracklisting, which I thought was mighty cool). When I started collecting Bikini Kill's discography, this was the only store in WNY that sold their albums. I once bought a Blur double-album import there for $20 off. Way back when I worked the 3AM DJ shift at WBNY, I decided to celebrate the end of the semester by picking up some Limited Edition pressing from a group I'd read about called Sleater-Kinney. That decision led to the loss of several hundred dollars, a weekend in Cleveland, and three days worth of lunches (from food poisoning) after fanatically following the band during a snowstorm in Fredonia.

[nearly bare]

But today I spent only six dollars: two for the Eyes Adrift album (members of Nirvana, Sublime, and the Meat Puppets that only sold 20,000 copies), two for DJ Hurricane's The Hurra (his first solo work outside of the Beastie Boys), and two for an extremely out-of-print copy of Heavens To Betsy's Complicated (there's that S-K link). I know you don't care.

[ancient Pepsi-Cola machine]

Since Home of the Hits is closing I think it's a good time to give up CDs. Sorry everybody. Ask anyone and they'll tell you of my notorious reputation when it comes to CD shopping. But now that it's 2007, what's the point? I have a hundred albums on my computer that I haven't heard yet. Portable .mp3 players make CDs seem like an inconvenience and Amazon and iTunes removed the thrill of the hunt. Aside from Radiohead's next release I can't see a reason to buy another disc ever again.

[Half of my 1600+ CD collection. I haven't yet counted the records in the next room.]

Kind of sad when you think about it. How much have I spent?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Mexican Cession

Mexican Cession hadn't played a show in five years. They put together one more album and had a reunion, CD release party, and final goodbye all in the same night. It was a resurrection of ska that F'n kicked A. The entire place turned into a mosh pit and I think my camera's busted.

Discussion at

Also check out my previous music post.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

80 Minutes for 13 January 2007

It's either this or classwork. Until the Great Hard Drive Crash of '06 I used to post mix CDs on this blog and--believe it!--some people actually downloaded them. Here's another 80 minutes of music for you to despise. Try some and tell me what you think.

01 Ben Folds - Bizarre Christmas Incident

My favorite alt-xmas song of all time remains Beck's "Little Drum Machine Boy" ("Hannakuh Pimp!") but this is a good effort. Plus I can't get the image of those dogs eating Crisco out of my head. Mmm . . . Crisco.

02 Sleater-Kinney - Light Rail Coyote

Based on a real story about a wild animal that jumped a passenger train going into Portland, Oregon. One of my New Year's Resolutions is to find a new favorite band; Sleater-Kinney had to go and break up last year so now I'm wandering in the auditory desert.

03 Apples In Stereo - Same Old Drag

The Apples are back! Their first album in about 5 years comes out this year and this song is on it. For the uninitiated, the Apples In Stereo have based their entire careers on copying the Beatles' Rubber Soul/Revolver period. Most of the time it works.

04 Architecture In Helsinki - Do The Whirlwind (Safety Scissors Mix)

I know nothing about this band or whether they deserve a remix album, or anything about Scandinavian building techniques. But I drove 7 hours to Boston the other week and had this melody stuck in me for the first 5.

05 DJ Shadow - Holy Calamity (Bear Witness II)

From a Live in London DVD someone ripped into MP3. This doesn't do the track justice outsite of the 90-minute show. Didn't Dan the Automator also record this song?

06 Veruca Salt - Shimmer Like A Girl

After searching for 6 years I finally have all the tracks from Blow It Out Your Ass, It's Veruca Salt. I don't think they had an album out before this, probably explaining the promo at the very end. The sing-a-long part in this song reminds me of a story I heard about Catherine that happened during a school trip to Australia, but my memory is sketchy. Hey, speaking of Australia . . .

07 Shins - Australia

. . . and speaking of new albums, this comes out in a couple of weeks. Somehow I've been sitting on a copy since October. Parts of the album are darker than earlier Shins releases but I find it a lot more enjoyable. Still, I was promised this band would change my life and I'm a bit disappointed.

08 Boris - Ibitsu

Indie stuff just doesn't rock anymore. This Japanese band apes the Melvins but speeds it up a tad. (Anyone remember Tad?) If they weren't so into 60-minute drone symphonies they might have a chance at taking Sleater-Kinney's old job. I really like three songs per album by these guys. The rest is more of a dull headache.

09 Rentals - Friends Of P.

Ever think to yourself "That's a cool song and/or video. I should really get that album" and years go by and you hear about that band again and think "Whatever happened to them? I should have picked up that album while I had the chance" and sometimes you're in the record store thinking "There was an album I was supposed to get. What was it?" and then twelve years go by, you download it off this new thing called the Internet and you listen to it and exclaim "Wow, the rest of this album is shit"? Thus endeth my Rentals odyssey.

10 Beirut - The Gulag Orkestar

The guy's not from Beirut or anywhere near it but he might have you fooled for a couple minutes. The album overdraws itself, especially in the song titles department, but you have to admire an indie project from Neutral Milk Hotel et al. that sticks to its guns. No guitars!

11 Of Montreal - Wraith Pinned To The Mist

You can hear a ripped-off version of this in an Outback Steakhouse ad. I like the walking baseline. Sounds like it wants to do the Electric Slide. Or maybe the Bus Stop. One of those dances I had to do in elementary gym class.

12 Bob Dylan - Talkin' Hava Negeila Blues

Probably the best thing I got for Christmas was the Bob Dylan Bootleg Series 1-3. There are far better songs on there, but THIS is BOB DYLAN singing "HAVA NEGEILA," people. Meshuggah!

13 The Band - Rag Mama Rag (alternate vocal take-rough)

The whole album is great. Thanks, Clarence Public Library! You can also catch a VH1 special on the recording sessions. I was going to post an alternate version of "Cripple Creek" but I really like how the fiddle and piano sounds come out here. Pianos should sound like pianos, not like Casio Keyboard Instrument #1.

14 Cobra Starship - Bring It (Snakes On A Plane)

The keys on this song, however, are absolute cheese. Then again, so is the movie Snakes On A Plane, which I've watched four times now. Cobra Starship, you're forgiven. This time. You can tell they don't take themselves too seriously, either. "Why did the chorus just slow down and cut off? Oh well, keep it in, it sounds kinda cool."

15 Cornelius - Gum

Another subversive artist from Japan. Like Bright Eyes, this guy took his performance name from a Planet Of The Apes Character. I wish he had more of a following in the States. This is a fun headphone instrumental.

16 Ciccone Youth - Into The Groovey

Sonic Youth changed their name to Ciccone Youth for one very weird album--weird even for Sonic Youth standards. Unlike Goodbye 20th Century, this one's actually quite catchy. Ciccone is Madonna's real last name and here is a cover of one of her early hits. Kim Gordon also sings a karaoke version of "Addicted To Love" if you have the stomach for it.

17 Daniel Smith & Sufjan Stevens - Worried Shoes

From a Daniel Johnston covers album. Daniel Johnston's recordings can have lousy quality but the songwriting always stands out. Plus, Sufjan Stevens is involved and he knows how to turn roughshod records into gold. If you like this, definitely check out Daniel Johnston in all his schizophrenic (literally) glory.

18 Kasabian - Shoot The Runner

A possible New Favorite Band? Kasabian was a lot like Oasis in a trance during their first album, but now they're getting into rockin' "Hey Jude" territory. Very Nice! The first album was also riddled with a masochistic copy protection program, so I'm overjoyed to present this track without direct permission from the record company. (Note: please delete after 24 hours or your computer will asplode.)

19 Girl Talk - Double Pump

Technically, all of Girl Talk's albums are illegal because he doesn't get permission to use samples. In fact, I first learned about him from Illegal Art's website. Anyhoo, I post this only because it's the world's first successful mashup of (among other things) Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch's "Good Vibrations" and the Golden Girls theme.

20 Nellie McKay - Cupcake

I don't get this. Can I post songs I don't actually like? I mean, there's nothing wrong with it . . . I guess. Nellie McKay is like 21 now, but she sounds better doing songs that could have been written 60 years ago. The album this comes from also has some attempts at hip-hop (???) Is she even in tune in this song? What's going on here? Reviewers wrote that McKay was the sound of some new breed of revolutionary, feminist singers. Kathleen Hanna, what? Oh . . . my head is spinning.

21 Scissor Sisters - Contact High (demo)

Prejudicially I was wary of the Scissor Sisters, who sounded like a one-hit Darkness sibling without the sense of humor. It ends up that the album is freakin' sweet, though its replay value may be low. Especially interesting is that while the music is upbeat (my dad's "Philadephia Feeling" 45 comes to mind), the album's lyrics are generally very depressing. So instead of being one of my favorite words, "derivative," it's one of my other favorite words, a "juxtaposition." This track comes from the Ultra Special Extra 8 Bucks Edition.

22 Dresden Dolls - Missed Me

Overdramatic. Draining. It's great. My brother and I saw their "cabaret punk" concert/play just outside of Harvard last month and they can really pour it on. This is probably my favorite track of the 22 here because it's such a performance. Is she jaded or manipulative? You make the call.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


*word of the year for 2007

New Year's Eve was a loooong night. Our little group had a big dinner and hit the bars. Ed's in town and he made sure he had a good time.

There are 5 stages of alcoholism. (Six if you live in a trailer park)

Where can I buy this poster?

Wait a second. Let's compare:

F'r Ed

For those of you who are interested in such things, this is what it "looked" like in Frizzy's at midnight:

I just liked this house.