Thursday, August 27, 2009


(It should be said that I had no idea what this entry would be about when I started. I apologize if it seems scattered.)

Before I continue, I will say that I hope someone takes me up on the offer to review their music some time soon. I had one artist submit a couple of mp3s, but unfortunately I found myself in the position of not having anything good to say about them (this probably doesn't sell me very well as someone who would potentially review your work, but there's a lot of music out there that has redeeming qualities...I have found something to like in things that most people despise, so there you go). If you are reading this and you are an artist, and you'd like a review, please, Please, PLEASE email me at I'll give you a review, and I'll do my best to make it positive.

Meanwhile, I sold off about 40 or 50 CDs from my collection last week to attempt to offset the cost of the upcoming Beatles reissues. The box sets are absurdly expensive, and at this point any fan should consider his or herself lucky to get a copy of the limited edition mono box set (the mono versions of the albums are not being released individually). It looks as though I'm going to get mine, but not at a price I'm happy with.

The Beatles reissues are great news, but I feel as though I want to talk about the evolution of my collection a bit, and what the selling off of those particular 40-50 CDs might signify. Many of the things I sold were so-called "Greatest Hits" or "Best Of" collections. In the day and age of iTunes and the mp3, I think this sort of record might be obsolete. What do I mean? If one only wants certain songs by an artist, a few of their hits or whatever, why on earth would they spend the extra money on a CD and wind up with some other songs they might not want? Why wouldn't they just buy the individual songs they DO want from iTunes, Amazon or whatever? I found myself in the position where the songs I liked from many of those CDs were in my iTunes (or in mp3 format on an external hard drive), so the need to own the "Greatest Hits" CD simply didn't exist anymore. I've always been more of a fan of actual albums anyway, and many of those hits collections were by bands who've I've always had every intention of investigating further anyway. In other words, I have even more incentive to actually listen to a whole album all the way through by some of those bands, since I don't have the stupid "Greatest Hits" as a placeholder anymore.

I want to get to a point where all the CDs or LPs I own are ones that I would listen to start to finish all the way through. I won't always do this, of course (shuffle is such an indelible part of my life at this point...Shuffle on my iPod is like the best radio station I could ever imagine. All my favorites mixed with things that I am trying to gain greater exposure to. Isn't that what radio was supposed to be in the first place??), but it's a noble goal. I may yet sell even more CDs...we shall see. I have an enormous amount of music that has piled up that I'm still starting to get to know. I haven't reviewed hardly any of it on this blog...which is kind of a shame. I'm working on it, people. It's a challenge when I spread myself so thin, both in terms of all the balls I'm keeping in the air, and all the records I listen to. I rarely listen to anything two or three days in a row.

I will say that you should go find some Game Theory online. You'll more than likely have to download it from somewhere that has a RapidShare link or something like that, since all their albums are very, VERY out of print. But they're a real gem. The great lost band of the 80s, I tell you. Delightful. Lolita Nation is their masterpiece, but really any of it is fabulous. Some of the early EPs are brilliant as well.

Okay. Kind of a random entry, but I hope you found it worth reading. In summary, yay Beatles, yay Game Theory, boo "Greatest Hits" albums. Oh, and yay sending me your music for review. Email to discuss.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Summer Tour 2009 Mix

So, I found that on this tour (it's a K.C. Clifford tour in which my participation falls into the categories of "sideman", "husband" and "sanity"), certain songs are popping up in expected/unexpected places, some multiple times. It started on the first day of the tour when I was jonesing to hear a particular song, and I discovered fairly quickly that it wasn't on my iPod. This happened several more times, so I started a playlist in iTunes and transferred it over. This morphed fairly quickly into "Summer 2009 Tour Mix". So here are the selections, followed by detailed explanation of each song:





TOUCH OF GREY-THE GRATEFUL DEAD: I was loading the car in St. Paul the day we were leaving (it was the first stop on the tour) and some guys painting the next building over were listening to this on their boombox. Maybe it was just on the radio, maybe it was something they were listening to on purpose, but I was so pleased to hear such a great song coming from over there, as opposed to something that sucks (like One Republic or something). Then I discovered it wasn't on my iPod for some reason. Gah.

RUDI, A MESSAGE TO YOU-THE SPECIALS: One of the people K.C. and I met at the Feeding America conference in Chicago possessed the last name of "Rudy", and that made me think of this song.

ROSE GOES TO YALE-JEFFERSON STARSHIP: Another one that I had a jones to hear that turned out not to be on my iPod. This album (NUCLEAR FURNITURE) was one that I listened to A LOT on road trips when I was a kid, so it continues to resonate with me because of that. I have waxed philosophical on its greatness quite a bit in the past on this very blog. K.C. heard this song and said it sounded like musical theater. She's kind of right.

IMPOSSIBLE GERMANY-WILCO: This song concludes the "why the f@#k isn't it on my iPod??" portion of this mix. The issue has now been remedied in regards to all songs in this category.

LOVE IS ALL AROUND-R.E.M.: The first song in the Dr. Pants CITY JAMS series ("It's Raining In Minneapolis") totally cops the melody from the chorus to this song (unintentionally). Writing that song made me think of this song.

STAY POSITIVE-THE HOLD STEADY: The Hold Steady came up in conversation at least three or four times in the first few days of the tour. This is probably my current favorite song by them.

BEGINNING OF THE HEARTBREAK/DON'T DON'T-PETER GORDON & LOLO: This song is a mysterious beast of greatness for me. Mysterious mostly because I have a feeling that most people would deem it some sort of cheesy post-disco artifact from the early 80's. I think it's brilliant. I have the upper hand in this debate because I've actually heard the song and you probably have not. It's beautiful in its melancholy and energy. It captures a desperate mood that I've felt multiple times in the last couple of weeks.

STREETS OF YOUR TOWN-THE GO-BETWEENS: Just discovered this song a couple of years ago thanks to my friend Rodney. I am just now starting to become addicted to it, I think. There are songs that just fit the vibe of a particular moment in your life, and this song fits this moment in mine.

VIRGINIA REEL AROUND THE FOUNTAIN-THE HALO BENDERS: My friend Erin, whom we had brunch with in Chicago, attended a portion of the Pitchfork festival and saw Built to Spill (if you're not hip to it, Doug Martsch from Built to Spill was ALSO in the Halo Benders). She reported that they had done this song in their set, and that was enough to send me running back to it weeping with joy.


THE LOVE I'M SEARCHING FOR-THE RENTALS: Erin is in a band with my friend Garrett, and while we were in Chicago he showed me a video of said band (The Hidden Mitten) doing this one at a show. Garrett and I, once upon a time, performed this song together, so it brought back a lot of memories.

BREAK MY STRIDE-MATTHEW WILDER: This is, quite simply, one of the greatest songs of all time. If you disagree, you are not awesome. It has come up in shuffle on the iPod a number of times on this tour, hence its inclusion here.

DESDEMONA-EGGSTONE: The Hidden Mitten does a boss version of this one as well.

LIKE A ROLLING STONE-BOB DYLAN: The iPod seems to love this one lately, too. It's popping up in the shuffle all the time.

LLOYD, I'M READY TO BE HEARTBROKEN-CAMERA OBSCURA: At the same time my friend Rodney introduced me to "Streets of Your Town", he introduced me to this song as well. When I thought of that song, it made me also think of this one.

HEAVEN SENT-CUSH: A random inclusion at best, since it's the only song I own by this band, and I don't listen to much of anything else that comes from the same sort of sub-genre (uber-indie Christian rock). But this song is great. "Tell your mother don't give up on me." It only had to pop up on shuffle once for me to give it a spot.

WHAT ABOUT JENNIFER-THE BRILLIANT INVENTIONS: One of the most worthwhile discoveries
to be had at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (which K.C. performed at last weekend). Tuneful, smart, fun. I think I might prefer the live, acoustic vibe they have to this fully produced version, but that's okay.

KICKER OF ELVES-GUIDED BY VOICES: I've spent a good bit of this tour walking around singing "Do do do do do do do kicker of elves" to myself.

IF YOU GO AWAY-ROBYN HITCHCOCK: A little-known Hitchcock gem that I thought fit in thematically with a lot of the other songs here really well.

THE UNIVERSAL-BLUR: A song that is all at once despairing and hopeful. Just like my mood most days lately.

FAITHFULLY-JOURNEY: This one just seems to keep popping up. It's come up on shuffle, it's come up on the radio, it came up again today while K.C. and I were using the free internet in a Huddle House restaurant here in Virginia. It's another one that has a comforting, reminds-me-of-childhood-roadtrips vibe to it (a la Jefferson Starship) so I count myself lucky to have it be so present. Say what you want about Journey...I think this is one of the top 5 power ballads of all time. Maybe one of the only 5 good ones, period.

I finally got the audio files up for the College of Santa Fe Tribute Mixtape entry, so go listen to those. That shizz will rock you. FYI, for a technical reason I had to combine the audio files for sides 3 & 4. Side 4 is have to get through side 3 to get to it, though.