Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Viva Las Vegas - and music, too.

Tuesday, May 31
Today's deliveries must wait until tomorrow to be listed, as there is much catching up to do!

Saturday, May 28
Tower prices are generally higher than other stores, but you can’t beat the selection. And sometimes the clearance area has some great buys. I got these import singles for under $5 each:
1. JOHN MAYER – Why Georgia (Columbia)
Lately, I have heard a few snaps at Mayer, indicating that he’s become the new poster boy for bland commercial radio, but that’s unfair. Except for the truly treacly “Daughters,” Mayer's shown himself to be a credible, melodic songwriter and can play a wicked guitar when he wants to – usually saved for the live shows. So give him a break. He hasn’t disgraced himself – yet. Features a live version, plus one of “3x5,” and a demo of “No Such Thing.”
2. RADIOHEAD – There there (Parlophone)
Hail to the Thief single plus two previously unreleased tracks, and a small art print.
3. KINGS OF LEON – Wasted Time
Includes “Molly’s Hangover” (a slow take on “Molly’s Chambers”), a live version of “Joe’s Head” and a video of the title track.
4. SOMETHING CORPORATE – If You C Jordan (MCA/Drive-Thru)
Includes “Bad Day,” the “Jordan” video, and an acoustic version of “I Want to Save You.”
Also, these full-lengths were 75% off, so for under $3 each, I had to take a chance:
5. MARTIN GRECH – Open Heart Zoo (Island)
The sticker says that the title track was featured in the new Lexus TV commercial, which usually means something catchy. First listen started badly, but I was drawn in by later tracks.
6. SANDY DILLON & HECTOR ZAZOU – Las Vegas is Cursed (Crammed)
Zazou's name is familiar from a CD he did some years back, with interesting female vocalists (Suzanne Vega? Jane Siberry? Must look it up). I like some of the song titles, too: “God Believes in Showbiz,” “Excuse Me (If I’m Sad).” First listen indicated that Ms. Dillon has a voice that may take some getting used to.
7. WORD OF MOUTH magazine with free CD of new music
People I know I like: Nick Cave, Shivaree, British Sea Power, Arcade Fire; new ones to find out about: Broken Family Band (like the song title, too: “Where the Hell is My Baby?”), Seasick Steve & the Level Devils, et al.

A tale of obsessive price shopping. First time I checked this album out on iTunes, the full CD, with 19 tracks - a few of them touted as online exclusives - was offered for $9.99. But I knew it was on sale at Target for $7.98, so I went to the store to check out what the deal was. The "hard copy" of the CD had 15 tracks. So, I figured, the online version was a better deal - if those 4 additional tracks meant something to me. I returned to iTunes the next day, and the full CD was now $14.99! So I bought the Target version. I still like jewel cases and liner notes, and even if I buy all four additional tracks from iTunes, I'm ahead. So far, it's coming on as a great collection. Enough retro recognition to be an instant friend, enough new twists to make it all feel fresh again.
9. DAN HICKS and the HOT LICKS – Selected Shorts (Surfdog Records)
Actually, got three copies of this in one day, two of them addressed to other Post writers as if they lived at my house. Yeah, I'm running a major newspaper out of my basement! Called the publicist today to straighten out the mistake. Will only count it once.

Friday, May 27
WE GET OUT: Todd Snider and the Nervous Wrecks, plus Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers at the State Theatre
Great show, good fun. Kellogg wasn't as chatty/funny as his reputation made him out to be, so my preview might have been a little off the mark click here. And Todd Snider was playing with a band, so he was less verbose than he was on his wonderful solo live CD, but both had appealing presence, warmth and musical support to make for a fine night of good-time music. i especially like the way Todd ended with an audience singalong of "Enjoy Yourself" (it's later than you think), which appears on his latest, East Nashville Skyline.
10. 30 SECONDS TO MARS – A Beautiful Life (Virgin)
Advance. Album in stores August 16.
Gracie bought herself a belated birthday present:
11. MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE – Three Cheers for Sweet Romance (Reprise)
I wrote about these guys months ago click here , but didn't hold on to the CD. Grace loves them now, smitten with the clever movie-trailer style video for "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)." It's harder than my usual taste, but they've got humor to go with the angst.

Thursday, May 26
12. ATHLETE - Tourist (Astralwerks)
More grand, emotive British pop for those who can't get enough Coldplay. Not bad, but I keep thinking I'm hearing outtakes from an Elbow album.

Wednesday, May 25
Bought for Grace’s birthday – but I dig ‘em, too:
13. GORILLAZ – Demon Days (Virgin)
Looks like a sure-fire entry to my year-end top ten. The single, "Feel Good Inc." was buzzing through my head for the days leading up to CD release, and now the full-length is the go-to selection when I can't make up my mind. So many styles and so much cool.
14. GREEN DAY - Shenanigans (Reprise)
Her boys, with rarities, covers and B-sides.

Tuesday, May 24
WE GET OUT: Judith Owen and Harry Shearer at Jammin’ Java.
If all you know of Harry Shearer is Spinal Tap, Mighty Wind or the Simpsons, get thee to KCRW.com and check out Le Show, Harry's weekly one-hour mix of music and commentary, often with brilliant audio sketches. Sometimes he plays songs recorded by his wife, Judith Owen, and rightfully so. She's got a beautiful voice and writes wry material that fits in well with the Le Show smarter-than-your-average-radio vibe. Having Judith appear at Jammin java was a treat, especially with Harry adding tasteful bass lines and doing a quick song while she took a "drug break." Afterwards, I got the chance to speak with them both (separately) and was delighted to find that, despite all the intellectual cool they radiate onstage, they're genuinely friendly folk off. Always a thrill to meet heroes. Even better when they share the warmth.

15. JOE PERRY – S/T (Roman/Columbia)
16. JOHN CENA & tha TRADEMARC – You Can’t See Me (Columbia)
World Wrestling Federation star turned rapper. No need to break the shrink wrap.
Two cents. That’s what this ten-song sampler, including The Clash’s “Train in Vain,” Cheap Trick’s “Surrender (live)” and Jeff Buckley's "Last Goodbye," among others, cost me at the big but not nasty book store. Perfect to keep in the car as fall-back refreshment for when the radio craps out and you've forgotten to grab new discs for travel.

Monday, 23rd
18. UMe/Chronicles SAMPLER GOLD
This week’s Best Buy freebie. Twelve tracks, but not as tasty as the Borders collection. Having reaquainted myself with the likes of Moody Blues' "Your Wildest Dreams" and Kool & the Gang's "Too Hot," I'm not anxious to revisit any time soon. Still, I dare you to hear Tom Jones sing "It's Not Unusual" and not sing along. A cheap way to cherry-pick for the iPod, though.
19.The NERVOUS RETURN – Wake Up Dead (La Salle Records)

Sunday, May 22
Back from Vegas, some packages await. (Sigh, I remember once, returning home from an extended stay in L.A. and having a stack of boxes waiting for me that clocked in at about 80 releases. Those were my glory days of swag!)
20. TODD SNIDER – East Nashville Skyline (Oh Boy!)
A new favorite, discovered in doing a preview for the Post. click here
21. ROSANNE CASH – Interiors (Columbia Legacy)
22. ROSANNE CASH – Seven Year Ache (Columbia Legacy)
23. ROSANNE CASH – King’s Record Shop (Columbia Legacy)
Three generic plastic-cased reissues, coming this summer. Back in the day, when I lived in NYC and wrote a syndicated music column about music videos, I was invited to dinner at a hip Tribeca restaurant (I think DeNiro owned it) with Ms. Cash and about six other music writers. It was a blast, and I met a cool editor from Seventeen magazine, who later threw a little work my way. At the time, Rosanne was promoting Interiors, and I remember liking the album a lot. Listening to it again now, it doesn't have quite the same you-are-there impact, but I'll enjoy re-exploring this wise woman's music.
24. DAVID POE – Love is Red (7 Twenty Records)
Mature, but not dull-edged, pop/jazz, sorta like Sting without the annoying smug success factor. Coming to Jammin Java next week.
25. THE MOANERS – Dark Snack (Yep Roc)
26. ARUNA – Running Red Lights (Eskala)
27. PEPPER’S GHOST – Shake the Hand that Shook the World (Hybrid)
Official version of a generic cardboard advance I got many weeks ago. Playing at Nation on June 13th.
28. JEFF BLACK – Tin Lily (Dualtone)
29. The GREENCARDS – Weather and Water (Dualtone)
Official version duplicate of an advance I received earlier. Easy to like pop/rock bluegrass.
30. DROPKICK MURPHYS – The Warrior’s Code (Hellcat Records)
Celtic punk. Like a Reese's peanut butter cup, two great tastes that taste great together.

Wednesday, May 18
Purchased from iTunes:
31. STEPHEN KELLOGG and the SIXERS – S/T (Foundations/Universal)
I had an advance of this album in the reference binder, but it wouldn't load into my iTunes for the Vegas trip, so I bought it. Much as I enjoyed Kellogg in concert, the songs alone don't grab me yet.
32. TODD SNIDER – Near Truths and Hotel Rooms
Also purchased to help with the Post story (I spend in order to do my job, so don't begrudge the freebies when they come), this CD was a revelation. Todd's such a good storyteller that, as catchy as his songs are, you're kinda happy when they end 'cause then you're gonna get another sweet tale.
33. MY MORNING JACKET - Live at the 930 Club 8-16-2002
Gotta use up my monthly music allowance and refuel the iPod for the trip.
34. SPOON – Gimme Fiction
And this is what makes emusic so good - beign able to to take a chance on a CD that I've only heard about, for about $4.oo. Could be a contender for year's best. Only now I wanna read the liner notes!
35. TROUBLED HUBBLE - Live at Schubas 3-8-2005
Today (Monday, May 31st), Grace got an envelope in the mail with a TH t-shirt and handmade birthday card from these guys. You gotta love them - and if you listen to 'em, you will. It's not just a 'love 'em 'cause I like 'em' thing.

YTD: 442

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I Want My Job, Too

Tuesday, May 17
Just two CDs in the mail today:
1.SYSTEM OF A DOWN - Mezmerize (American/Columbia)
2.SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS soundtrack (Sony Music Soundtraxx)
I read the book 'cause Grace said it was one of the best she ever read, and it's a nice teen book. Now the movie with her favorite TV star, from the Gilmore Girls, which I watch faithfully, too. Something I can add to her pile of presents - she'll be 15 next week.
but where I was going yesterday...

Monday, May 16
There used to be a saying in the music biz, "It's all in the grooves." What do we say now that vinyl has been largely replaced by shiny plastic? And what if there's more to talk about than just the music, i.e. packaging? The majority of the releases I obtained in the past few days are not only wonderful to listen to, for the most part, but artfully presented. That's the kind of thing that iTunes still can't match.

3.TROUBLED HUBBLE - Making Beds in a Burning House (Lookout!)
Even if this lovely quartet from Chicago didn't sleep in my basement for much of the time they were recording their album in Arlington (with Jason Caddell, ex of Dismemberment Plan, producing) and even if they didn't thank me (and the family) personally in the liner notes, and even if they weren't four of the nicest guys I've ever met in this crazy business of show, I would STILL call this a damn fine CD. Lead singer and lyricist Chris Opetka has a deliciously skewed worldview (try "I See Molecules") and a tender heart ("Even Marathon Runners Need to Nap") and he's backed by a kickin' rock band that has fun while getting the job done. I give this my personal guarantee. You will not be disappointed by this CD and, if you can see them live, money back if you don't have a great time. So there.

4. MEREDITH BRAGG and the TERMINALS -S/T (The Kora Records)
At first I was drawn to the beautiful packaging - letterpress on kraft cardbboard with blue/purple ink and sly wording ("Timbre quality manipulated by Mr. Chad Clark" - I think that means the DC area stalwart mixed it). But in just two listens, it's moving fast up my personal hit parade. I'm such a sucker for bands that use cellos. Bragg still sounds very Elliot Smith, albeit with a happier disposition, and there's touches of Nick Drake and Postal Service, too. Perfect late night drifting away music.
Months ago, I wrote about Bragg's appearance on a multi-act benefit for the late and lamented music/fashion store Now! and he sent me a CD-R of music to write about. Given the name Meredith, and the fact that we communicated only via email, I assumed I was writing about a woman and, when the disc came, I was suprised to hear a voice uncannily similar to Elliot Smith's. I remained confused until I saw the subtiitle on this official disc's elegant cover: "An inquiry into the nature of pressure waves through eleven songs by Meredith Bragg with his band the Terminals, Vol. 1." Call me stupid, but at least I'm honest about it. The last male Meredith I knew was the guy who wrote "The Music Man."

5. NIKKA COSTA - Can'tNeverDidn'tNothin' (Virgin)
Official version of a CD I got as cardboard case advance a while back. Popped it in the car for a few songs, but doubt I'll go back again. It's chick dance blues rock scream stuff and not my bag, baby.

Sunday, May 15
Purchased at the Galaxy Hut, after A Northern Chorus played a great set, moving from delicate cello (they're everywhere these days!) and harmony sentiments to bracingly loud crescendo. click
6. A NORTHERN CHORUS - Before We All Go To Pieces (S/R)
The band's first, self-released CD, from 2001 is one of those each-and-every-one's-unique productions. The disc, with stickered label, sits on a corrugated cardboard tray in a silver metal box with the band name and title stencilled on front. There's a crudely glued paper insert with song titles and production details and two small square art cards - little screen prints. This is why the phrase "musical artists" applies to some bands more than others. The music is equally attendent to detail. Another great evening album for stimulating chill time.
7. A NORTHERN CHORUS - spirit flags (Sonic Unyon)

Saturday, May 14
Great day at the HFStival. Sad to see we missed They Might Be Giants' set, but we did catch the two Johns chatting with a third - the much-missed HFS DJ Johnny Riggs - who was conducting interviews from the basement of M&T Band Stadium in Baltimore.
At first, it looked like it would be a quiet, sit-in-the-stands kind of day when the media will call window had no record of my photo pass request from SUM-41. But then I ran into Rich, my pal and former editor at the Post, and he did a little backstage wrangling when he went to do an interview with Benji of Good Charlotte and came back with the magic laminate. With that, I was able to shoot mainstage pit shots of Garbage, Billy Idol, Coldplay and New York Dolls, although the Dolls shots were lost in a media card snafu, as was a great close-up of Shirley Manson, Dave Grohl and Butch Vig backstage. (GRRRRRR....) Also made the effort to shoot SUM-41, despite the fact that they "stood me up" and found their potty-mouth juvenile delinquency act is getting tired. The best part of their set for me was taking the disposable camera of a discouraged fan in a far corner spot and bringing it with me into the prime pit area so I could give her some good shots (I hope).
"I want your job!" one girl, crushed against the barricade, moaned as I moved freely in the photo pit in front of the stage, dodging the flying crowd-surfers. It's more a paid hobby, I told her, but yeah, it's fun in a place like this. Rich and I agreed, sneaking a smoke outside the glass-enclosed press box, complete with free drinks and many clean bathrooms, that big festivals would be pretty hard to get through at our age without the niceties of press access.
Other high points included a brief chat with the lovely Miss Manson, introducing Grace to Benji and Joel of GC, getting a hug from Vince from Army of Me (great local band) and chatting with two guys from the Bravery about their Rube Goldberg-ian video. And hearing Foo Fighters sing "My Hero," one of my favorites ever! That, and seeing Taylor with his shirt off - again.
The shots that came out well - including many of the Divine Miss M in fishnets, Billy Idol's scowl, and Chris Martin's scary hairy belly - will be up soon on my web site, closepersonalfriend.com.
Got home from the festival and had this most delightful discovery:
8. BRIAN ENO - Thursday Afternoon (Astralwerks)
9. BRIAN ENO - Music for Films (Astralwerks)
10. BRIAN ENO - More Music for Films(Astralwerks)
11. BRIAN ENO - Apollo (Astralwerks)
Many weeks ago, I sent an email to one of the label's publicists, admitting that I had no assignment, but if she could spare any of the Eno reissues. At the time, I may have been referring to the more song-oriented works, like Before and Afetr Science (a personal favorite), but I think I was late off the mark. Any Eno is good Eno, and these selections from his ambient series are, for the most part, most welcome replacements for vinyl. What a nice upgrade and sweet welcome home from a fine day of muc more rowdy music.
Also in the day's mail:
12. DEATH BY STEREO - Death for Life (Epitaph)
13. HUSKY RESCUE - Country Falls (Minty Fresh)
It's hard to call attention to new bands before they earn/cajole/bribe their way to radio play, so the first best plan may be to have a cool name. Husky Rescue is such a name. Without hearing a note, I've been tracking their movement in the flurry of press releases sent by the publicity team working them. Now the CD has arrived, so I put it in gladly, to discover that it's got a chilly female vocalist and folk/electronica vibe which sorta reminds me of Portishead.

YTD: 407

Friday, May 13, 2005

Not Lazy, Just Busy

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

I have a lot of catching up to do, so it might get ugly. Gotta ram on and maybe a few details and dates will get fuzzy. Cause it’s a blog!

It's been a busy, and very musical interlude, with a couple of fine shows to recall.

Friday, May 13
No music in the mail today. Karmic payback for not keeping up.

Thursday, May 12
Good news. I got a photo pass for this Saturday's HSFtival in Baltimore. SUM-41's publicist said yes for the book project, and I'm pretty sure the pass will be good all day. So I'm good, too.
In the mail:
1. ROBERT CRAY - Twenty (Sanctuary)
Coming to the Birchmere next month.

Wednesday, May 11:
WILL SMITH - "Switch" (iTunes single)
One song, not to be counted in the YTD total. This is one damn catchy piece of work and the small production details are killer. Been hearing it in the morning on drive time radio (when Grace isn't popping CDs into the player) and every time I hear it, I smile. Having it at home, feet on the floor rather than on the gas pedal, I can dance, too.
2. WEEZER - Make Believe (Geffen)
Grace will pay for this one since she's a big fan, but since her allowance comes out of my pocket, I will claim it here. I hope she doesn't read too much into the Rivers' saga. He may not be the role model of my dreams. But he does have a way with a hook. 'cept for "We Are All In Drugs." That one's just dumb. Oh wait, I just heard "Best Friend." Even Grace agrees that it's a real lazy lyric.
3. The STARTING LINE - Based on a True Story (Drive-Thru/Geffen)
Saw the band from the side of the stage with Grace at the Flipside show (click here) and thought they were quite good. Lead singer has a star's charisma, mighty confident for a young buck just making the move to the big time, I bought it now on sale ($7.99) for Grace's birthday in two weeks. Shhhhh....it's a secret.
4. LIL JON & the EAST SIDE BOYZ - Get Crunk/Lovers & Friends (TVT)
Almost every week, Best Buy offers some add-on CD or DVD trailer bonus if you buy this or that special sale item. But if you buy just about anything else in the entertainment department, you can add one of the freebies to the pile and the cashier just passes it on through. They don't care, but I do. I am not very crunk, but I'll check it out so that I have some knowledge when I need to explain why I am not very crunk. Reason one: ‘cause repeating “Get crunk, monkey feather” (or words that sound a lot like that) is not writing lyrics.
5. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - Devils and Dust (Columbia)
An advisory sticker on a Bruce album?! Must admit, I was taken aback when I read the lyrics to the song that earned the tag ("She slipped me out of her mouth...wet her finger, slipped it inside her..."). But by the end of the song, when you realize the desolation that has brought this guy to the hooker's bed, it's truly heartbreaking. Leave it to Bruce, in this age of boobie-phobic censorship, to write a song that demands you admit that "adult imagery" isn't always intended to titillate and corrupt.
I could write a book (actually I did, in 1984 for Ballantine, one of a series of unauthorized rock biographies) about my torrid, if unrequited, love affair with the Boss. We've grown apart in recent years. I prefer the raucous-yet-sensitive gypsy boy of the "Born to Run" era to the elder statesman who's got the state of the world on his mind and the weight of the world on his shoulders. But when Bruce put himself on the line for Kerry, the old romance came back for a while. Bruce is like an old boyfriend who was there for me at a special time in my life. We may have gone down separate roads, but there will always be something intense there.
One strangeness however - this does not appear to be a DualDisc, and I thought all of the CDs were being manufactured that way. Will look that up at Tower records site. Disappointed not to get the full magilla (yeah, yeah, I know; buy the sucker).
6. JULIE LAVENDER - Never Felt the Sun (Covenant)
Covenant Records? Is this Jesus music? The song titles head more for the gooey new age spectrum ("Velvet Arms of Midnight," "Here Come the Dreamers") or Grand Statements - "Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 Aria" (whew! typing that was a bitch!) Listening the first time, with one ear while typing, it sounds more like mellow girl jazz. Might be nice on quiet nights, might be cloying. Need to revisit later.

Also in the mail, and very special to my music-loving soul:
ELVIS COSTELLO - a set list and ticket from the Palais Theatre in England, November 23, 2004, plus a set of actual Elvis guitar strings from the show; the lot purchased on ebay. The set list is for a book project I'm working on (ask for a link if you want to see pages in progress) and, though I have an autographed picture that a former editor got for me at an interview, knowing what a fan I am (shout out to Jeff!), there's something that makes me a little bit giddy to know that EC himself stroked these strings.
Oddity noted on the setlist - "13 Steps" (as it's called here) appears twice. There's a listing for "Brilliant Mistake." Is he covering Bruce? And there is no "Watching the Detectives"! Oh dear. Elvis is coming to Wolf Trap this summer. If there's a chance he's no longer performing my #1 A-list favorite song, I'd better start bracing myself now.

Tuesday, May 10
No CD's in the mail today, but I did score reasonably good tix (Row T, center aisle) to take Grace to see Green Day and Jimmy Eat World in August, thanks to the fan presale, which I was alerted to by a publicity mailing. Wherever you are, you would have heard her scream for joy when I showed her the email confirmation, but she shoved a pillow in her face to spare us all.

Saturday, May 7
7. FOR TSUNAMI RELIEF 2 CD-set from Filter magazine and Urban Outfitters
Excellent price ($15) for a double disc that covers lots of my recent favorites - Death Cab, Interpol, Elbow, Franz Ferdinand, (the ubiquitous) Kaiser Chiefs - and cool newcomers - LCD Soundsystem, Juana Molina, Rilo Kiley, Caribou - many in new remixes and previously unreleased tracks. Played it on the car ride home from NYC, picking up college girl and everyone in the car (age range 15-54) was diggin' it. Almost left one of the discs in the mini-van rental. That would have been a major bummer. Well worth looking for.

Wednesday, May 4:
Spent a brief twenty minutes or so speaking on the phone with Stu Livingston, one of the two guitarist-vocalist-lyricists of the fine Canadian band, A Northern Chorus, this week's Post Live! pick click here. The Ontario chamber pop quintet's third release, "Bitter Hands Resign," is one of those never-would-have-heard-of-it-otherwise albums that came to me because of the Post gig. A lovely discovery.

Nothing musical in the mail today, but I went to Best Buy and got
8. The PARTRIDGE FAMILY - The Complete First Season (DVD)
I'm including it in the count because it contains a 4-track sampler of music from the show and one of the special features is the ability to go straight to the "musical performances" (if ever a phrase required ironic quotes..) I can't tell you more now since I'm waiting to open it until after Mother's Day, in case I get one as a gift.
9. I LOVE THAT SONG/THE BEST OF THE 20th CENTURY - sampler for the Universal Millenium Collection releases
This week's freebie (with purchase).This one has a few songs I can add to the oldies mix, a number I already own and two (Toby Keith, Motley Crue) I will never need.

Monday, May 2
10. MASSIVE ATTACK - Unleashed soundtrack (EMI)
First "Danny the Dog," now "Unleashed." I'm getting a doggie vibe here. Though I'm not well versed in the music of this highly-regarded British dance band, I have enjoyed what I've heard so far. Dance/electronica, even some at its best, just flows through me, and it's hard for me to judge the various styles (house, dub, trance, etc) so I just like what I like and let other people stick on the titles. Massive Attack is a brand name with clout, so I trust it.

Speaking of which, I lost track of when this one came in, but recently re-discovered it in Terry's car:
11. BEN WATT – Buzzin’ Fly, Volume 2: Replenishing Music for the Modern Soul (Astralwerks)
I came to Watt’s work with Everything But the Girl late, but appreciate it now. This is more of an electronic mix thing he’s got going, and the first track is a respectful rumination of post 9-11 New York City. Somehow, I never seem to get past the third track without being interrupted, but I’m looking forward to more of what I’ve heard so far.

Sunday, May 1
Grace and I arrived at the Interpunk Flipside Festival (Post Preview) late in the game - it was 6ish and the music started around noon. Aiming for Rufio, a band reccomended by her cousin, but they went on a half hour early (unheard of!) and so we caught Motion City Soundtrack first. Got to stand on the side of the stage, which made for some new photo angles.
12. DEAD EYES – Grave for the Fireflies (S/R)
Some enterprising young band did a great job of creating these promo discs. The disc label is a little creepy – a B&W illustration of an eyeball being cut (shades of Bunel!) but each one is packaged in an individually made envelope – stickered and distressed, even singed at the edges, as if caught in a fire. I have #921/1000 and I will keep it for the design elements; the music is fairly generic goth rock gloom.
On one of the side stages, Grace caught a Baltimore outfit and, deciding she liked the music - and thought the band was cute - bought both of their self-released CDs:
13. SILENT FILM- Our New Heaven
14. SILENT FILM - The City is My Sea
15. PATENT PENDING - I Am Your Biological Father ((Booyah)
Grace was catching a chill, so we grabbed a bargain at another merch table, this one manned by a friendly guy who turned out to be the lead singer for the band Patent Pending (truth be told, I thought that was the label’s name, there were so many T-shirts!) She got a sweatshirt with a nice rocket logo and the band’s CD for $20. And it turned out to be pretty good music, too. “Cheer Up, Emo Kid” could be a left-field hit.
16.The STARTING LINE - Say It Like You Mean It (Drive-Thru Records)
Smitten by the band after seeing their set from the side of the stage, Grace purchased the CD and a rugby-style T-shirt. She played this on the car ride home, and squealed with delight when she discovered they sang a song she’s always loved from a sampler her sister had made for her.
17. EQUAL VISION RECORDS – Summer sampler 2004
18. NEW SOUNDS VOL. 2 (Equal Vision Records sampler)
DC area band, appearing at the HFStival.

Saturday, April 30
$1.50 bargains at the thrift store:
20. NUYORICAN SOUL - S/T (Giant Step/Blue Thumb)
The CD design was just so cool - designed like a miniature cigar box and the price so low, I took a chance.
21. PREFAB SPROUT - Jordan: The Comeback (Epic)
Inspired by Le Concorde, whose singer/songwriter Stephan Backer swears by them. Since I adore Le Concorde’s “Universe and Villa” CD, I snatched this up, but it’s a tad too twee for me.

Friday, April 29
22. A NORTHERN CHORUS - Bitter Hands Resign (Sonic Unyon)
A classy CD package, pulled together using public domain engravings from the Dover artist series. The music shows the same kind of meticulous care. An album I liked within minutes of putting it on. Do you need the Post preview link again?
click here
Another Flipside band (the one we missed).
Purchased at the Black Cat show, with IVY and Astaire:
24. STARS - Set Yourself On Fire (Arts& Crafts International)
Going into this show, I had no fore-knowledge of this Canadian collective, but they impressed me straight out of the gate. Two vocalists, one male and one woman, the guy a small man with big attitude in the right way. Dedicated the song “Reunion” to Dick Cheney, in hopes that he would return to high school and finally consumate his love for the football team player he's lusted for all these years.

Wednesday, April 27
Traded for at the CD Cellar
25.SHELBY LYNNE – The Making of Suit Yourself (Capitol)
I’ve tried to play this promo disc twice – in my car and in my discman – and it keeps popping out. Maybe it’s a DVD?
26.KIKI and HERB Will Die for You at Carnegie Hall
Gay drag cabaret versions, with funny, bitchy commentary, of songs like “When Doves Cry,” “The Windmills of My Mind,” “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” and “Ladies and Gentlemen, We are Floating in Space.” Something I can’t play in front of the family or they may cart me away.
27. BRITISH SEA POWER – Open Season
Somebody’s cheapo knock-off advance (paper cover, no title, generic CD-R disc), and a bargain for $1.99. Evocative, slightly grand (but not pompous) British rock. Not what I expected, since I expected long guitar solos, but it’s the kind of thing I like. Interesting lyrics (there’s a song about a falling ice floe) and headphone worthy elements.
One of the Johns in They Might Be Giants started this mail-order music club back in the day. But hey, it’s got a 1997 copyright, so maybe HRC lasted longer than I thought. This edition, featuring a band called You Were Spiraling, is a nice addition to my found-music set. Gentle pop with a Ben Folds vibe.
Before there were mash-ups and sampling, there was John Owsley, putting stuff together that wasn’t meant to be but sounds weirdly wonderful just the same. I read about his work years and years ago in Wired magazine, I think, but it seemed he might never get clearance to release his bizarre experiments, which pull recognizable bits from classic songs and run them through an audio meat grinder. Whether it’s legal or not, this is a classy two-disc set with a booklet of extensive liner notes to guide you through his musical rubic cubes.

30. 33Hz – Digital Lover/Crazy All The Time
Free giveaway single. The return of disco, but not the fun kind.

Oh, dear. I'm losing track of what came when! The OCD is kicking in big-time, and I don't know what to do...! [ORGAN STING!] Oh well, just toss in a few more…

31.BEN FOLDS - Song for Silverman (Epic)
New Dual Disc mode. Fold has such a natural ability to write melody that you can take him for granted; even on first listen, this new album is as comfortable as Westin hotle “heavenly bed.” But I’m not sure if he can, as a solo artist, meet the heights of his work with the Five. There’s a song here called “Gracie,” which is, naturally a family favorite, but if it were named “Katie,” I don’t think I’d consider it more than a sweet throwaway.
32.VICTORY RECORDS free sampler
"Free with purchase of select Victory Records CDs." Or anything else you might pick up at Best Buy.
33. EDIE CAREY – When I Was Made (self-released?)
34. The FORECAST – Late Night Conversations (Victory)
35. MATISYAHU – Live at Stubb’s (Or Music)
Jewish rap seems to be a new trend. I’m a recovering Catholic, but I was raised in New York City and attended a few seders in my time, so it’s not as exotic as world music from a far distant country, but I know I’m not getting the full effect.
36. JOHNNY REINHARD – Charles Ives Universe Symphony (Stereo Society)
This was sent to me by mistake, addressed to another Post critic at my address. The last time this happened, the editor told me to keep it, adding, ‘if the publicists don’t know their business well enough to get the address right, that’s their problem.’ I usually let them know, though, and worry that someone somewhere is getting my mail!

YTD total: 394

Whew! I know there’s stragglers I haven’t included, so I’ll toss ‘em in at a late date, but now at least I can start fresh tomorrow! Tune back in for news from the festival!