“Exploder” – Audioslave – “Audioslave” (2002)

Apr 30
Posted by admin Filed in Rock Bands

Another great show last night by The Head and the Heart. That makes three times that I’ve seen those guys and gal in the last six months. They are evolving, and not. I say not because they had so much stage presence and cohesiveness from the get-go that they haven’t really had to make many strides in order to improve. They rely on zero distortion so it partially comes with the foundation of their overall sound, but I love that they don’t overdo the volume (whoa, that was an old guy comment). Most of their songs involve a bass line, one acoustic guitar, sublime piano parts, stripped down drums, tambourine, some violin, and loads of harmonizing vocals. The comfort level and authenticity that they exude makes it look like they’re just hanging out in somebody’s living room, jamming out. I love ’em and feel really luck to have seen them three times in small venues. The concert halls that they play in are going to get bigger and bigger and it’ll be nice to be able to fall back on the memories of The Head and the Heart in their formative years.

Lots of good shows in Seattle this weekend but I’m heading out, so I won’t be partaking in any more of them. The Head and the Heart moves to The Moore tonight for round two, The Felice Brothers are at The Tractor tonight, and some guy named Chris Cornell is at The Moore tomorrow. Cornell is playing songs from throughout his sound book which means: Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, solo stuff, and Audioslave. At the top of my wish list if I was lucky enough to go the show would be my favorite Soundgarden song (“Blow Up The Outside World”), Temple of the Dog tunes, “Rusty Cage”, and a few of the lesser known Audioslave songs such as “Getaway Car” and “Exploder.” Tom Morello rubbed his DNA all over “Exploder” with one of his crazy, powerful, industrial strength hooks but I’m sure it would sound good tomorrow assuming that Mr. Morello won’t be playing alongside Cornell.


“Heaven Go Easy on Me” The Head and the Heart – “The Head and the Heart” (2010)

Apr 28
Posted by admin Filed in Pacific Northwest

A big day, tomorrow is. I’m going to see The Head and the Heart for the third time, and the UK gets a new queen-in-waiting. What to make of all of this royal wedding stuff? The latest polls show that our Brit friends by and large aren’t all that interested, or so they say. Something like 73% of those polled said something between “well of course, who doesn’t enjoy fish and chips being paired in perfect harmony on Fridays” to “Bloody hell, they should just bugger off to a rent-a-chapel in Vegas.”

Personally, although I won’t be getting up at four in the morning to watch, I think the whole thing is pretty cool. My sources (Wikipedia and TMZ) haven’t told me anything to make me believe that they’re not nice people. I’m going to guess that a sizable faction of the “indifferent” or “give me a break” people who were polled are people who like to judge, hate, and/or wish that they were the one getting all of the attention tomorrow. It is a little over the top, obviously but this is one of those big moments that a lot of people live for. We go around doing our day to day, taking care of business, trying to stay healthy, happy, and wise (that’s called life), and do all of this in between the grand fireworks finales, and grim last good byes that are the peaks and valleys that “life” leads us towards. For all of the royal wedding eye rollers, think for a second what life would look like if we took out all of the big stuff and just lived in the flat lands that take up the majority of our time. At some point we wouldn’t even realize that we are alive anymore.

Soak it all in tomorrow night. Raise a toast to the royals or dent each others PBR cans at The Head and the Heart. Just find something to be happy about.


Sideshow and Carnival Barkers, take heed

Apr 28
Posted by admin Filed in Rewind

Sensing my appointment to the position of Czar of Music Information, and in anticipation of the controversy this is likely to erupt over my eligibility for the job, I would like to make the following statement:

I was born in the city of Seattle situated in the County of King in the State of Washington in the United States of America. Those were not quite prehistoric times but it has been a few years and I cannot promise that you will find a birth announcement stating where the stork dropped me off, so you’ll have to take my word for it. Benevolent Swedish folks had already decided to carve out a life for themselves up here in the wooded confines of the Pacific Northwest and had created a hospital named after themselves which is where I was supposedly born.

However, it is true that my dad was not born in this country, just like you know who. This little detail is sure to cause some rich guy to send a team of PIs out here to investigate. It would be traumatic if the rich guy’s sleuthing turned up something damaging to my position which would get me tossed out of my new digs, after I’ve adorned my cabinet member office walls with my Meatloaf and Ace Frehley Fat Heads, so I should probably cut this thing off before it gets some legs and show the cert. But, since I’m fully in favor of rich guys going on witch hunts and wasting money, I think I’ll just let this thing play out.

… I just got word that I won’t be a czar. The official titel is: Assistant to the Under Secretary’s Assistant for the Preservation of Classic Muzak in Federal Bulidings in the District of Colombia.

.. Another update just in – Paul Ryan just deleted our four-figure budget by way of a new tax deduction for anyone buying a limited edition 2010-2011 Packers Championship Cheese Head. So much for my career as a public servants.

Birther Shmerther

“Born to Run” – Bruce Springsteen – “Born to Run” (1975)


“Crying Lightning” – Arctic Monkeys – “Humbug” (2009)

Apr 26
Posted by admin Filed in UK

I’ve missed the Arctic Monkeys the last couple of times that they’ve come to town. Initially, they were pretty high on my list of bands to see live. Their catalog is ripe with grooved out hooks, funky bass lines, and fanciful lyrics. They must get the concert hall hopping pretty good. Or, maybe not. I’ve heard that they stand around like a bunch of session playing mannequins on stage. How can a band that sounds so fun be so shoegaze? It sounds as antithetical as, say, The Antlers being all Chili Pepperesque with wieners encased in tube socks. Well, at least they sound good live which obviously can’t be said of a bunch of bands who running around jumping off amps and scissor kicking for 90 minutes.

The Arctic Monkeys are dropping a new album in about six weeks. It should be another hip and happenin’ disc. Hmmm, maybe they took some stage presence lessons from Franz Ferdinand in order to round out their profile.


“Astral Weeks” – Van Morrison – “Astral Weeks” (1968)

Apr 25
Posted by admin Filed in UK

I’ve taken a sudden turn towards fiction which is a quasi-lifestyle change for a guy who hasn’t read a novel in at least ten, maybe even 20 years. I like my biographies (Charles Cross’s Kurt Cobain bio Heavier Than Heaven was a natural fit for me), essays (I’m a card carrying member of the Sarah Vowell fan club), Malcolm Gladwell, and Michael Lewis books (believe it or not, The Blind Side was non-fiction), etc. On a whim, I decided to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a few months ago, and then The Girl Who Played with Fire.

I was ready to head back towards bios as I’d heard about the new Keith Richards book but when I went to download it, I found that it’s not hitting book shelves until early May. That was about the same day that the Pulitzer winners for 2011 were announced with the winner for fiction being A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. I read the book description and instantly realized that I would be reading three novels in a row. It’s a book about: what we start out believing in, how we pursue our dreams and aspirations, where things start to unravel, and the puzzled looks in the mirror as the events of our lives leave us wondering who that is staring back so many years later. And then, there are the character profiles of the two main protagonists who are a record executive, and his assistant who used to play in a punk band.

The story is chock full of band reference, flashbacks to dingy clubs, and fast forward to hopeful newcomers to the industry. HBO has bought rights to the novel and is in the process of making it into a series. There is a section early in the book where record executive Bennie Salazar finds himself back in his comfort zone of a home studio listening to two sisters in a spontaneous recording session which is a welcome respite from his usual station at the center of digitized, crisp, clean, factory precise music.

Hearing the music get made, that was the thing: people, and instruments and beaten-looking equipment aligning abruptly into a single structure of sound, flexible and alive.

I love this section. It makes me think of so many of the bands and artists that I have posted over the last 20 months. But, what it immediately made me think of, even before I was done reading the sentence, was Glen Hansard and his guitar which he has played until it literally has about 10% less mass than it had when he first picked it up. If you saw him giving that old Takamine a work out during the opening song of The Swell Season’s set at Coachella, you fully understand how that poor instrument has a huge Hansard made hole in it.

Astral Weeks rambles its way through the here and now, the in between, and what might become of us if we get to go around again. Enjoy the original by Van Morrison followed by Hansard’s cacophonous joy ride in the desert two weeks ago.


“What Hurts The Most” – Rascall Flatts (featuring Kelly Clarkson) – “Me and My Gang” (2006)

Apr 24
Posted by admin Filed in Girls Rule

Today is Ms. Kelly Clarkson’s 29th birthday. I went back and checked to see If she was born on Easter and found that Easter in the year of 1982 was on April 10th. Pretty interesting, of the dates that Easter can fall on (March 22nd to April 25th) April 24th is tied for the third least common date, and the most infrequent April date. I know, it’s not really that interesting, I’m a trivia dork.

Anyways, I’ve got a lot of appreciation for Kelly Clarkson. She’s pretty top shelf as far as pop stars go. She’s got a skill set that hold up even to music critics who typically aren’t going to pen flattering thoughts about people who once upon a time took part in some dumb reality TV/talent show. The girl can sing though. I think she’s got enough growl in her voice to front something along the lines of a Sleigh Bells type of thing. Now she’s doing some country collaborations to round out her dance card, and she keeps making music that will keep her original fans happy.

Happy first 29th birthday. Eat all of the Peeps, and Cadbury eggs you want, you’ve earned it.


“These Days” – Foo Fighters – “Wasting Light” (2011)

Apr 24
Posted by admin Filed in Rock Bands

The new Foos album does what the six previous records did. The thing rocks, hard and loud centered around the turbo charged emissions coming from Dave Grohl’s lungs. The man can just flat out scream his head off and anyone who’s seen him in concert can attest to the fact that he can go the distance and maintain volume all night long. Grohl’s obviously not only a wailing banshee as he holds notes at top speed, harmonizes well, and is probably at his best in the quiet sections of songs and stripped down acoustic versions of classics such as “Everlong.”

Dave and Foo Fighters often employ the quiet-loud-quiet song form which was a hallmark of that other little band that Grohl drummed for in the early-90’s. The quiet draws every ear to Dave’s very accessible voice while the counter parts see every nook and cranny of the sound space filled with perfectly wed rock and roll guitars, drums, and bass. If this James Durbin kid goes on to win American Idol, or even if he doesn’t, a study of Dave Grohl’s song writing, playing, and singing would seem like a pretty good place to begin when looking for a role model.

0 for 2

Apr 22
Posted by admin Filed in Uncategorized

I’m not going to The Kills concert in three weeks? Too slow on the draw. I dragged my feet for a month and by the time I was ready to swipe the credit card last Tuesday…. ALL GONE. I thought that people were cutting back.

I’m not going to Bomba Estereo tomorrow? I was trying to get all cutesy and save a couple od dollars worth of service charges. I heard a rumor on the street on Wednesday that shows in other cities were selling out so I queried up a couple of tickets…. TOO SLOW. What about the threat of a double dip recession, and lack of job creation.

Hmmm, Kelli Schaefer and Pickwick at the High Dive tomorrow night would help ease the whiny sniveling. Maybe I should stop typing and see if there are any tickets left for that show.

“Money Babies” – The Dears – “Missiles” (2011)


“Rolling in the Deep” – Adele – “21” (2011)

Apr 21
Posted by admin Filed in Uncategorized

She’s so effortless and natural. Is it wrong that I’m slightly annoyed at how perfect Adele is? Most of us struggle to perfect a skill or task. For some, that endeavor could be playing the piano, swinging a baseball bat, riding a horse, building furniture, or making wine. For me, it’s walking down stairs, waking up in time to catch my bus, and not going to Bellevue (yes, not driving across the lake is a finely tuned skill that I’m very proud of). We put in our 10,000 hours to hone these crafts and then we tell each other in our Facebook profiles, at the bottom of our resumes, or when getting acquainted with other spouses at company holiday parites that we have a golden touch with our short game, or green thumb with our urban gardens. These are the hobbies and hidden talents that we have sharpened to a fine point.

And then, you have ridiculous people like Adele who just opens her mouth and blesses our ears with her musical master craft. Now, I’m not trying to cast aspersions on the young lass; I’m mostly just trying to articulate that the rest of us are still trying to perfect driving while texting and eating a Blizzard. So yeah, I embrace the bitterness, and I dare you Ms. Adele. If you think you’re so dang special, go ahead and try making another album or four or five, as good as the last two. Okay, so I’m begging. Please… Your Excellency!!!




“You Don’t Cry Like I Do” – Chris Isaak – “Mr. Lucky” (2009)

Apr 19
Posted by admin Filed in Crooners

Has there ever been a guy as talented as Chris Isaak with more of a cult-like following. The guy’s got unreal pipes and has created a nice catalog of material whereas a lot of the artists that form little knots of dedicated fans have been type cast by “that one song” or a quirky personality. Isaak had “that one song”, actually maybe two songs but he’s super talented, polished, and a bit of a throwback.

I guess “cult” might be the wrong word to describe Isaak’s faithful because besides those whack jobs who reside on Wisteria Lane, most housewives don’t outwardly exhibit any signs of a life style suggesting membership to a cult. And, housewives are the people most likely to throw dollars, flowers…. under garments, Mr. Isaak’s way. Correct? Any ways, before I do any more pigeonholing of the rich throated crooner and his fans, I’d like to point out that, I’m not a housewife, and dig Isaak’s music.

Isaak’s making the annual trip to the PNW and will be playing for wine sippers on what is hopefully, a pleasent summer night at the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery. It would be nice to see Isaak live one of these days but it’s a ticket price that is pretty far outside of my acceptable range, and I’m already foreseeing problems talking to the boss about getting my concert fund debt ceiling raised for the rest of the year.