Monday, September 30, 2002

The Only One- American Analog Set
Great song to drink coffee to this morning. I downloaded it a while ago, then lost it on my harddrive; I've recently been trying to clean up all the digital clutter I've collected & stumbled on this amid some text files.
(click on the song title to download from epitonic.com)

And also: Start a Fire - Radio 4, hosted on rollingstone.com. Not as good as some of their other songs, though.

Sunday, September 29, 2002

My armchair is just the right size for my pup & I to sprawl across it with- now that I'm TVless, a lot of evenings are spent in it with him, working through my backlog of books. Last night I had my arm across his belly, which was rising & falling in a perfect slow beat as he slept. I had headphones on, and the drums in
Karma Police were close enough to make me stop reading for a few moments. It's a great song, and I thought about adding it to my plane trip mix, which is growing slowly (less than 2 hours still, which is too short by half). Anyway, it's amazing how wonderfully Radiohead can go with a good physics book.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Echo & The Bunnymen
I just bought this CD after hearing Lips Like Sugar for the first time in, well, maybe 15 years or so. Actually, it must be less than that, but it was a very long time ago. I kind of expected a CD with only 1 good song on it, and maybe a few passable other ones. Instead, I've enjoyed the whole thing so far (only two listens yet, though). The video for the song showed them bumming around a city that looked like NYC to me, so I've always assumed that they were an American band, but it appears that they're instead from Liverpool. Anyway, I debated also getting Songs to Learn & Sing, but decided against it; email me if it's actually any good & tell me that I'm missing out, the AMG review makes it sound kind of interesting.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Jennie Bomb - Sahara Hotnights
1:20 into the first song on this, and the only thought in my head is "fuck yeah" -this is a sweet song. It's got beautiful bass playing (Johanna Asplund, you're amazing), but there's more than that; mostly a shock on my side that the album lives up to all my hopes that I didn't even think I still had. On Top of Your World slows down a bit from the energy of the first two, until the chorus- words jangled together in a mash, but I adore that it's Your World, not My World, and I hope it's Your intentionally, not a mistranslation. Sitting crosslegged at my computer this week, trying to concentrate on coding, not the music, I listened to this on repeat, catching myself bobbing my foot off the edge of the chair to every other song. I've played it for some friends, but it still feels like my CD, a secret arrival just to yank a smile of appreciation out of me when I'd rather be pissed off. I can't believe how much I love this; sure, it's got a slick production sound to it, but these are great guitars, perfect songs with hooks that keep slipping up between drumbeats pounded out and pushing the songs up to the 3 minute mark, one swift fadeout, and they're over. At thirtyish minutes long, my 9 hour day probably had 18 playings Only the Fakes Survive but it's never enough. They sound amazing trading off between singing together and a solo voice, doing the same tricks I've heard on other albums, but I couldn't care less. I'm not usually quite so gushy about a new group, and a bit of me turns over the case and extrapolates out to next month when new music arrives, whether it'll sound as good played only a few times a month. I think it will, but I've thought that before about other albums. Long term classic or not, this is greatest album I've heard recently. (repeat: free mp3 from the album)


Factory Image Banque
It's a blog infinite loop here- courtesy The Minor Fall, The Major Lift, a link to a ton of Peter Saville Factory designs.
Red eye flights -the kind where you leave the west coast at 10 PM, arrive on the east coast 4.5 hours later at 6 AM- are one of those distasteful things that I always swear I'll never do again. Then my schedule goes haywire, the airline marks down those tickets because no one wants to fly it, and I end up on another one. I've got two coming up, and just thinking of the last one has me wincing. New headphones that are fairly effective at blocking engine noise have been acquired, which gives me hope that if I can only compose a good mp3 mix for my player, I might actually get three hours of sleep. Favorite songs that feel like my snuggly fleece jacket are of course in order for the first part, then trailing off into quiet bits that won't prod me awake. The beginning could easily be accomplished with an hour or two of Blur songs, it's the later bits I'm unsure of. Some Slowdive and Sigur Ros, I guess, and perhaps I've finally found a use for Coldplay's Parachutes. I've started queueing up songs on my computer already, and I tested out the mix when I woke up insanely early this morning. Watching the sky fade from navy to pink-tinged silver, and the moon drop down, I think I've got 33 minutes that might work.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Sunday 9 AM Work Mix:
  1. S'wash Ya Wart - DJ Lance Lockarm Nothing useful to say other than this is really good- click through to download it (it's the beastie boys + MBV mix)
  2. Sunshinin' - Vines Catchy throwaway guitar popish song, but I like the first 30 seconds or so. I'm jittery from too much coffee and not enough breakfast, so it's a good song to tap my fingers to.This blows away all the other songs on Highly Evolved; for a bit less than 3 minutes they create an entirely enjoyable song.
  3. There's No Other Way - Blur This one gets interesting at about 0:28. I like the quiet way that Damon sang in the verses.
  4. California Stars - Wilco
  5. Setting Sun - Chemical Brothers Makes trying to prop my eyes open & concentrate a little easier.
  6. NYC - Interpol
  7. I Want It That Way - Backstreet Boys
  8. Hot in Herre - Nelly The song that worked its way into my August- watching a guy singing this waaaay out of tune, walking down the street with it turned up loud in his headphones; playing in every record store I went into all month
  9. How the Stars Got Crossed - Radio 4 Another grower. First few times I heard it, I thought it was kind of non-descript... then a few times of having it come up in my iTunes on shuffleplay- mixed in with other songs not nearly as sparkly- I decided that it's actually quite good. The way the guitar kinds of fades the notes out, the singing, the dancey bit at 2:20ish with no singing...
  10. Killer Cars - Radiohead sounds like Radiohead doing alt-country on first listen
  11. There's too much Love -Belle & Sebastian Belle & Sebastian do a love song, with strings in the background and a pretty melody. Hohum if you're not a B&S fan; personally I adore it.
  12. Good Times Roll - Rjd2 - I thought I'd writtens something about this, but I can't find it. Well, so here's a boring something about it: it's a good song.
  13. Only the Fakes Survive - Sahara Hotnights Are you tired of being so polite?
Outstanding Alien (free registration required)
An article about Peter Saville, who designed some of New Order's and Pulp's CD covers, from this week's NY Times magazine. I don't know if he did the Crystal single cover that I put up the picture of, but quite possibly.

Saturday, September 21, 2002

Palm OS Datebook vs Datebook+
At long last (why didn't I google this before?) the mystery of the difference is between the two seperate datebook apps on my handspring have been solved. Of course, it raises a new question- why put both on? And how do I remove the extra one? For a geek, I'm far too inept with my Palm Desktop software. This was prompted by my ever growing list of things that need to be done, which I resolved to plow through today. I've got my iTunes keyed up with a new Music for Doing Boring Stuff To, [tm] playlist in the hopes that it will motivate me to get through everything.

Post Punk Chronicles: Left of the Dial: This is one of my favorite albums for plowing through things -for me it's a mixture of music I never really heard in the 80s and favorite songs from artists I adore, just like all good mixtapes should be. Some of the songs I don't really like (I'm in Love With a German Film Star), but it's balanced out by so many other classic songs that the album is still one of my most-played. My favorite songs from it: Radio Free Europe - R.E.M, Outdoor Miner - Wire, Sugar Hiccup - Cocteau Twins, Eye of the Lens - The Comsat Angels.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Something I've been thinking about a bit recently- patterns in music, and patterns in programming. One way to think about coding is to search for matches in events, and attributes, in paths through events. Successful abstraction of a problem often comes from the one moment when the overall outline snaps in place, and you can see what functions and data structures you need. From that point it's just grunt work- typing it all in, tweaking, cleaning up boundary cases. Music is similiar, but different for me. I've been programming for 12 years now; it's become second nature to think in certain ways. Listening to music, I can hear the patterns sometimes underneath, but they're rarely as clear.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Alright Alright (Here's My Fist Where's The Fight?)
Downloadable mp3 from Jennie Bomb and coming in a bit over a week (Sat. 9/28, 3pm) they'll be at KEXP, which you can listen to online.
I'm just full of short posts recently. I'll write something longer about Jennie Bomb this weekend- I've been burning out all my writing on work these days, so by the time I get home I can't string together very many words.

Monday, September 16, 2002

Jennie Bomb - Sahara Hotnights
I just came home and found a little cardboard box in my mailbox with this CD in it. It brought a nice smile to my face when I ripped the box open, as I remembered buying this a while ago & thinking hey, a girl version of the Hives- probably worth $12 to check out. So I'm too wiped out to do much other than toss it in my computer's CD drive & press play. No headphones- I've got too bad of a headache- and I'm barely up to opening up the booklet & flipping through. Nice use of the posterize filter in photoshop in the pictures inside, though. I'm off to collapse on my sofa & listen to this through my lousy little laptop speakers, though which it sounds excellent.

Saturday, September 14, 2002

PopMatters - NOW That's What I Call Music! 10 Review - not so much a review as a thrashing. This one is very much "oh, I'm far too cool for disposable pop" vitriol, and it tosses away an interesting angle (why are these NOW compilations selling for $17.99 instead of $8.00, and why have they pretty much replaced singles?).
Anyway, why is he so anti-mixtape?

Friday, September 13, 2002

Late summer sun on the back of my neck as I walk down the sidewalk, then turning to face west, and the sun peeps sideways up the north-south alleys. It's 9 AM, taste of coffee still in my mouth from the bitter cup I drank already, trying to ward off a hangover. The twang of California Stars swims through my muddy head; it starts off with a strumming guitar, then "I want to lay my weary bones tonight... your hair touching mine... on a bed of California stars." I've been to California twice, to San Jose (traffic, office buildings and hotels in January 1999) and to Monterey a few summers ago for a week. Marled trees- striped bark, deep green waxy leaves- against the calm & glassy ocean lie in my head when I listen to this song; the heavy beat seems to pull their forms out of the back of my thoughts. The dry redness of Monterey was alien and freezing- even in June, the temperatures barely broke 65 most afternoons- something I didn't expect. I like how weary Jeff Tweedy sounds (I think it's him singing here- it sounds exactly like his voice to me); then also the melancholy and twang of a country western film -right at the end of the verses, in the bits of a fiddle between lines prop up his voice. I try to replace the hills here that I'm hiking up with the dunes that we cut across in Monterey- the song sounds better that way, a vacation feel; the way it winds down at the end sounding exactly perfect for a sunset over some different part of the Pacific. Of all the Wilco songs I've heard (and this isn't really their's- it's from Mermaid Avenue) this one sounds the most assured; most grown up and settled, rather than resigned, if I'm honest with myself.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

New York New York on the radio this morning- I don't usually like Ryan Adams too much, but I adore this song. Hearing it seemed to be the best rememberance of a year ago that I've seen or heard today; admittedly not too much, because I'm too sad to look at a newspaper or go to any news web site.
I spent a long time this morning looking at an undeveloped film canister sitting on my bookshelf. When I moved, I carried it here in my pocket, then took it out & put it on a bowl on the bookshelf right inside my door. It's one of the first things I see every time I come home, right next to where my keys go. I need to bring it to a photo store to be developed before it's too late, and I hope that seeing it every day will budge me into action on it. The roll has the last photos that I ever took of my best friend; at a picnic, a few weeks before she died. Her friend was playing a guitar, and she sat next to him, singing; I sat 4 feet away & took a bunch of photos of them. I finished the roll at the end of last August, then forgot to develop it. When I noticed it again early last October, and realized what it was, I couldn't force myself to drop it off at the photo store; I don't want these prints in my hands.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Verve Remixed
Woken up from a mid-evening nap to drive home a friend, my head is slushy and blurred. It's completely dark out already, and as we're driving down towards the waterfront, we roll down the windows. The fishy smell, tinged with exhaust and the city's own smells fill up the car & I struggle to keep my eyes open. Traffic lights stretch out into streaks of yellow and red, matching Feelin' Good, which my cd player started up on. Nodding my head against exhaustion, I try to forget the quickest way home so that I can drive longer through this dream state; slow enough through the traffic that awakeness seems superfluous.

Monday, September 02, 2002

Reading schedules is apparently beyond my abilities. I was really looking forward to seeing Wilco at Bumbershoot today, but I misread the schedule, and thought that they started at 2 PM instead of 1:30. So I didn't even leave home until 2, thinking there was no way they'd be running on time. Instead the set was well underway by the time that I got there- but at least they played a long encore at the end. They were wonderful, I just wish I'd arrived 30 minutes earlier! At the end of the encore Jeff Tweedy asked "We have time for one more- do you want to hear a new rock song or an old rock song?" I couldn't make out much of what the crowd was yelling, but they launched into a song in a few seconds anyway. At the end, I stood up to leave, but the band swung right into *another* song- which was a really nice one, but I don't know which was the new song or the old song, or the titles of either. I didn't hear them play any YHF songs, but they might have done a few in the first part of the set.
Puppy & I walked back over later to watch The Mekons, who were also great, but we got completely drenched, as Seattle proved unable to let an entire weekend go by with warm sunshine & clear skies.

Sunday, September 01, 2002

More old zip disk fun- this is a snippet of an image from a photography show that I did in college. Click on the thumbnail to get the full image- modem alert, though: it's pretty big.