Now is the Winter of Our Discounted Castanets; Raposa To Hit the Road

Having the memory of an elephant can be a truth-telling bitch at times and a godsend at others. There are too many embarrassing nights I wish I could block out of my mind. On the plus side, I can remember everything about my Grade 7 French teacher, Madame (Mme.) Menard. She was a young-ish, beautiful, new teacher who taught for the love of the language and was serious as a heart attack (10 cent line of the day) and hell-bent on turning the class into Francophones by the end of the year. In fact the only cracks in her prim and proper exterior appeared, infrequently, when a funny part of what we were reading made her chuckle (she would let out a “Woopalai!” or “Oiyoiyoiyoiyoi...!” while we sat stone-faced in front of her) and, often, when a particular story, poem, or image moved her to tears. During these emotionally charged times, she would stop, bow her head a little, and say, “it ‘urts my ‘eart.” Needless to say, the gang of clowns to which I belonged latched onto the pensive, lovely phrase like a baby to a teat and used it for EVERYTHING. A girl looks super hot in crazy tight jeans? “Ooh, it ‘urts my ‘eart.” Someone got bagged in dodgeball? “Ouch, it ‘urts my ‘eart.” Someone let out a disgusting fart during gym class? “Ewwuuch, it ‘urts my ‘eart.”

I can appreciate Mme.’s catchphrase now that I’m older. If it didn’t sound so ridiculously faux-French, I would have used it when my son smiled, babbled, or crawled for the first time, when the Ottawa Senators made it to the Stanley Cup Finals last year (despite getting their asses handed to them by Anaheim), and whenever I have listened to Castanets. Ray Raposa and his rotating band of romantics will be breakin’ hearts (definitely) and takin’ names (why not?) starting tomorrow at the SUNY campus in Purchase, New York, just in time for the release of his new album In the Vines on October 23

10.19.07 - Purchase, NY - SUNY Purchase
10.20.07 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda’s
10.21.07 - Washington, DC - The Red and Black
10.23.07 - Williamsburg, VA - William and Mary College *
10.24.07 - Chapel Hill, NC - Nightlight
10.25.07 - Montreat, NC - Montreat College
10.26.07 - Athens, GA - The Secret Squirrel
10.28.07 - Lexington, KY - Icehouse
10.27.07 - Knoxville, TN - the Pilot Light
10.29.07 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle #
10.30.07 - Grinnell, IA - Bob’s Underground (Grinnell College)
10.31.07 - Indianapolis, IN - The Underground *
11.01.07 - Bloomington, IN - The Cinemat
11.03.07 - Toronto, Ontario - Whippersnapper Gallery
11.07.07 - Portland, ME - Space Gallery
11.08.07 - Somerville, MA - P.A.’s Lounge
11.09.07 - Annandale-on-Hudson, NY - Bard College
11.10.07 - Ithaca, NY - Cornell University
11.11.07 - Lancaster, PA - The Sugar Tank

* Cryptacize

# Tunng

Raposa will release In the Vines thorough the Asthmatic Kitty label. Partly inspired by “a Hindu fable about being trapped in an inescapable fate, with death and he limitations of our physical lives closing in from all corners,” it is safe to day that In the Vines is destined to be another engaging and vital listen. Thankfully “it ‘urts my ‘eart” that the man does not seem capable of disappointing people with his records.

In the Vines:

1. Rain Will Come
2. This Is the Early Game
3. Westbound, Blue
4. Strong Animal
5. Sway
6. The Fields Crack
7. Three Months Paid
8. The Night Is When You Can Not See
9. Sounded like a Train, Wasn’t a Train
10. And the Swimming

RZA Raises Motherfucking Ruckus at Celebrity Chess Tournament; Wu-Tang CANCELS Tour

Fuck the new Wu-Tang album, fuck the new Ghostface album, and fuck the noise regarding the release dates. It's time for RZA to shine! The Hip-Hop Chess Foundation (HHCF) has just announced RZA as the winner of the 1st Annual Chess Kings Invitational Champion Belt. Part of an effort to raise money for the HHCF Education Scholarship Fund, RZA beat out eight other participants, including GZA, Sunspot Jonz (Living Legends), Ralek Gracie, Paris, Amir Sulaiman, and Casual (Hieroglyphics). The final match was between GZA and fellow Wu-Tang member Monk.

Combined, the volunteering artists helped the HHCF raise $10,000 in educational scholarships, which were awarded to the participants from Oakland's Unity High, Youth Uprising, San Francisco's O'Connell High and Muhammad University of Islam. Fucking awesome!

Random chess tip: The best way to play aggressively is start with 1.e4 as white and play an open game. As black, defend 1.e4 with 1....e5 and defend the Ruy Lopez. Against 1.d4 play 1...d5 2. c4 d:c4 the Queen's Gambit Accepted.

UPDATE: Wu-Tang have canceled their upcoming tour!! Ghostface Killah's dates are still on though. Raise the motherfucking ruckus, indeed.

Cat Power Covers Record Tracklist by Helen Schumacher

On Tuesday, Matador Records revealed the tracklisting for Cat Power’s next album, Jukebox, which is slated to be released January 22 of next year. The covers record draws mostly from country and soul artists, such as Lee Clayton and James Brown, but it also features staples of Chan Marshall’s repertoire, like Bob Dylan and Hank Williams. It even has a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's “Fortunate Son.”

Interestingly, Marshall covers the theme from New York, New York, which should fit in nicely with the Memphis tone of the album, while the album also includes one new track, the Dylan-inspired “Song for Bobby.”

Unlike 2000’s The Covers Record, which featured bare-bones Chan, The Dirty Delta Blues band plays on the album.

Jukebox tracklisting, with publishing credits and everything:

1. Theme From ‘New York, New York’

Written by Fred Ebb/John Kander, published by EMI Unart Catalog, Inc. (BMI)
2. Metal Heart

Written by Chan Marshall, published by Dormat Music/Mattitude Music (BMI)
3. Ramblin’ (Wo)man

Written by Hank Williams, published by SONY/ATV Acuff Rose Music (BMI)
4. Song To Bobby

Written by Chan Marshall, published by Mattitude Music (BMI)
5. Aretha, Sing One For Me

Written by J Harris/Eugene William, published by Happy Hooker Music/Irving Music (BMI)
6. Lost Someone

Written by James Brown/Bobby Byrd/Lloyd Stallworth, published by Jadar Music Corp. (BMI)
7. I Believe In You

Written by Bob Dylan, published by Special Rider Music (SESAC)
8. Fortunate Son

Written by John Fogerty, published by Jondora Music (BMI)
9. Silver Stallion

Written by Lee Clayton, published by Resaca Music Publishing Co. (BMI)
10. Dark End of the Street

Written by Chips Moman/Dan Penn, published by Screen Gems-EMI Music, Inc. (BMI)
11. Don’t Explain

Written by Arthur Herzog, Jr./Billie Holiday, published by Songs Of Universal, Inc. (BMI)
12. Woman Left Lonely

Written by Spooner Oldham/Dan Penn, published by Embassy Music Corp./Dan Penn Music (BMI)

Simon Joyner + Conor Oberst = BFF4LYFE, Or Touring Buddies

It wouldn’t really be a Bright Eyes tour without a few of Conor Oberst’s friends along for the ride, now would it? Between M. Ward, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, and Neva Dinova’s Jake Bellows, it seems like Oberst is constantly inviting the same handful of friends on tour with him. Conclusion? The dude needs to branch out his social circle a bit more.

Luckily, fellow Nebraskan folkster, Simon Joyner, wasn’t doing anything and decided to join Oberst and Co. on their upcoming U.S. trek. Sure, Joyner has toured with Bright Eyes multiple times, but hey, when you’re stuck inside a tour bus for months at a time, it’s a little hard to make new friends. In other news, Oberst’s Paxil prescription should kick in any day now.

With Joyner set to open the first half of Bright Eyes’ upcoming tour, Maria Taylor, The Felice Brothers, and Nick Freitas will take over for him starting November 6 in Memphis, TN.

Joyner’s dates are as follows:

There Will Be Music: Jonny Greenwood’s Soundtrack to There Will Be Blood (There Will Be Movie) Coming Soon

I ran to the train today. I don’t like to run, I don’t like to be rushed. I don’t like to humble myself to the schedule of a disgusting can that moves fast. But I did, and as I made my way down the steps onto the platform, I swore, as it passed deeper into the tunnel, leaving me behind. If trains could talk, this one most certainly would’ve laughed, and why not? It sees me every day and must know my feelings on time and schedules and all that. If it were educated, it would most certainly ask me why it should wait, why it should humble itself before me. Trains can’t talk though, and they aren’t educated, and it is times like this, watching them run away into tunnels, that make us all glad they can’t point out our flaws as we can theirs.

So I sat. A man was playing a guitar and singing. I hated this man. Platforms are for people who have places to be, and this man was trying to make money by staying put. I watched my fellow victims of schedules pull out newspapers and books and homework and job-work and phones and headphones and video iPods and music iPods and the usual fare that people occupy themselves with besides experiencing their surroundings. I sat and waited. Stop and smell the roses, a common utterance that has no bearing anymore. Instead, everyone should sit and wait on a train platform and watch and listen to everyone else.

I listened to the man playing guitar, the man I once hated. I mellowed as I listened to it echo through the underground station, bouncing off people and their words. He was great, and I felt like I was hearing something, really hearing something. It’s my new favorite thing, this “found music.” No more packages, no more music as product (though it almost always is when you really think about it) -- just unrecorded, unedited music that you stumble upon. There’s something purer and instantly personal in some odd way when you find it. When I first moved to my new apartment, I opened the windows and found my neighbors’ band practicing. They are awesome, and after hearing them in this messy, muffled, life-filtered way, I almost never want to hear a studio album. I don’t even want to hear them live if it means not stumbling across it from across a field.

The messy things are what grab me these days. I’m reading unpolished writing from my peers (and my own), watching unpolished movies, and now listening to unpolished music, and it just feels that much more honest. Life is messy, why shouldn’t art be? Which makes me all that much more sad to read about Paul Thomas Anderson’s new movie, There Will Be Blood, scored by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood. Admittedly, this movie looks fucking good, but until now, Paul Thomas Anderson has been mostly dishonest, rehashing Robert Altman’s work in a very marketable, polished way. I have high hopes for There Will Be Blood, and it is my experience that the personal story, the personal art, is the one that is felt the most by everyone -- the uglier, the more truthful it sometimes can be. Sometimes nothing is more offensive than life, clean.

And as I get ready to see this movie on December 26, backed by J. Greenwood’s efforts released on December 18, I’ll hope that there’s room for something ugly in Hollywood that isn’t the latest mass-market romantic comedy. If not, I’ll keep waiting, because it’s there. It’s out there. I just need to miss my train more often, open my window more often, let life filter out art rather than the other way around.

There Will Be Blood tracklist:

Tara Jane O’Neil to Tour… Just a Lil’ Bit Here and There

Looks like TJO had a little extra time and was feeling like getting out more. What better way to use up that time and leave the house then a quick jaunt around the country? She just has time to stop by Chicago, a little smattering around in the Northwest, a quick jaunt into Canada, and then over to New York, then back to drawing. Those of you living in and/or near these places should go because:

Sometimes she covers The Boss.

Sometimes she has a loop pedal.

Sometimes she reminds me of Neil Young (whose new album just came out). Not sure why though. Maybe it was the hat she was wearing last time I saw her.

Tourdates: