The White Stripes Tengo Un Mes Estudiando Español Beck

When I was in grade school, baseball cards were all the rage. My friends would peel back the wrapper, pop a stick of petrified gum into their mouths, and thumb through the glossy cardboard hoping for one that would offset their subscriptions to Beckett. I never got it. My heroes didn't swing pine, they swung steel. They didn't wear cleats, they wore capes as red as the blood they spilled. That's right, I idolized not the ball player, but the toreador!

Strong, agile, mustachioed, bronzed, and dapper, the toreador is the Spanish prizefighter who out-classes all athletes. Any man can challenge another, but it takes a steadied slayer to best an agitated beast bent on goring anyone in its path.

Now, finally, I'll be able to relive those heady days spent Indian-style on my bedroom floor sorting my matador trading cards. All the greats are here: El Sloth, El Bianca Rosa, El Perdador! Unfortunately, my mother disposed of my cherished collection. Perra!

Those with less of a thirst for beauty, machismo, and tight pants than I will no doubt be more interested in the limited-edition 7-inch The White Stripes/Beck singles, with which the matador trading cards are included.

For the release of The White Stripes Spanish-tinged new single, "Conquest," the band is issuing three 7-inch records.

- On black vinyl: Side A "Conquest" Side B "It's My Fault For Being Famous"

- On white vinyl: Side A "Conquest" Side B "Honey, We Can't Afford To Look This Cheap"

- On red vinyl: Side A "Conquest (Acoustic Mariachi Version)" Side B "Cash Grab Complications On The Matter"

The White Stripes collaborated on these B-sides with Beck, who, judging by his Guerro release, also has a taste for the spicier things in life. That funky little gringo added vocals and piano to "It's Not My Fault For Being Famous," slide guitar to "Honey, We Can't Afford To Look This Cheap," and he is listed as co-producer of all three new tunes, which were recorded in his living room over sangria and a sack of gorditas.

Your matador trading cards (which happen to come with the records) will be released in the U.S. December 18.

The songs will also be available for download via iTunes.

Comcast In Trouble for BitTorrent Blocking, Gets a Time-Out

Remember when we told you two months ago that Comcast is blatantly violating net neutrality? Someone else noticed, too! The Associated Press accused the cable provider of blocking certain BitTorrent uploads, which Comcast of course denied. This got the attention of several groups, among them net neutrality advocates from fancy colleges (Harvard, etc.) and Save the Internet. The advocates have requested an investigation by the FCC into Comcast's activities. Here's hoping they find something incriminating.

Of course, these investigations take time. In the meantime, the FCC has notified Comcast that, until the issue is resolved, it officially gets a time-out. "We feel that Comcast's actions are no-nos and that the only appropriate consequence is to have it sit in the corner without its friends. Verizon, Earthlink, and AOL will just have to wait to play," said FCC spokesman Bill Redgely (not a real FCC spokesman). "Comcast will also not be getting dessert tonight and can't play with its new trucks until it learns to behave."

Sounds like fair punishment to me, though the FCC should also consider revoking Comcast's gold stars on the class chart.

Pink Martini to Tour, Me to Play Six (or Fewer) Degrees of Bob Pacitti, Who Does Not Resemble Kevin Bacon in the Least But Does Enjoy My Dog Skip, Which Kevin Bacon Was In

Think of this story as your friendly dose of indie sugar, reader baby. That makes me Mary Poppins, and you one of those little British kids. That makes this story the medicine you need. That makes details about my dad your sugar.

Or, maybe, sweetheart, Portland-based Pink Martini could be Mary Poppins, and their music could be the medicine you need. Point is, in both sorely overwrought metaphors: you’re still one of the little British kids, and my dad is still the sugar. Accents ready? Sweet tooth polished? Good, baby, good.

Pink Martini is the Carrie-Bradshaw-girly-liquor-named brainchild of Harvard grad and concert pianist Thomas Lauderdale -- the 12-piece orchestra boasting cred ranging anywhere from a gig on Conan O’Brien, PBS, or with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, plus sold-out performances with the Boston Pops and a lesser-known appearance backing Al Green. Apparently, the band was formed to play at fundraisers for progressive causes. Which I suppose makes Al Green progressive by association.

Musical medicine, ladies and gents.

Additionally, please enjoy the following free associations linking my dad to the name Pink Martini:

1. My dad loves Cosmos. Cosmos are served exclusively to:
a. Rhinestone-assed adolescents drinking for the first time, with way prophetic flab creeping over their jeans. They drink Cosmos with other self-loathing fat girls and talk about hating boys and wanting mature men. They read a lot of teen pulp, like The Devil Wears Prada.

b. The divorced, leopard-printed, pseudo-empowered women they grow up to be. They like bars and ladies’ nights at over-30 clubs. Men. Telling themselves they haven’t gained weight and that they truly, madly, deeply value their female friendships. Not just lonely. They drink Cosmos with other self-loathing fat women and talk about hating men and wanting younger men. Additionally, they read/watch a lot of Nora Ephron.

Point (um...) being, my dad orders them at restaurants, almost exclusively. He went from straight up Belvedere with olives to Cosmos. He has not gone back. Interestingly enough, he always makes a polite point prior to publicly ordering this drink of choice to ask for a “White Cosmo,” an apparent more masculine option. No waiter has ever, in my presence, come back with this “White Cosmo.”

Yes, I’m talking Cosmos and the name involves a Martini. But typical Cosmos are pinkish. So are pink martinis. Connection. Free association is no cake-walk, reader. Sheesh.
2. My dad sleeps in the PM. These are the initials of Pink Martini.
3. ...
4. Got nothing...
5. ...My mom is a woman.
6. Women are associated to pink.
7. My dad is married to her.
8. ...
9. I just flew home for the weekend and my mom made me French toast, no questions asked

10. ..

11. Tourdates my dad will most likely not attend:

How One Combines Blood, Tofurkey, and Jens Lekman Into A Single Article About an Expanded Tour

When I woke up this morning, I had a belly-grumbling, head-pounding hangover. I was in someone else's bed with two other people, cold and uncomfortable, struggling to stake our claim over segments of the rock-hard mattress. Upon lifting my head, the unfortunate nature of the previous night was revealed: my hair stuck to the pillow, encrusted with blood from an apparent drunken mishap. What's more, the weather at that moment was hellish -- violently windy and misting heavily. All I wanted was to just sit down and recuperate with a cup of coffee (but the caffeine would've probably just exacerbated my nausea). I was then, and remain now, completely miserable.

A despicable point in my existence, sure, but I just need to remind myself that it's the holiday season. A time when we must, even in our lowest states, take pause to reflect on our lives and count our manifold blessings that we've needlessly neglected in favor of our pitiful and oddly satisfying self-loathing and deprecation. Yes, this is a time when we must re-evaluate all that we are grateful, nay thankful for.

That said, I'm thankful for... well, let's see. At this point, I'm thankful to have woken up in a bed rather than the gutter. I'm thankful for the existence of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, which I've eaten without increasing my nausea. But most of all -- and this is the newsworthy bit of my rambling literary sojourn -- I'm thankful that Jens Lekman is extending his 2007 tour.

And what are you thankful for? The following dates, perhaps?

* Josh Rouse

@ Sarah Jaffe

It’s a good thing that Tim Kasher has his whiskey sours to keep him company during The Good Life’s upcoming European trek, because it gets awful cold there in the winter. Kasher and Co. are touring in support of Help Wanted Nights, their fourth album out now on Saddle Creek Records.

Because I’m such a loyal Good Life fan, and a sober Kasher is a boring Kasher, I’ve helped Tim out by highlighting popular, local watering holes and drinks he should try at several different tour stops.

Cheers, Tim! The winter is a bitch:
11.15.07 – Utrecht, NL – Ekko >>Local Beers: Ouwe Daen, Jonge Daen en Linteloo Gold
11.16.07 – Hamburg, DE – Knust
11.17.07 – Malmö, SE – Debaser >>Local Bar: Slagthuset, a former slaughterhouse turned bar
11.18.07 – Berlin, DE – Tacheles
11.19.07 – Giessen, DE – MuK
11.20.07 – Leipzig, DE – Nato >>Local Beer: Gose, very obscure, made with corriander and salt
11.21.07 – Vienna, AT – WUK >>Local Wine: Grüner Veltliner
11.22.07 – Munich, DE – Hansa >>Local Beer Garden: Hofbräuhaus
11.23.07 – Geislingen, DE – Rätschenmühle
11.24.07 – Sursee, CH – Kulturwerk 118
11.25.07 – Winterthur, CH – Kraftfeld
11.26.07 – Frankfurt, DE – Brotfabrik >>Local Drink: Ebbelwoi (apple wine)
11.27.07 – Brussels, BE – Botanique >>Local Drink: Half-en-half (white wine and champagne)
11.28.07 – Amsterdam, NL – Paradiso >>Something tells me alcohol won’t be the only thing on The Good Life’s agenda.
11.29.07 – Paris, FR – Divan du Monde
11.30.07 – Brighton, UK – Pressure Point
12.01.07 – Liverpool, UK – Korova >>Local Beer: Cask conditioned ale
12.02.07 – Dublin, IE – Crawdaddy >>Over 600 pubs = Tim’s paradise
12.03.07 – Belfast, UK – Auntie Annies
12.04.07 – London, UK – Borderline
12.05.07 – Nottingham, UK – Social
12.06.07 – Cambridge, UK – Graduate >>Over 110 pubs

Special thanks to Wikitravel for being my tour guide.

Carla Bozulich Tours, Leaving More Questions Then Answers

Why isn’t Carla Bozulich more adored, beloved, and honored? Why has she mostly been ignored in the good ol' USA throughout her career? The public seems to be saying, through their indifference, “Ethyl Meatplow, never heard of her,” “Scarnella, can you die from that?” or “Geraldine Fibbers... is that some kind of baby product?” Sure, there are some cognizant folk out there who know what’s what, but on the whole, I give music fans a big WTF. My nanna would be so mad if she found out I swore -- good thing she doesn’t know what WTF means, what the internet is, or why she can’t seem to get e-mail in the mailbox along with the regular mail [Editor's note: go USPS!!]. Old people, haha. Who said shooting fish in a barrel isn’t fun?

Where was I? Right, Carla Bozulich. She is currently on a tour that will take her to many European countries. Will Europeans have more love for one of the best, however unconventional, country vocalists this country has to offer? I guess it depends on whether or not the grass really is greener on the other side of the Atlantic. She is over there right now on a three-week tour, so treat her good, Europe. Like you would Dinosaur Jr or Brian Wilson. Go on, show us up again.


[Photo: Don Lewis]


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