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.
I am a recently-divorced father of two living in beautiful Cleveland Heights, Ohio. The break-up was hard, but I am beginning to heal, and I now feel ready to introduce my fraternal twins Eleanor and Jacob to experimental music. I’m taking small steps: going to the record stop, chatting with college radio DJs, and reading avant-garde music magazines. But there are so many new bands out there that I just don’t know what to do! I have just bought an especially ironic sweatshirt and would like to wear it for a family evening on the town. What do you suggest?
--Confused in Cleveland Heights
You are in luck! Classic noise-mongers Acid Mothers Temple are back on the road, tearing up the clubs and sound systems of America on a tour this spring. And they have TONS of new releases. This could be just the event you need to get your groove back, and what do you know, they are even stopping in your town! A night with the group would be a great opportunity to teach the kids about proper earplug usage and the wild world of Japanese rock. Good luck and keep your chin up!
Donovan has a concert DVD, cleverly titled Concert: Live in L.A., coming out January 22. Guests include David Lynch, Mike Love (who I refuse to consider a member of The Beach Boys), and Astrella Celeste, better known as Donovan’s own daughter. It is 60 minutes long, will be released through Raven, and has a SKU# of MVDV4592.
In celebration, I performed a series of Wikipedia searches while listening to Donovan. Here are just some of the things I learned:
- “Donovan” is also a city in east Illinois. It is 96.30% white.
- Mello Yello was introduced with the slogan "Mello Yello - The World's Fastest Soft Drink.”
- The Garden of Earthly Delights by Heironymus Bosch depicts the first known instance of a buzzing bridge on a Hurdy Gurdy (a weird kind of mechanical violin).
- “Barabajagal” doesn’t mean anything.
- Atlantis lies beyond the pillars of Heracles.
- Regular Superman gains his power from the earth’s yellow sun and is therefore more or less indistinguishable from Sunshine Superman.
- “Elevator in the brain hotel” is the most perfect possible series of five words in the English language.
- The titular “Season of the Witch” is Spring.
You savvy motherfuckers knew this was coming a mile away, didn't you? Well, start booking those flights because My Bloody Valentine have confirmed that they'll be playing three live gigs in the summer of next year. Presented by ATP Concerts, the shows will take place in London (June 20), Manchester (June 28), and Glasgow (July 2). Tickets go on-sale 9 AM tomorrow at venue box offices and here. How do we know all this? THE ONLINE FLYER WITH A SUPER OLD PICTURE OF MBV DOESN'T LIE.
The news comes hot off the announcement that there will be indeed new My Bloody Valentine material released in the future (TMT News). It's still somewhat unclear as to what and when and how many, but, according to an interview on VBS.tv's Soft Focus series, there is an album that's three-fourths finished of music from 1996, a "compilation of stuff" recorded a couple years after 1991's Loveless, and "a little bit of new stuff." A release could come out as early as this year.
Now, kids, it's been roughly 16 years since the release of Loveless. Some of you reading this are probably that old. Just something to keep under your hat on these judgment dates:
Now excuse me while I do my morning tug.
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.
4. Got nothing...
5. ...My mom is a woman.
6. Women are associated to pink.
7. My dad is married to her.
9. I just flew home for the weekend and my mom made me French toast, no questions asked
11. Tourdates my dad will most likely not attend:
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.
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]
How’s THIS For Contextualization: Hitler’s Birthday Is Still April 20, Weezer to Release New Album Two Days Later!
Bad news, class.
I’m afraid that your Chem201 professor is feeling a trifle under the weather today. It’s the weather change, you know...
Uh, but he told me to tell you guys that the exam is STILL scheduled for next Thursday, and that he expects to have your papers graded and back to you NO LATER THAN the Tuesday before Thanksgiving break.
He also gave me a copy of today’s lecture notes so that you can all stay on top of the material; though, I’ve got to tell you that I’m a little confused by them. I guess you guys know where you’re at more than I do, so I’m just going to read them aloud here, and you can copy what you need, and that’ll be all for the day. Sound good?
11/13 “Half-Life Periods”
- the half-life of a rock ‘n’ roll band whose value decreases with time is the interval required for the quantity to decay to half of its initial value.
- exponential decay can be explained by the following equation:
t 1/2 = [ln (2)]/[λ]
where t 1/2 is the half-life, ln(2) is the natural logarithm of 2 (approximately 0.693), and λ is the decay constant.
- The new Weezer record will reportedly be officially released on April 22, 2008, approximately 14 years after the unimpeachably ideal Blue Album hit the market.
- A band’s half-life is related to the mean lifetime τ by the following relation:
t_[1/2] = ln (2) x τ .
- This is Weezer’s sixth studio album, the details of which are available at AlbumSix.com. There is no title as of yet.
- Groups that are subject to exponential decay as their careers progress are commonly denoted by the symbol =w=. If the quantity is denoted by the symbol N, the value of N at a time t is given by the formula:
=w=(t) = N_0 e^[- τ t]
where =w= is the initial value of N (at t = 0)
- Weezer.com webmaster Karl Koch recently posted his impressions of the recording process online, insisting that the band has "grown into a new land that they had previously only skirted around the edges of - a land where arrangements are getting adventurous, where song structures, lengths and feels are given plenty of sunlight and fresh water and allowed to grow into what the songs demand.”
- When t = 0, the exponential is equal to the level of Karl Koch’s bias, and =w= is equal to N_0. As t approaches infinity, the exponential approaches zero. In particular, there is a time t_1/2, such that:
N(t_[1/2]) = N_0 x /
- DON’T FORGET CLASS: Rivers Cuomo’s solo record is due on December 11. NO EXCEPTIONS!!!
Uh, I guess that’s it, class. Have a good weekend, everyone. Oh, and your professor also told me to tell you not to forget that there’ll be extra credit on next week’s test for anyone who can prove algebraically that Weezer won’t continue to BLOW.
Any other questions?