Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Completely Conspicuous 348: Reunited...and It Feels So Old


Part 1 of the latest installment of Driving with Kumar as I share some thoughts while driving to my 25th college reunion. Listen to the episode below or download directly (right click and "save as").


Show notes:
- Coached in a youth soccer tournament before driving up to University of New Hampshire
- Haven't gone to a college reunion before
- Still see many friends from college on occasion
- Nearly flunked out freshman year
- Switched from engineering to journalism and turned it around
- Worked for newspaper for six years after college
- Journalism majors use theirs skill in different ways now
- College was my first time away from parental discipline
- Real partying began when grades improved
- Did not drink in high school
- First weekend in college, that changed
- Freshman year roommate had a tough time
- Sophomore year roomie was super busy with activities
- Moved off campus junior year
- Unlucky in love
- Always hung out with both nerds and jocks
- Ate a lot of junk food
- To be continued

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

Music:
Sleater-Kinney - Bury Our Friends
Coaches - amisarewaswere
The Cherry Wave - Whitey

The Sleater-Kinney song is on the forthcoming album No Cities to Love on Sub Pop. Download the song for free (in exchange for your email address) at Stereogum.
The Coaches song is available for free download at Bandcamp.

The Cherry Wave song is on the forthcoming album Avalancher and available for free download at Bandcamp.


The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Stuck In Thee Garage #54: October 17, 2014

Cover songs are a dime a dozen. But it's when an artist can provide a unique take on another artist's song that covers become worth a listen. This week on Stuck In Thee Garage, I play an hour of covers that make the grade in one way or another.



Doing the right thing with the playlist:

Hour 1
Artist - Song/Album
The Hush Now - Cyclops/Sparkle Drive
So Cow - Get Down Off That Thing/The Long Con
Ex Hex - Don't Wanna Lose/Rips
Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas - Caught Up/Secret Evil
Mini Dresses - In Two/Three
Electric Six - Alone With Your Body/Human Zoo
Prince - This Could Be Us/Art Official Age
Idiot Genes - Partaker/Lousey
Miracles - Quarantine/Quarantine
The Soupcans - Pop Hit III/Vintage Pizza Party Cassette
Pampers - Monkey Drip/Live on WFMU's Cherry Blossom Clinic
Vats - Slow Eyes/Today
Joseph Arthur - Travel As Equals/Redemption City
Buffalo Tom - Staples/Let Me Come Over
Matthew Sweet - Super Baby/100% Fun
Arctic Monkeys - Brick By Brick/Suck It and See
Bad Religion - Hooray for Me.../Stranger Than Fiction

Hour 2: Covers
Queens of the Stone Age - White Wedding (Billy Idol)/Era Vulgaris B-side
The Smashing Pumpkins - Cinnamon Girl (Neil Young)/Live on WZRD 3/16/89
Soundgarden - Fopp (Ohio Players)/Screaming Life-Fopp
Arctic Monkeys - Red Right Hand (Nick Cave)/Crying Lightning
Dios Malos - Asshole (Beck)/I Want It All
Uncle Tupelo - I Wanna Be Your Dog (Stooges)/'89-'93: An Anthology
Judas Priest - Diamonds and Rust (Joan Baez)/Sin After Sin
Dread Zeppelin - Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin)/Un-Led-Ed
Paul Anka - Jump (Van Halen)/Rock Swings
David Lee Roth - Tobacco Road (The Nashville Teens)/Eat 'Em and Smile
The Breeders - Happiness is a Warm Gun (The Beatles)/Pod
The Wildhearts - Waiting Room (Fugazi)/Stop Us If You've Heard This Before, Vol. 1
Deervana - Radio  Friendly Unit Shifter (Nirvana)/Live at the Brooklyn Bowl 9/13/13
Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros - Pressure Drop (Toots and the Maytals)/Live in Philly 1999
Buffalo Tom and Grant Hart - Pink Turns to Blue (Husker Du)/Live at the Cabaret Metro, Chicago 12/3/00
David Bowie - Waiting for the Man (Velvet Underground)/Live at Nassau Coliseum 1976




Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Completely Conspicuous 347: Reeling in the Years, 1996 (Part 3)


Part 3 of my conversation with guest Brian Salvatore as we look back at the music of 1996. Listen to the episode below or download directly (right click and "save as").

Show notes:
- Recorded via Skype
- Check out Brian's new radio show Unsolicited Mixtape
- Brian's #5
- Olivia Tremor Control made Brian's favorite Elephant 6 album
- Jay's #5 and Brian's #4
- Frank Black had a tough task following up Teenager of the Year
- Moved to a rawer sound
- In the middle of an excellent stretch of solo music
- Jay's #4
- Weezer's underrated (at the time) masterpiece
- Brian's #3
- Ween goes to Nashville
- Serious musicianship behind silly songs
- Jay's #3
- Afghan Whigs' Black Love was a cinematic concept album
- Serious Quadrophenia feel on the ballads
- Brian's #2
- Fountains of Wayne's debut was also underrated
- Jay's #2
- Sloan bounced back from short-lived breakup to put together a brilliant album
- Trading a Ween mix for a Sloan mix
- Brian's #1
- Pinkerton was the first album Brian liked and his friends didn't
- Serious dropoff in quality since then
- Jay's #1
- Beck followed up Mellow Gold with an amazing album
- Brian: Midnite Vultures is the best Prince album of the '90s
- Next up: 1988

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

Music:
Ex Hex - Don't Wanna Lose
Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas - Caught Up
Mini Dresses - In Two

The Ex Hex song is on the album Rips on Merge Records. Download the song for free for a limited time at KEXP.
The Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas song is on the album Secret Evil on Instant Records. Download the song for free at KEXP.
The Mini Dresses song is on the EP Three and available for free download at Bandcamp.


The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Trust Fund Challenge #5: Mickey's Fire Brigade (1935)

In the latest installment of Trust Fund Challenge, Ric and I watch a classic Mickey Mouse short from 1935. We discuss the wacky hijinks of firefighting cartoon characters, a possible cow udder-slip, duck stereotypes and the Mormon obsession of the short's director.




Stuck In Thee Garage #53: October 10, 2014

War is hell, but there are some pretty great songs about it. This week's Stuck In Thee Garage features an hour of such music, in addition to the usual combination of fine new and old rock music.

Even fake war is hell:



The playlist, if you will:

Hour 1 
Artist - Song/Album
Purling Hiss - Forcefield of Solitude/Weirdon
Goat - Words/Commune
Death From Above 1979 - Right On, Frankenstein!/The Physical World
Spoon - Outlier/They Want My Soul
Broncho - What/Just Enough Hip to Be Woman
Deerhoof - Paradise Girls/La Isla Bonita
Sloan - Three Sisters/Commonwealth
Makthaverskan - Asleep/II
Peter Matthew Bauer - Philadelphia Raga/Liberation!
Johnny Cash - Rusty Cage/Unchained
Big Ups - Fresh Meat/Eighteen Hours of Static
Death to Slater - Caffeine Pill Freakout/single
Melvins - Dr. Mule/Scion 10 Series Music Release
Benjamin Booker - Slow Coming/Benjamin Booker
The Smashing Pumpkins - Pug (Matt Walker Reimagined 2014)/Adore: Chalices, Palaces and Deep Pools
Parquet Courts - What Color is Blood/Sunbathing Animal

Hour 2: Songs about war
The Cult - Peace Dog/Electric
Iron Maiden - The Trooper/Piece of Mind
Metallica - For Whom the Bell Tolls/Live at  Toulouse, France 11/22/84
Circle Jerks - Making the Bombs/Unfortunate Son
OFF! - Borrow and Bomb/OFF!
The Clash - Charlie Don't Surf/Sandinista!
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Bomb. Repeat. Bomb./Living With the Living
The Afghan Whigs - I'm a Soldier/Unbreakable
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Soldiers Get Strange/Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Drive-By Truckers - That Man I Shot/Brighter Than Creation's Dark
Neil Young - Love and War/Le Noise
Mudhoney - Hard-On for War/Under a Billion Suns
Flaming Lips and Cat Power - War Pigs/Austin City Limits
Max Webster - Oh War!/High Class in Borrowed Shoes
OFF! - Vaporized/OFF!



Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Completely Conspicuous 346: Reeling in the Years, 1996 (Part 2)


Part 2 of my conversation with guest Brian Salvatore as we look back at the music of 1996. Listen to the episode below or download directly (right click and "save as").


Show notes:
- Recorded via Skype
- Check out Brian's comics podcast The Hour Cosmic
- Brian: Beck's Odelay was just outside my top 5
- New album's okay, but not great
- Brian: Cake, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Wrens' Secaucus
- The endless wait for the new Wrens album
- Brian was supposed to play piano with the Wrens but got sick
- Sticking up for Stone Temple Pilots' album
- Jay: STP were equal opportunity ripoff artists
- The '90s brought new wave of festivals: Lolla, Gathering of the Vibes, HORDE, Ozzfest
- Jay: No desire to go to Bonnaroo or Coachella
- Nothing better than seeing a band in a club
- Jay: Dug albums from D Generation, Sebadoh, Luscious Jackson, Johnny Cash, Chixdiggit, Brainiac, GBV, Maxwell, Westerberg
- Singing the praises of Live at Drew's
- Brian: Belle and Sebastian, Bill Frisell
- Frisell did the soundtrack to a Far Side cartoon
-  To be continued

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

Music:
King Tuff - Headbanger
Purling Hiss - Forcefield of Solitude
Young Adults - Old Kids

The King Tuff song is on the album Black Moon Spell on Sub Pop. Download the song for free for a limited time at Amazon MP3.
The Purling Hiss song is on the album Weirdon on Drag City. Download the song for free at KEXP.
The Young Adults song is available for free download at Bandcamp.


The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Run Thru

Time for my occasional running report. Despite lingering heel pain, I decided to push myself and train for the brutally hilly Around Cape Ann 25K (15.7 miles) on Labor Day. So I spent much of the summer starting in late June building my endurance, including four long runs on the Around Cape Ann race course in Gloucester and Rockport. On race day, I was ready for the hills, but not for the 80-degree humidity, which kicked everyone's butt. I managed to slog through the race in 2:18 (with three of those minutes taken up by a Porta Potty stop at mile 8) with plenty of walk and water breaks. Still, I did it and my heels didn't bother me too much.

Eleven days later, it was time for my sixth consecutive Reach the Beach relay. Our team captain had to drop out at the last minute, which meant I had to take on the added task of picking up van 2 the day before the race. The van rental company helpfully moved the pickup place from Waltham to Allston and also didn't allow us to leave our cars there, so I had to get a ride to the place and then Deb had to follow me when I returned (fortunately, we've already found a more convenient, and cheaper, place for next year).

One huge difference this year was our start time. We started the 207-mile journey at 8 a.m. Friday, as opposed to 1 p.m. last year. Van 1 went up Thursday night so they could do the check-in (along with one of the van 2 runners) and then the rest of us in van 2 met up Friday morning and then went straight to the first transition area at Attitash. I was the third runner in the van and started my 6.4-mile leg a little after 3 p.m. Unlike last year, I wasn't suffering from a miserable hacking cough and I was prepared for the RTB hills. I finished the hilly leg in 49 minutes and felt pretty good.

After we were done our first legs, we grabbed some food at the transition area and just headed straight to the next one, where we settled in and tried to get some sleep. We were one of the first vans there at around 8 p.m. I maybe got an hour or so of sleep. Finally, van 1 arrived around 10 p.m. and their last runner arrived a short while later. My second leg was a brutal one: 8.5 extra-hilly miles at 2 a.m. in the pitch darkness. I wasn't particularly fast, but I finished in 1:11 (oddly, exactly the same as last year). We were done and transitioned to van 1 around 5 a.m.

The past five years, we always took a detour at this point and went to breakfast at the Airport Diner in Manchester. We decided to skip this tradition in favor of getting to the next transition in Kingston (at my old high school) and getting some sleep, and also because no breakfast places were open at 5:30 anyway. Once again, we were one of the first vans in the transition area. We got about four hours of rest (again, I might have gotten an hour of sleep) and then left our first runner to wait for van 1 while we headed to the next transition two miles down the road.

I started running my last leg around 10:30 a.m. Recently, I had written a column about the new trend of so-called maximalist shoes, which have extra cushioning. I interviewed the owner of New England Running Company in Beverly, who hooked me up with a pair of Hoka Cliftons to try out. I only picked them up two days before RTB, so I decided to use them for the first time on my last leg. It was 4.1 miles through Exeter, with a gradual hill and then a flat finish. The shoes felt a little strange at first as I got used to the cushioning, but I had a great run and finished in 30:34.

We crossed the finish line around 1 p.m. We ended up finishing in 28:47:56, an 8:20 pace. We finished 136th out of 500+ teams.



The following morning, I rousted myself at 7 a.m. after 10 hours of sleep and headed to Gloucester to run the Lone Gull 10K. Normally, I never would have done such a thing, but it was part of a race series I was doing and I figured I'd run it slow. It was a beautiful morning and I wore the Hokas again, and I felt good. It's a hilly course, but I powered through it and finished in 48:03 (47:43 by my watch), which was a hell of a lot faster than I expected.

I've got no more long races on my calendar for the year, just a few 5Ks and 5-milers, so I'm going to try to get a little faster. My heels are still sore, so I'm contemplating shutting it down and possibly doing PT again. I might do that after January 1 and then try to get back to do a late spring half marathon. All things considered, I'm 47 and still running at a decent clip. I'll take it.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Stuck In Thee Garage #52: October 3, 2014

By the time Friday rolls around each week, we all get a little crazy. At least I do, anyway. This week on Stuck In Thee Garage, I play an hour of songs about insanity in hour 2. Because it's always therapeutic to blow off a little steam, right?



The cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs playlist:

Hour 1
Artist - Song/Album
Soccer Mom - (A) Natural History/You Are Not Going to Heaven
Young Adults - Old Kids/Old Kids-Void
Krill - Purity of Heart/Lucky Leaves
King Tuff - Headbanger/Black Moon Spell
Ex Hex - How You Got That Girl/Rips
Whirr - Mumble/Sway
Withered Hand - Black Tambourine/New Gods
Gold-Bears - From Tallahassee to Gainesville/Dalliance
Weekend - Hazel/Red EP
METZ - The Mule/Metz
Protomartyr - What the Wall Said/Under Color of Official Right
Sloan - You Don't Need Excuses to Be Good/Commonwealth
Ty Segall - The Connection Man/Manipulator
The Afghan Whigs - Fountain and Fairfax/Gentlemen
The Afghan Whigs - Faded/Black Love

Hour 2:  Songs about insanity
Suicidal Tendencies - Institutionalized/Suicidal Tendencies
Warren Zevon - Excitable Boy/Live at the Record Plant 7/27/78
Talking Heads - Psycho Killer/Talking Heads: 77
Black Flag - Damaged I/Damaged
The Ramones - Psycho Therapy/Subterranean Jungle
Soundgarden - Mailman/Superunknown
King Khan & the Shrines - Of Madness I Dream/Idle No More
The Kinks - Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues/Muswell Hillbillies
Pearl Jam - Crazy Mary/Sweet Relief
Bruce Springsteen - State Trooper/Nebraska
Peter Gabriel - Family Snapshot/Peter Gabriel 3: Melt
Pixies - Where Is My Mind?/Live in Boston 11/28/09
Radiohead - Paranoid Android/OK Computer
David Bowie - The Bewlay Brothers/Hunky Dory