Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Run Like Hell

Hard to believe four months of marathon training have gone by so quickly, but here I sit just a few days away from running the Cox Providence Marathon.

I've got one run left before the race on Sunday; I was going to do it tomorrow, but I have to be at an off-site thing in Framingham for work all day, so I'll run 3 miles on Friday. I feel pretty good for the most part. I've got the usual tightness in my IT bands and have felt some slight achiness in my right Achilles, but nothing I'm overly worried about.

Right now, I'm just watching the weather forecasts. At this writing, Weather.com is predicting a high of 73 and a low of 59, with clouds and a 20% chance of rain. Not too bad. Although yesterday, the forecasts were calling for temps in the mid-80s. By the time Sunday gets here, who knows what the weather will actually be? The race starts at 8 a.m., so I just hope it's cloudy and cool for most of it. Hopefully, I won't have a repeat of my Vermont City Marathon in '06 when the temps were in the '80s and totally kicked my arse.

Complicating things a bit is the fact that Deb is off to Chicago tomorrow for a six-day conference, so she won't be around until Tuesday. I'm driving down to Providence on Saturday afternoon, after coaching Lily's first week of kindergarten soccer and checking out Hannah's game. Deb's mom will take care of the girls until I get back on Sunday afternoon; after the race, I'm showering and jumping in the car to head right back. But I decided to take Monday off from work to recuperate, so at least I can chill a bit then.

The marathon itself seems pretty cool. This is only the third year of the event, which also features a half-marathon and 5K. Looks to be about 5,000 runners total. The course is fairly flat, with a couple of hills but nothing major. I'd love to set a PR and run a sub-3:40, but the weather may have a say in how hard I push myself.

Whatever the case, I'm gonna run like hell:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Completely Conspicuous 124: Listen to What the Man Said

Special guest Jay Breitling joins me on the podcast to discuss misheard song lyrics. Listen to the show in streaming audio or download it directly (right click and "save as").

The show notes...

Topics:

- Easy to look up lyrics online nowadays, but many user-generated lyrics can be wrong

- Mondegreen is term for the mishearing of a lyric or phrase

- Kumar used to mishear Manfred Mann's "Blinded by the Light"

- Classic example is Hendrix's "Purple Haze" with misheard line "Excuse me while I kiss this guy"

- Kissthisguy.com is misheard lyrics site, not gay dating site

- Breitling: Nobody knew the lyrics of "Louie Louie"

- Kumar: Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"

- Teenage Kumar used to mishear a line in Eddie Money's "Shakin'"

- Kumar: Wild Cherry's "Play That Funky Music"

- In '70s, sometimes profanity was left in songs ("Who Are You," "Jet Airliner") played on radio

- Kumar: Just learned correct version of a line in Zeppelin's "Black Dog"

- Certain singers are hard to understand: Plant, Jagger, Stipe, guys in shoegaze bands

- Das Efx vocals purposely mimicked music

- Mumblemouthed singers: Vedder begat crappier imitators Weiland, Stapp

- Pearl Jam's "Yellow Ledbetter" is almost completely unintelligible

- Kumar: Thought PJ's "Rats" referenced Hakeem Olajuwon

- Kumar: Long misheard lines in "Rock the Casbah," "Everybody Wants Some"

- Billy Corgan's singing was hard to understand, but early Smashing Pumpkins rocked anyway

- Breitling: Bad Brains' "Pay to Cum" was 75 seconds long, 10 understandable words

- Kumar: The Knack's "My Sharona"

- Weird Al made his career on jokey lyrics

- Kumar: Stone Roses' "I Wanna Be Adored"

- Amy's co-worker thinks a Natalie Merchant song references dishpan hands

- Charles Kuralt's secret life

- Breitling: J. Geils Band's "Freeze Frame" was "Freeze Spray"

- J. Mascis was never big on enunciation

- Bonehead of the Week

Music:

Dead Meadow - That Old Temple

The Shout Out Louds - Fall Hard

Everyone Everywhere - Raw Bar OBX 2002

Fol Chen - In Ruins

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

The show is sponsored by Budget, the country's premier car rental service with 900 locations. Go to Budget.com/CompCon and save 10% off any reservation or $30 off a weekly rental.

The Dead Meadow song is on the album Three Kings on Xemu Records. The song is courtesy of IODA Promonet:

Three KingsDead Meadow
"That Old Temple" (mp3)
from "Three Kings"
(Xemu Records)

Buy at iTunes Music Store
More On This Album


The Shout Out Louds song is on the album Work on Merge Records. Download the song for free at Insound.

The Everyone Everywhere song is on the band's self-titled album on Tiny Engines. Find out more at . The band is currently in the midst of a two-week blog tour in which it's giving away a song a day on a different blog. Download this song for free at Can You See the Sunset.

The Fol Chen song is on the album Part II: The New December on Asthmatic Kitty Records. Download the song for free at Stereogum.

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 blogs Clicky Clicky and Keeping Some Dark Secrets. Additional music used in the show is by Me and Boris the Bull, which is the brainchild of the mighty Mark Campbell. Thanks to Bob Durling for the album art; find out more about his photography at his blog.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Monday, April 26, 2010

We've Got Your Back

After a long weekend of hanging with the family, I ventured into Cambridge Sunday night to hang out with Senor Breitling. We did some recording for the next episode of CompCon and then headed over to the Paradise to check out Los Campesinos!, yet another terrific young Scottish band.

The show was originally supposed to happen Saturday night, but the band was stuck in Europe for nearly a week because of the Icelandic volcano ash situation and had to cancel the first six nights of its North American. We were lucky they only postponed it by a night. Right from the start, you could tell the eight-piece LC was full of pent-up energy; frontman Gareth was bouncing around the crowded stage like a pinball, occasionally returning to the mike to sing and play some xylophone (Correction: Glockenspiel).

The show was far from a sellout, but those who attended had a blast. We hung out on the balcony, which was fairly spacious, but the floor was pretty crowded with LC devotees who shouted out the lyrics and pogoed away furiously. I'm only familiar with the band's latest album, Romance is Boring, technically their second full-length (although they've also released a 10-song "EP"). LC ripped through several new songs, including the title track and "There Are Listed Buildings," in their 70-minute set. During the encore, most of the band waded into the crowd to perform the song, leaving only the rhythm section and keyboardist on stage.

We also met up with Bryan Hamill, proprietor of the fine blog The Ash Gray Proclamation, whom Jay had befriended via Twitter. A good guy and as it turns out, a runner who did the Providence Marathon last year.

Jay and I got to the club just in time to see Cymbals Eat Guitars, a Staten Island band who played a sharp 40-minute set of atmospheric guitar-driven jams. Good stuff that I want to check out some more.

As we headed out into the night, we remarked that while we certainly would have welcomed a few more songs from LC, we were okay with getting out of there at a relatively decent hour on a Sunday night. And we certainly weren't shortchanged on the rock. Los Campesinos! is a band well worth your time and cash money.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mixology: Great Googily Moogily!

Mixology is a recurring feature in which I take a look at one of the many mix tapes I made over the years. Some are better than others, but all of them are fun to revisit.

Great Googily Moogily! (7/1/98)

In retrospect, 1998 had a lot going on. President Clinton became embroiled in the whole Paula Jones/Monica Lewinsky scandal that nearly derailed his presidency. The U.S. started voicing concerns about the possibility of Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. The Unabomber pleaded guilty. A startup called Google launched in California. Former pro wrestler Jesse Ventura was elected governor of Minnesota.

As for me, I was in a pretty good place, all things considered. Deb and I had been dating for nearly a year. I was 30, living with a couple of buddies of mine, renting out half a house in a nice residential neighborhood. Work was going well; I was a supervisor with a good staff working for me. That summer, I played a lot of softball and golf and drank a lot of beer. I honestly can't think of anything that wasn't going well.

I didn't go to a ton of shows in the first half of the year, seeing the Foo Fighters a couple of times in Boston and Portland, the Tragically Hip twice at Bill's Bar (legendary!) and later in the year at the Orpheum with Cracker, Girls Against Boys at the Karma Club, Cheap Trick and the Afghan Whigs, both at the Paradise and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at Avalon. I only saw a couple of Sox games, but I went to a bunch of Bruins games, saw the Patriots play down in New Orleans while I was there on business, saw UNH football play at Northeastern and in December, flew up to Toronto to catch one last game at Maple Leaf Gardens. My buddy Phil went with me and we were going to meet my brother, who was flying in from Texas; he ended up missing his flight and we traded our three tickets to a scalper for two and some cash. The Leafs ended up getting shut out by Eric Lindros and the Flyers, 3-0, but we had a blast.

As for the mix, it was on a 110-minute tape, hence the extra-long playlist. The first side was full of some older funk and rock favorites of mine, while the second side was mainly newer stuff I was listening to. The whole thing holds up pretty well.

Side A: Googily
It's Your Life - Lenny Kravitz
Give It Up or Turnit a Loose - James Brown
Word Up - Cameo
U Got the Look - Prince
Talkin' Loud and Sayin' Nothing - Living Colour
Freedom - Jimi Hendrix
I Can See for Miles - The Who
Rockin' in the Free World - Neil Young
The Girl I Love She Got Long Wavy Black Hair - Led Zeppelin
Let There Be Rock - AC/DC
Godzilla - Blue Oyster Cult
Ashes to Ashes - David Bowie

Side B: Moogily
Dive - Nirvana
The Guns of Brixton - The Clash
Right Turn - Alice in Chains
Ty Cobb - Soundgarden
Heroin Girl - Everclear
Hey Johnny Park! - Foo Fighters
Siva - Smashing Pumpkins
Worst Thing - Sebadoh
Back in the State - Rocket From the Crypt
Last Cup of Sorrow - Faith No More
Park Avenue - Girls Against Boys
Party Hard - Pulp
Electioneering - Radiohead
Where You Get Love - Matthew Sweet
Money City Maniacs - Sloan
Someone Who's Cool - Odds




Great googily moogily:


Live Godzilla from 1980:


Last Cup of Sorrow:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Completely Conspicuous 123: Too Fast for Love

The podcast's back with another installment of Driving With Kumar as I discuss our love/hate relationship with fast food. Listen to the show in streaming audio or download it directly (right click and "save as").

The show notes...

Topics:

- KFC's Double Down sandwich is cartoonish gluttony

- Never ate much fast food as a young kid

- Only go to McDonald's on road trips

- Instant regret and shame

- Most fast food I eat is pizza

- Plenty of other examples of ridiculous fast food meals

- I enjoy occasional visits to rib joint

- Moderation is the key

- Exercise helps counter effects of fatty food

- Parents need to make sure kids are active

- Fast Food Nation was an eye-opening book

- Learning about how meat producers work can turn you off fast food

- Trend towards banning trans fats in restaurants

- Push to ban trans fats in the UK

- People should have the choice

- Encourage folks to be more active and eat healthier

- A ban might be going too far

- Public smoking ban has worked well

- We can't force people to be healthier

- Bonehead of the Week

Music:

Deer Tick - 20 Miles

Blur - Fool's Day

The Futureheads - Struck Dumb

Brad - Runnin' for Cover

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

The show is sponsored by Eastbay/Footlocker.com, a leading supplier of athletic footwear, apparel and sports equipment. Save on gear from top brands such as Nike, Adidas, Asics and more using these codes: AFCOMP15 will get you 15% off any order at Eastbay.com, AFCOMP20 will get you 20% off any order of $75 or more at Eastbay.com and AFCOMPFL will get you 15% off any order at Footlocker.com.

The Deer Tick song is on the album The Black Dirt Sessions on Partisan Records. Download the song for free at Force Field PR.

The Blur song is the first song the band has recorded in seven years, made for Record Store Day. After the 7-inch single sold out, the band made the song available for free online.

The Futureheads song is on the album The Chaos on Dovecote Records. Download the song for free at Spinner.

The Brad song is on the album Best Friends? on Monkeywrench Records. Download the song for free from Brad's site.

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 blogs Clicky Clicky and Keeping Some Dark Secrets. Additional music used in the show is by Me and Boris the Bull, which is the brainchild of the mighty Mark Campbell. Thanks to Bob Durling for the album art; find out more about his photography at his blog.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mixology: Sweet Tapeage

Mixology is a recurring feature in which I take a look at one of the many mix tapes I made over the years. Some are better than others, but all of them are fun to revisit.

Mixology: Sweet Tapeage (Fall 1986)

I just went up to the eaves in our bedroom that we use for storage and dug out a whole pile of old cassettes, including this chestnut from my sophomore year at UNH. It was technically the second mix I made that fall, but the other one was taped over at some point. It was called Totally Intense Tunes and was all hard rock stuff like Zeppelin, Whitesnake et al. I'm guessing I was embarrassed by it and recorded something over it, but I wish I hadn't.

Anyhoo, I made this tape (and other one) on my roommate Steve's stereo. He was a good guy, but pretty stressed out because he had a lot going on: He was an engineering major, on the swim team, in a frat and had a hot girlfriend. As a result, he was either out doing something related to one of those things or in the room studying. Meanwhile, here I was, a carefree English major staying up late partying and generally just enjoying myself. I was doing well in my courses, now that I had switched majors from chemical engineering. I liked to stay up late and watch Letterman until 1:30 a.m. and on certain nights, I'd join the guys next door playing quarters, cranking tunes and just making a lot of noise. Which of course bummed out poor Steve, who was trying to get his homework done. The following year, I ended up living off-campus with a couple of the guys who lived next door.

Everything on this tape was recorded off vinyl. I recorded over another cassette; I was able to just now look under the inlay card I had used. It was over a homemade recording of Elton John's Greatest Hits and the handwriting looks like my buddy Chris, who must have given it to me because he didn't want it anymore. I was more than likely flat broke at the time and couldn't afford to buy a new cassette.

Some good stuff on this one that you don't hear much anymore: U2's "Like a Song...", VH's "Women in Love," Rush's "In the End." Some classics: The Who's "Young Man's Blues," Zep's "Trampled Underfoot," The Beatles' "A Day in the Life," Pretenders' "Precious," the Stones' "Hang Fire." Some WTF choices: Henley's "Drivin' With Your Eyes Closed" (didn't get sick of him until '90), Dweezil Zappa's "I Feel Like I Wanna Cry." The Neil Young song was from his '86 album Landing on Water, which was universally panned because of all the synths and stuff, but I kinda liked it. Dug that Plant song a lot, too.

It was '86, the Sox were about to lose the World Series to the Mets in horrific fashion, and life was pretty damn good for the most part.

Side A
A Day in the Life - The Beatles
Distressed - Max Webster
Invisible Sun - The Police
Drivin' With Your Eyes Closed - Don Henley
Like a Song... - U2
Do You Know, Do You Care - Phil Collins
Hippie Dream - Neil Young
Big Time - Peter Gabriel
Women in Love... - Van Halen
In the End - Rush

Side B
Flesh Wound - Robert Palmer
Change It - Stevie Ray Vaughan
Precious - The Pretenders
Gone Hollywood - Supertramp
Little by Little - Robert Plant
Wind Him Up - Saga
Hang Fire - The Rolling Stones
I Feel Like I Wanna Cry - Dweezil Zappa
Young Man's Blues (live) - The Who
Trampled Under Foot - Led Zeppelin





In the End:


Little by Little:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Completely Conspicuous 122: Rock of Ages

More rock talk on the podcast this week with special guest Jay Breitling as we trace our rock roots. Listen to the show in streaming audio or download it directly (right click and "save as").

The show notes...

Topics:

- Breitling: John Lennon's death led to Beatles albums in house

- Older bro joined Columbia House Record Club: AC/DC, Rush, VH, Kinks

- Breitling's mom dug Sinatra, ELO, Winwood

- Sinatra made a concept album, Watertown

- Papa Breitling picked up Skynyrd hits comp

- Kumar: Dug War and Eric Burdon's "Spill the Wine" as a toddler

- Parents dug Sinatra, Neil Diamond, mid-70s easy listening

- Parents got into disco and so did I

- Eventually started listening to hard rock

- Traded hockey cards for Zep II and Rush's Fly By Night

- Breitling got into metal: VH, Leppard, Priest

- Breitling: Live video of VH's "Unchained" was the pinnacle, featuring flaming gong

- Kumar laments late arrival of MTV to his NH town (1985)

- Watched USA's "Night Flights" and NBC's "Friday Night Videos"

- Breitling moved on to alternative: Cure, Smiths

- Also started listening to Grateful Dead

- Breitling got into hardcore through high school band called Lost

- Listened to Fugazi, Helmet, Orange 9mm; then got into indie rock

- Kumar was high school metalhead: Maiden, Priest, Metallica

- In college, got into alternative: REM, Husker Du, Cure

- Post-college, turned onto Seattle scene: Mother Love Bone, Temple of the Dog, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Pearl Jam, Nirvana

- Regrets, I've had a few: Spin Doctors

- Bonehead of the Week

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

The show is sponsored by Budget, the country's premier car rental service with 900 locations. Go to Budget.com/CompCon and save 10% off any reservation or $30 off a weekly rental.

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 blogs Clicky Clicky and Keeping Some Dark Secrets. Additional music used in the show is by Me and Boris the Bull, which is the brainchild of the mighty Mark Campbell. Thanks to Bob Durling for the album art; find out more about his photography at his blog.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Metal on Metal

I don't usually write movie reviews on this site because, well, I just don't. Besides, folks like my buddy Doobs do it much better. But I had the good fortune of watching Anvil: The Story of Anvil over the weekend and I enjoyed it so much that I figured I'd blog about it.

Unlike many folks who saw the documentary when it came out on DVD last year, I'd actually heard of the band before. I was vaguely aware of Anvil when I lived in Canada and picked up an album of theirs (I think it was their debut, Hard 'N Heavy) on a return visit to Toronto in the early '80s. They were acknowledged as one of the pioneers of thrash metal along with much-better known acts like Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeth. I don't remember listening to the record much; it just didn't grab me and the lyrics were pretty dumb, even by metal standards. But it certainly rocked. I never picked up another Anvil album and the one copy I had was lost when I gave away a box of metal records about 15 years ago (a move I still regret).

So a few years ago when I heard that a documentary was made about the band, I was definitely interested. And when the film got rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival in early '09, I was even more interested. Director Sacha Gervasi is a Hollywood screenwriter who wrote the Spielberg/Tom Hanks flick The Terminal, and apparently he roadied for three Anvil tours of the UK in the early '80s. He followed the band around from 2005 to 2007 and chronicled the struggles of bandleaders Steve "Lips" Kudlow and Robb Reiner (really, that's his name) as they fought each other and the world to keep their 30-year-old band going.

It's basically a real-life Spinal Tap tale, but the film really makes you feel for the guys as they go on a disastrous European tour where they play before near-empty clubs and get stiffed by ruthless club managers. The guys live in Scarborough, Ontario, which is where I was born and lived until I was 7 (once a suburb of Toronto, it's now part of the city). Lips works at a catering company and Reiner is a construction worker, but both just want to rock. Meanwhile, their families patiently support them while hoping the guys will come to their senses and give it up already.

The movie manages to be really touching without being sappy and captures plenty of awkward and hilarious band moments as they struggle to get their new album released. Even if you think heavy metal is a bane of society, you'll find this film enjoyable.

Since it came out, the band has enjoyed a renaissance, opening for AC/DC on a stadium tour and playing on The Tonight Show last fall. Anvil's currently working on a new album. They remain a goofy metal band that rocks hard. Although many folks will probably see them and buy their albums for ironic enjoyment, hopefully they'll make a little cash out of the whole thing. Certainly, shittier bands have had much more success.

Rockin' in '84:


The trailer:

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Mixology: Way Cool Tunes

Mixology is a recurring feature in which I take a look at one of the many mix tapes I made over the years. Some are better than others, but all of them are fun to revisit.

Way Cool Tunes (3/26/91)

Early 1991 was an interesting time. The Gulf War had begun in January, with the U.S. invading Iraq to liberate the poor sheiks of Kuwait. Names like Dr. Jack Kevorkian and Rodney King were introduced into the public consciousness. And I was a 23-year-old covering School Committee meetings for the Peabody Times.

I was living with a fellow reporter in a crappy apartment on the awesomely named Butman Street in Beverly. It faced a cemetery, which made for some creepy foggy mornings from time to time. It was one of three apartments I would rent within a 1-mile radius over the years, in addition to many others. Someday I'll write about each of those places. I moved a lot in those pre-marriage days. At the Butman place, our landlord wasn't big on so-called "amenities" like "heat" and "hot water." I remember winning $225 on a square in the Super Bowl pool that January (had Bills kicker Scott Norwood not missed a field goal in the dying seconds, I would have had another $250) and literally giving it right to the oil guy because our heat ran out the next day. Brutal. I was dating a woman whom I'd eventually move in with about three months later after the Butman Street lease was up.

I saw a lot of bands that year: Iron Maiden at the Worcester Centrum in January; Living Colour at UNH and INXS at the Centrum in February; An Emotional Fish at the Paradise and George Thorogood/Barrence Whitfield and the Savages at the Orpheum in March; The Tragically Hip (the first of many shows by the Hip) at the Paradise and the WFNX Best Music Poll show at the Orpheum (featuring Iggy Pop) in April; and Lenny Kravitz at the Orpheum in November. I also reviewed a Jay Leno show at the North Shore Music Theater in Beverly in August and even got picked on by the big-chinned one; this was back when he was funny.

This was also the year that we got a coed softball team started at the paper. A few years later, I took over as captain and ran it for another 14 years (and 18,000 beers) or so.

This mix was full of stuff I was digging at the time, which cut a pretty wide swath from alt-rock (REM, The Cure, B-52s) to geezer rock (Roger McGuinn, Robert Cray) to one-hit wonders (Urban Dance Squad, An Emotional Fish) to hard rock/metal (Queensrych, DLR, King's X, Masters of Reality, Anthrax) to just good ol' rock (Pretenders, Tragically Hip) to James frickin' Brown.

It was a good year for the most part and at times, I actually did feel better than James Brown.

Side A
Celebrate - An Emotional Fish
Radio Song - R.E.M. (with KRS-One)
Losing My Religion - R.E.M.
King of the Hill - Roger McGuinn (with Tom Petty)
Deeper Shade of Soul - Urban Dance Squad
Little Bones - The Tragically Hip
These Things - Robert Cray
The Dogtown Shuffle - David Lee Roth
Theme for the Scientist of the Invisible/Domino - Masters of Reality
Mr. Wilson - King's X

Side B
Silent Lucidity - Queensryche
Jeremiah Blues (Pt. 1) - Sting
Channel Z - The B-52s
Fascination Street - The Cure
I Feel Better Than James Brown - Was (Not Was)
It May Be the Last Time - James Brown
Got the Time - Anthrax
Battleship Chains - Hindu Love Gods
Hold a Candle to This - The Pretenders
Fight - The Tragically Hip





Celebrate:


Domino (Funny, hadn't seen this before, I always thought this song would work great in an action flick. Apparently, Seagal agreed):

Monday, April 05, 2010

Completely Conspicuous 121: Bad to the Bone

The podcast's back with special guest Jay Breitling, who joins me as we continue our discussion of music as a torture device. Listen to the show in streaming audio or download it directly (right click and "save as").

The show notes...

Topics:

- Breitling: Bad covers by inappropriate people

- Case in point: Lenny Kravitz's "American Woman"

- Another: Big Mountain's cover of "Baby I Love Your Way"

- Watch out for white guys with dreads

- Kumar: Bob Seger's "Shakedown"

- Kenny Loggins was the patron saint of crappy '80s soundtrack hits

- The Bruce Hornsby button

- Dube: Arthur Lizie came up with the Beverly Hills Cop genre of music

- Footloose was the Rosetta Stone of Beverly Hills Cop music

- Breitling: Rockapella sucks

- Michael Winslow was the ultimate beatboxer

- Breitling: GNR's "Used to Love Her"

- Liked it, but heard it so many times he got sick of it

- Kumar: Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire"

- Breitling defends Christie Brinkley's honor

- Smash Mouth's "All Star" is evil and catchy

- Steve Miller's whole head sucks

- Beach Boys' "Kokomo" was doomed by the Stamos Factor

- Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" supersucked

- Bonehead of the Week

Music:

- The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio

- Midlake - Acts of Man

- Jawbreaker - Gutless

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

The National's song is on the album High Violet on 4AD. Visit High Violet to download the song for free.

The Midlake song is on the album The Courage of Others on Bella Union Records. Download the song for free at Insound.

The Jawbreaker song is on the reissue of the album Unfun on Blackball Records. Download the song for free at Rolling Stone.

The show is sponsored by Eastbay/Footlocker.com, a leading supplier of athletic footwear, apparel and sports equipment. You can find gear from top brands such as Nike, Adidas and Asics. The promo code AFCOMP15 gets you 15% off any order at Eastbay.com; AFCOMP20 gets you 20% off any order of $75 or more at Eastbay.com; and AFCOMPFL gets you 15% off any order at Footlocker.com.

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 blogs Clicky Clicky and Keeping Some Dark Secrets. Additional music used in the show is by Me and Boris the Bull, which is the brainchild of the mighty Mark Campbell. Thanks to Bob Durling for the album art; find out more about his photography at his blog.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Let There Be Rock

By Friday night, I'm usually pretty wiped out. Long work week, not enough sleep, and I'm ready to zone out on the couch and hit the sack early. But not last night.

Instead, I picked up my buddy Dave and his friend Ben and we headed into Boston to catch the Drive-By Truckers play at the House of Blues. Unlike last Saturday's Spoon show, there was no early exit because of a dance party afterward. We went to three different restaurants in a futile attempt to get a burger and beer before the show, but were unable to get anyone to take our orders. It was ridiculous.

Finally, we just walked down Lansdowne Street and went to the Sausage King, the street vendor who's always there. Boom, we wolfed them down and went into the club in time to catch Langhorne Slim, the first of the three-band show. He played a fine set of roots rock that got the crowd going. Next up was Lucero, an excellent alt-country act that ripped it up real good. The Memphis band was augmented by a three-piece horn section. Frontman Ben Nichols used his Tom Waitsian rasp to good effect on newer songs like "Smoke" and older classics like "That Much Further West" and "Tears Don't Matter Much." The horns didn't take away from the punk attitude of the band. I'd definitely like to catch them playing a headlining date someday.

Unlike last weekend, when Spoon was forced to finish its set by 10 p.m., DBT came out at 10 and ripped through a kick-ass two-hour set of Southern rock, country and blues. Almost exactly two years, I caught the band at the Paradise and they played a boozy, raw 135-minute set. Last night, there was less boozing but just as much rocking. Bandleader Patterson Hood seemed to be having a blast as the band tore through songs from the fine new album The Big To-Do, including "This Fucking Job," "Birthday Boy" and "The Flying Wallendas." Guitarist Mike Cooley played some hot lead guitar and brought his trademark twangy vocals to "Women Without Whiskey" and "Three Dimes Down" and bassist Shonna Tucker sang a couple of her compositions, "Home Field Advantage" and "(It's Gonna Be) I Told You So." The uber-prolific band has cranked out a ton of music over the years and several classics were played last night, including "Nine Bullets," "The Night GG Allin Came to Town," "Road Cases," "Sinkhole" and "Hell, No, We Ain't Happy."

The band's three-guitar attack rocked as hard as any metal band at some points, while at others, utility man John Neff played the pedal steel and they played mellow country. But whatever they played, the packed and hard drinking crowd appreciated. The night ended with an ear-splittingly loud version of Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World," which left both the band and audience spent and exhausted. A fitting end to a night of rock.

Job well done: