Friday, December 31, 2010

Eleven

So here we are, about half an hour before we hit the New Year. The girls are asleep upstairs and Deb's asleep on the couch...just like every other night. I'd say it was a pretty good year for the most part. We're all happy and healthy and gainfully employed (except for the kids), so that's a positive.

I always have similar New Year's resolutions that I mostly fail to keep every year. I'm starting off 2011 by going sugar-free for the foreseeable future. Got a little flabby over the last few months, so I want to get in better shape. I'm not doing a spring marathon, but want to do a couple of half-marathons and try to get faster in shorter races. I may do a fall marathon. I'm also thinking of actually taking guitar lessons, since I never can stick to practicing enough to get any good. Other than that, I want to keep writing and keep doing the podcast every week. And of course, to keep doing my best at the whole father and husband thing. That's the most important one, and the one I've actually been able to keep consistently over the last 10 years.

Party it up:

Last Days

Ah, 2010, we hardly knew ye. The year flew by, as they all seem to do. And now, before the year's up, it's time for my annual roundup of my favorite music of the year. Listeners of CompCon have already heard my discussion with Senor Breitling of the top rock of 2010 (check out parts 1, 2 and 3), but that was recorded in early November and my list has changed somewhat since then. Not radically, but it's different. Plus here, I'm expanding my list to the top 15 because, well, I can.

So let's get on to it, then:

15. The Besnard Lakes--The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night
Everything this band does is cool. Heady, atmospheric soundscapes that slow build into majestic rock epics, like a combination of Pink Floyd instrumentation with Beach Boys harmonies. Definitely a band made for headphones.



14. Girl Talk--All Day
Released for free download on November 15, Gregg Gillis' latest samplesplosion is a masterful collection that features a mind-blowing 373 samples (according to WiggityPedia). There are plenty of folks releasing free mixtapes these days, but Gillis is the mashup maker of choice for nerds who like to get their rock mixed with hip hop. Opening track "Oh No" gets off to a great start with a "War Pigs" sample and branches out in a ridiculous number of directions within the same song. Tons of fun.



13. LCD Soundsystem--This is Happening
Bandleader James Murphy has been releasing terrific dance-rock albums (and even Nike Plus workout jams) for years now, and this continues that streak. You can hear a definite Roxy Music influence on this one, especially in Murphy's vocals. "Drunk Girls" is a classic track, but just about every song on this album is an extended jam in the best way possible.



12. Drive-By Truckers--The Big To-Do
DBT is a band that has transcended the genres that it gets slotted into: Southern rock, alt-country, straightahead rock. The band is extremely prolific (a new album, Go-Go Boots, is set to be released soon) and is a true live force. The song "This Fucking Job" certainly resonated as the recession wore on in 2010, and The Big To-Do found DBT getting back to a rock sound over the quieter, country-influenced songs on its previous longplayer, Brighter Than Creation's Dark. Gotta love the triple-guitar attack.



11. Les Savy Fav--Root for Ruin
LSF is another band that has been consistently producing terrific albums for the last decade. Root for Ruin is chock full of catchy rock songs led by frontman Tim Harrington's deranged vocals (dude's even crazier in concert).



10. Los Campesinos!--Romance is Boring
Los Camp are an exciting young band from the UK that has mastered whisper-to-a-scream dynamics and everything-but-the-kitchen-sink instrumentation as it tears through this album. The band has undergone some lineup changes in the last year, but if this record is any indication, we can expect big things in the years to come. They can soft and they can rock shit up with the best of 'em. Terrific live act, too.



9. Spoon--Transference
This band gets my vote for band of the 2000s. Every album they've released has been a winner, and Transference is no exception. After the success of Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, you could have expected Spoon to continue along that more commercial path. But to their credit, Britt Daniel and the band opted for more experimental, sparse terrain. It's still a very listenable album, but there are no "Underdog 2" Billy Joel-esque singalongs to be found. Instead, dig choppy rockers like "Written in Reverse."



8. The Henry Clay People--Somewhere on the Golden Coast
This was a late addition to my best-of list because I only picked it up in late November, but man, what a great rock record. They wear their influences on their sleeves: Replacements, Kinks, Springsteen. This is the Hold Steady album I wish the Hold Steady had released this year. Rockity rock rock.



7. Arcade Fire--The Suburbs
A great bounceback album for the band. Not that Neon Bible sucked or anything, but The Suburbs really hits all those Arcade Fire high points: Majestic songs, stirring vocals, anthemic chords. You know, the good stuff.



6. Black Mountain--Wilderness Heart
These Western Canadian rockers deliver a great collection of heavy Sabbath-style crunchers mixed with hippie-leaning acoustic janglers. It's all the good parts of '70s rock done up right for 2010. Singers Stephen McBean and Amber Webber provide good counterpoints while all the rock craziness goes on around them.



5. The Black Keys--Brothers
This guitar-drums duo has been churning out the blues-rock for about 10 years now, but this was the year they hit it big. In addition to being all over rock radio, their songs were licensed Moby-style in every conceivable fashion: TV shows, movies, commercials, and anything else they could think of. Good for them. It's probably the best way to make money these days. The commercial appeal doesn't change the fact the Black Keys still rock. There's more of a soul/R&B feel to this one, but the basic sound hasn't changed. And that's a good thing.



4. Superchunk--Majesty Shredding
On their first album in nine years, Superchunk sounds like they haven't missed a beat. From the opening song "Digging for Something," the band just kicks into high gear and rocks the hell out of this album. Mac McCaughan's vocals seem even higher now than they were when the band was in its mid-90s heyday. A welcome comeback that hopefully will continue for years to come.



3. Grinderman--Grinderman 2
Nick Cave's rawk act returns with a killer follow-up to its killer debut album. This moved up from #8 when Jay and I did our countdown back in November, mainly because I've been listening to it a lot since then. More garage rock combined with Cave's twisted literary bent. Another month or two and this may have topped my list. Just devastating stuff.



2. Titus Andronicus--The Monitor
Another powerful live act that combines literary conceits with ass-crunching rock. Ostensibly about the Civil War, this album jumps from battlefield tales to modern-day breakup stories. Manages to take a pretentious-sounding concept and make it kick butt.






1. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists--The Brutalist Bricks
Another favorite artist of mine for the consistent quality of his studio albums and live shows, Ted Leo's latest album combines all the great things we've come to expect from the man: rousing rockers, impassioned vocals, that whole Clash-meets-Thin Lizzy vibe he generates. But with The Brutalist Bricks, Leo seems to have found another level of urgency. Catchy and kickass.


Notes: I had originally included the XX's xx on my top 10 for the podcast, but since it came out in August 2009, I bumped it for this list. Still, an excellent album that I really enjoyed. Another 2009 release that I only discovered this year is We Were Promised Jetpacks' These Four Walls.

Honorable mentions: Gaslight Anthem--American Slang; Neil Young--Le Noise; The 20/20 Project--Employees of the Year; Japandroids--No Singles; The Fall--Your Future, Our Clutter; High on Fire--Snakes for the Divine; Iron Maiden--The Final Frontier; Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings--I Learned the Hard Way; Jesse Malin and the St. Mark's Social--Love it to Life; The Hold Steady--Heaven is Whenever.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mixology: Angry and Old--Briggy Turns 40

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

Angry and Old: Briggy Turns 40 (4/4/05)

Two posts in one day and they're both about my buddy Dave Brigham. When he reads this in a month or so, he'll be flattered. I made this mix back in 2005 in honor of Briggy's 40th birthday. Dave's wife Beth threw a great party at their place, so I whipped this up as part of his gift. Being old and such, I've made a few such mixes in the last few years for friends of mine (as well as for my own 40th).

It helped that I was very familiar with Dave's musical likes from working side-by-side with him for a few years at the ol' Webnoize concern. Hence the robot references by GBV, Kraftwerk and Brainiac, as well as the tunes from At the Drive-In, Fu Manchu, Von Bondies and Bullet Lavolta. This was all stuff we were digging back in '99-'01.

Making mixes is always fun, but it's especially fun when you're making them for someone else. I know Briggy dug the CD and I like to pop it in the hi-fi from time to time because it kicks an appropriate amount of arse. Which is good when you've hit the big 4-0. No Seals & Crofts to be found on this compilation.

Happy Birthday to Me - Cracker

Birthday Cake - Cibo Matto

Old Man - Neil Young

(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - Devo

Gold Star for Robot Boy - Guided by Voices

The Robots - Kraftwerk

I am a Cracked Machine - Brainiac

Quatro Fromagii - Bea Arthur's Revenge

One Armed Scissor - At the Drive-In

Weird Beard - Fu Manchu

Freedom Rock - Frank Black

It Came from Japan - Von Bondies

Swan Dive - Bullet Lavolta

On a Rope - Rocket from the Crypt

Romantic Rights - Death from Above 1979

The Enthusiast - Mission of Burma




We are the robots:


Romantic Rights:

The Supersonic Storybook

Writing a book ain't easy. Talk to anyone who's actually written one, or someone who's tried and failed. Part of my job requires me to edit books, albeit ones that are specifically written for folks in the medical profession. So I know how much work goes into putting a book together.

That's why it's so cool that my good buddy Dave Brigham has actually gone and got a book of short stories published. A decade in the making, Dave's book "(C)rock Stories: Million-Dollar Tales of Music, Mayhem and Immaturity" is now for sale through Booklocker. I'm proud to say I was around when Dave first started working on these stories, back when we worked together at Webnoize at the turn of the century. I read some early drafts, but the stories have evolved a lot since then.

Dave and I talked about how the book came together on my podcast recently; you can hear all about it in parts 1 and 2 of the conversation. If you like rock music, road trips and good writing, you'll want to pick up this labor of love. I already ordered my copy...what are you waiting for?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Completely Conspicuous 156: At the Edge of the Scene

This week on the podcast, it's part 2 of my conversation with special guest Matt Phillion as we discuss the making of his new indie film Certainly Never. Listen to the show in streaming audio or download it directly (right click and "save as").

Or you can listen to it here:



Topics:

- Scheduling filming is a tricky art

- Sometimes you have to cut scenes you like

- Distribution: Film festivals, Netflix, hoping to create indie buzz

- "Chasing the unicorn"

- Directing is Matt's film school

- Movie was Matt's most satisfying and most draining accomplishment

- Salem hotel thought crew was filming ghost hunter TV show

- Crew became close-knit group after filming

- Dealing with bystanders

- Now Matt's returning favors by acting in other folks' projects

- Putting together the soundtrack

- Missed all deadlines for 2010 festivals

- Bonehead of the Week

Music:

The Twilight Singers - On the Corner

Middle Brother - Me, Me, Me

Ryan Adams and the Cardinals - No

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 Twilight Singers song is on the forthcoming album Dynamite Steps on Sub Pop Records. Download the song for free at Soundcloud.

The Middle Brother song is from the band's self-titled album on Partisan Records, where the song was given away for free as part of a Christmas promotion.

The Ryan Adams and the Cardinals song is on the double album III/IV on Pax-Am Records. Download the song for free at Amazon.

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. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Mixology: December Decibels

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

December Decibels (12/07)

Part of the fun of doing some of these mix CD writeups is having to figure out what some of the songs are, since I don't have tracklistings for most of them and the iTunes playlists no longer exist. I still have all the MP3s, though, so eventually I figure it out. I only have the full album for 11 of the 19 songs on this mix, so some digging was required.

The one I had the most trouble with is "Fader" by Todd Fancey, whose day job is as a guitarist for the New Pornographers. I have the album but hadn't listened to it in a few years, and the song is a dead ringer for one of the more mellow Foo Fighters tracks. So I was going through the songs on the 2007 Foo album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, but couldn't find this song. Googled some of the song's lyrics but that didn't help. Took me four listens before I realized I could sort my iTunes by song time and eventually found that it wasn't Dave Grohl's band at all.

A similar case with the song "X Marks the Spot" by Frankel, an artist whose sound is reminiscent of many others and another song I hadn't heard in a long time. It took me a while to figure out who he was. Pretty sure I downloaded the track from an MP3 blog. And really, it's a great song.

For the most part, this mix is pretty midtempo, but it's good midtempo. Besides, the opening song "Tyrants" by Black Mountain is 8 minutes of epic asskickery that can sustain you through the remaining 65 minutes.

Tyrants - Black Mountain
Pill Gone Girl - Robert Pollard
Rich Woman - Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
Shotgun Wedding - Jason Isbell
Man in the Long Black Coat - Mark Lanegan
The Wicked Messenger - Black Keys
Is There a Ghost - Band of Horses
Ada - The National
Fader - Fancey
How Legends Love - Ginger
Delivery (demo) - Pete Doherty
Someone Great - LCD Soundsystem
All I Need - Radiohead
Stop Drop and Roll - Foxboro Hot Tubs
1957 - Buck 65
Paper Planes - M.I.A.
The Silence Between Us - Bob Mould
X Marks the Spot - Frankel
Foam Hands - Destroyer





Tyrants:


1957:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Unsung: Everyday Sunshine

Unsung is a new feature in which I take a look at a pop culture phenomenon (be it music, TV, literary, whatever) that has been forgotten or underappreciated.

In the early '90s, I discovered the joy of buying used CDs. First off, they were cheap and if you waited a few months after an album came out, you could usually find it because someone who paid full price had either tired of it or taped it and sold it to a record store. I had two favorite sources of used CDs: The Record Exchange in Salem and Rockit Records in Saugus (R.I.P.).

A particularly good haul from Rockit in late '91 resulted in my introduction to two great bands. One was Soundgarden, whose Badmotorfinger simultaneously kicked my ass and freaked me out. That album introduced the band to a lot of folks, getting them on Lollapalooza the following year and setting the stage for the commercial success of Superunknown.

But the other album I picked up that day wasn't quite as successful, although it did fairly well on rock radio and MTV: Fishbone's The Reality of My Surroundings. Released in April 1991, the album reached #49 on the Billboard top 200 chart and was the band's best critical and commercial success by far (they're still at it). It followed up 1988's excellent Truth and Soul (which I only heard years later). The band got its start as teenagers with 1985's Fishbone EP, which featured an emphasis on punk, funk and ska (the band's members played sax, trombone and trumpet), but as it progressed, the sound grew harder-edged.

By the time Reality came out, Fishbone had incorporated a healthy dose of hard rock/metal guitar into the mix, no doubt inspired by fellow black rockers Living Colour and 24/7 Spyz. As a fan of both those bands and so-called "punk funk" acts like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Faith No More (and ska acts like the Specials and Bim Skala Bim), I was intrigued by Fishbone. So when I saw the CD at Rockit, I grabbed it.



Stylistically, the album's all over the place, a big pot of rock jambalaya, mixing all the aforementioned ingredients. The standout songs are "Everyday Sunshine" and "Sunless Saturday," both of which were released as singles and represent the band at their best. "Everyday Sunshine" is a funky Sly Stone homage, upbeat and energetic, while "Sunless Saturday" is darker and heavier, with its lyrics describing inner-city despair. Frontman Angelo Moore is adept at bouncing back and forth between all these styles, often within the same song.



The band's heavy side comes through on songs like "Fight the Youth" and "Behavior Control Technician," while "Pressure" is a classic punk-funk hybrid. Drug dependence is explored in the spoken word piece "Junkie's Prayer" and the reggae of "Pray to the Junkiemaker."



Fishbone went on to play on "Saturday Night Live" and developed a reputation as a killer live act, appearing 0n the 1993 Lollapalooza tour. That was the only time I saw them play, but unfortunately I couldn't enjoy the show because I was too busy getting kicked in the head by all the stupid crowd surfers at Quonset Point, R.I.

After that, I kind of lost track of the band. In the subsequent 19 years since Reality came out, Fishbone has released four studio albums and a couple of live albums and has toured like crazy, but has never reached the peak it did on Reality. It's too bad, because those first few albums were pretty great. The band ended up going through a rotating cast of members; currently, only three of the original six are in the band.

My interest in the band rekindled with the news that there's a new documentary about Fishbone called Everyday Sunshine that's been screening around the country. There's a terrific look at the band and the film in the latest episode of The Field Negro Guide to Arts and Culture, a podcast from Living Colour's Vernon Reid and comedian W. Kamau Bell (which is an excellent podcast, BTW).



Fishbone has influenced everyone from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Living Colour to No Doubt, but alas has seen nowhere near the success of those acts. Hopefully the documentary will shine a little spotlight on the greatness of this band.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Completely Conspicuous 155: I Turn My Camera On

Special guest Matt Phillion joins me on the podcast to discuss his indie film Certainly Never. Listen to the show in streaming audio or download it directly (right click and "save as").

Or you can listen to it here:



The show notes...

Topics:

- Enjoy the relaxing sounds of my fish tank in background

- Matt did some acting in school

- Started acting again 5-6 years ago

- Equipment is expensive but affordable

- Matt wrote script for Certainly Never in summer 2009, filmed in summer 2010

- Film was response to Breakfast at Tiffany's

- Film clocks in at 85 minutes

- Basically a second full-time job this summer

- Filmed two weekday nights, every weekend from mid-July to late September

- Matt financed film himself

- Goal for film is to get the actors future work

- Had to replace lead actress because of scheduling conflict

- Hoping to get film in festivals

- Hyper-aware of sound

- Film at a bar when Mercedes commercial crew showed up outside

- Bonehead of the Week

Music:

R.E.M. - Discoverer

East River Pipe - Cold Ground

Los Campesinos - Kindle a Flame in Her Heart

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

The show is sponsored by Eastbay/Footlocker.com. Use the following codes to get athletic gear from Nike, Adidas, Asics and more. AFCOMP15 will get you 10% off any order of $50 at Eastbay.com, AFCOMP20 will get you 15% off any order of $75 at Eastbay.com and AFCOMPFL will get you 10% off any order of $50 or more at Footlocker.com.

The R.E.M. song is on the forthcoming album Collapse Into Now on Warner Bros. Records. Find out more and download the song for free (in exchange for your e-mail address) at R.E.M. HQ.

The East River Pipe song is from the forthcoming album We Live in Rented Rooms on Merge Records. Download the song for free from Merge (right click and "save as").

The Los Campesinos song is a special Christmas tune the band is giving away at its website.

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. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Simply Unacceptable

Hola. Another week has come and gone and I haven't done much with the blog, and I apologize for that. Life has been super-busy lately; I'm so fried after getting out of work that there's not much brainpower left for much blog creativity.

I have a lot of ideas, just little time or inclination to carry them out. Thankfully, I've been able to keep the podcast rolling each week with new episodes, and I've got the next five or so mapped out. So I'm not totally out of it.

Anyhoo, it's getting late and I'm going to catch some shuteye, but rest assured more is coming. Hoping to crank out a couple of posts this weekend, even. Seriously!

Rock:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Completely Conspicuous 154: Word Up!

Special guest Dave Brigham joins me again on the podcast for part 2 of our discussion about his new book, "(C)rock Stories: Million-Dollar Tales of Music, Mayhem and Immaturity." Listen to the show in streaming audio or download it directly (right click and "save as").

Or you can listen to it here:



The show notes...

Topics:

- One story grew out of trips to see the Butthole Surfers

- Turned into a tale of violence and road-trippin'

- Dave saw the Surfers at the Channel in 1987

- Created (C)rock-related t-shirts for sale

- Slogan is "Rock + Fiction = (C)rock"

- More than 100 bands mentioned in the book

- National Novel Writing Month

- Dave was working on a UFO concept album that started turning into a book

- Gratuitous Humpmuscle Pete reference

- Dave ponders new marketing strategies

- Jay's mom needs to talk to "the Gmail people"

- Look for the book soon: Makes a good Christmas/New Year's/MLK Day present (via Booklocker)

- Bonehead of the Week

Music:

The Dears - Blood

The Drive-By Truckers - Used to be a Cop

J. Mascis - Not Enough

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 Dears song is on the forthcoming album Degeneration Street on DangerBird Records, where you can download the song for free.

The Drive-By Truckers song is from the band's forthcoming album Go-Go Boots on ATO Records. Find out more and download the song for free from the band's website.

The J. Mascis song is on his forthcoming album Several Shades of Why on Sub Pop, where you can download the song for free.

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. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mixology: Look Out! Soul is Back

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.

Look Out! Soul is Back (August 2007)

Ah, the summer of 2007. I was just about to hit the big 4-0 and a young politician named Joe Piscopo was considering running for governor of New Jersey (actually, not sure about that last part). This mix is one of the monthly playlists I've been compiling in iTunes for the last several years (although the ones I never burned to CDs are unfortunately gone since I switched computers).

It's a combination of new stuff I stumbled across through MP3 blogs and songs from albums I recently purchased. The title track is from The Nation of Ulysses, a Dischord band I totally missed when they were together in the early '90s. I had just read a George Pelecanos book (Shame the Devil) that referenced the band and I was intrigued enough to download 13-Point Program to Destroy America from eMusic. Total and utter ass-kickery. It's a shame they broke up after only a few albums.

I put the mix together throughout the month, but wrapped it up in the last week of August, when I was on vacation. We didn't go anywhere, just hung out and enjoyed Deb's last week of summer vacation.

Several of the songs ended up being used in my podcast, which by the end of August '07 was at episode 36; three years later, the show's up to 153 episodes and counting. A personal favorite was Mark Lanegan's "One Hundred Days," which featured Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age on vocals. Great slow-burn tune. And I enjoyed M.I.A.'s "Hit That" primarily for the shout-out to "Rumpshaker."

Captain Pasty - Black Francis
Only Anesthesia - Blake Morgan
Don't Make Me a Target - Spoon
Take Me to the Riot - Stars
Myriad Harbour - New Pornographers
Look Out! Soul is Back - The Nation of Ulysses
How Long Do I Have to Wait for You? - Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
Hit That - M.I.A.
Like I Give a Care - You Say Party! We Say Die!
Down Boy - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
I'll Thank You Later - Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right
Hate and Jealousy - Lucero
The Equestrian - Les Savy Fav
Afterburner - Winnebago Deal
Paper Thin - Mondo Generator
Christian Brothers - Queens of the Stone Age
One Hundred Days - Mark Lanegan Band
Mistaken for Strangers - The National
Common People - William Shatner
Radio Nowhere - Bruce Springsteen

Look out!


One Hundred Days:


Rumpshaker:

Monday, December 06, 2010

Completely Conspicuous 153: Everyday I Write the Book

I'm joined on the podcast by special guest Dave Brigham for part 1 of our discussion about the making of his new book, "(C)rock Stories: Million-Dollar Tales of Music, Mayhem and Immaturity." Listen to the show in streaming audio or download it directly (right click and "save as").

Or you can listen to it here:



The show notes...

Topics:

- Book to be published by print-on-demand house Booklocker

- Brick-and-mortar bookstores can order copies

- Ten years in the making

- Dave learns about SEO

- Started with Dave remembering all the bands he'd seen

- Wrote stories based on concert experiences

- Later combined truth and fiction

- Dave hates lame memoirists like James Frey

- Wrote 18 stories initially

- Book should be available for order before Christmas

- Booklocker reviewed book before agreeing to publish it

- Dave's doppelganger: Actor Anthony Edwards

- First stories revolve around Rick Derringer, Foghat

- Narrator reconciles punk rock with love of classic rock

- Book's really about friendships

- Bonehead of the Week

Music:

Weekend - Coma Summer

Scarce - The Hurricane

The Sheila Divine - We are an Island

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

The show is sponsored by Eastbay/Footlocker.com. Use the following codes to get athletic gear from Nike, Adidas, Asics and more. AFCOMP15 will get you 10% off any order of $50 at Eastbay.com, AFCOMP20 will get you 15% off any order of $75 at Eastbay.com and AFCOMPFL will get you 10% off any order of $50 or more at Footlocker.com.

The Weekend song is on the album Sports on Slumberland Records. Download the song for free at IODA Promonet:

SportsWeekend
"Coma Summer" (mp3)
from "Sports"
(Slumberland Records)

More On This Album



The Scarce song is a free download released through the band's Reverb Nation page.

The Sheila Divine song is on a free download available from the band's Bandcamp page.

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. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

I Gotta Move

I'm a creature of routine. Every morning, I pretty much know what I'm going to do. And for 13 of the past 15 years, that morning routine has included driving to Marblehead to go to work. It's an 8-mile drive that takes about 30 minutes because of the twists and turns along the way from Beverly and through Salem on my way to Mhead. There's no quick, direct way to get there. This is New England. That's just the way it is.

Tomorrow, my routine will change. I'm still working at the same company, but we've moved to Danvers, which is the next town over. My commute will be a scant 8-10 minutes on back roads, over almost before it begins. And really, a 25- to 30-minute commute isn't that bad, especially when you consider what some folks have to do each day. When I was working at Webnoize in Cambridge, I was commuting more than an hour each way between commuter rail, subway and walking. After doing that for a few years, going back to Marblehead was a blessing. But still, after so many years of the same commute to the same crappy old building, this is a welcome change.

Our offices were spread out in an old warehouse building that had a leaky roof, mold-laden walls and a parking lot that flooded regularly. We're moving to a relatively new office park; the offices and cubicles were built in the last few months. Alas, the biggest adjustment for me will be going from having my own office to being in a cube. It won't be a total shock, because I spent eight years of my career working in newsrooms that had no walls whatsoever. But it has been nine years since the last one, so this will take some getting used to.

I'm not complaining, though. Change is good. I'm looking forward to a new routine, in a new town, new building, etc. I was in my last office for six years and it was amazing how much crap piled up. Just files and junk I never needed. I ended up tossing nearly all of it. It was pretty liberating. I'll certainly miss the privacy and the wall space, but at the same time it'll be a whole new adventure. Well, sort of new. I'll still be doing the same job, just in a different location.

I'll also have to come up with new running routes and find a new gym to work out in. There's a small gym in the office park with showers, but not much in the way of equipment. Again, a new adventure. It's going to be weird. But weird can be good, man.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Mixology: Plan 9 Mix

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.

Plan 9 Mix (2007)

In recent years, I've been making mixes primarily based on new MP3s I listen to each month. But every so often, a special occasion arises that causes me to put more thought into my compilations. This is one such occasion. This mix came about because of a podcast I listened to fairly religiously, The Plan Nine Rock Show. Host Jasper Borgman asked listeners to send in mix CDs of what they were digging, so I decided to throw one together. The show's primarily about the garage rock and occasionally metal, so that's what I went with.

This mix is all over the place, with a few new songs (at the time) from the White Stripes, Grinderman, Mondo Generator, Mastodon and the Blood Brothers mixed in with classic stuff from the Stooges, Descendents, Def Leppard and Black Sabbath. Jasper never did mention the mix on his show, but the exercise was worthwhile because I still go back to this mix from time to time. There is much kicking of the proverbial arse going on throughout.

At the time, I was still a podcast neophyte and liked supporting and communicating with podcast hosts. I still do to a certain degree, because feedback is a great thing no matter how big your show is. Jasper only does the Plan Nine show occasionally, but he spends most of his podcast time on Good Clean Fun, a show he does with the great Michael Butler. That one's mostly talk and occasionally music, but I enjoy it just the same.

This mix is great for highway driving. Before you know it, 68 minutes have gone by and you've passed 37 cars and hopefully not been pulled over by a statie.

Loose Take 2 - The Stooges
Pretty Lightning - New Bomb Turks
Everything Sux - Descendents
Hi-Lites - Hot Snakes
Heart of a Rat - Rocket From the Crypt
Love Bomb - Grinderman
I'm Through with White Girls - The Dirtbombs
Bone Broke - White Stripes
Just Like the Rest - I Walk the Line
I Can't Get It - Hanoi Rocks
Rocket Queen - Guns n' Roses
Granite State Destroyer - Scissorfight
Colony of Birchmen - Mastodon
Wrathchild - Iron Maiden
Let It Go - Def Leppard
Neon Knights - Black Sabbath
Lie Detector - Mondo Generator
Nausea Shreds Yr Head - Blood Brothers
Pirate Love - Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers


Everything Sux:


Let It Go: