Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Completely Conspicuous 313: Somethin' Hot

Part 2 of my conversation with guest Brian Salvatore as we look back at the music of 1998. 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
- Remember Blues Brothers 2000?
- Goo Goo Dolls went Hollywood
- Brian: QOTSA released its debut
- Rob Halford came out; first prominent metal dude to do so
- In retrospect, '80s heavy metal was steeped in gayness
- Bubbling under albums
- Jay: Fugazi, GVSB, RFTC
- Brian: Elliott Smith, The Catholics, Flin Flon, Tortoise, The Lounge Lizards
- Jay: Pearl Jam, Neutral Milk Hotel, Pulp, Beasties, Tragically Hip, Cat Power
- Brian's #5 album
- Hello Nasty is the last classic Beasties album
- Jay's #5 and Brian's #4
- Beck does a 180 from Odelay
- Later Beck material rehashes older sounds
- Jay's #4
- Afghan Whigs fully embrace soul and R&B
- Greg Dulli can do no wrong
- 1965 was the last Whigs album...until this year
- To be continued

Music:
Built to Spill - Jokerman
Guillermo Sexo - Color the Noise
Bill Janovitz - Matter

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

The Built to Spill song is on the tribute album Bob Dylan in the '80s: Volume One on ATO Records. Download the song for free (in exchange for your email address) at Stereogum.
The Guillermo Sexo song is a re-recording of an old track available for free at MobtownStudios.com.
The Bill Janovitz song is available for free download on 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, January 25, 2014

Good News for People Who Love Bad News

I'm a news junkie. Always have been since I was a kid. We always had newspapers in the house, so I read them voraciously as a young'un. Granted, I was most interested in the comics and the sports, but I kept up on the big events of the day. I remember when Nixon resigned in 1974 when I was almost 7. I followed politics and watched the news on TV fairly regularly. And of course, when I got to college and realized I wasn't going to be an engineer, I opted for journalism. I only lasted six years in the newspaper biz, but I still follow it and the news closely.

But do I want my kids (who are nearly 10 and 12) watching the news? Hell to the no. Call it a double standard, call it hypocritical, call it whatever you want, but I don't want them watching the nightly news and hearing about the seemingly daily occurrences of people shooting up schools and malls and the wars, rapes, child abuse, violent offenses and even the horrendous political discourse that goes on. I guess I just don't want them to spend their childhoods having to process all that shit. Of course, if they ask about any of that stuff, we sit down and explain it to them. But I don't see the need to expose them to all that negativity.

I fully concede we (and plenty of other folks) shelter our kids way too much. When I think about how much freedom I had as a kid from what I thought were overprotective parents, it amazes me. I had so much unsupervised time, it was ridiculous. Now, we know where our kids are at every moment of the day. Would we be doing the same thing if we had boys? Probably. Everybody's just so paranoid about bad things happening to our kids that we don't leave much to chance.

Hell, even when kids are in school, they aren't necessarily safe from violence or abuse. We trust our schools to keep our kids save all day, but obviously that isn't always possible. But we have to trust them, just as we have to trust to a certain degree in human nature, or we end up paranoid nutjobs cooped up in underground bunkers armed to the teeth. You can't control everything, and what kind of life would that be anyway?

But I can control how much of this stuff they hear about at this age. In a couple of years, they're going to be online all the time and accessing all this bad news and much more. Then our challenge becomes explaining man's inhumanity to man in such a way that they don't become paranoid nutjobs or kids who are scared of anything that moves. This is the job of the modern parent: Raising children to be healthy optimists (and realists) in a world full of pessimism. It sure as hell isn't an easy job, but it's one we have no choice but to excel at. We owe at least that much to our children.


Stuck In Thee Garage #20: January 24, 2014

The 20th episode of Stuck In Thee Garage included an eclectic first hour that careened all over the place from The Hives to Johnny Foreigner to David Lee Roth to The Melvins, while hour 2 continued my look at the music of 1994. Fun was had by all, although there was some clean-up to do afterward. Fortunately, we had a good crew on hand:



The Royale with Cheese playlist:

Hour 1
Artist - Song/Album
The Hives - Tick Tick Boom/The Black and White Album
Eagles of Death Metal - Cherry Cola/Death By Sexy
The Gentlemen - Speedbaby/Ladies and Gentlemen...The Gentlemen
The Dollyrots - There's a Barbarian in the Back of My Car/B-Sides
Johnny Foreigner - Le Sigh/You Can Do Better
Fuzz - Till the End of the Day/LAMC #10
CCR Headcleaner - Free the Freaks/LAMC #10
The Black Angels - You on the Run/Directions to a Ghost
A.C. Newman - Hostages/Shut Down the Streets
Bill Janovitz - Long Island/Walt Whitman Mall
The Dismemberment Plan - The Ice of Boston/The Dismemberment Plan is Terrified
The Men - Open Your Heart/Open Your Heart
David Lee Roth - Bump and Grind/Eat 'Em and Smile
The Kills - Cheap and Cheerful/Midnight Boom
The Fags - List/Light 'Em Up
The Blood Brothers - Set Fire to the Face on Fire/Young Machetes
The Melvins - The Kicking Machine/Nude With Boots
Tad - Ritual Device/Daisy single

Hour 2: 1994, part deux
Sonic Youth - Bull in the Heather/ Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star
Dambuilders - Shrine/Encendedor
Alice in Chains - No Excuses/Jar of Flies EP
Beastie Boys - Root Down/Ill Communication
Luscious Jackson - Energy Sucker/Natural Ingredients
Jeff Buckley - Last Goodbye/Grace
Velvet Crush - Hold Me Up/Teenage Symphonies to God
Dinosaur Jr. - Grab It/Without a Sound
Weezer - No One Else/Weezer
Shudder to Think - 9 Fingers on You/Pony Express Record
New Bomb Turks -  Id Slips In/Information Highway Revisited
Big Chief - Locked Out/Platinum Jive
Soundgarden - Let Me Drown/Superunknown
Come - In/Out/Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Silkworm - Couldn't You Wait? (acoustic)/Libertine
The Fall - Hey Student/Middle Class Revolt



Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Completely Conspicuous 312: Dawn of a New Age

Part 1 of my conversation with guest Brian Salvatore as we look back at the music of 1998. 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
- The Pixies' ongoing bass situation
- Brian: Zwan was underrated
- Pixies have become the butt of jokes
- In 1998, Jay was 30, Brian was 16
- We both had just started dating the women we would marry
- In '98, being eclectic became cool
- JK: Was getting into more funk and soul
- Big year for pop
- TRL started in '98
- Lots of one-hit wonders: Eagle Eye Cherry, Chumbawumba, New Radicals
- The New Radicals featured former child actress in band
- JK: Saw Fastball open for Matthew Sweet in a tiny pub in Portland, Maine
- Semisonic's drummer wrote book about the record industry
- The MP3 revolution began in '98 with MP3.com
- MP3.com got sued by the labels before Napster
- BS: Beginning of Latin influence and the height of the short-lived swing dance craze
- The Titanic soundtrack was huge
- Aerosmith had big hit with "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"
- Pop country was big: Shania Twain, Faith Hill
- Rap metal was a lowlight: Korn, Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock broke through
- Sugar Ray had a DJ named Homicide
- The year of Van Halen III: The Gary Cherone era
- Brian paid 8 cents for VH III
- To be continued

Music:
Johnny Foreigner - Le Sigh
Fuzz - Till the End of the Day
The Dismemberment Plan - The Ice of Boston

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

The Johnny Foreigner song is on the album You Can Do Better on Alcopop! Records. Download the song for free at Soundcloud.
The Fuzz song is on the 7-inch single L.A.M.C. #10 on Famous Class Records. Download the song for free (in exchange for your email address) at Bandcamp.
The Dismemberment Plan song is on the album The Dismemberment Plan is Terrified on DeSoto Records. Download the song for free (in exchange for your email address) at Noisetrade.

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, January 17, 2014

Stuck In Thee Garage #19: January 17, 2014

This week on Stuck In Thee Garage radio, the first hour rocked most steadfastly and then in hour 2, I played nothing but music from 20 years ago. Let's face it, '94 was a great year for music. In fact, I had so many good candidates for this show that I'm going to do another hour next week with the ones that didn't make the cut. It was a different time: Pre-9/11, in the first term of the Clinton administration, the Internet was something most of us were just reading about and hell, I was still in my 20s. O.J. Simpson became a household name once again, but not for the right reasons. And these guys showed up on movie screens:



Anyhoo, dig the playlist:


Hour 1
Artist - Song/Album
Ringo Deathstarr - Imagine Hearts/Colour Trip
The Fiery Furnaces - Navy Nurse/Widow City
She Sir - Condensedindents/Go Guitars
Protomartyr - Scum, Rise!/Under Color of Official Right
Bloc Party - Helicopter/Silent Alarm
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Jubilee Street/Push the Sky Away
Eddy Current Suppression Ring - Sunday's Coming/Primary Colours
The Dirtbombs - Ever Lovin' Man/We Have You Surrounded
King Khan and the Shrines - Bite My Tongue/Idle No More
Syd Barrett - Gigolo Aunt/The Peel Session
Brian Eno - Burning Airlines Give You So Much More/Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy
Rockpile - Teacher Teacher/Seconds of Pleasure
Red Fang - Behind the Light/Whales and Leeches
Them Crooked Vultures - Dead End Friends/Them Crooked Vultures
Motorhead - (We Are) The Roadcrew/Ace of Spades
Thin Lizzy - Waiting for an Alibi/Black Rose: A Rock Legend

Hour 2: 1994
Pavement - Gold Soundz/Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
Bad Religion - Stranger Than Fiction/Stranger Than Fiction
Green Day - Burnout/Dookie
Superchunk - Saving My Ticket/Foolish
Helmet - Wilma's Rainbow/Betty
Rollins Band - Disconnect/Weight
Drive Like Jehu - Human Interest/Yank Crime
Frank Black - Headache/Teenager of the Year
Guided by Voices - Echos Myron/Bee Thousand
Sugar - Your Favorite Thing/File Under: Easy Listening
Liz Phair - Supernova/Whip-Smart
Sloan - Coax Me/Twice Removed
R.E.M. - Circus Envy/Monster
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Ditch/Orange
Mark Lanegan - The River Rise/Whiskey for the Holy Ghost
Nirvana - Where Did You Sleep Last Night/MTV Unplugged in New York
Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Sleeps With Angels/Sleeps With Angels



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Completely Conspicuous 311: Walk Away

Part 2 of my conversation with guest Brian Lewandowski as we discuss his latest bold career move. Listen to the episode below or download directly (right click and "save as").


Show notes:
- Recorded at BGL HQ
- Sometimes you like the people more than the job
- BL stayed home to raise his daughter for a while
- Now situation is different
- The time to restart is now
- Is this all there is?
- Pressure's on to succeed now
- Trying to get disciplined
- The Secret is good for finding parking spaces
- Finding that elusive "dream job"
- Acting is an interesting but difficult pursuit
- Job misery can cause physical pain
- Working overnights
- The future is unwritten
- BL: It's not exactly what I thought it would be

Music:
She Sir - Condensedindents
Protomartyr - Scum, Rise!
Red Fang - Behind the Light

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

The She Sir song is on the album Go Guitars on Shelflife Records. Download the song for free at Largehearted Boy.
The Protomartyr song is on the forthcoming album Under Color of Official Right on Hardly Art. Download the song for free at Stereogum.
The Red Fang song is on the album Whales and Leeches on Relapse Records. Download the song for free at Amazon MP3.

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, January 10, 2014

Stuck In Thee Garage #18: January 10, 2014

This week's installment of Stuck In Thee Garage radio was all about the hot jams and the cold rock. Meaning, in hour 2, I played a collection of winter-themed music. Good stuff. Just ask Jack:






Ye olde playliste:

Hour 1
Artist - Song/Album
School of Seven Bells - Secret Days/Put Your Sad Down
Sadie Dupuis - X Actually/X Actually
Dead Stars - Fractured/High Gain
Fuzz - Raise/Fuzz
Black Lips - Dance With You/Sick of You
Desert Sessions - Crawl Home/The Desert Sessions Vol. 9 and 10
The Breeders - Walking With a Killer/Live at the Paradise, 12/18/13
Frank Black and Teenage Fanclub - Handyman/The John Peel Session
The Gutter Twins - Front Street/Saturnalia
Spoon - Got Nuffin/Transference
Johnny Foreigner - Ghost the Festivals/Grace and the Bigger Picture
Ladyhawk - Corpse Paint/Shots
Young Adults - Let Us Out/Black Hole
Condo Fucks - What'cha Gonna Do About It/Fuckbook
Titus Andronicus - Titus Andronicus/The Airing of Grievances
The Henry Clay People - Switch Kids/Somewhere on the Golden Coast

Hour 2: Winter songs
Screaming Trees - Winter Song (acoustic)/Shadow of the Season
The Replacements - Skyway/Pleased to Meet Me
Buffalo Tom - Frozen Lake/Let Me Come Over
Elliott Smith - Angel in the Snow/New Moon
Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal/Fleet Foxes
Caspian - Our Breaths in Winter/The Four Trees
Fennesz - Winter/Warm and Scratchy
Thurston Moore - Frozen Gtr/Trees Outside the Academy
The Cure - Cold/Pornography
Smashing Pumpkins - My Love is Winter/Oceania
Superchunk - Winter Games/Majesty Shredding
Two Gallants - Winter's Youth/The Bloom and the Blight
East River Pipe - Cold Ground/We Live in Rented Rooms
Guided by Voices - Doughnut for a Snowman/Let's Go Eat the Factory
King Louie's Missing Monuments - Covered in Ice/Garage Swim
Joel Plaskett Emergency - Snowed In/Cruisin'/Ashtray Rock
Sloan - Snowsuit Sound/ Live at the Bowery Ballroom, 6/29/11




Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Completely Conspicuous 310: Had Enough

Part 1 of my conversation with guest Brian Lewandowski as we discuss his latest bold career move. Listen to the episode below or download it directly (right click and "save as").


Show notes:
- Recorded at BGL HQ
- Momentous life decision
- BL was working as a web guy at a Boston hospital
- Commuted four hours each day
- Didn't get promotion and decided to quit
- BL: I just hated what I did
- Haven't felt urgency to find something new
- JK: Got a job right out of college and never stopped working
- Taking chances
- BL: Played it safe early on and missed out on working on MTV's The Real World
- Getting encouragement from friends not many kindred spirits
- Layoffs are a different thing entirely
- Going back to a job you left
- The very brief heyday of CMGI
- The ever-changing world of venue names
- BL: Need to figure out next move by February
- Commute is a huge factor
- Cramming into crowded trains gets old fast
- BL's been doing standup part-time the last few years
- Hosting a standup show that's growing slowly
- Not easy to get paid to do what you love
- People selling stuff at home parties: Hats, jewelry, food
- Get-rich schemes are the American Way
- Scratch tickets as a strategy
- BL: Take a lower-paying gig to support the real goal?
- Trying to separate money from career
- To be continued

Music:
School of Seven Bells - Lafaye
Sadie Dupuis - X Actually
Dead Stars - Fractured

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

The School of Seven Bells song is on the album Ghostory on Vagrant Records. Download the song for free at Epitonic.
The Sadie Dupuis song is a solo recording available for free at Stereogum.
The Dead Stars song is on the EP High Gain. Download the song for free 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.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

New Feeling

Happy 2014, nerditos! There's no arguing that 2013 was an interesting, if occasionally fucked up, year. On a personal level, there were many high and low points. Ultimately, though, the family's all doing well and that's all I can ask for, I guess.

Things got really busy toward the end of the year, which meant I wasn't doing much blogging other than cross-posting podcast and radio show notes. I definitely plan to rectify that this year. It's good to have regular features but I want to use this space as more than just a way to flog my wares, even if they're free. One of the non-paying writing gigs I had went away, as the Popblerd blog went from having multiple contributors and being an all-encompassing pop culture site to a personal blog written by the dude who started it in the first place. But around the same time that was winding down, I agreed to do a show for BFF.fm, which requires several hours each week to choose a playlist, record voiceovers and then actually put everything together in an MP3 to send to BFF. It's a blast and I love doing it, but it's another thing I do for free just for the fun of it. Which I think my wife doesn't necessarily understand but puts up with because it keeps me off the streets.

All of which means I need to be more disciplined with my time so I can carve out time to write. I haven't really taken the time yet to really determine what my New Year's resolutions are, but writing more is one of them. I actually stuck with guitar lessons for an entire year; we mainly focused on improving technique through learning songs. I learned lots of AC/DC riffs. My strumming technique still needs a lot of work. I haven't practiced as much as I should, so I'm hoping to do that more and just get better.

From a running standpoint, I went to PT in the summer and wasn't able to fully recover from the heel issues I was having. My left heel is still pretty sore. I'm able to run and run fast, though. I got down to about 145 early last year but slowly got up to around 160 by the end of the year. I ate a lot better for most of the year; it was the holiday temptations that did me in late in the year, so I'm looking to get disciplined again and get down to the low 150s. As for running goals, I'm still not going to do any marathons, but I hope to do a few half marathons (although I will be volunteering again at the Boston Marathon, which should be interesting). There's a possibility I may do the Merge Records 25K in March; I'm waiting to hear whether a buddy of mine can do it.

Other than that, I'm looking to keep the podcast and radio show going, keep doing the running column and just keep finding interesting things to do, listen to and read. And of course, the biggest priorities are to be the best father and husband I can be, but that really goes without saying.



Friday, January 03, 2014

Stuck In Thee Garage #17: January 3, 2014

Although we were buried by 2 feet of snow here on the North Shore of Boston, the radio show went on. Today's Stuck In Thee Garage episode was the first of 2014 and featured an hour of music inspired by the book Please Kill Me: An Uncensored Oral History of Punk.

The playlist:

Hour 1
Artist - Song/Album
Savages - Strife/Silence Yourself
King Khan and His Shrines - Luckiest Man/Idle No More
King Tuff - Keep On Movin'/King Tuff
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks - Senator/Mirror Traffic
Jesse Malin and the St. Marks Social - All the Way From Moscow/Love It to Life
Art Brut - Bad Weekend/Bang Bang Rock 'n Roll
The Breeders - Fate to Fatal/Fate to Fatal EP
Boston Spaceships - Earmarked for Collision/Let It Beard
Eels - That Look You Give That Guy/Hombre Loco
Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Ramblin' Man/Ballad of the Broken Seas
Jarvis Cocker - Don't Let Him Waste Your Time/Jarvis
The Horrors - Count in Fives/Strange House
The Nation of Ulysses - Perpetual Motion Machine/Plays Pretty for Baby
 Jay Reatard - See/Saw/Matador Singles '08
Grinderman - Heathen Child/Grinderman 2

Hour 2: Please Kill Me
The Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat/White Light/White Heat
The Stooges - I Wanna Be Your Dog/The Stooges
The MC5 - Kick Out the Jams/Kick Out the Jams
David Bowie - Cracked Actor/Aladdin Sane
Iggy and the Stooges - Search and Destroy/Raw Power
New York Dolls - Pills/New York Dolls
The Ramones - Beat on the Brat/Ramones
Sex Pistols - EMI/Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols
Richard Hell and the Voidoids - Blank Generation/Blank Generation
Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers - Pirate Love/ L.A.M.F. - The Lost '77 Tapes
Talking Heads - Don't Worry About the Government/Talking Heads: 77
Blondie - Hanging on the Telephone/Parallel Lines
Television - Marquee Moon/Marquee Moon
Dictators - Science Gone Too Far/The Dictators Live: New York New York
Stiv Bators - Make Up Your Mind/Disconnected
The Jim Carroll Band - People Who Died/Catholic Boy