Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Home!


Note: Click here if you would like to donate to help me with my fundraising minimum for the Run to Home Base. Below is more on it.

Okay, so this will be an unconventional post by me. On Saturday night, I signed up for a short 9K road race. Why 9K? Well, baseball season is upon us. Anyone that knows me knows what a baseball nerd I am. I mean, I will get the most random trivia questions right with regard to baseball. For example, I could tell you the home run leaders by decade going back to the 1920's. Sad, but true.

Well, being that I'm in Boston, it's now time for the Red Sox season to start, and one of the best parts of the Red Sox organization is their fundraising effort - the Red Sox Foundation. They help many organizations, including the Jimmy Fund, which helps kids - and adults - in their fight against cancer. Last year, I took part in an awesome event - the Red Sox Foundation's Fantasy Day, and look forward to doing so again this year.

However, this time around, I signed up to take part in their 9K "Run To Home Base" to help their Home Base Program. The program helps returning soldiers with their battles with traumatic brain injuries and PTSD. Many know that I am staunchly anti-war. However, I feel that if we're going to send these kids - and many are kids when they go to fight - to war, that we should also take care of them when they return, which simply isn't happening. This is a great cause that I think any of us can support, regardless of how you feel about war and our role in it. So since it's the "Home Base Program", why not choose a song entitled "Home", eh?

To donate, please click here.

Click to Play LCD Soundsystem - Home

Monday, March 28, 2011

Ante Up!

See my niggaz don't dance we just pull up our pants and, do the Roc-away.
Now lean back, lean back, lean back.


Girl Talk, aka Greg Gillis, just wrapped up 48 live shows where he would get on stage, play, mix, splice, and drop samples at a frenetic pace, sweat his ass off, and inspire the masses to dance their asses off.

If you still don't know what Girl Talk is, I am not talking about a DJ who matches up the end of one track with the beginning of another.  I am not talking about a DJ who makes the crowd scream with the drop of "Livin on a Prayer" in the middle of "I Gotta Feeling."

Greg Gillis applies just as much micro-management and analytic skills that he once applied to his trained field in biomedical engineering, to the intricate weaving and grafting of upwards of 35 samples in one track.  Mookie explained just how many samples are used when he reviewed the latest Girl Talk album, All Day, back in November.

You may have noticed two weeks ago when I shat upon the Strokes show that we saw at Las Vegas' Cosmopolitan. We didn't know what to expect when getting ready to see Girl Talk at the same hotel. Different venue, but who knew if the same standards for sound and management applied out at the Boulevard Pool as apparently did inside at the Chelsea ballroom? And were we to be standing around the pool? Near the pool? Las Vegas, and this blog, is not stranger to an outdoor pool concert. The space for the Boulevard Pool, at least in the pictures released up to that point, seemed a little more confined.

Oh hell.

Oh shazam.

The Boulevard Pool is the New Standard in wet entertainment in Las Vegas. "Dayclub" is the word to describe the trend that has been developing in Las Vegas over the last few years as cabana culture has tried to find exactly the formula for attracting the bikini and board short-clad folk who are seemingly gainfully employed but able to spare a weekday for a pool party. I can't even begin to explain all of the amenities amenable to partying that they've arranged at this Stripside pool, but check it out. It is a Stripside pool.

Drained for concerts.

All 11 inches of it.

If you want to swim, go to the hotel's other pools.  The Boulevard is designed for the social scene.  Foosball, ping pong, cookouts, makeouts, and live music.

I would definitely recommend going to another show.  Robyn, Mumford & Sons, Nas & Damian Marley, Cake, and The Flaming Lips are on the calendar for the next couple of months.

Back to Girl Talk.

Our other concern: The crowd.  Who were we going to be trying to get our groove on with at this show?  Never to worry.  Girl Talk's fans are awesome people.  Dancing, throwing hands in air, wearing crazy 80's getups or wearing noueveau-grunge hipster wear, it's all good.

The sound was good.

The energy was good.

And do not fret.  Girl Talk is only taking a month off.  He's got plenty of festivals and appearance scheduled from late April on through the summer. So hit a show.  Hit a few shows in a row.  There's nothing wrong with that.

But no gangster lean.

You need to dance, y'all, dance.

Click to Enjoy Girl Talk - That's Right

Saturday, March 26, 2011

the L word(s)

Click to play Lea Lu - Intro (So Jazzy I Could Cry)

I heard that song and I fell in love. It's jazzy yet fun, and the lyrics are witty in a geeky musician kind of way. The voice that rises above it all is Lea Lu, a Swiss singer/songwriter who I happened across in my journeys around the wonderful mess we call The Web. No, not Lykke Li, not Lucy Liu, and not even everyone's favorite Teletubbie, Laa-Laa. It's Lea Lu.




Lu's new album, Colours will be available April 5th so I wanted to give you a chance to get to know her before that happens. Her songs are folky, always centering around an acoustic guitar, but she sneaks in some very heavy Brazilian Jazz influences. Think "The Girl From Ipanema" with a more pop-based twist and a bit sillier sense of humor. Here's a fun little song called "Tucataca Song."

Click to play Lea Lu - Tucataca Song

See? It's fun stuff.

Lu also has some very introspective tracks on the album. She's often understated and haunting, in a way that coincidentally reminds me of Lisa Loeb. That's not a bad thing in any way.

Click to play Lea Lu - Gone

All in all Colours is a solid album. It's a good listen and is just the kind of thing to put on in the background while you're hanging out with friends discussing the diversification of your stock portfolios, or whatever it is kids discuss when they're hanging out these days.

I wish I could tell you more about the artist herself but my German is nicht so gut these days, and that's pretty much what you get when you visit her official site and most sites about her. That's alright, her music speaks volumes and I will be on the lookout for her in the future. And now I'll frame this post just like her album, between her intro and outro tracks.

Click to play Lea Lu - Outro

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Back!


So this is just a short post to share what I experienced in my time away. I visited Egypt, and the two highlights for me were the trips to the White Desert and Mt. Sinai. Watching the sun set in the desert and sleeping under the stars is no less than amazing. As for Mt. Sinai, that was a workout and a half. My Bedouin guide and I were the first to reach the top, actually! The four plus mile hike, with a close to half-mile change in altitude made it one hell of an experience. I could have cheated and ridden a camel, but what's the point? Seeing the sun come up from over 7,000 feet above sea level at a place so revered by so many was worth the chilly weather and strain on my muscles.

That said, what I saw overseas made me also understand how destructive we are. Not to the planet. The planet will survive long after we're gone. It's the destructive nature that will wipe out our ability to stay here which is bothersome. Think of the movie "Wall-E". The amount of trash everywhere was incredibly sad. Regardless of our level of thought and ability to change, there will always be a species here that undergoes this fight to survive. It's how I feel about our own fight which is what I worry about. It magnified to me our problems here in the US. We wantonly create pollution and ills that we - with all of our technical know-how - can work to eradicate. Using that rare trait of conscious thought to help each other by taking care of our surroundings.

I don't want to be a total downer, though. I purposely recorded some video and took plenty of pictures because I honestly felt the need to share with others what I saw. Almost make them feel like they were also there. Here are two videos I made with songs I felt fit the mood. The songs are then posted below.





Click to Play Mogwai - Auto Rock

Click to Play Animal Collective - Daily Routine

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I need a devil to warm up my heart

It sounded familiar to me, but I just couldn't place it. The Little One and I had been watching a little TV, when the trailer came on during a commercial break. Right before the two minute mark is what I'm talking about.



I knew that song. Couldn't place the artist. I put T.L.O. on the case. She can get the answer to any question. She's my own private Google, that girl. Except way hotter than Google. She puts the boobs in G(*)(*)gle. Um... What was my point again?

Ah yes!

She says, barely perceptible, "I don't agree."

"Who are you disagreeing with?" I respond.

"I-Duh Ma-reeee-ah" she says loudly, enunciating every syllable.

I know it's a mistake, but the word spills past my lips. "What?"

She lets out a sad sigh and looks me in the eye. "That's who sings that song. Ida Maria."

"Oh!" I respond excitedly, "I wonder if I have that album already."

I grab my iPhone and open the Remote app to scan the artists in my music library. I come up with no hits in my library. I quickly switch to Evernote to add an entry to my shopping list of CDs.

Ida Maria
The next morning, after previewing two albums from the band, I buy Ida Maria's (actually pronounced E-dah) entire discography. Don't worry... it was only two albums! The first album, Fortress 'Round My Heart was released in 2008. The second album, Katla, was released early November, 2010.

Below is the full track used in the trailer. It's called "Oh My God" and is from Ida Maria's first album Fortress.

Click to play Ida Maria - Oh My God

I'm sure I first heard this song on Hypem.com's Popular list years ago around the time it came out. Not sure why I didn't pull the trigger on this album then, but I'm glad it's in my collection now.

Fortress 'Round My Heart is a bluesy pop/rock album that has some moments of fun friskiness. Songs like "Louie" and "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked" are as fun and filling as a grape pixie stix. Mostly though, this album has a very somber message. Imagine a heart symbolized as a piece of paper. Imagine that piece of paper being ripped in two. Then take these torn pages of love, and add Whiskey and Rock N' Roll. That's what you get for the remainder of the album in songs like "Forgive Me" and "Drive Away My Heart".

With the latest album, Katla, it's more of the same. Just much more aggressive in its focus. It's Fortress with a sniper scope. Katla is a massive volcano in Iceland near the infamous Eyjafjallajokull volcano that clogged Europe airspace with ash for 5 full days. If Katla were to fully unleash its fury, it's estimated to be 10 times bigger and stronger than Eyjafjallajokull. Just as Katla is 10 times bigger and badder than Fortress.

The track "Devil" blew my mind like a volcano. It's dark and thick, and might actually allow demons entry into your home. My the end of the track I was in a trance, snapping out of it long enough to hit the repeat button.

Click to play Ida Maria - Devil

Yup. That's the sonic equivalent of opening a Pandora's Box contained in a 9:47 song.

I haven't seen the Galifinakis flick by the way. I really might see it just for the Indie-leaning feel the soundtrack seems to have. Seems like there are a slew of movies that are using Indie-ish artists in their soundtrack. A practice that probably traces back to the movie Little Miss Sunshine and the soundtrack that heavily featured indie folk punk artists DeVotchKa.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

for the love of Pete

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
-John Lennon


Sometimes you get busy. Too busy to really focus on what you're supposed to. Like the awesome blog you write for. Work gets in the way, family gets in the way, general need for sleep seems to get in the way. It happens to everyone, and it happened to me this week.

Rather than post about any of the new albums I took five minutes to preview but couldn't quite follow through on, let me throw another oldie at you. For some reason I've been really been drawn back to the 1994 Peter Gabriel concert DVD Secret World Live lately. It's a 15-song concert featuring elaborate presentations and some of the best musicians you've ever seen. Yeah, I know it's almost a decade old now but it holds up amazingly. This was Peter Gabriel at his very best, and that rivals pretty much anyone out there.

Here's the opening song, "Come Talk To Me." It's a perfect way to set the mood and draw you into the rest of the concert. It also happens to feature a singer named Paula Cole, who went on to make a name for herself a few years later.



This is what music on the stage should be: art. It's one of the best concert videos you'll ever see. It also has an amazingly moving version of "Washing Of The Water," probably my favorite Peter Gabriel song. If you haven't had the opportunity to see this DVD I highly recommend you check it out. Maybe it will help you get through the busy times in life, like it's done for me.

Friday, March 18, 2011

You Get Taken All The Time For A Fool

Rolling Stone said we would want to slit our wrists if we missed The Strokes. Well, they said something like that. If a band whose shit you like takes a five year hiatus, and then is performing in only one spot on your continent for the foreseeable future, would you not try to go to that show?
And if that show was scheduled in YOUR TOWN in a BRAND NEW SWANK-ASS PLACE... You would buy the tickets. Or tell your boyfriend to buy the tickets, if that's how you roll.

It appeared at the time that they were taking off for Europe and Asia after playing one show at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Was it planned that way to build hysteria for Vegas' newest super-resort?   Here I find out they just played SXSW. Fuck them. Now they are scheduled for Coachella, Bonnaroo, and a bunch of other shit. Great. I hope the entire western hemisphere is happy they crowded into a HOTEL BALLROOM to make my first experience seeing The Strokes live as shitty as humanly possible.

Yes. It sucked.

I think a few years ago I tweeted that "If I ever go on Dancing With the Housewives I want to dance the quickstep to "Last Night" by The Strokes." I used to love their music that much. The rest of their fans have made me hate them.
And I don't say that lightly. I do not claim to be the original fan shitting on the nouveau fans. I am like the 25-year-old Emo kid who shows up to a Fall Out Boy concert without realizing that 96% of their fans are screaming teenage girls. Decibel-shattering screaming teenage girls. Oh, my bad. I didn't know this was your thing. I'm out.

The shattered decibels at this show were due to bad sound mixing, rather than fans. Maybe the fans were screaming. I don't know. Mostly they looked like they were trying too hard to get into an exclusive club. You had diversity and then some at that show. Girls in ridiculous sequinned craziness. Boys who looked like inner-city drug dealers. Emo boys. Douchebag boys. Jersey Shore wannabes. Punks. Middle-aged music snobs. Everything. But with no crowd unity. I am a tribe runner. I go to a lot of shows. I enjoy my fellow crowd mates. This was awful.

And so we waited with these assholes. And waited. And waited. The ballroom's box office has no idea what they are doing. You're supposed to know set times a couple of hours before the show starts. The girl on the phone basically guessed at set times for me. And guessed wrong. The Strokes finally took the stage at 11 PM at a one-opener event with doors at 8 PM. Tell me just how the fuck that happens. Perhaps it's because the bathrooms are half a block away? Perhaps it's because they need to make sure you load up on as many twelve dollar drinks as possible?

Until The Chelsea ballroom is actually turned into The Chelsea Theater, SKIP any event held there. I am serious. You see those crystal things hanging?  Yes.  They are BALLROOM CHANDELIERS.  The bodies you see before you are the General Admission patrons, and behind them are risers with chairs.  God.  Awful. We can stand loud music.  We can stand face-meltingly loud music.  We can stand floor shaking.  This was just bad, bad mixing.  Apparently they played 19 songs.  We had to leave after two and a half.  Then as we drove The Strip in front of the hotel, we were treated to perfect sound and a big screen of the show live.  Shit.  Settle for the sidewalk show if your favorite band is insane enough to play here.

The album is OK.  I like the song "Taken For A Fool".  Everything else sounds just like it was recorded, and practically like that live show felt:  in pieces.  Scattered.  Uncoordinated.

Click to Enjoy The Strokes - Taken For A Fool


Monday, March 14, 2011

Stand the test of time... [3fer edition]

The amount of music I want to tell you about far exceeds my post allocation for the blog. I'm going to try to post a "three-fer" once a month. Just a quick three bands you should hear and be aware of. Thinking the second Monday of the month works for me. Work for you?

Does It Offend You, Yeah?

Does It Offend You, Yeah?
Everybody thinks the name is some kind of statement but it's a quote from David Brent in an episode of The Office. "When me and James Rushent first started writing music together we decided to put it up on MySpace. We needed a name to put as our profile name so just put what was the first thing that was said on TV, we switched it on and Ricky Gervais said "My Drinking - Does it offend you, yeah?" so we just went with that. No thought went into it whatsoever.
synth player Dan Coop, NME.com interview


Dance-Punk has been around since the 1970's. Isn't that a trip? It stems from bands being influenced by dance music. Does It Offend You, Yeah? formed in Reading, England in 2006 and  sound like they have been influenced by Haitras and Daft Punk.

Click to play Does It Offend you, Yeah? - The Monkeys Are Coming

Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You is the upcoming album from the band due out on March 14 in the UK and March 15 in the United States. I've listened to it extensively, and it's something you must pick up.



Beady Eye

Beady Eye
With that new band name, the former Oasis members Liam Gallagher, Andy Bell, Gem Archer, and Chris Sharrock get a spot on the shelf of the record store right next to the Beatles. That's very crafty no? Would be brilliant if people actually purchased music in a STORE! Noel and Liam still haven't spoken since the band broke up after a tiff backstage in Paris. The brothers always wanted to best The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Wouldn't it be something if Liam could finally do it after shedding the dead weight?

Click to play Beady Eye - Beatles And Stones

Liam and the boys released the album Different Gear, Still Speeding on March 1st. If you are a fan of that Britpop/Rock of Oasis, you might think about picking up this slightly Bluesier album ASAP.




Saigon


Man this cat has flow. I suppose you know you have to bring it on an album you title The Greatest Story Never Told. Brooklyn's Brian Daniel Carenard, otherwise known as Saigon, definitely brings it. If you are already familiar with Saigon's work, you will find this album to be more mature. Less glitz and glamour, and more focus on surviving on the neighborhood streets.

This album came out on Just Blaze's Fort Knox Entertainment label, and the track below is produced by Blaze himself.

Click to play Saigon - Clap featuring Faith Evans (Produced By Just Blaze)

The fact that this album does not have any major label support is really a testament to just how fucked the music industry is right now. It's a great rap album, and if you like Jay-Z you might find Saigon a nice addition to your collection.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

another elbow drop

There are five things I love about Elbow:

1. Asleep In The Back (2001)
2. Cast Of Thousands (2003)
3. Leaders Of The Free World (2005)
4. The Seldom Seen Kid (2008)
5. Build A Rocket Boys (2011)

Well actually, there are quite a few more. The band makes excellent music, chooses great songs to cover, and is generally a class act. I wrote about them here before so use the search feature before you read ahead if you're not familiar.



Elbow's new release, Build A Rocket Boys does nothing to tarnish their reputation. After a few listens it falls around the same place as Leaders Of The Free World on the Kilter Lists Elbow's Profundity To Order (KLEPTO) scale. That's actually on the low end of the scale, but let me qualify that statement: A) It's still new to me and it generally takes me a while to really digest an album by these guys, and B) that's like being on the low end of the Times I Had Awesome Sex With A Supermodel scale. When you've been as consistent as Elbow has over the years it's not a question of whether the album is good. It's just a new chance to see what these guys have been up to and remember how touching they can be.

Click to play Elbow - Lippy Kids

I won't gush about this release. I'll just post a couple more songs for you. This one reminds me of something Erik Satie would have whipped up.

Click to play Elbow - The River

Here's one of the more upbeat songs, which was also the first single:

Click to play Elbow - Neat Little Rows

On an unrelated note, other than they're another of my favorite bands, Veto released their new album in late February. It's called Everything Is Amplified . I haven't been able to find it for sale in the US yet, so I'll admit to checking it out via other methods. It's very interesting, as they're going in a more experimental direction. Once I find a copy that doesn't require me to use babelfish to purchase it I'll write a full review. All I can say is that if you find it out there you need to buy it and support this band. They're one of the freshest things out there, if you ask me.

Friday, March 11, 2011

If You Pull Me Apart Don't Swallow My Heart

Early one morning (read: as in, the gaudy tramp stamp *above* the butt-crack of dawn), I was seized with a desire to listen to some music that was going to make me happy.
I reached one hand out from under the covers and grabbed for my iTouch. I opened the "Remote" app and started my computer's iTunes from bed. I played some Starlight Mints for what I thought was the first time. I thought I had never heard of them before.
The name of the album was what was so intriguing to me, since it's inspired by perhaps my favorite Shakespeare quote. The Dream That Stuff Was Made Of is the first album from Oklahoma indie/psych pop band Starlight Mints. This album makes me happy from beginning to end. Beginning to end! I curled up all nice and content and listened with a smile on my face.
I don't know if I've heard it before. It's ten years old, after all. It feels like home. Yes, it's full of synth, full of clanging, a mix of Pixies and Violent Femmes-style vocalizing, and various forms of crafting and tweaking. And orchestra music. And cartoon music. I love it so.
I think one of the songs on this 2000 album that best represents what they're doing here, but still ventures further out from any "mold" they might have created, is super-deep in: Track 11, "Margarita."

Click to Enjoy Starlight Mints - Margarita

Listen. There's no tour scheduled. There's no new album. They haven't logged in to MySpace since December. Maybe I shouldn't be promoting them to you. But this is good stuff, and if you haven't heard it, you need to.
They aren't a one-hit show. After Dreams, they recorded three more albums every few years. By all accounts, they are currently just relocating and taking care of other life kind of stuff right now. You have to truly appreciate that in a good artist. So when they return, or when you see them on the OutsideLands or FrollaChella lineup, you will know who they are and you can tell all your friends how you totally have to go see them.
The last album released was 2009's Change Remains, still full of surprises and experiments.  Check out "40 Fingers", then buy the stuff and get ready.


Click to Enjoy Starlight Mints - 40 Fingers

Monday, March 7, 2011

Is it me you're looking for?


Perhaps the really provocative area for future development lies... in cyborg rock; not the wholehearted embrace of Techno's methodology, but some kind of interface between real time, hands-on playing and the use of digital effects and enhancement.

-Simon Reynolds

Mogwai
Post-rock is made up of guitars like a regular rock band, but processed through so many filters and effect pedals that it barely sounds like a guitar on the other side of the speaker. Bands of this genre also tend to rebel against the norms of rock bands. Macho posturing and power chords are replaced by lengthy, textural instrumentals and often computers playing a part in the sound of the music.

Todays post is about my favorite Post-Rock band Mogwai from Scotland. They formed in 1995 in Glasgow. The band consists of Stuart Braithwaite (electric guitar, vocals), John Cummings (electric guitar, vocals), Barry Burns (electric guitar, piano, synthesiser, vocals), Dominic Aitchison (bass guitar), and Martin Bulloch (drum kit). The band is named after the creatures from the film Gremlins, although guitarist Braithwaite comments that "it has no significant meaning and we always intended on getting a better one, but like a lot of other things we never got round to it."

Mogwai's style could easily be called shoegazing or Math Rock and occasionally instrumental metal. These are all genres that can fall under the heading Post-Rock. Mogwai is at the forefront of the genre and moving it forward with confidence and purpose.

Let's listen to some Post-Rock shall we? ...and before the title of the track throws you completely for a loop, I'll mention that the band often has a hard time with titles since most of the songs are just instrumentals. The band has said in the FAQ off their website that they sometimes just use strings of words they have "said or seen that sounds good or makes us laugh".

Here is the closing track from Mogwai's seventh album, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will (released 2/14/2011).

Click to listen to Mogwai - You're Lionel Ritchie

The song starts off almost as something from the score of a movie. Cinematic and shimmering we hear some vocal samples (I'm assuming they are Scottish) that really frame a picture in your head. The song simmers for 4 minutes until the heaviness sets in. The bass comes in like an oppressive force of nature. All the members of the band painting pictures in your ear.

Barry Burns once stated in an interview with Chillville that he and the rest of the band do not like the categorization of Post-Rock because he believes "it overanalyses everything." I get it. No one wants to be so easily put into a box, forever feeling limited by the parameters of said box. But the thing is... To explain music to others, we sometimes have to put boxes around it, even if they're just made with pencil.



Friday, March 4, 2011

Set My Soul At Ease

It was during season 14 of Saturday Night Live that I first heard of Edie Brickell. I watched every episode religiously that year, so that I could return on Monday to the first of many Algebra classes I had failed and re-hash the entire episode with Mike Popowski. We would roll in the aisles laughing about Giant Business Man, Church Chat, Girl Watchers, Sweeney Sisters, The Anal Retentive Chef, Hans and Franz, Pat Stevens, eventually Wayne's World, then to close out the season the sketch that would absolutely kill - Toonces! Then there were the "commercials." The Change Bank. I have always loved this one. We can handle requests like that; usually the same day.



Back to Edie Brickell. I watched SNL in the TV in my teenage bedroom. I didn't have a DVR. There was no such thing. I didn't have a VCR. Never mind what that is. There was no pause, no rewind, no let's go look that up online. I had one shot to remember these sketches and one shot to be introduced to some of these artists.

So when this mousy girl from Texas got up and started singing strung-together existential silliness in the song "What I Am", I just wasn't sure how to react at first! I joked about it at school. But I looked further and I kind of got into folk sensation Edie Brickell and New Bohemians.

SNL has played a major role in Brickell's life, since it was during her performance on the show two years later that she met her future husband, Paul Simon. Literally, she was performing a song, he got in the way of the camera, she flubbed her lyric, and then the two were married two years later in 1992. Following this union, they had three children, Brickell released two solo albums, and then reunited with the New Bohemians to record another album. After that Edie and Paul's son from his first marriage formed a band called The Heavy Circles with a few other famous children. She formed another band with yet more artists last year. The indie and folk flow and creativity that must be going through this woman's life at all times... Speaking of Bohemian!

So here we are in 2011, and we have a new album not only from Edie Brickell but also from The Gaddabouts, her most recent formation.  Brickell writes a lot of songs on the fly - some get written and recorded the same day - and to keep the sound of her latest solo album pure and organic, she has included several live tracks.  It's not that she tours, but she does perform live shows here and there.  She opened for one of our favorites, Iron and Wine.

Maybe one of the cleanest, sweetest songs on Brickell's latest release (self titled) is Track 3, "Been So Good."

Click to Enjoy Edie Brickell - Been So Good

Don't forget you're the best one that I've ever known.


Grab the album. Edie Brickell is a talented musician who isn't always around when you expect her.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Charlie Sheen Is An Asshole, But Let's Learn From It

“The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.” - Marcus Aurelius


Watching the one-man circus sideshow known only as Charlie Sheen gave me some fits of anger. Why? Well, his comments on AA are what really made my blood boil. The insinuation that the ideas behind AA were "written for normal people" and that there was a specific path to go by is just disingenuous. Yes, there are the 12 steps. It doesn't mean that one has to have rigidity in how they practice and follow through on those 12 steps. Anyhow, that wasn't really what made me upset. It's the fact that I've personally witnessed a life change positively - due to the help they provided - makes me a bit angry. My own mother hit rock bottom from alcoholism almost 20 years ago, and hit the point where she tried to take her own life.

Now, it's my understanding that the teachings of AA are inspired by Christian teachings. Personally, I'm an atheist. My own mother grew up in a strict Irish-Catholic home, but doesn't practice, now. She still stays with her mission to stay sober, so it does do some good. The fact that we now have a celebrity slamming a program that helps millions that have nowhere else to go is honestly showing how out of touch he is. His comments about how "special" he was only stoke those flames and show the true amount of disconnect.

His unfortunate path is his own, but he's now acting out in a manner that affects people in society. The everyday people that he called "losers" that are addicts and know nothing else, for example. It's sad, really. The anger I originally felt has actually turned into pity. The ranting while talking about how underpaid he was also struck a nerve, as I was an education major in college, and watch as the governors of Wisconsin and New Jersey are openly battling teachers' unions. Teachers are underpaid. Not Charlie Sheen. This sad arrogance is 100% anger, which he denies.

So what should I do? Do I lash out? I seriously thought about it. The media does play a large role in this, as they keep giving Sheen a podium to stand on. That role is what will likely end up being Sheen's downfall, as people will quickly tire of the pity he's asking for. When one out of ten people in our country are without a job, you'd find nary a few that would feel for a man that spent his money irresponsibly by snorting it up his nose. The media will have to take a large part of the blame for joyously allowing one man's self-destructive behavior to simply worsen and hit a low.

Instead of lashing out, I hit a point where I simply now want to refuse to add gasoline to the fire. The decisions he's made serve well to teach us all. He really is right in that his kids will learn from him. However, they won't learn the lessons he thinks. His father, Martin Sheen, has already had enough, and is simply saying that he would be there for his son. There really isn't shame in it. I can't say I would be a bigger or better person for wagging my finger at him, though. It's a natural reaction, of course. My willingness to understand the wrong in being angry is part of how he instead teaches me more about myself and how I could be a better person on my own, as I hope many with drug and alcohol addictions learn to do, too.

To find an AA chapter near you - visit here.
For help with drug addiction - visit here.

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