Sunday, December 28, 2008

MMA: UFC 92: Two New Champions Crowned, The Ax Murderer Is Dead

UFC 92 was the second straight fantastic pay per view event from the UFC. The main event saw Rashad Evans win the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship of the World from Forrest Griffin. Rashad Evans took Forrest down in the third and was raining down punches on Forrest with great vengeance and furious anger. Forrest was able to tie Evans up in his guard momentarily before Evans was able to rise up and land a series of brutal uppercuts which caused Forrest's head to bounce off the canvas and the referee stopped it at 2:46 of round three. Rashad Evans is still undefeated, he still has not attempted a single submission in the UFC, and he is now world champion in the deepest pool of talent in any MMA division in the universe.

For those of you counting at home Rashad Evans has now defeated two Ultimate Fighter winners. Last night he defeated season 1 winner Forrest Griffin and last November at UFC 78 he defeated Ultimate Fighter season 3 winner Michael "The Count" Bisping. Maybe recent winner Ryan Bader won't completely suck and Rashad Evans can knock him out too.

In the fight for the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship Frank Mir completely decimated Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira. Mir's standup game looked better than it ever has and he knocked down Nogueira twice in the first round. At the conclusion of that round both announcers were calling it a 10-8 round for Mir. I wouldn't have scored it that way but I wouldn't have a problem if the judges did(In fact only one of the judges scored it a 10-8 round). The second round was more of the same as Mir dropped him with punches and then became the first fighter to ever finish Nogeuiera. Mir smiled, walked over to the side of the cage where Brock Lesnar was sitting, pointed and said, "You have my belt."

Mir went on to cut a great promo. He said that you can do anything, and that he is proof of that. He said that even he didn't believe that he could beat Nogueira. When Joe Rogan asked him about the Brock Lesnar fight Mir called it inevitable, and he began to talk shit about Lesnar ending with, "We'll see if you can get out of the first round this time." Oh my god, I want to see this fight right now!

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson
found redemption by knocking "The Ax Murderer" Wanderlei Silva the fuck out and earning himself a $60,000 bonus for knock out of the night honors. During the pre-fight staredown the referee said, "If you would like to touch gloves do it now." Neither man moved. I told Brookie, "They didn't touch gloves!" And she responded with, "Someone is going to die!" At 3:21 of round 1 that just about happened. Rampage ducked under a 1-2 combo from Wanderlei and countered with a left hook right on the jaw and Wanderlei Silva was asleep before he hit the mat. Sleep safe tonight everyone, Rampage is in a pleasant mood. It's possible that he will get the next shot at Rashad Evans title.

The rest of the show was excellent with a series of knockouts and referee stoppages almost all coming early in the fights.

Cheick Kongo
looked stellar as he dominated Mostapha Al Turk. Kongo will probably be next in line for a heavyweight title shot after the Lesnar-Mir match in the spring.

CB Dolloway
looked very good though he is still nowhere near ready for a match with Middleweight Champ Anderson Silva.

UFC 94 takes place on January 31, 2009 with a huge main event between UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre and UFC Lightweight Champion BJ Penn in a rematch from UFC 58. This should be an epic battle.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

MMA: UFC 92 Preview

UFC 92
has one of the most stacked cards in MMA history. The show features two title fights as well as the first UFC match between two legends of the sport.

The Ultimate Fighter season 1 winner Forrest Griffin makes his first defense of the Light Heavyweight Championship when he defends his title against the Ultimate Fighter season 2 winner "Sugar" Rashad Evans.

Rashad Evans comes into tonight's fight with an unbeaten record of 12-0-1. He showed in his last fight against Chuck Liddell that he has definite knockout power. That alone makes him a very dangerous fighter.

We last saw Forrest Griffin on July 5th when he defeated then champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson by unanimous decision. Since his last loss, which happened almost 2 years ago, Forrest has turned himself into an excellent all around fighter who can really pick apart an opponent without putting himself in grave danger. In the 2nd round against Rampage he also showed an improved ground game. Forrest does everything extremely well. Some fighters you look at and say, "Oh he's a great stand up fighter," or, "He's a submission expert." Forrest Griffin on the other hand is just a great great fighter.

I expect Forrest to dominate and win this fight fairly easily and give Rashad Evans his first ever MMA loss. I say, Forrest by unanimous decision 50-45.

The Ultimate Fighter theme continues as the two coaches from the 8th season go head to head as Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira defends the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship against former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir. Mir is a submission specialist, but he's not as good as the Brazilian Noguiera. At this point in time Mir is best known for beating the current UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar in Lesnar's UFC debut. He won that fight due to a questionable stand up and point deduction by referee Steve Mazagatti. One could argue, and I certainly do, that the fight should have been stopped before then and that Mir was being destroyed and he was not intelligently defending himself.

The winner of this fight will face Brock Lesnar sometime in the Spring in a match to unify the two different versions of the UFC Heavyweight Championship. The best case scenario is for Frank Mir to beat Nogueira tonight in order to set up the rematch with Lesnar. Lesnar vs the one man who has beaten him in his career in a battle to unify the world heavyweight titles! That is a huge money fight right there!

Unfortunately for us Nogueira is so much better than Frank Mir and I expect Noguiera to win via submission in the 2nd round.

Probably the most intriguing fight on UFC 92 is Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs Wanderlei Silva. This is of course the first match for Rampage since he lost his belt to Forrest and went on his well, extended rampage. These two men have fought twice previously in Japan for the former Pride organization. Both of those fights ended with two of the most vicious knockouts you have ever seen and with Wanderlei Silva victorious. After the first fight Rampage flipped out and ended up becoming a born again Christian. Shortly after the second loss Rampage fired his coaches and trainers and hired Juanito Ibarra to train and manage his career. After his loss to Forrest, Rampage went on his rampage and then fired Ibarra.

If Wanderlei wins this fight I am afraid of what Quinton "Rampage" Jackson will do. In all of his UFC fights Rampage has showed a propensity for standing and exchanging punches. That is a very dangerous tactic when your opponent is the man known as The Axe Murderer.

I predict that the Axe Murderer will knockout Rampage in the second round. And if that happens, you should probably lock your door.

The only other match scheduled to air live on the PPV is the Ultimate Fighter 7 runner up CB Dollaway against Mike Massenzio. I have no idea who that guy is.

CB Dollaway will win via submission- Peruvian Necktie- in the first round. The peruvian necktie is his favorite submission hold, and he actually tapped out Rampage with it when Rampage was his coach on the Ultimate Fighter.

Overall this should be an amazing show with three huge matches all of which could headline a UFC pay-per-view event.

As is my preference, I will be watching the show at King Cobra in Seattle again tonight. I highly recommend the sweet potato fries.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Music: Top Albums of 2008: Number 9

If you haven't heard yet, there is this awesome Canadian band called Wolf Parade. Their first album come out in 2005 on Sub-Pop and it should be a part of everyone's music collection.

In 2008 the band released At Mount Zoomer which has one of the worst album covers of the year(though it is much less obnoxious on the vinyl version).

In early press the band said that there would be no singles. That it's an album, and should be listened to and treated as such. It is certainly not the most cohesive singular artistic ideal spread across an album that will appear on this best of list. In fact, there are several down tempo passable songs, but the ones that stand out....boy do they ever stand out! The first three tracks in particular are one of the best 1-2-3 opening combos on an album this year culminating with Dan Boeckner singing on Language City.

For some reason this album is doing much better on the reader lists than on the critics lists this year. Don't let this one pass you by.

#10- Okkervil River/The Stand Ins
#11- Los Compesinos!/Hold On Now Youngster...
#12- The Fiery Furnaces/Remember
#13- Margot and the Nuclear So and So's: Animal!/Not Animal
#14- Deerhoof: Offend Maggie
#15- Man Plus: The Hungarian Suicide Songbook

Music: Top Albums of 2008: Number 10

This fall Austin's Okkervil River released a sequel, yes a sequel, to their 2007 album The Stage Names. That album was originally conceived as an epic double album, but for some reason it was released as a single disc with The Stand Ins coming out this past September. If you put the albums next to each other the covers create a single image.

If you want to hear one of the best lyricists in indie-rock today, and you want his backing band to, you know, rock the fuck out, then this album is certainly worth your hard earned economically depressed cash. Lead singer Will Sheff will make you forget about your bank account and you will feel better about your life by experiencing his heart breaking view of the world.

#11- Los Compesinos!/Hold On Now Youngster...
#12- The Fiery Furnaces/Remember
#13- Margot and the Nuclear So and So's: Animal!/Not Animal
#14- Deerhoof: Offend Maggie
#15- Man Plus: The Hungarian Suicide Songbook

Friday, December 19, 2008

Music: Top Albums of 2008: Number 11

Welsh 7 piece Los Compesinos! clocks in at #11 with their debut album Hold On Now Youngster...
An exclamation point at the end of the band's name expresses the excitement found in their sound. The standout track on the album includes three exclamation points, You! Me! Dancing!

Los Compesinos! perform some of the best booty shaking, introspective indie rock all served up dripping in a heaping helping of Welsh wit!

This is the best thing to come out of Wales since Sir Tom Jones first asked, What's New Pussycat?

I did not get a chance to see Los Compesinos! perform live this year, and it's the one concert that I skipped that I wished I had made it to.

#12- The Fiery Furnaces/Remember
#13- Margot and the Nuclear So and So's: Animal!/Not Animal
#14- Deerhoof: Offend Maggie
#15- Man Plus: The Hungarian Suicide Songbook

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Music: Top Albums of 2008: Number 12

The most avant-garde release to make the top 15 albums of the year list comes from Brooklyn's(by way of Chicago) brother-sister duoThe Fiery Furnaces with their epic live release Remember. In August of this year the band released a 2 CD set(and 3 disc vinyl) of live material recorded since 2005. The Fiery Furnaces live show is known for a frenetic pace and new interpretations of the band's songs. If any current band's live show demanded a release it would be The Fiery Furnaces.
The album has 51 tracks that cover the band's entire career up to this point and is split up into 6 suites:
1. Old HK
2. Waiting at the Lobby at 665 1/2 Frontage Road
3. In a House Once Owned by the Princes of Mataran
4. Drinking by the Des Plaines River
5. Black Death Bottle
6. A Special Commission of Navajo Basketball Coaches and Blonde Ladies

It's not completely chronological and some of the live tracks are cut with other live versions of the same song. There is a real precision to the way that those tracks in particular are cut together, and the average listener won't even notice the cuts on first listen. The highlights of the album are the multi-song medleys, which are delicately strung together and reinvented.

This is one of the best live releases in years.

#13- Margot and the Nuclear So and So's: Animal!/Not Animal
#14- Deerhoof: Offend Maggie
#15- Man Plus: The Hungarian Suicide Songbook

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Music: Top Albums of 2008: Number 13

Coming in at lucky #13 we have not one but two albums from the Indianapolis based chamber-pop 8 piece Margot and the Nuclear So and So's- Animal! and also Not Animal.

The band recorded so much usable music during their rehearsal and recording session for their new album that the record label and the band couldn't agree on which songs to include. Instead of putting out an album and an EP, or a deluxe version of the album both the band and the label put together their own version of the album. In total there are 21 unique tracks over two albums with 3 tracks making it on to both versions.

Animal! is the version that the band put out, and I like it slightly more than the label's version. You should definitely pick up the band's vision of the album, if not both.

Did I mention that the band is named after Margot Tenenbaum?

#14- Deerhoof: Offend Maggie
#15- Man Plus: The Hungarian Suicide Songbook

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Music: Top Albums of 2008: Number 14

To get from 15 to 14 we have to travel all the way south from Seattle to a magical fairy land. It's in this place known to locals as San Francisco where we find our next band, Deerhoof- Offend Maggie.

The cover is a black and white pencil sketch done by Japanese artist Tomoo Gokita. To me, it looks like a headless luchador. It's almost like it's a luchador posing for a formal portrait and then the artist chose to erase his face to protect his identity.

That's actually where this album falls into the canon of Deerhoof. When the vocals hit in the first song you immediately recognize Satomi Matsuzaki's voice. You immediately know that it is Deerhoof that you are listening to. But as the album progresses there are a lot more crunchy guitars and a real lack of electronica compared to previous Deerhoof releases.

That being said, I think that this album is probably their best release to date. There is a sense of something huge bubbling just below the surface waiting to come out. Let's hope that Deerhoof finds a way to let that music apocalypse happen on their next release.

#15- Man Plus: The Hungarian Suicide Songbook

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Music: Top Albums of 2008: Number 15

The top albums of 2008 countdown begins right now!

At number 15 we have the Seattle bred post-apocalyptic dance-pop group Man Plus with their album, The Hungarian Suicide Songbook.

There are not many albums that were released this year that can boast as a fact that every single one of their tracks has been played on a popular radio station. Man Plus can make that claim with not only their full length album but also with the remixes that they have freely made available online throughout the last half of the year.

Billie Holliday allusions aside, this album is Manat's danceable beats and Jared Mills sexy growl of such lyrics as, "What I like about funeral roses, buy them once and you'll never grow older," and "Do you like how you look? Cause you look like a whore!"

I would tell you to check out their live show in the near future, but the band is currently overseas in Japan recording their follow up to this year's hit album. Once they return to the states do remember that Man Plus put on a can't miss live show.

Music: This Week's New Releases

Cat Power- Dark End of the Street EP
Charlie Louvin- Sings Murder Ballads & Disaster Songs

Cat Power releases the leftovers from her 2008 covers collection, Jukebox. It's a cool double vinyl release. One time I saw Cat Power perform solo. I was front row, and on this night the recovering alcoholic Cat Power chose to drink, and she completely flipped the fuck out. Despite her craziness the show went on for 3 and a half hours. It was mesmerizing, and I will never forget that show.

Charlie Louvin is an 81 year old gospel and blue grass living legend. I saw him perform with Neko Case once, it was pretty awesome! He looks like a munchkin, an old singin' dancin' munchkin.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Music: This Week's New Releases

This week begins the slow period of new releases that happens every holiday season.

Britney Spears
has a so-called comeback album out this week. Which is odd, because she put out an album last year as well. An album that sold 3.1 million copies. Some comeback.

The Decemberists finish up their Always the Bridesmaid: A Singles Series this week. That means I should receive mine in the mail soon, and then I'll be able to talk about it on here.

Oh, you probably shouldn't buy the Britney.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Music: This Week's New Releases

The Killers - Day & Age The Killers are my favorite band of Mormons. For a group of Mormons they sure do put together some excellent high energy sex-charged post-punk dance pop that makes me want to fuck. If it turns out that lead singer, and devout mormon, Brandon Flowers gave money to the pro-Prop 8 campaign in California then you should download it for free somewhere. If he didn't, then go ahead and buy it. The cover is super shiny and pretty. The band picture insert makes it look like all 4 band members have completely different gimmicks and belong in 4 separate bands.

Los Campesinos!
- We Are Beautiful We Are Doomed this one was finally released here in the states. The CD package comes with a separate DVD and a zine. I haven't listened to it yet, but I am SUPER stoked on this one.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Music: This Week's New Releases

Today marks the release of Guns 'n Roses Chinese Democracy. It is the first GnR album in 15 years and the first studio album in 17. This is a Best Buy exclusive, so lame. I love "Sweet Child O' Mine" as much as the next guy, but that is not what we will be getting here.

I don't imagine that I will, ever, hear this album. I heard the first single at a Rock Band party, and I was far from impressed.

This does mean that every US citizen, excluding Slash and Buckethead, are eligible for a free can of Dr. Pepper! You have until tomorrow morning to do it though.
use this link and scroll down to the bottom and on the left side you will see the Free Dr. Pepper link.

I'm sure you will enjoy it more than the album.

For those of you in Seattle go to Easy Street today to get 20% off all non sale items.

Monday, November 17, 2008

MMA: UFC 91 Results, Brock Lesnar is Your UFC Heavyweight Champion

Saturday Night's main event was all it was cracked up to be. In one corner there was the legendary champion and huge fan favorite Randy Couture. In the other corner was the MMA newcomer and a huge beast of a man Brock Lesnar who was appearing in just his fourth pro fight.

The crowd was super hot for the fight with chants of, "Randy" during the introductions and voracious boos all around for Lesnar. In the first round both fighters were clinched up against the fence. Brock is so big and strong that his knees to Randy's thigh actually lifted Randy off the ground. It was an amazing show of size and strength.

Brock eventually took Randy down to the ground in the first round. Randy was able to reverse it and get on top which caused a huge crowd pop and more chants of, "Randy!" Randy was only on top for a moment before Brock rolled him back over and took mount.

Brock Lesnar won the first round on all three judges scorecards.

In the second the fighters exchanged some punches and Randy cut Brock open under his eye. Brock then hit a big right directly to Randy's temple and the world champion crumpled straight down. Brock immediately hit a hammer fist to the face as he pounced on Randy and delivered 35(!) unanswered shots before the referee finally put an end to it all. I had already been screaming, "Stop it! What are you doing, stop the fight?!?" The crowd booed their new champion.

In the semi-main event Kenny "Ken Flo" Florian beat Joe "Daddy" Stephenson in a little more than 4 minutes with a rear naked choke. Ken Flo came down to the ring in this awesome jacket. After his match I took Brookie's iPhone and tried to look up the jacket, but iPhones suck apparently.

Kenny Florian understands how to build and sell a fight. The first words out of his mouth in his post fight interview in front of the crowd was, "I want BJ's belt," BJ Penn is the current UFC Lightweight Champion. Ken Flo added, "I consider BJ to be a master. It's time to kill the master." I want to see this fight so bad!

UFC 91 was an awesome show from top to bottom. With the exception of the main event every fight on the main card ended in the first round. Only the fight of the night award winners Jorge Gurgel and Aaron Riley had a fight that went the distance. The main card fights were so short that every prelim fight was shown on the pay per view to fill time. This is one of the greatest shows in UFC history filled with quick knockouts and submissions. There was not a boring fight to be found.

The next pay per view is UFC 92 on December 27th which has a stacked card with a triple main event. On that night we will get to see Forrest Griffin defend the Light Heavyweight title against Rashad Evans, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira will defend the Interim Heavyweight Title against Frank Mir(winner to face Brock Lesnar to unify the titles), and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson returns to fight Wanderlai Silva. It's going to be spectacular!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

MMA: UFC 91 Preview

Tonight is the biggest UFC fight in....well....EVER!!!

Tonight is the UFC return of Heavyweight Champion Randy "The Natural" Couture as he defends his title against monster MMA newcomer Brock Lesner.

Brock comes into this fight with just a 2-1 career record. His last fight came on August 9th when he dominated Heath Herring for 3 rounds on his way to the unanimous decision. The highlight of the match was when Brock started the fight with a punch to the face which caused Herring to do a backwards somersault. It was AWESOME! At the start of this match Brock will have close to a 50 pound weight advantage on the champion.

Randy Couture
is 45 years old and his last fight was against a scared Gabriel Gonzaga on August 25, 2007. It has been absolutely ridiculous that Couture has fought at this high of a level as long as he has, and sooner or later his luck will run out. I hope that happens tonight.

If I was booking this match I would build up Brock Lesner as the super awesome unstoppable babyface and future of the UFC Heavyweight division. Randy Couture is the obvious heel, the man who "retired" while UFC Heavyweight Champion because he wanted to go elsewhere(ie-Affliction) to fight Fedor. He sued the UFC to get out of his contract while the UFC filed a countersuit for breach of contract. THEN Couture appeared and was interviewed on the first Affliction pay-per-view. It was only after he made that stupid mistake that he renegotiated a new contract with the UFC at which point this fight was announced. I would paint Couture as a UFC turncoat. As a man who doesn't care about the company while he still holds the belt. I would build him up so that the fans will hate him and boo him relentlessly. All great fighters have to be able to work as a babyface as well as a heel.

But alas, Brock Lesner is a natural heel, so despite me wanting to see Randy Couture get knocked out in 30 seconds the fans will be chanting, "Randy, Randy!" Whatever.
Regardless of the winner this should be a great fight, and probably the best heavyweight fight that we have seen in a long time.

The most intriguing fight on the undercard is the lightweight matchup between Ultimate Fighter alums Kenny "Ken Flo" Florian and Joe "Daddy" Stephenson. Ken Flo has won 5 straight fights including his August fight where he completely shut down Roger Huerta in dominating fashion.
I hate Joe "Daddy" Stevenson. I hope that Ken Flo chokes him out in 30 seconds.

Other fights on the undercard:

-Nate Quarry vs Demian Maia
-Gabriel Gonzaga vs Josh Hendricks in a fight between two heavyweights that no one wants to see fight.
and Dustin Hazelett vs Tamden McCrory in a fight that is only on the main card because The Ultimate Fighter winner Amir Sadollah had to pull out of his fight due to an infection on his leg. The best thing that I can say about Hazelett is that he was knocked out in amazing fashion when he lost to Josh Koscheck.

Music: This Week's New Releases

The Flaming Lips- Christmas on Mars CD-DVD combo, with a MEGA DELUXE version available from their website which includes stickers and trading cards and popcorn, AMAZING!!! I am seeing this at the Northwest Film Forum in Seattle on November 21st. Tickets are still available, you should come to!

Los Campesinos!- We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed This is a CD/DVD combo from one of the most fun indie pop dance bands alive today. They only made a single run of CDs for the entire world, and they are only available through Rough Trade, which is in the UK which makes it more expensive to get it here in the states(bastards!). You can also get it via iTunes, but of course sans DVD.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Music: This Week's New Releases

I hope you voted.

Danielson- Trying Hartz

The Decemberists- Always the Bridesmaid: A Singles Series - Volume 2 (vinyl)

More pretty vinyl for the Decemberists fans. I won't be able to review it until all of them have been released and they send me the entire series. I just wasn't willing to pay so much for shipping, sorry.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

MMA: EliteXC is Dead! (officially)

The last EliteXC show on CBS did a very good rating. A rating that the network and Showtime were both happy with. CBS began the discussions to buy the organization outright.

Two days after Seth Petruzelli knocked out Kimbo Slice he was doing media interviews when he said that he was paid a bonus to stand up with Kimbo. This launched an investigation by the Florida State Athletic Commission. You see, this is a mixed martial arts fight. People made bets on this fight in Las Vegas. You do not pay someone a bonus telling them to stand and exchange with Kimbo in hopes that Kimbo knocks him out. Unfortunately for Kimbo Slice and EliteXC, Petruzelli knocked Kimbo the fuck out.

Due to the ongoing investigation CBS declined to purchase the organization and later that afternoon EliteXC filed for bankruptcy and began firing office employees.

Seth Petruzelli's punch to the jaw of Kimbo wasn't the knockout blow that I had predicted for EliteXC, but his follow up interview certainly finished the job.

The North American MMA market is down to Affliction and UFC. Affliction is only a couple shows away from going under themselves. The first quarter of 2008 seemed like a promising time for MMA in this country, but here we are barely in November and we are just a short time away to being back to only having the UFC.

Music: This Week's New Releases

Ryan Adams and the Cardinals- Cardinology
Your best bet for a solid release this week is the 10th release from Ryan Adams and 4th with The Cardinals. I have this one already, but I haven't listened to it in its entirety. It seems solid enough though.
Bloc Party- Intimacy
The Cure - 4:13 Dream
This is the 13th release from a band that no one has cared about in at least 11 years. And I mean really, only 13 releases? Ryan Adams will probably release 13 albums next year.
Deerhunter - Microcastle
Eagles of Death Metal - Heart On Axl Rose once referred to them onstage as the "Pidgins of Shit Metal". Chinese Democracy comes out later this month, and I pray that it's the worst album of all time. We'll see who laughs last Axl.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Music: This Week's New Releases

Final Fantasy- Play EP
Of Montreal- Skeletal Lamping
The Raveonettes- EP [digital release]
Sebastien Grainger- Sebastien Grainger and the Mountains
Times New Viking- Stay Awake 7"

Final Fantasy is the, mostly, solo project from Owen Pallett who is probably most known for composing the string parts on the two Arcade Fire full length album. He writes music that feels like fairytale dream sequences and/or the best hallucination of your life.

You can get the Of Montreal album as a paper lantern or a tote bag. Each of those releases come with an MP3 download code. If you don't have the proper lighting for a paper lantern then you can also get it on CD or vinyl, but where's the fun in that?

Sebastien Grainger, formerly of dance-punk group Death From Above 1979, releases his Saddle Creek debut. He plays almost every instrument on the recording.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Music: This Week's New Releases

The Decemberists- Always the Bridesmaid: A Singles Series - Volume 1 This is the first in a vinyl single series from the band. You can order it from their website. I did, but I only paid for one shipment, so I have to wait for them all to come out to listen them. But it's going to come on colored vinyl! Who gives a damn what color a CD is?

I'm From Barcelona- Who Killed Harry Houdini?
Kaiser Chiefs- Off With Their Heads
Keane: Perfect Symmetry
Ray LaMontagne- Gossip in the Grain

The strangest album this week is probably this one,
Various Artists: Johnny Cash Remixed. I had the opportunity to listen to this one earlier this week. It is very hit or miss. If you have been wondering how to play Johnny Cash at your dance party then this album is for you!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Music: This Week's New Releases

Crooked Fingers: Forfeit/Fortune which you can only get in independent record stores and from the band's website. Crooked Fingers is one of the recording projects of Eric Bachman who is also in Archers of Loaf. There is a deluxe CD version of this album that also comes with a DVD. I really like getting a DVD with my CDs, seriously.

Margot and the Nuclear So and So's
have two releases this week : Animal! is the version of the album that the band wanted to put out. Not Animal! is the version of the album that their record label wanted to put out. The band's version is only available on vinyl and in digital form. The band has requested on their website that you listen to their version first. It has a different track sequence and a few different songs then Not Animal!

Annuals: Such Fun
I like Annuals quite a bit, and I am excited that they are finally putting out a on-digital exclusive album. I like physical music products whenever possible.

Tonight at the STARS show I am planning to pick up their Lonely Robot EP at the merch table. Color me awesome.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

MMA: EliteXC is Dead!

Ken Shamrock did not fight Kimbo Slice last night in the main event. Yesterday Kenny was practicing and he took an accidental headbutt to the head which opened up his head along the eyebrow. He had to have 6 or 7 sutures to close the wound. He visited three different doctors after the injury and none of them would clear him to fight last night due to the wound.

I have not seen the overnight rating for the show, but it opened with Ken Shamrock cutting a promo in which he told the crowd that he was injured and not allowed to fight. At that point you could hear channels changing across the country.

The last second replacement for the oft-injured Shamrock was Seth Petruzelli. Petruzelli is a relatively unknown fighter who is best known for his appearance on the second season of UFC's The Ultimate Fighter.

The hope was for Kimbo to make quick work of a way past his prime Ken Shamrock. A dominant win for Kimbo would have further made him star. Going into last night's show Kimbo Slice was EliteXC's only legitimate big money draw. This is probably no longer the case.

Petruzelli is a much younger and stronger fighter than Ken Shamrock.
The fight begins with Kimbo Slice immediately taking the center of the ring and closes in on Petruzelli with punches. In the exchange Kimbo gets hit on the chin and he collapses. Petruzelli pummels his opponent with 10 or so unprotected head shots and the referee has seen enough.

Kimbo Slice was defeated in 14 seconds. Seth Petruzelli delivered the knockout that destroyed an entire MMA company.

I for one welcome our UFC overlords. Somewhere Dana White danced a jig.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

MMA: One of the biggest nights in MMA history is tonight! EliteXC Heat

EliteXC is running a show tonight live on CBS. The main event is Kimbo Slice vs Ken Shamrock which is an intriguing matchup to say the least. If Kimbo can make quick work of Kenny then it will propel Kimbo into the type of top flight MMA money making draw that EliteXC needs in order to exist as a company going forward.

If this show does a poor rating then CBS is likely to drop EliteXC which would mean that it is just a matter of time before the company goes under. If the show does a good rating then CBS and Showtime will be in line to purchase the group and give the upcoming shows the publicity and money backing that one needs to run an MMA company in the modern landscape. This is one of the most important MMA shows in recent memory.

In other MMA companies possibly going under news: After Affliction canceled their October show they made an agreement with EliteXC to add an Affliction promoted fight to tonight's CBS show. It is the Andrei Arlovski vs Roy Nelson fight which will supposedly decide who gets the next shot at Fedor Emelianenko's WAMMA Heavyweight Championship sometime early next in 2009.

On the other EliteXC shows this year the fighters were not allowed to wear Affliction brand clothing. I imagine this will no longer me the case beginning with tonight.

EliteXC needs a big rating tonight to survive the weekend. As for Affliction? I think that Obi Wan is their only hope.

Music: This Week's New Releases

Again with the lateness!

Black Keys- self titled: This is a vinyl reissue on purple(!) vinyl.

Mercury Rev- Snowflake Midnight

I highly recommend saving your money for next week's batch of new releases which are many.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Music: This Week's New Releases

What a week. Sorry for the delay, I've been drinking in Key West!

Jenny Lewis- Acid Tongue. I will be listening to this one before I buy to make sure it is not like the last Rilo Kiley album which was bad bad bad.

TV On the Radio- Bad Science

Cold War Kids- Loyalty to Loyalty

Peter Bjorn and John- Seaside Rock

All of these artists previous albums were phenomenal, and I can not wait to hear these. Hopefully I can pick up one or two of these this weekend.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Music: This Week's New Releases

Amanda Palmer - Who Killed Amanda Palmer?
Fujiya & Miyagi - Lightbulbs
James - Hey Ma
Simian Mobile Disco - FABRICLIVE 41

Yes, that's James, the same band that had a hit with Laid, which is a karaoke favorite of mine. Fortunately I know all of the words to that song, because occasionally the karaoke lyrics are clean and they replace, "She only cums when she's on top," to something less racey. But I mean, come on, everyone loves orgasms!

The pick of the week is Live at KEXP Volume 4. This year's edition has a solid lineup that includes !!!, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Yeasayer, and more.
It's available at Seattle area indie record stores, PCC, and through that insound link above. Hurry, it's only available through the end of the year.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

MMA: Affliction Cancels October Show

Affliction's second show was scheduled for October 11 in Las Vegas. Last week the company informed the Nevada State Athletic Commission that the show was canceled, and then they listed a new date on their website for January 17, 2009 in Anaheim.

UFC president Dana White said at the press conference that announced the new Randy Couture contract that Affliction would be out of business in January. The way that things are looking now you could call him Nostradamus.

Affliction only exists as an MMA company because they thought that they could book the Randy Couture - Fedor Emelianenko match that the UFC was not able to put together when Fedor turned down a huge money offer(He was offered $2.5 million per fight with a $2.5 million win bonus).
With Couture back in the UFC fold, Affliction has no potential big money fight. January's show should do OK business just because it's theoretically enough time to have Fedor fight on the show(he was off of the October show because he broke his hand when he beat the hell out of Tim Sylvia on the debut show).

Though without TV to support the pay per view, no one is going to know about the show or anything about the people that are on it. It's a show for the MMA diehards who want to see Fedor in action regardless of his opponent.

If the year 2008 has taught us anything about the North American MMA market it's that UFC is the brand name, and people will buy the brand name. The last rating for the prime time EliteXC show on CBS showed that very few people will watch a show just because it is an MMA event, and that show was on free tv.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Music: This Week's New Releases

Calexico: Carried to Dust
Michael Franti and Spearhead: All Rebel Rockers
Mogwai: Batcat(EP)
Okervil River: The Stand Ins

For the vinyl junkies, Tortoise finally releases Standards on vinyl.
Also, Devotchka have made their album How It Ends available on limited edition red vinyl through their website.

The most interesting release this week is probably Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs for 43 US Presidents. It's 3 CDs with each song covering a US president. It includes members of Cake, Califone, Low, Red House Painters, Smog, Xiu Xiu, Charalambides, Wooden Wand and more.

If there is a young child in your life, you should probably know that Kimya Dawson has a children's album coming out this week called Alphabutt. I will be purchasing that one as a gift for a 3 year old.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

MMA: UFC 88 Results, Rashad Evans is King

Last night's UFC 88 was a very good pay per view. There were no match of the year candidates on the show, but there were also no boring matches on the broadcast.

The main event saw Rashad Evans become a star when he threw an overhand right haymaker that knocked Chuck Liddell the fuck out! He was unconscious before he hit the ground. Ref Herb Dean did a great job of seeing that and jumping in for the stop before Evans could land any additional shots. This was such a spectacular knockout that I leaped out of my chair and stood there with one hand over my mouth for a couple of minutes in stunned silence.

The replays showed Chuck's jaw move first and then his neck and head followed. He fell like a ton of bricks, and remained out cold on the mat. This was one of the most spectacular knockouts in MMA history. Between this and the fight where Chuck was knocked out by Rampage all I have to say is: When he gets knocked out, it happens in dramatic fashion. You will see this knockout highlight over and over again for an eternity, and it will always be part of Rashad Evans' highlight reel.

Rashad Evans' next fight has already been announced. He will take on UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Forrest Griffin on December 27th in Las Vegas.

In the co main event Rich Franklin looked good fighting at 205 lbs. in beating Matt(don't call me Mark)Hamill. Franklin apparently came into the fight with a cut next to his eye, and it was opened up early. In the second round the ref briefly stopped the fight to have the doctor check the cut, and the doctor said it was fine. In the third round Franklin ended it with a vicious body kick that caused Hamill to grab his ribs and crumple in a heap.

The match last night that told the best story was Jason MacDonald vs Jason Lambert. At the end of the first round Jason Lambert locked in a guillotine choke. I mean, it was locked in deep! MacDonald's head was turning red and he was throwing punches to Lambert's head and body, and was able to hold on for the last 10 seconds of the round while in a deep deep choke.

The second round saw MacDonald take down Lambert, get his back, and then after almost being choked out in the previous round he choked out Lambert! It was awesome. In the post match interview he told Joe Rogan that the guillotine in the first round was really deep but he could see the clock on the scoreboard, and he knew that he could hold his breathe for that long.
I loved this match!

Top to bottom this was a very solid show. I want to thank King Cobra in Seattle for showing the pay per view last night. I will keep going back there for UFC events as long as they have them. They had several projection screens set up for our viewing pleasure. They also mix their drinks strong, and the sweet potato fries are excellent. They didn't even charge a cover last night!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Music: Man Plus Remix Album FOR FREE!!!

The fine folks over at Man Plus headquarters have contacted me, and they have asked that I share their remix EP with the fine readers at Where the Silence Is.

It's a zip fileof the remix version of five songs from the album The Hungarian Suicide Songbook. Did I mention that it's free?!?!

Seriously, download this, and then go see Man Plus at one of their upcoming Seattle dates:

9/12 - Britney Spears Cover night @ Mars Bar
9/13 - KEXP Midday Dance Party @ Nectar
10/4 - Reverb in Ballard
10/31 - Halloween Show(!) at the Comet

Friday, September 5, 2008

MMA: UFC 88 Preview!

It seems that a lot of people have forgotten about tomorrow's UFC pay per view after the big news this week of the UFC return of Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture.

The top two fights on UFC 88 are very solid and exciting matchups in the main event of Chuck Liddell vs Rashad Evans and Rich Franklin vs Matt (Don't call me Mark) Hamill.

Liddell is one of the top draws in MMA history, and I have never seen a boring fight with him involved. He is also a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. He has knockout power, and he has that killer instinct that makes all of his fights exciting. If he sees that he has staggered his opponent then he will rush in and try to finish the fight.

Rashad Evans won The Ultimate Fighter Season 2 as a heavyweight. He is unbeaten in his career, but he has never fought anyone of the caliber of Chuck Liddell. I think that Chuck will be victorious by knockout, but this fight is not going to be a cake walk.

Whoever is victorious in the main event will probably get the next shot at Forrest Griffin's Light Heavyweight title at the end of this year or early next year.
Earlier this week Dana White stated that he thinks that November's Randy Couture-Brock Lesner fight will top the one million buys mark on pay per view. I think that a Forrest Griffin-Chuck Liddell fight for the title will be the biggest fight in MMA history.

Former UFC Middleweight Champion Rick Franklin makes his debut at Light Heavyweight on this show as he squares off against the much more inexperienced Matt Hamill. Hamill is deaf, so the referee in his fights always has to be ready to jump in to stop him at the end of each round as he can't hear the buzzer. That's always an exciting aspect to his fights, but so far he hasn't landed any big shots after the round has ended. It will be interesting to see what Rich Franklin looks like fighting at 205(Middle weights fight at 185 pounds), but I expect him to finish Hamill and look great doing it.

This should be a really fun show. If you are in Seattle tomorrow, feel free to join me at King Cobra on Capitol Hill to watch the fights. I can not recommend the sweet potato fries there enough!

Music: Built to Spill - Perfect From Now On

Last night at the Showbox in Seattle I was in attendance to see Built to Spill perform their 1997 classic album Perfect From Now On.

The crowd was already riled up in a frenzy and screaming before the first notes hit. Throughout the venue I had overheard people talking about how many times they had listened to the album that day or week(For the record I had listened to it 3 or 4 times this week).

Right before the band began their first song lead singer Doug Martsch said, "This is for Phil Ek." Phil Ek was the, at the time Seattle based, producer of the album.

The hot crowd was so lively that I could actually feel the floor beneath my feet bow as people jumped, danced, and tapped their feet.

As the band neared the end of album closer Untrustable/Part 2 (About Someone Else) they transitioned smoothly right into Goin' Against Your Mind from 2006's You In Reverse.

Built to Spill left the stage to a rousing ovation, and they returned a few moments later to play a two song encore of Big Dipper and a song that once made me absolutely lose it- You Were Right from Keep It Like a Secret.

Built to Spill continues to put on one of the best live performances that you will ever see. Check them out on their current world tour if you can:

9/6/08 McDonald Theatre Eugene, OR

9/8/08 Slim's San Francisco, CA

9/9/08 Slim's San Francisco, CA

9/10/08 Troubadour West Hollywood, CA

9/11/08 Troubadour West Hollywood, CA

9/12/08 Pappy and Harriet's Pioneertown, CA

9/16/08 Chameleon Club Lancaster, PA

9/17/08 Toad's Place New Haven, CT

9/18/08 Calvin Theater Northampton, MA

9/19/08 All Tomorrow's Parties Festival Monticello, NY

9/20/08 The Trocadero Philadelphia, PA

9/21/08 The Trocadero Philadelphia, PA

9/22/08 The National Richmond, VA

9/23/08 9:30 Club Washington, DC

9/24/08 Ram's Head Live Baltimore, MD

9/25/08 Terminal 5 New York, NY

9/26/08 Terminal 5 New York, NY

9/27/08 Orpheum Theatre Boston, MA

10/1/08 Doornroosje Nijmegen

10/2/08 Melkweg Amsterdam

10/3/08 Tivoli Utrecht

10/4/08 Take rot Groningen

10/5/08 AB Box Brussels

10/6/08 VoxHall Aarhus

10/7/08 Loppen Copenhagen

10/9/08 Folken Stavanger

10/10/08 USF Bergen

10/11/08 Rockefeller Oslo

10/12/08 Sticky Fingers Goteborg

10/13/08 Debaser Medis Stockholm

10/14/08 KB Malmo

10/15/08 Forum Bielefeld

10/16/08 Bhf Langendeer Bochum

10/17/08 Universum Stuttgart

10/18/08 Karlstorbahnhof Heidelberg

10/19/08 K4 Nurnberg

10/21/08 Flex Wien

10/22/08 Weekender Innsbruck

10/23/08 Palace St. Gallan

10/24/08 Locomotive Bologna

10/25/08 In IT Rome

10/26/08 Interzone Verona

10/28/08 La Cooperative Clermont Ferrand

10/29/08 Apolo Barcelona

10/30/08 Caracol Madrid

10/31/08 Azkena Bilbao

11/1/08 La Nef Angouleme

11/3/08 Maroquinerie Paris

11/4/08 Koko London

11/5/08 Thekla Bristol

11/6/08 Zodiac Oxford

11/7/08 Brudenell Social club Leeds

11/8/08 King Tuts Glasgow

11/9/08 Limelight Belfast

11/10/08 Academy Dublin

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

MMA: Randy Couture Returns to UFC

Randy Couture is the current UFC World Heavyweight Champion. Last August he destroyed Gabriel Gonzaga, and then two months later he announced that he was resigning as UFC champion. This happened right after the negotiations between the UFC and heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, which was a fight that Couture had publicly stated he wanted.

Then it came out that Couture was not actually retiring, and he felt his pay level was a sign of disrespect.

In February Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira beat Tim Sylvia in a match for the UFC Interim Heavyweight title. Couture was never stripped, because UFC contracts have an automatic roll over if you are a champion. Your contract won't expire until you lose the belt. Randy Couture being the Heavyweight Champion helped the UFC's legal standing.

He sued to be released from his contract, the UFC counter sued, and then Couture appeared on the Affliction PPV in July. The court date for his contractual dispute was schedule for September/October, and I guess Couture realized that he had no legal standing.

A week ago had reported that Couture was in negotiations for a new 3 fight deal with the UFC. Yesterday the UFC held a press conference where they announced the new contract for the 45 year old Couture.

His first fight back will be at UFC 91 on November 15th against Brock Lesner. It will be a 5 round title fight in Las Vegas. Then winner of the Couture-Lesner fight will face the winner of December's Interim Heavyweight title fight between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Frank Mir sometime next Spring.

UFC President Dana White, Randy Couture, and Brock Lesner were all present for yesterday's press conference. Many of the questions were about a possible Couture-Fedor fight, which is a fight that would make a ton of money. Dana White said that they were interested in that fight, but Fedor is under contract with Affliction and he is not interested in tampering. The Fedor questions continued, and Brock Lesner had finally heard enough and he responded with the highlight of the press conference:

"Who give a shit about Fedor? I'm sick of hearing about fucking Fedor. He's not with the company, he might not ever be with the company, so who gives a shit?"

This was awesome! If Fedor ever does sign a deal with the UFC then the pre match hype videos will be filled with that quote, and everyone will want to see that fight. Brock Lesner is a former WWE professional wrestling champion, and he knows how to sell a fight.

Also in the press conference Dana White says that the Couture-Lesner fight will top 1 million buys. The UFC has not yet reached the 1 million buys mark, so it's difficult to estimate that high but this is definitely going to be a huge fight.

The next few months of UFC action is going to be very exciting, and the company is about to make a ridiculous amount of money over the next quarter. Affliction on the other hand? Well, Dana White said in the press conference that he would be shocked to see Affliction in business come January, and I can't say that I disagree with him.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Music: This Week's New Releases

I only have one for you this week:

Brian Wilson: That Lucky Old Sun

If you still listen to the Beach Boys, or you think that Brian Wilson's album SMILE was one of the best albums of the last few years then you will probably want to pick this one up.

As for me? I'm going to give that Hey Marseilles album a proper listen this week. I will have a write up sometime in the next 10 days. I promise.

Music: Bumbershoot turns into Bumbersuck, or I Was Assaulted By Bumbershoot Staff

On Sunday night I was planning on writing about how great The Weakerthans were, and how people think that the song, "Plea From a Cat Named Virtute" is actually, "Virtue" those people are wrong(apparently it's from the Winnipeg motto “Unum Cum Virtute Multorum” (one with the virtues of many). And then follow it up with talk of how just fucking amazing Battles were.

But right now I can't focus on any of that. Yesterday I was physically assaulted by a Bumbershoot staff member, and it was while I was outside of the festival on a city sidewalk.

I bought a poster at flatstock, and I left the festival to go put it in my car for safe keeping. I was walking on the sidewalk, they opened the fence to let in a van or something.

The fence swung open right in my face, so I stepped to the curb and kept walking. A dude in a staff shirt stepped in front of me and said, "Everybody stop" or something similar. At this point, we were like a foot apart so I kept walking and
he pushed me.

I rolled off his push and stepped down with one foot on the street and I was past him at which point he grabbed me, forcibly and hard from behind by my hoodie and yanked and pulled me into the street.

My hoodie was unzipped. If it was zipped I think he would have ripped it, and/or thrown me to the ground in the street. Instead I just stumbled in the street and regained my balance.

I was shocked to be grabbed at all, let alone in such a forceful way. I immediately threw my hands up in the air and screamed, "I am on a public sidewalk, you are not a law enforcement officer!" repeatedly.

One of the other staff people said, "Let him go," and he did finally.

I spun around, still with my hands in the air, and I said, "What are you doing? I am on a public sidewalk!"

He had rage in his eyes and said, "You are/were in in the street impeding traffic." I said, "YOU are NOT a law enforcement officer!" The only reason I was in the street was because that was the direction that I was forcibly thrown in.

He took two steps towards me, at which point other staff people stepped in and got him away from me.

It was frightening, and absolutely ridiculous. I can not believe that this happened to anyone, let alone to me who was just legally walking down the sidewalk, not even inside the festival grounds.

That was the third day of my first bumbershoot experience. It was again oversold and overcrowded. I bailed before the evenings headliners.

A few tips for Bumbershoot 2009:

-Put the food in a court with an entrance to the area. Look at how the Capiol Hill Block Party had their food area set up, learn from them and implement it. It was impossible to walk past the food area for most of the festival.
-Hire staff that won't try to physically restrain pedestrians on sidewalks that are located outside of your festival.
-Sell at least 1,000 fewer tickets per day. Your monetary greed leads to an unsafe and unfun environment for your audience. Also, the overcrowding can cause your staff to go fucking nuts and attack your law abiding concert goers.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Music: Bumbershoot Music Festival Day 1

Yesterday was the first day of Seattle's 3 day Labor Day festival: Bumbershoot. Due to my work schedule I was only there in the latter part of the day yesterday(I will be there for a similar amount of time today, but I plan on attending the entire last day tomorrow.).

When I walked in the gates at Seattle center yesterday afternoon/early evening all of the mainstage passes were gone/accounted for. You see, despite having a festival pass you need an additional(free) pass to get into the mainstage to see the last two performances each night on that stage. Day 1 headliner was Beck, and I was already planning on seeing M.Ward instead of Beck anyway, but I was very disappointed to learn that I would not be able to see Band of Horses(denied!).

Upon walking in to the fest I approached the info booth and asked for a schedule/festival map. "We're all out," I was told. "You're kidding right? This is the first of three days isn't it?" I retorted. They were not amused.

I was close enough to an energy drink sponsored stage to hear the announcement that The Walkmen were next! So I made my way over to catch a few songs. I walked by the table of said energy drink company as their volunteers were emptying cans into paper cups and there were literally hundreds of cups on the table and probably a thousand in the trash cans around the table. "Hey can I have as much as I want?" I inquired. "Absolutely!" responded the excited and caffeine fueled rep. "So why are you wasting so many paper cups if this is a carbon neutral event?" She was not amused.

At this point I tried to make it to the theater where they are having plays during the festival. I really wanted to see Reefer Madness: The Musical! Not having a map made this trek seemingly impossible. For one, I didn't really know where I was going. Suddenly I was at the food lines, and there was no pathway around the lines. I had cut through line after line of hungry concert goers. This was quite possibly the worst layout of any festival that I have ever attended.

I was lost and disoriented. I found another info booth. I asked for a map/schedule. "We are all out, but you can look at the schedule that we have here." "I don't need the schedule, I need the map so I know where things are, and so I don't get lost trying to find Reefer Madness: The Musical!, do you know where that is playing?" The person at the info booth stared at me blankly, and then she suggested that I wander around until I find a map/schedule on the ground that someone had discarded. I am not making this up, that's what she told me.

I was becoming increasingly frustrated, and the other info booth volunteer(a hot punk rawker) could tell, and she took pity on me and told me where I might be able to get another one. Then she pointed and told me how to get to that building. Finally, I was able to acquire a map!

I got to where Reefer Madness: The Musical! was playing, and I was 15 minutes late and they would not let me in. At this point, I seriously needed a drink.

I ran into Dan, and he had a photographer's press pass. I went into a building with him that I should not have had access to, but they saw Dan's pass and just assumed I had one too I guess. I was able to get free coffee, an apple, and I was able to use a bathroom instead of one of the too few for the amount of people in attendance porta-potties. Did I mention that this was a really poorly laid out and organized event?

I think this is when I made my way over to see Saul Williams. He came out in full Niggy Tardust regalia with his face painted, feathers in his hair, and a brightly colored outfit. I have certainly seen better Saul Williams performances, but this one was definitely a high energy affair which the crowd was really eating up. The sound was not the greatest, and I couldn't hear his politically charged vocals for the first part of set. My friend Jessica said that there were sound issues all day.

Saul Williams waited until before his last song before he talked to the crowd about change, revolution, and how exciting of a time it is that we are living in today. I was really hoping for this to lead to "Om Nia Merican" from 2001's Amethyst Rockstar, but instead the set closer, and highlight, was the song, List of Demands (reparations) from his self titled release.

M. Ward was my day 1 headliner, and the one performance that I was most looking forward to this weekend. He did not disappoint. He opened with One More Goodbye and I was immediately giddy. After the first song he thanked everyone for being there and said, "I guess you've all heard Devil's Haircut on the radio enough times," which elicited laughter from the, mostly under-aged, crowd.
Fans swayed together, some danced, some shoe gazed, but overall the crowd was filled with a childlike wonder and we all held on to every lyric. When the band left the stage the crowd refused to yield. "I've never seen an encore on the side stage," said Jessica who was standing beside me. Well there's a first time for everything and the band came back out to play Big Boat from the album Transistor Radio. M. Ward thanked us again for choosing to be in front of this particular stage and he added, "I'm here for all of you!"

Despite the rather horrendous start to my first Bumbershoot, it couldn't have ended in a better way. Well, aside from Jessica and I walking a mile or so before we got a cab- but that's a story for another blog I'm sure.

Today I am most excited to see The Weakerthans! And right now I'm still not sure if I am seeing Tapes 'n Tapes, Final Fantasy, or Thee Emergency in the evening spot. I can guarantee that I will not be seeing Stone Temple Pilots, but I do hope that I can get a mainstage pass so that I can see The Black Keys tonight. I do love them so, and I have never seen them live.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Music: This Week's New Releases

This is a slow week on the new releases front.

New albums from The Game and Dragon Force(for you guitar hero inclined metalheads) hit the streets this week.

The most intriguing is Matthew Sweet- Sunshine Lies. I saw Matthew Sweet way back in 1994 when you could hear "Girlfriend" on the radio and 100% Fun was in most of my friends CD collections.

I know that he did that album with Susanna Hoffs a couple years back, but I have never heard it.

If you are in Seattle then by all means go to your local independent record store and find a copy of the new Hey Marseilles album- which I will have more on later this week.

MMA: Kimbo Slice vs Ken Shamrock!!!

Two of the biggest TV draws in the history of MMA are going to facing off in the main event of the October 4th EliteXC show live on CBS!

Ken Shamrock's UFC feud with Tito Ortiz drew big numbers on cable(on Spike) and on pay per view.

Kimbo won in the main event of the first EliteXC show on CBS, and the quarter hour that his fight took place in was by far the most watched segment of that show which garnered a very good rating.

Shamrock is a way past his prime wrestler(He fought Royce Gracie in the finals of the very first UFC show), and Kimbo was a backyard street fighter who made a name for himself knocking out guys on youtube videos before he started his MMA training.

This is not really a good match up for either fighter. I'm sure that the hope is that Kimbo can knock out Shamrock early and continue to build Kimbo as a legit drawing card in the sport. If Shamrock wins, and makes Kimbo look bad then it could be very bad news for EliteXC on CBS going forward. So far Kimbo is their only solid draw.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Music: Hey Marseilles Takes Over the World

If you were in Seattle last night and you missed the Hey Marseilles CD release party at Neumos, well it sucks to be you!

I have referred to Hey Marseilles as my favorite local band for most of this year. My friend Jimmer offered me a free ticket to see them at the High Dive back in January or February. That night I downloaded their 4 song EP and put it on while I was getting ready for bed. I was halfway through the first song, "To Travels and Trunks" when I stopped what I was doing and sat down to give the songs my full intention.

The band is a 7 piece that includes several multi instrumentalists as well as multi part harmonies. They have strings, an accordion, a trumpet, and the bass gets passed amongst a few of the band members depending on the song. All 7 are excellent musicians, and even the drummer steps out from behind the kit for some choice harmonies during the set.

The video above is how they opened last night's CD release party at Neumo's. They start off with the instrumental, "Marseilles" and transition smoothly into "To Travels and Trunks." The crowd erupted, and the energy continued to build all night long until they closed with, "Goodbye Versailles," which the crowd followed with mass applause and a very loud, "One more song," chant that unfortunately for everyone involved did not result in an encore. The band remained on stage breaking down their equipment, shaking hands, saying, "thank you," to fans, and signing copies of the newly released CD left and right.

Last night, August 21, 2008 is the night that Hey Marseilles broke through. Last night was the night that everything changed.

I have seen Hey Marseilles play at a couple different clubs around Seattle, in the foyer of the Vera Project(that's right, not even on the main stage), and at a house show at the Greenhouse. The show last night at Neumo's was at least 3 times larger than any other crowd I have seen for a Hey Marseilles show. There were people in home made t-shirts. Seemingly every group of people had brought at least one person a long who had never seen the band before. My friend Molly came along just for fun and she pointed to her smile and said, "Do you see this? I can't stop doing this!"

It was a super hot crowd who moved with the music, sang along loudly, and went crazy for the smooth transitions that occur when things like, the viola player puts down his instrument mid song to play the bass.

At one point Dan turned to Abby who I had just met and he said, "Look at Jon. He looks so happy!" I was Dan, I certainly was.

The band was obviously in awe of the crowd, and they fed off that energy in their live performance. Most of the between song banter was relegated to thanking us all for being there, thanking us for supporting the band, and oh yah by the way there are CDs for sale.

This was the second best live show that I have seen this year. I can only rank the Flaming Lips and their UFO show at Sasquatch ahead of last night's performance.

Hey Marseilles is about to become huge, and it's time that you took notice.

Their debut full length To Travels and Trunks is available via iTunes as well as the band's website.

They also have a myspace page. Though apparently they do not currently have any future dates scheduled.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

MMA: Heavyweight Champion Antonio Silva Jr. Busted!

The Heavyweight Champion of EliteXC(Elite Xtreme Combat), Antonio Silva Jr., tested positive for boldenone(a veterinary anabolic steroid prescribed to horses).
He was suspended a year and fined $250,000 by the California State Athletic Commission. He has appealed the findings. Though I imagine it's going to be difficult to prove that you accidentally took a horse steroid.

Not only is he a cheater, but he's stupid. According to the wiki article on boldenone:

It has a very long half-life, and can show up on a steroid test for up to 1.5 years, due to the long undecylenate ester attached to the parent steroid.

One and a half years?!?! Seriously man, you need to switch to something that clears the system much MUCH quicker than that.

EliteXC is the MMA organization that has a deal with CBS and Showtime. This positive test is related to the last CBS show which aired live on prime time on Saturday July 26th which was a much against Justin Eilers to crown the first EliteXC Heavyweight Champion. In California the athletic commission does not have the power to retroactively change a match result due to a positive test. There is legislation in California slowly working it's way to approval that would give the state athletic commission that power.

So for now, Antonio Silva Jr won the heavyweight title and now will take a year off.

As of right now, he is still listed as the EliteXC Heavyweight Champion on the organization's website. Strip him now, seriously.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Music: This Week's New Releases

The Fiery Furnaces - remember
Juliana Hatfield - How to Walk Away
Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line
The Royal We - The Royal We
The Walkmen - You & Me

And of course, I wouldn't be from St. Louis if I didn't mention the following new release:

Nelly - Brass Knuckles

The Fiery Furnaces is a 51 track live album career retrospective available on 2 CDs or 3 records. The back of the case says that you should not attempt to listen to it all in one sitting. Some of the tracks include cuts: ie- they are composed of various live versions of the song and then cut together. I have seen this previously, and it was amazingly done, on the DVD that accompanies the CD release of STARS - In Our Bedroom After the War.
Every Fiery Furnaces album sounds completely different than the others, so I am really looking forward to checking this one out.

I do not know The Royal We at all, but I like their name, so I included them here.

The Nelly album was originally scheduled to come out at the end of last year, but the label was not happy with it at all, so some of it was apparently redone. Suffice to say, that doesn't make me want to rush out and hear it. I'll wait for my St. Louis homies to let me know how it is.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Music: Man Plus Live at the High Dive with New Faces, Elba, and Paris Spleen

Last night's show at the High Dive in Seattle was cause for a long night. There were 4 bands on the bill with Man Plus headlining. I was under the impression that the headliners were going on sometime between 10 and 11, so I arrived at the High Dive around 9:30. Upon walking in I could tell that none of the bands had taken the stage.

The first band up was Paris Spleen. The person at the bar next to me offered to bet that, "One, if not all three band members will have their shirt off by the end of their set." It's a good thing that I didn't take it because the guitarist walked on to the stage sans shirt. They are a 3 piece who I was told have been touring on the same 4 song EP for over 3 years now. Those 4 songs were obviously the most polished of their set, and they played a very straight forward classic rock inspired sound. The talent is definitely there, and I look forward to new material for them.

Next up was Elba, who for the most part were a 3 piece, but for about a third of their set they had an additional musician on stage to either add a second guitar, or to free up the main guitarist to attack the keyboard. They should really consider being a 4 piece the entire time, as the addition of keys gives them a much larger and more dynamic sound. They were very good, and they gave away copies of their CD, "An Avalanche". I picked up a copy, and if it's worth mentioning I'll do a future write up on it as well.

Last night's show also served as the CD release party for local band New Faces debut release on Loveless Records. Again with the 3 piece band, these guys are all 17 years old, and they fucking rock. They have a real playful crunchy guitar sound that is reminiscent of bands like Tokyo Police Club. Their lyrics are beyond their (under)age, and they tackle topics of love and lust like vagabond musicians who are twice their age. I'm not sure if they sold out of their CDs, or if they just packed up and left before I made it over to the merch table, but I can tell you that New Faces are worth checking out and someday soon I hope to have a copy of their album.

At this point of the night I started to yawn and feel groggy. It was almost 1am before Man Plus finally hit the stage. During the first song lead singer Jared Mills jumped down into the crowd and herded the Man Plus faithful towards the stage like cattle to the slaughter. I guess he thought everyone was too far away for the performance.

The band played a 30 or 40 minute set of mostly new material. The sound was great, and singer Ellen Mills could be heard much easier on this night than at their Block Party gig. The band was tight and they obviously enjoy playing in front of people, but it was late and even the band members suffered from a lack of energy by the time their set was over. I can't blame them. It has to be really difficult to sit around to sit around for so many hours before trying to rock the house. The people danced and sang along to the songs that they knew, which unfortunately were few and far between. Block Party crowd pleaser, "Not For All the Cocaine In the World" was absent from the set list as were the majority of songs on their last LP The Hungarian Suicide Songbook. I think that the only songs off the album that they played last night were, "A Ghost Is A Ghost Is A Ghost Is A Ghost," "What I Like About Love," and the last night's show stealer(and excellent closing number), "My Kind of People."

Despite the late night, Man Plus continues to rock, and they are a band on the rise that you certainly need to check out.

My night ended with Man Plus member Ellen talking about Maria Taylor, Azure Ray, and She & Him. In other words, her musical taste is as great as her band's talent.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Music: Easy Street Records Hates Vinyl Buyers

This week I went to Easy Street Records in Seattle in hopes of getting that new Pierre de Reeder album. They did not have it.

I was able to pick up the latest releases from My Morning Jacket and Son Ambulance on vinyl. While checking out I asked if I needed a different frequent buyer card than my CD one. My CD stamp card says, "Buy 15 CDs, GET ONE FREE!" My cashier informed me that there isn't a vinyl frequent buyer card and that she couldn't stamp my CD one for this purchase.

I was dumbfounded, "But, this is more expensive than the CD version....and I would think you have a more difficult time in 2008 moving vinyl, so you should want to encourage it," and finally I just asked, "But, why?"

She said to me, "I have no idea."

Pro Wrestling: WWE Cuts Galore!

First things first, the tag team of The Highlanders(Rory and Robbie McAllister) were released today. Rory McAllister made it almost 5 months beyond when I thought he was going to be fired.

Back in March the WWE was in Orlando for Wrestlemania. This was a HUGE pro wrestling weekend with seven shows from four different wrestling companies in a 4 day period. I was there, but I did not go to any of the three TNA(Total Nonstop Action) shows. On the March 27th live edtion of TNA Impact the cameras panned to Rory McAllister who was in attendance and the announcers pointed him out as pro wrestler Russell Murray(his real name). Within minutes Rory received a text message from someone in WWE management informing him that he was shown on TV and that he had to leave immediately. He complied. The next day he was sent home. Wrestlemania is the biggest show of the year, and with it comes the biggest pay day of the year for the wrestlers. Rory who is not a big name wrestler in any way shape or form, reportedly would have made $5,000 for working that one day. He did not receive a Wrestlemania paycheck, sucks to be him.

The day that he was sent home lots of people were talking about it as I was waiting in line to go to the Friday Ring of Honor show. At that point in time the rumor wasn't that he was sent home, but that he was fired. I guess it finally caught up with him.

Stevie Richards
was also released today. He's never done anything to impress me, but there was a period of time in the mid to late 90's where he was an independent wrestling icon. I remember reading about him doing a show stealing ladder match at some random indie show and almost breaking his neck. In that period of time I had never seen him perform, but I wanted to so bad. By the time I finally saw him in his 1997 run in WCW he barely wrestled due to the repeated neck injuries and surgeries. At that time he "retired" for a brief while due to the injuries, but many people around him questioned the legitimacy of that claim and thought that he was just trying to get out of his WCW contract.

A couple of years later he shows up in WWE and had a lame gimmick. WWE eventually brought him back as part of the new ECW branded TV show on the Sci-Fi network, and they had him work almost exclusively with current WWE World Champion CM Punk. There was even a series of vignettes talking about Richards neck injuries, and how he was in the main event of the very first ECW pay per view. It seemed like a slow build to him winning the fairly useless ECW Championship, but within a couple of weeks he was back to losing quickly and decisively on a weekly basis. Then in September he took about 5 months off due to having throat surgery. He will be 37 this fall, and I imagine his televised wrestling career is over. He'll always have a special place in my heart for that period of time where he was an American independent wrestling superstar.

Last but not least, 21 year old Colin Delaney was released today. He's my height, and only weighs about 15 more pounds than me. Suffice to say, he is not your typical sized WWE wrestler.

Delaney was given the underdog gimmick. I mean, he was really an underdog. He did not get any offense in his matches for a couple of months. It's a classic pro wrestling gimmick of building up the geek until the fans love him and really want to see him win. He didn't really get over, and then a month or so ago he turned heel on pay per view, and nobody cared. This release was just a matter of time.

But hey, he's only 21, and he was on WWE television! He should continue to get paid a decent amount to work on indie shows. Maybe he will be coming to your town soon!