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!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Music: This Week's New Releases

Sorry for the delay and short blurb today. I'm still in recovery from yesterday being my birthday.

And on with the new releases:

Dark Romantics: The Good Kind of Sad
The Gutter Twins: "God's Children"/"Spanish Doors" 7"
Original Silence: The Second Original Silence
Pierre de Reeder: The Way That It Was
Willoughby: I Know What You're Up To

Pierre de Reeder is the bassist in Rilo Kiley. I love all of the other Rilo Kiley side projects, so I will probably try to pick this one up as well.

Tomorrow I will hopefully have more energy and by up to writing more.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

MMA: UFC 87 Results

Georges St. Pierre absolutely dominated Jon Fitch for 5 rounds to successfully defend the UFC Welterweight Championship by unanimous decision. With the judges scores being 50-43, 50-44, and 50-44 it looks like every judge scored round one 10-8 in favor of GSP as he was on the verge of absolutely destroying Fitch from the get go. This fight was given fight of the night honors and each fighter received a $60,000 bonus for that award.

The big news coming out of the show tonight was that after the main event UFC Lightweight Champion BJ Penn got in the octagon and challenged St. Pierre to an upcoming fight. This fight will hopefully take place in Honolulu, where Penn is from. GSP and Penn have fought before at UFC 65 in March of 2006. That was an excellent fight which had GSP winning by split decision.

That of course was a different BJ Penn, and if BJ is serious about his training and conditioning going into the rematch then that will be a fight between two of the best fighters in the world at any weight class.

In the heavyweight matchup Brock Lesner knocked Heath Herring rolling backwards with a big right to open the first round. Brock won by unanimous decision 30-26 from all 3 judges. He dominated from start to finish. All in all this was mostly a wrestling match with Lesner getting takedowns and landing some punches and knees as well, but he never appeared to attempt a submission of any sort. Brock is going to need to learn some submissions if he is going to be the top fighter in the division, but this was only his third professional fight and he is a beast! After the match Brock Lesner played the heel standing over Herring and then miming that he was lassoing and reeling in Herring. You can take the fighter out of professional wrestling, but you can't take the professional wrestling out of the fighter.

Roger Huerta did not win by decision. Kenny Florian played to his reach advantage the entire fight. Huerta was seemingly in constant pursuit and Ken Flo backed away and worked his jab to perfection. This was not the most exciting fight, and Ken Flo won by unanimous decision 30-27.

Rob Emerson won the knockout of the night honors and a $60,000 bonus for a 12 second knockout of Manny Gamburyan. That is not a typo. He hit him with a right left combo which put him out, then hit another right on the ground and the ref jumped in for the save.

Overall this was a quality UFC pay per view, and the main event did not disappoint.

Friday, August 8, 2008

MMA: UFC 87 Preview

Tomorrow, August 9, is the (on paper) best MMA pay per view of the year so far.
It is rare that a show has three fights as exciting as the top three featured tomorrow night.

In the main event we have Georges St. Pierre defends his Welterweight Championship against Jon Fitch. Fitch is 8-0 in the UFC and he has won his last 15 professional fights. He has an impressive knockout victory over Thiago Alves in that time.

Georges St. Pierre(GSP) absolutely destroyed Matt Serra in his last fight to reclaim the welterweight title that he had lost to Serra. GSP is one of the best all around fighters in the world, and he never has a boring fight. Jon Fitch is a good fighter, but he has no chance. GSP will be victorious tomorrow. GSP via 2nd round knockout.

The semi-main event is a lightweight battle between The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 alum Kenny Florian and Roger "El Matador" Huerta. Ken Flo has won 4 straight fights since he lost a 5 round decision against Sean Sherk for the vacant lightweight title. He knocked out Joe Lauzon on April 2 which earned fight of the night honors.

Huerta is 6-0 in the UFC and he has a ridiculous professional record of 25-1-1(his only loss came in a tournament where he was fighting in his third bout of the day). He hasn't fought since last December when he choked out Clay Guida in what was one of the best fights of 2007.

Both of these guys have excellent conditioning and they will surely have a very exciting fight. Roger Huerta will win by decision.

The other match to be very excited about tomorrow is a battle of heavyweights as fromer WWE World Champion and NCAA wrestling champion Brock Lesner takes on Heath Herring.

This is Brock's second UFC fight and it's in front of his home crowd in Minnesota. He made his UFC debut in February against former UFC Champion Frank Mir. Lesner was absolutely destroying Mir before the ref docked him a point for a punch to the back of the head and stood them back up. Brock pretty much immediately took Mir down again, but he left his ankle exposed for too long and Mir was able to submit him.

Brock makes $250,000 per fight before any bonuses. If he loses tonight he could be in danger of being cut. That's a lot of guaranteed money for someone who is not a headliner.

Herring is coming off a March split decision victory over Cheick Kongo. Herring immediately knocked Kongo down with a big punch, and Kongo was just lost from that point on. Herring is a good fighter, and this is a good challenge for Brock Lesner, but Brock is just so gigantic that I find it hard to believe that Herring will come out of this one victorious.

Heath Herring has a cool Undertaker like entrance.

This is going to be an amazing show! If you like MMA at all, then get your ass to a bar that is showing this tomorrow. 10pm EST, 7pm PST.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Music: Conor Oberst Was My Gateway Drug

In the fall of 2001 I decided to drop my major, take a semester off from school, and transfer to a different school in a different state. It was probably the boldest decision that I had made up to that point.

Two days after Christmas I left Missouri for Colorado. I knew that I had a place to stay my first night there, and I just figured beyond that I would play it by ear. Several people had offered the prospects of a couch or a floor to sleep on, so I figured at the very least I had a rotation of floors in my future.

Jon and Heidi were leaving for China early on January 1. They needed someone to look after their cat for 13 days. They had met me once before, and they knew that I needed a place to stay so I was suddenly cat sitting in a really sweet one bedroom apartment that was above an empty restaurant location which was a few doors down from an independent record store which was across the street from another independent record store.

Late one night I was sitting at the computer in the apartment searching for jobs and the like. I had put the entire music folder in a play list on winamp and set it to shuffle. At some point "Kathy With a K's Song" came on. From the opening line of, "Love is real," I leaned back in the chair and closed my eyes. I was completely floored.

I searched the hard drive, but I only found one other Bright Eyes song. I started to search for more information on Bright Eyes online, and I was shocked to learn that Conor Oberst was only a year older than me(which seemed even more incredible since I was only 20 at the time).

The next day I headed down to the those record stores on the search for Bright Eyes. The first store did not have any. The one across the street provided me with A Collection of Songs and the Desaparecidos album.

I devoured these albums. A Collection of Songs is mostly composed of songs that Conor wrote and recorded in the basement of th house he grew up in. His song, "Solid Jackson" is about falling in love with the music of a local band, house shows, the scene, and getting lost in a great song, "And I stopped going to church a year ago, and my teachers think that my faith is gone, well I can do without the eucharist, because I found god in a solid jackson song!" This was an early example of why I love Bright Eyes, a few perfect lyrics, themes of feeling alone but wanting to belong, and the transformative power of music. All of this in one neat package with Conor's heartfelt vocals delivering the lines like he has something to say, and goddamnit he will scream them out if that's what it takes to get us to listen.

Desaparecidos is the rock band that Conor Oberst was in that released one excellent concept album about urban sprawl. The one time in my life that I was trying to obtain a fake ID was when they were touring for this album and the local show was 21+. Unfortunately, or fortunately, that show was canceled so I did not need to acquire a fake ID.

Over the next few months I would always check the Bright Eyes section when I was in a record store. I slowly acquired the Everyday and Everynight EP and the split EP with Son, Ambulance which includes the first Bright Eyes song that I ever heard.

Later that year I placed an order with Saddle Creek Records in order to get all of the Bright Eyes releases that I did now have yet. I also ordered The Faint's Danse Mababre based on a recommendation from a friend.

I saw Rilo Kiley live because they had released an album on Saddle Creek. I started listening to M. Ward and My Morning Jacket because they were musicians that Conor Oberst was playing with on a small east coast tour. I started listening to lots of other bands who were recording for Saddle Creek, bands like Cursive, The Good Life, Two Gallants, Now It's Overhead, Maria Taylor, Art in Manilla, Neva Dinova, and this year Tokyo Police Club.

Then Conor went and started his own record label, Team Love. Which is a label that has put out the last three Tilly and the Wall releases as well as the Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins album, and the soundtrack to the movie Shortbus. Those are all albums that I love and still listen to today.

In the liner notes of Noise Floor Conor writes that they use a "cumbersome" opener on the Bright Eyes albums as a way to scare off casual listeners. That practice is obviously missing from this week's self titled solo album put out by MERGE.

The album Conor Oberst opens with arguably the best song on the record, "Cape Canaveral". It has the introspective lyrics and themes of loss and the search for personal destiny that are trademarks of the greatest Bright Eyes songs.

Someone recently asked me what if the new Conor Oberst album was good. "It's great," I said, "But I don't know if you should take my word for it. Conor Oberst was my gateway drug."

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

MMA News: More on Rampage

Holli Griggs was driving in her car when she was sideswiped by Quinton Jackson's escalade on the day of the rampage. She was pregnant. The day after the chase she said that she and possibly her unborn child were injured in the incident. She had a miscarriage this weekend.

The vehicular manslaughter law in the state of California does not cover a fetus. Regardless of the effects of the criminal investigation this certainly does not bode well for Jackson in a possible civil case- I say possible only because it hasn't been filed yet. I would be willing to bet that we will see one in this instance.

The Newport Beach Daily Pilot quoted the District Attorney spokesperson as saying,
"Our office will make sure we take as much time as necessary to make a proper filing decision and including all evidence and medical information to make sure any charges that are filed are fair and accurate,"

There are currently no negotiations or plans for Quinton "Rampage" Jackson's next fight.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Music: This Week's New Releases

This week we have a couple of releases from the two most successful bands on the Saddle Creek label releasing albums on other labels.

Saddle Creek was essentially created to put out the early basement tape recordings by teenager Conor Oberst. The first official release of the label was Conor’s “Water” cassette tape was coincidentally was his last solo release before switching to the Bright Eyes moniker(along with Mike Mogis, Nate Walcott, and a revolving cast of musicians) of which of course he is most well known.

About 9 months ago there were two shows booked at the 400 Bar(which gets a thanks in the liner notes of the album) in Minneapolis which were billed as “Conor Oberst” and rumors at the time were that Conor and M. Ward were putting a band together. The reality of the situation was that Conor was prepping a band to go to Mexico with him to record the self titled “Conor Oberst” LP which comes out this week on MERGE which is the record label that currently puts out releases from the likes of M. Ward, She & Him, and The Arcade Fire.

I was able to pick up a copy of this album at the Seattle concert last week. It’s really good, and I will definitely have more on this release and Conor Oberst in general over the rest of the week.

The 21st release by Saddle Creek was The Faint’s debut, “Media” which is a much different sound than The Faint that we know and love today. That album was followed by “Blank Wave Arcade” which was followed by recent indie masterpieces “Danse Macabre” and “Wet From Birth”. When “Wet From Birth” was done recording the band was wined and dined by the major labels and in the end weren’t interested in the lack of freedom in dealing with the majors and they eventually released the album on Saddle Creek.

Earlier this year The Faint announced that their new album “Fasciniation” was to be released this summer, and that they created their own label, Blank.wav, to put it out.

This is huge news as The Faint are from Omaha and members of the band have been involved in Saddle Creek since the very beginning. Saddle Creek does not sign it’s artists to contracts, they just put music out one album at a time.

The Faint are listed on the alumni section of the Saddle Creek website along with bands like Commander Venus, Lullaby For the Working Class, and Rilo Kiley.

This has to be a bittersweet day for Saddle Creek Records. If these two albums were released on Saddle Creek then they would have easily been expected to be their top sellers of 2008.

Other notable releases this week:

Clinic releases “Funf” on Domino
Mars Black’s “Stay Black” which is his second release for Team Love(Conor Oberst’s label)
And for those vinyl junkies who are still stuck in 1994: Interscope is releasing No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom on vinyl this week. One can hope that it’s on brightly colored vinyl to go with the sound of a ska princess Gwen Stefani.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Music: Los Campesinos! to release a follow up to 2008's "Hold On Now Youngster" in...2008?

Los Campesinos! just released their first full length(which is worth checking out), oh roughly 5 months ago.

Today they announced that their follow up, We Are Beautiful We Are Doomed, will be released on October 13.

This was just posted on their MySpace:

It's no B-Sides and rarities or "songs that weren't good enough to be on the album cobbled together with some remixes and field recordings of Cardiff's indie scene"; it's ten all-new tracks that none of you have ever heard before.

Sure, we considered re-releasing a radio-edit of 'You! Me! Dancing!' and trying to get famous and scraping another tour out of that, but our parents unanimously agreed that if we did they would never speak to us again.

Rather, we are blessed with having an incredibly supportive record label in Wichita, and they are as excited about such freedom, frivolities and spontaneity in releases as we are.

So the tracklisting looks like this:

Ways To Make It Through The Wall
We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
Between An Erupting Earth And An Exploding Sk
You'll Need Those Fingers For Crossing
It's Never That Easy Though, Is It? (Song For The Other Kurt)
The End Of The Asterisk
Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown # 1
Heart Swells/Pacific Daylight Time
All Your Kayfabe Friends

All your Kayfabe friends?!?! Well I have never heard this song, nor have I seen the lyrics, but I'm all ready anointing it as the official song of this blog. Indie rock and wrestling all in one. I love Los Campesinos!