Where NY music fanaticism and NY Mets fanaticism need not be mutually exclusive. Next year is now, bitches!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Watching TNT Will Never Be The Same...

For New Yorkers/watchers of intelligent television/generations of law students, this is a sad day. RIP, Man.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Just Because It's the Holidays....

....Doesn't mean that there aren't a bunch of great Jan/Feb shows already onsale. In fact, one of the more interesting byproducts of the holiday season is that everybody completely forgets about early 2005 shows, and then the good ones sell out like hotcakes when folks awake from their holiday stupor. Translation? Now is as good a time as any to buy tickets. Some notables include...

Neko Case and the Sadies -February 13/14 at Bowery Ballroom

Two nights at Bowery always equals high demand. Her solo material is far more on the alt.country tip than her work with the New Pornos, but it's equally fantastic in its own right. Plus, she's coming off of a critically acclaimed live record with The Tigers Have Spoken. Did I mention that she's extremely hot? Guaranteed to sell out sooner than later.

Mission of Burma - January 14/15 at Bowery

Hipsters like MoB. A lot. I'd be very surprised if this didn't sell out.

The Constantines - January 8th at Mercury Lounge

Canada's answer to Fugazi. While I didn't quite care for their 2003 release Shine a Light as much as nearly everyone else did, it's still a very solid record, and these guys have large enough of a following to sell out the Merc.

The Dears - January 15th at Mercury Lounge

Canada's answer to a Brit-pop band circa 1994. Fronted by a dude who's been referred to in the press as "the black Morrissey," the few tracks I've heard are more like a "black Damon Albarn circa Parklife." Seriously. It's frightening/unsettling how much their frontman sounds like 'the cute one.' I haven't really listened to enough of their stuff to say yay or nay, but their fanbase in NYC is unquestionably larger than the Merc is capable of holding. Enough so that I'm shocked that this gig isn't at the Bowery. If you think you wanna go, act now.

The Sountrack of Our Lives - January 18th at Bowery Ballroom

They reportedly now need to include a (TSOOL) after their name in the U.S. because apparently Dick Clark has their band name trademarked to describe his radio shows/NYE parties and the like. I could launch into a discussion as to why this case would be a slam dunk for TSOOL if they weren't nice enough to oblige and decided to proceed to litigation, but I won't. A very fun Swedish band who worship at the altar of Rock Radio-circa 1968-1972, their 2002 disc Behind the Music was one of my favorite albums from that year, and easily one of the better purchases I've made while drunk. Their new record is expected in the States in early '05, and has been racking up solid U.K. reviews for the past 3 months or so. Lots of bitorrents can be found at Largehearted Boy. Opening act Inouk's self-titled debut record is more than a little uneven, but has enough good material to lead one to believe they won't be too offensive to listen to for a half hour, so show up early. This show might not sell out immediately, but I doubt there'll be tickets at the door either.

Low - February 3/4 at Bowery Ballroom

I find Low extremely boring, but I'm in the minority here. Will sell out.

Random Top Ten for Week of 12/26/04

Dearest apologies for blanking on this last week, but without further ado.....

Top Ten Most Bitchin' Scenes from Godfather Part II (aka-best, movie, ever)

10. Fredo's angry tirade post-Michael discovering he's a turncoat ("I was stepped over!...I'm your kid brother Michael!....I can handle things, I'm smaaaaht!!!").

9. Michael's laughably false sincerity in pretending to forgive Fredo at their mother's funeral.

8. Michael's expressionless door-closing in the face of Kate when she arrives to pick up the children.

7. Signor Roberto's overly sincere/frantic apologies to the young Vito Corleone upon realizing exactly who he is.

6. Hyman Roth getting offed at the airport under tight security after his solemn statement that he was an aging Jew, and yet was still denied entry to Israel.

5. The young Vito Corleone getting his revenge on the Sicilian don responsible for the death of his father, brother, and mother ("my father was Atonio Andolini....and this is for you!!!...(stab!)").

4. (Big smack on the lips) "I know it was you Fredo! You broke my heart....you broke my heart."

3. Frankie Pantangalie (sic) nearly getting murdered by the Rizzoto Brothers at what's actually Bar 7B in the East Village.

2. Any of the amazing scenes in which Hyman Roth lectures Michael about Moe Green, 'the business we've chosen!', or La Cosa Nostra being "bigger than U.S. Steel." They all tend to run together after awhile.

1. When Michael learns from Kate the awful truth about what really became of his future son (shudder).

"We're bigger than U.S. Steel."

Monday, December 27, 2004

And now for something completely random....

Billy Corgan is more or less dead to me. I won't question the fact that both Gish and Siamese Dream are incredible records that deserve every last bit of praise that's heaped upon them, and when you subtract "Porcelina of the Vast Oceans" and cut Disc 2 in half, Mellon Collie is plenty good. But Adore sounded waaay too much like a weak batch of Disintegration-era Cure B-sides, and Machines of God was downright irresponsible. Zwan was sort of neat for about ten minutes, but then I made the awful mistake of seeing them live (doubly egregious considering I could've seen Queens of the Stone Age at a dive bar in Old Bridge, NJ that night).

Then again, the only reason I cared about Zwan, or the last Pumpkins record for that matter, was that Jimmy Chamberlain was in the band. Never have other band members been less significant--the Pumpkins and Zwan consisted of BC and JC alone. Primarily a jazzbo before he hooked up with Billy Corgan in the late 80's, Chamberlain's licks always owed more to Buddy Rich and Gene Krupka than John Bonham, and the man's swingin' contributions always made for some of the most furious air drumming this side of 2112. Homeboy had some well documented problems with the needle in the mid-90's, but boy oh boy could he bring the pain on "Geek U.S.A."

So I'm looking at the January schedule for the Mercury Lounge, and notice that some band called the Jimmy Chamberlain Complex is playing there on January 13 and 20, and the band name is followed by the requisite 'ex-Smashing Pumpkins' label. Huh? A little research has revealed that Chamberlain has a solo record coming out on January 25th, with vocal contributions from Corgan, Rob Dickinson from Catherine Wheel, and Bill Medley, aka one half of the Righteous Brothers (!?). Apparently Chamberlain handles the skins, and co-writes the songs with another guy described as an "L.A. based songwriter who has worked with everyone from Macy Gray to Fred Durst." Meh. The two thirty second song clips on the website offer little to get excited about, although Chamberlain's signature drumming is very high in the mix.

This has a 1.9 Pitchfork rating written all over it, but if you think I won't be in attendance at the Mercury Lounge for at least one of those dates, you'd be sadly mistaken.

His auxilliary drumming on "Walking With Thee" and "The Second Line" was rumored to have brought the house down.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

The Wait Is On....

...for Wilco, Flaming Lips, and Sleater MuthaF'in Kinney on Friday. I've always believed the one week stretch between Christmas and NYE to be a very strange sort of limbo....lots of folks on vacation, those who aren't on vacation wish they were...and the whole week has no feel. Sort of like 5 Tuesdays in a row. On the other hand, it also serves as a fine opportunity to toy around with whatever Santa happened to leave under the tree.

Kyle from South Park isn't kidding when he says it's tough being Jewish on Christmas. But it may be easier in NYC than anywhere else due to the large number of Jewish musical/comedy/cabaret shows that crop up to compliment the usual rock shows.

Heeb is a fantastic magazine that's currently released four times a year. A lazy description of its contents would be 'VICE magazine for/by Jews,' although the writing is generally much better, and the tone is far funnier with less condescesion. In addition to publishing the magazine, they also sponsor citywide events and parties, and this past Tuesday found the latest installment of their "Storytelling" series at the always fahbulous Joe's Pub. The format usually entails a 10 minute opening monologue from the evening's given host (this time SNL writers Slovin and Allen, in the past, deadpan genius Todd Barry ), and then a series of 7-minute stories from Jews and honorary Jews; most of whom are NYC based comedians/writers.

While last Tuesday's edition was not quite as laugh out loud hysterical as the other two I've attended since 2003, it's still an excellent concept that hits far more often than it misses. Highlights included Girlcomic.net founder Becky Donohue discussing her 1/16th Jewishness, frequent VH1 talking head Bex Schwartz explaining how she ruined Christmas for most of her elementary school class, and singer songwriter Jill Sobule (whose latest disc Underdog Victorious is most excellent) regaling the audience with a handful of tunes. Slovin and Allen's opening monologue regarding the unconditional love/hatred celebrated by Jewish grandmothers was also a gas. Always an enjoyable time, and Heeb is a publication worth rooting for.

In addition to the aforementioned, I also managed to catch one night of what I believe is the 4th consecutive season of What I Like About Jew, a 90 minute collection of musical vignettes and comedy sketches which is the brainchild of former Rockapella member/Nomar Garciaparra look -alike Sean Altman and Rob Tannenbaum. It was funny enough to allow me to look past the fact that the latter is one of the head editors at Blender Magazine. The show was essentially Borscht-belt comedy taken to humorous extremes, featuring memorable odes to J-Date (where 'everybody's funny and everybody's smart'), circumcision ("a little off the top, that's all, that's all!"), "Reuben the Hook-Nosed Reindeer", and most notably-a hysterical anti-'Jews for Jesus' rant that nobody seemed to disagree with. There were also guest comics in the guise of Cindy Kaplan, Eric Schwartz, and the ubiquitous Todd Barry, who remains as funny as ever, despite the fact that he hasn't seemed to have changed his material much in the past two years. What I Like About Jew might not come around again until the holidays in 2005, but check it out when it does. Highly recommended.

Friday, December 24, 2004

T'was the night before Christmas....

....which to us Heebs of course means Chinese and seeing multiple movies for 10 bucks via sneaky methods at the Times Square megaplexes.

Sorry for the recent dearth of posts. I've been something as of late that I haven't been in ages-extremely busy.

Not much of note to report except that ESPN had provided a list of ballers to whom the Mets have recently offered minor league contracts. Among the more interesting names-The 43 year old Andres Galarraga, whom this blogger can actually recall fondly from the '86 Expos....perpetually stoned/injured/cranky righty Grant Roberts....and young righty Juan Padilla, who has goggles like Jason Phillips, a wind-up very similar to Freddy Garcia, and who I only saw pitch once last year-the Yankees threw him to the wolves for an inning or two in the famous Varitek-A-Rod brawlgame last season.

And speaking of which...homeboy finally resigned.

Here's hoping Santa hits all y'all up.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Have You Seen Him Have You Heard?

Ian Brown is playing at Webster Hall on February 26th, and my question is, does anybody care? And furthermore, can anybody who's seen (or read about) the guy in the past comment on whether or not he plays Stone Roses tunes?

His 4th album, Solarized is supposed to be released in the U.S. pretty soon, but other than that, the only un-Roses related material Americans can buy is his second album, the cheekily titled Golden Greats. I purchased a copy of it back in college because this girl I had a crush on told me it was good. She was wrong. Ian Brown may have had the golden voice to go with John Squire's golden licks, but having heard the solo material of both, they're pretty awful when they don't have each other's back. Brown's solo material is mostly faceless trip-hop with his voice turned up far too high in the mix. On the brightside, South's remix (with some help from James Lavelle) of the hokey Brown track "If Dolphins Were Monkeys" is pretty awesome.

If I could have it in writing that he was going to play "I Am the Resurrection" and "She Bangs the Drums" I'd consider going. Anyone else?

No joy in L.A.?

Now I'll never admit to being a huge L.A. Dodgers fan, so maybe there's something I'm missing here. But should this go through (and there's minimal reason to think it won't at this point)....

The Dodgers will lose starters Kaz Ishii and Brad Penny, 1B Shawn Green and reliever Yhency Brazoban. They've already lost '04 MVP candidate Adrian Beltre. They would get Javier Vazquez, who's already rumored to be going to the White Sox for Paul Konerko and maybe another bat or two, a submarine reliever in Mike Koplove, and Yankees prospects at 3B and Catcher.

So this leaves the Dodgers without two of their strongest run producers, and a starting rotation consisting of Hideo Nomo, Jeff Weaver....and? Am I missing something here, or are Paul DePodesta and Frank McCourt lost their minds?

Slow Tuesdays...

Seinfeld wasn't kidding when he said that Tuesday 'has no feel.' It's unquestionably my least favorite day of the week for that reason. It's neither here nor there.

Just a few thoughts on Pfork's Top 50 Singles of '04

It's nice to see them embrace the "iPod revolution makes it a-ok to cherry pick hot singles" argument with their most inclusive Top 50 yet, although I'm still finding it hard to swallow that Pfork staffers have actually listened to the Big and Rich record.

They trashed "Drop It Like It's Hot" (and it's parent album) in their We Are The World section, but it still somehow made #39. Does anything that Snoop has put out in the past decade really compare with "Gin and Juice"?

Though both were included in the Top 50, I can't find a single person on earth who thinks that Annie's "Heartbeat" (#1) is a better song than Annie's "Chewing Gum" (#11), but I suppose tastes can differ.

MMM will unquestionably be pleased to see Allison Goldfrapp at #43 (and next to Mclusky no less).

Monday, December 20, 2004

Sea Ya!

According to Coolfer, sincere Brooklyn chamber-pop band Sea Ray has called it quits. Judging from the last time I saw them, not a huge surprise. Maybe their label, Self-Starter Foundation, will now have more money to promote Palomar. I was unable to catch the latter's set at the Knitting Factory this past Saturday, but I assume it kicked sugary-sweet power pop ass.

And speaking of sugary sweet, remember the Simpsons episode where Bart and Milhouse take on Springfield Broadway-style after eating the squishee made "entirely of syrup?" I just had a "Mountain Dew-Live Wire" Slurpee and was unable to blink for ten minutes after it was done. Those things are so potent they should be illegal.

Mondays are lame....

Back in town after a lengthy weekend smack in the center of the questionably great state of Pennsylvania. I think I would have been completely bored and disenchanted out of my skull if I had attended Penn State, but apparently the younger sister loved it. It speaks volumes when one of the two record stores in State College is forced to advertise itself as a "hip, Greenwich Village-style, record store." They were playing the The Cure when I walked in, and I left with a 6 dollar copy of Echo and the Bunnymen's Flowers, so I suppose it's not all bad.

Cokemachineglow has posted the first installment of their Year End Extravaganza which covers 50 of the writers' combined favorite discs. You'll be able to check out individual staffer lists (including that of yours truly) on Wednesday.

Jason at OneLouder has been kind enough to post a link to a rip of the recent Doves single "Black and White Town." I've listened, and suffice it to say, it sounds very Doves, which can only be construed as a good thing. Lots of layers, a pleasant boom-thwack drum riff, and insistent piano with a lilting guitar solo towards the end. But (like Jason mentions) it also clearly sounds like it wasn't the cleanest of rips...coming off of the radio or the like....so it will sound a bit flat. But it's a nice snapshot, and I'm very much looking forward to the March release of Some Cities. I'm not sure what it means though when the NME says they want to 'crack America.' They certainly have no trouble selling out NYC venues when they visit, and have received mucho accolades from the U.S. press.

Curious to know what SoF listened to in his High School Jewish youth group days? Go check out Widespread Panic at RCMH in April. At their best, Widespread can sound like vintage Allmans pummeling their way through the first half of Physical Graffiti. At their worst, like the last time I saw them in 2000, one song will consist of a guitar solo in D minor for 45 minutes. Make sure you shower when you get home dude.

I have very little nice to say about the most recent Libertines album, but I loved the first one, and they were excellent when I saw them tour behind it. So this is unfortunate if it turns out to be true.

And yesterday I discovered for the first time the AMG's Writer's Bloc Page. It's literally a chance for each of the writers to write a short (some anyway) biograpy of themselves. Endless entertainment. Who knew that Stephen Thomas Erelewine (who looks like what you'd expect him to look like) will "always defend" Urge Overkill's Exit the Dragon, or that Francois Couture is devoted to cataloging "demanding music"? The latter might explain why the man has written 3 paragraphs about seemingly every Frank Zappa song ever put to wax (for example).

Thursday, December 16, 2004


Wow. I remember being in disbelief when I saw Tom Glavine first don the Mets jersey, but that's nothing compared to this. Now all we need to do is see if there's any creedence to Minaya's claim that free agent 'superstars' are ringing his cell left and right.

"I've been a millionaire since I was 24"

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

So I Saw This Band Called The Pixies Last Night.....

...and they were rather good.

For anyone trekking to the remaining shows, if last night's gig is an indication of what to expect in terms of set times, the doors open at 6:30, but the openers don't hit the stage until 8:00. My party showed up at 7:00, and it was almost too early; no lines whatsoever and still an hour wait before Broken Social Scene came on.

And speaking of Broken Social Scene, they were nothing short of phenomenal in a live setting. I've owned a burned copy of You Forget It In People for awhile now, but I've seldom listened to it, mostly because I thought my ripped MP3s were of a lesser quality for some reason. But now having returned to it, and having listened to the Woman's copy, I just realize that the production on the album is relatively crappy in comparison to the live show. They never had less than 7 people onstage, and for a few songs, as many as 10. Part of the fun is attempting to figure exactly who is playing what, as there's usually 3 to 4 guitars playing at once. The effect is a huge, shoegazer-ish, wash of sound that can bowl over unsuspecting audience members. The hippest looking of their guitarists is usually allowed to play all of the lead lines, and said lead lines are often piggybacked with trombone and trumpet. What seemingly sets them apart from a British shoegazer act (other than the fact that they're from Canada) is that their tempos are generally far swifter, and the band members spend much more time jumping around as opposed to staring at their feet. But they were completely awesome, and I'd love to see what they could do with a larger recording budget for their next album. They could use a little work on their stage banter though; concluding every song with "this is a dream! we love New York!" is lame.

The Pixies hit the stage at 9:15, and at last night's gig, they opted for the setlist in which a bevy of slow acoustic numbers kicks off the show. This meant opening with "In Heaven," cleanly seguing into the acoustic format of "Wave of Mutilation," followed by "Where is My Mind." The relatively slower portion of the show (maybe about 7 songs) concluded with a completely nuts take on "Vamos" which found Joey Santiago treating his Les Paul like Thurston Moore. This was followed by Frank Black finally strapping on his electric, and David Lovering knocking out the opening beats to "Bone Machine." From there on out, it was ON. I'd be lying if I said I didn't get a little anxious to hear some ROCK during the quieter moments which opened the show, but it's easy to forgive when the band proceeds to play "Bone Machine," "I Bleed," "Crackity Jones," and "Monkey Gone to Heaven" in rapid succession. Wow. Read that again.

Maybe the best way I can describe the Pixies show is that they played practically everything I wanted to hear, and every other song was greeted with a 'wow, I forgot about this one, but now I remember how awesome it is.' How many bands do you know can fill 90 minutes without a single justification for using the restroom? Not that a bathroom break was remotely possible; I have never seen the Hammerstein Ballroom as crowded as it was last night. Even the portion around the bars/t-shirts was completely flooded with people.

Little has been said about the Pixies light show, and while it certainly wasn't as extravagant as that of say....Radiohead, it unquestionably enhanced the evening. Lots of smoke machines, orange and red lights made the stage look like the pits of hell during "I Bleed," and the light guy certainly knew how to turn the stage RED whenever Frank Black sang the chorus to "Tame." Best of all was during "No. 13 Baby," when the lights made the band look like ghostly silhouettes against a pink/blue backdrop during the fade out jam. With regard to the crowd, lots of variety, but mostly hipsters in their late 20's, early 30's standing still or jumping on their heels. We were stuck behind an older, bearded dude with a bandana on his head who used every song to do that interpretative dance thing with his hands, but he was not the norm.

Frank Black can still howl with the best of them, David Lovering looks like the happiest man in show business, and if Kim Deal smokes as many cigarettes onstage for each tourdate as she did last night, she'll be lucky if she makes it to the New Year. Gripes would include an utter lack of stage banter, and the fact that it seemed like the band was almost too well-olied at times. There was seldom more than a five second pause between songs, and while this certainly kept the momentum high, it sometimes made the show feel rushed. And while I knew going into the show that based off of their 2004 setlists there was no way I was going to hear "Dig For Fire," "Down To the Well," or "Alec Eiffel," it's still slightly annoying that neither Bossanova or Trompe Le Monde were as well represented as the other Pixies albums. Still, all minor complaints. This show completely met my expectations.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

"I stand by the Mah-Keeee Moo-hoon!"

Sahwheet! While fruitlessly searching for a copy of Yo La Tengo's Today Is The Day! EP at Kim's on St. Marks, I stumbled across a used copy of Television's double live disc The Blow Up for a measly $9.99. Once described by RS scribe Rob Sheffield as Television's "most fiery rock and roll," it's one of those records that I've always wanted to own in the back of my mind, but never got around to purchasing. Until I found it for 10 bucks. The sound quality definitely sounds like an audience recording, and there's no knowledge in the skimpy liner notes to say where these songs came from (outside of the fact that it was all recorded in 1978), but it's the only official release of their sick "Satisfaction" cover, and there's geeetar antics all over the place. This is what The Strokes should aspire to sound like. Maybe my best 'used' pick up ever.

so thin and pasty...!

Top 10 For The Week of 12/13/04

I figured this would be as good a time as any to trot out my Top 10 Records of '04. I'm keeping the blurbs purposely short not only because I'm lazy, but because a far more thorough list should be available at Cokemachineglow at the beginning of next week.

1. Franz Ferdinand - S/T

Hugely popular need not mean hugely awful. Extremely catchy and now extremely fashionable. I'd be kidding myself if I said I hadn't listened to it more so than anything else this year.

2. Beta Band - Heros to Zeroes

These guys seriously pissed me off by breaking up. Still their best effort since the 3EP's by a longshot.

3. Interpol - Antics

Very strong sophomore effort. Fantastic production makes for much better headphone listening than their first record. Album three will need to exhibit some stylistic changes though...

4. Arcade Fire - Funeral

Overhyped, but still very good and quite heartfelt. An intrguing amalgamation of Interpol, Neutral Milk Hotel, dancepunk bands, and even The Polyphonic Spree, who still couldn't pull off "Wake Up" on their best day.

5. The Tragically Hip - In Between Evolution

Another fine justifaction for moving to Canada.

6. The Cure - S/T

Borrows liberally from their career highlights, but unquestionably their finest record since Disintegration. Robert Smith sounds angry again!

7. Mclusky - The Difference Between You and Me is that I'm Not on Fire

Wales's reigning clown princes of Albini-fueled ROCK. The band's onstage patter at their gigs is almost more fun to hear than the songs themselves.

8. The Futureheads -S/T

The overlapping vocals on their album have forced me to reconsider the quality of acapella groups (although I probably wouldn't like these guys nearly as much without their guitars), and their live show blew me away. I will never get "Decent Days and Nights" out of my head for as long as I live.

9. Sonic Youth - Sonic Nurse

Let's see you make a record this good when you're 50.

10. Scissor Sisters - S/T

Call me cheesy, I don't care. I like unbelievably catchy, Elton-inspired piano-pop, you don't have to.

4 Real?

So yeah....At this point, numerous sources have indicated that Pedro Martinez is a virtual lock to sign with the Mets for 4 years and the ridiculous sum of $56 million dollars. It hasn't taken long for the Boston beat writers to unleash the poison pens and accuse Martinez of being a selfish mercenary who equates respect with dollar signs, to which SoF says, duh.

To say that this deal is fraught with risk would be a gross understatement. Everybody knows that Martinez already has a serious tear in his labrum (something which plagued Leiter for the past two years), isn't worth much past 100 pitches, and has seen his fastball decline by a good 5 mph over the past three years, despite the fact that he was able to reach 95 on the gun with a relative degree of consistency in September. Then there's his obvious diva repuation, his well documented feud with Mike Piazza, and sensitivity issues (the 'back page' will show no mercy either).

And you know what? I could care less. Pedro Martinez will most likely be rockin' the blue and orange come April, and that's awesome. Omar Minaya put the money where his mouth was, and for once Freddy W. gave him the money and authority to back it up.

The Post's Mike Vaccaro actually sums up my feelings rather nicely. When he's bad (2004), he's still better than anyone the Mets have (now with the added plus of pitching in a pitcher friendly NL park), and when he's good, he's unbelievable. And above all else, he's never boring. He brings people out to the park, he'll cause the beat writers to salivate, and by easily being the best free agent pitcher on the market, lends the Mets an air of credibility and excitement that they haven't seen since Piazza joined up in '98.

It's unquestionable that 56 million dollars is an unbelievably high amount of money to pay a 33 year old pitcher with health issues, and it's totally possible that we could be looking at Mo Vaughn Mk. II. But provided he signs on the dotted line and passes a physical, The Mets have Pedro Martinez and you don't. And how cool is that?

Monday, December 13, 2004

"C'mon, c'mon, love me for the money...."

Always Amazin' is an excellent NY Mets rumor mill that collects the dirt so I/you don't have to. What they've just posted, courtesy of Boston Dirt Dogs is considerably interesting. It appears that the Amazins' have indeed offered a guaranteed 4th year to Pedro Martinez, and it just might be enough to get him to change his mind. Eh, what the hell. He's surly, unpredictable, loses significant oompa-pa after 100 pitches, and probably wouldn't get along with the rest of the team (Piazza esp.). But he'd benefit from pitching at Shea, the beat writers would have a field day, and he'd certainly bring folks out to the park while forcing Tom Glavine into the #2 spot where he belongs.

Now for the musical portion of this blog....Saturday night found me taking in a Ted Leo and the Pharmacists show at the Bowery. Often dubbed "the hardest working man in rock," he's a dude with no pretentsion whatsoever, essentially setting up his own gear onstage and happily playing along to Daft Punk on the P.A. before going into his first song. His latest record, the excellent Shake the Sheets, is purely comprised of bass/drums/guitar, and his live show is refreshingly the same way; three musicians, no keyboards, no samplers. Leo's enthusiasm is completely infectious, and the show was refreshingly loose; tempos were increased relative to album versions, and sometimes drummer Chris Shaw could barely keep up. Leo deserves credit for denying the audience the one song everyone was clammoring for ("The Ballad of Sin Eater"), and for playing the final 1/3 of Rush's "The Spirit of Radio" in the encore.

What made the show equally fascinating and frustrating is that apparently, Ted Leo has a lot of young fans. High school aged fans (this was a 16+ show if memory serves). We were up in front, and the atmosphere was surprisingly more akin to a high school sock hop with many bouncy teens oblivious to the crowd around them. I was flanked by a beefy security guard for the first two songs (an unusual Bowery Ballroom occurence), and he ended up ejecting a blonde haired dude who was drinking a beer sans wristband. Despite making me feel very old, I guess I can't fault the kids for listening to Ted Leo because he rocks, and it beats the hell out of listening to Linkin Park. Furthermore, most of them knew every word, which is more than I can say for myself as I'm relatively unfamilar with his Tyranny of Distance album, and it was heavily featured. But word to that Hot Topic-clad teenage chick with the gigantic ponytail who jumped in front of the girlfriend and I---I realize that you've probably been counting down the days until you could go completely nuts at a real rock concert, but It's only a matter of time before someone picks you up by that ponytail and swings you to your death.

I should talk. I'll probably be eighteen times as enthusiastic at the Pixies tomorrow night, but at least I have short hair.

This is Getting Typical

My roommate says that Mets GM Omar Minaya is like that HBO special "Hookers at the Point;" he's talking to everybody and everybody's ignoring him. Tyler Kepner reports as much in today's Times.

Apparently Sexson has gone the way of the dodo, Delgado has turned his affections towards Boston and/or Baltimore, and it's not like anybody actually expected to see Pedro Martinez in a Mets uni anyway. Then there's rumors of somehow disposing of Kaz Matsui in an effort to nab Orlando Cabrera or underutilized Sox 1B Doug Mentckweiz (sic). Whatever. Baseball season can't come soon enough for NY Giants fans.

Dodgers lefty Odalis Perez is more and more seeming like a Plan B, and considering his 3.25 ERA last year, not such a bad one. His 7-6 record is actually deceiving considering he literally had less run support in '04 than Tom Glavine.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

This Just In....

The 2004 Giants are even more unwatchable than the 2003 version. It's only the 3rd quarter, and yet I'm scared to watch the Jets at 4:15 for fear that my eyes might fall out of my skull after being exposed to 30 seconds of a real football game. Manning's stats? 4 completions, 15 attempts, 27 yards, 2 INTs as of the 3rd. It's not like he has much to work with from an offensive or defensive standpoint, but still.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Yes....But how do you defend against their claw?

Last night, I took in the third night of Yo La Tengo's 'Channukahpalooza' along with OneLouder , MegaMegaMega, and Peephole, as well as the Woman and the last member of our posse to be unfortunate enough to still attend law school. I makes no bones about the fact that I am a relative YLT neophyte, being only familiar with three of their several albums, but this fact did not make the show difficult to appreciate for what it was---completely excellent.

The evening was a considerably multi-tiered affair, beginning with a 4-piece called "The Pubes;" who were comprised of kids who each appeared to be 14 years old. They looked very similar to dudes I would have been friends with in my Jewish Youth Group days, and I think it's only a matter of time before they all start doing drugs and discover the Dead. Although I was unable to figure out exactly how they stepped into the considerable role of opening for Yo La Tengo (I'm guessing nephews of band members), they played basic "hardcore" rock befitting ambitious 14 year olds, and were amusing, if not exactly tight. Then again, let's see you try being tight when you're playing at 8 PM in front of a cadre of aging hipsters. They received a hearty round of applause, and the guitarist could actually shred when he felt like it.

This was followed up by a supposed 'reunion' of "The Shams," which the All Music Guide would lead you to believe were a trio of psychedelic rockers from Ohio who put out one record in 2001. In fact, they were a trio of middle aged women playing pleasant, harmony laden folk ditties that would've probably gone over very well with Indigo Girls fans. After getting over the shock of realizing that they were not a psychedelic rock band from Ohio, they weren't half bad, and regaled the audience with humorous stories about recording for Matador in the early 90's, and shooting a video where a "dead body" was actually played by two different people; each with noticeably different chest hair patterns. Can't ever recall seeing that one on 120.

The ladies were followed by the comedy stylings of Patton Oswalt, a unique comedian in the sense that he was actually hysterical; ruminating on the incredible gayness of the Metal Mania portion of VH1 Classic, and why Cheetos are the ultimate snack food, both in terms of taste and guilt factor. He also plainly knew his audience; tossing in a quick reference to The Magnetic Fields that had the masses howling.

But the audience was here to see what's quite possibly the most un-indie rock looking band in the history of indie rock, Yo La Tengo. They did not disappoint. I wrote for a Rutgers College weekly back in 1997, and the head arts editor reviewed their "I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One" with the simple phrase-"Yo La Tengo is the only band in the world that can do whatever the hell it wants without sounding stupid." That basically sums it up. Though perhaps most similiar in sound (if not spirit) to the Velvet Undergound, a YLT show covers a variety of bases, ranging from 10 minute feedback epics, whispery acoustic balladry, Nuggets-style fuzz organ freakouts, and stomping garage rock covers ("professional indie" is how MegaMegaMega accurately described the sound). All of this and more was on display last night, and it was quite simply impossible to be bored.

In addition to the core trio of guitarist/organist Ira Kaplan, drummer Georgia Hubley, and bassist James McNew, they were joined by a member of The Shams, an additional guitarist, and for the encore, an aging British dude with a thick cockney accent named Wreckless Eric who led the band through a variety of ragged covers ranging from Blondie's "Sunday Girl" to Simon and Garfunkel's "America" (big ups to MegaMegaMega for the Wreckless Eric link). Highlights included an incredibly animated (lots of Ira Kaplan guitar swinging antics) version of the feedback epic "I Heard You Looking" (from 1993's Painful), a spooky take on "Everyday" from And Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out, "Sudden Organ" (also from Painful), and a large percentage of tunes from the Electopura record. Fantastic Hannukah-themed band t-shirts too. I picked one up with the band's name over a drawing of a boy with a gefilite fish jar and a huge star of David. I took some photos too, which can be seen below. Unfortunately, Picasa apparently only lets you post one photo per entry, which is lame. Oh well. Check the aforementioned blogs for more info on this show.

And much love to the Woman for forcing me to listen to this fantastic band in the first place.

can't stop the rock.

Thurston Moore never looks this cool.

more rock.

check the menorah. took this one with a flash.

Thursday, December 09, 2004


Being someone who attends rock shows on a regular basis, this is the last thing any concertgoer expects to happen. I'll never admit to being a huge Pantera fan, but in an era where attributes such as 'technical skill' are viewed with disdain, "Dimebag Darrell" was a hell of a guitarist with legitimate ax-shredding skills. This is a sad day for metalheads everywhere, and will surely bring up some serious questions regarding security at rock concerts.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

iTunes Is Wacky....

So I'm poking around the "Alternative" portion of the iTunes music store for kicks, and under the "Just Added" section, there's a copy of Echo and the Bunnymen's Porcupine. Good record. I already own it. Except it carries one of those obnoxious and inexplicable "partial album" labels. I click on the record, and in this case, "partial album" means one song! You get to hear opening salvo "The Cutter," which is no big deal because it's already available on the iTunes "partial album" version of the Echo box set, Crystal Days. To reiterate, the "Just Added" Porcupine consists of one song you can already get elsewhere. Yeah. Can anybody with a better understanding of iTunes than I explain this, other than the possibility that maybe Steve Jobs is just on crack?

Apple, like, totally has something against my band's third album, mate.

Courtesy of Vandelay Industries....

SoF was the happy recipient of Season 3 of Seinfeld yesterday for the first night of Chanukah. No word yet on whether Keith Hernandez contributes to the audio commentary on "The Boyfriend," but can you imagine ("man, this acting was horrible. simply horrible. i remember the time when I was on the Cardinals...Herzog wouldn't never stood for this...shut up Fran.")?

Speaking of Hannukah nothing like some clean, animated Hannukah humor.

Stylus has extended their Perfect Moments in Pop feature to include Villier's Terrace by Echo and the Bunnymen from their Crocodiles album. Unquestionably a good tune, but if you ask me, the positively stabbing guitar licks after Ian McCulloch sings "someday when the sky goes blaaaahhhaaccck" in "All That Jazz" is a more perfect pop moment.

Baseball news! ESPN is reporting that the Yanks have recently signed feisty lead-off dude/2B Tony Womack and starting pitcher/perpetual frowner Jaret Wright to join their cadre of overpaid mercenaries. Both players had career years in 2004, with Wright posting a 15-8 and 3.28 ERA after spending much of 2003 as an innings eater for the Padres after starting Game 7 of the '97 World Series his rookie season. Wright also holds the unofficial SoF record for largest chaw to be consistently chewed by a major league pitcher. Seriously. Dude's gonna have mouth problems if he keeps that up.

And as expected, the Post is reporting that Richard Hildalgo was not offered arbitration , and will likely wind up on Texas or the ChiSox. Meanwhile, Adam Rubin is reporting that Moises Alou is already being penciled in as his replacement. Considering Alou batted .293 with 39 HR and 106 RBIs last year, he's a considerable offensive upgrade from Hidalgo. But many of those HR came in the cozy confines of Wrigley, and he's getting on in years. Still, should this come to fruition, no real gripes here. Just don't shake his hand. And Al Leiter is practically a Marlin now. Again, no gripes, but now I'm gonna need a new uni.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Chappy Chanukah!

Hey folks. Sorry about the complete and utter lack of posts the other day. The Giants left me too sad to move my fingers.

The hipster tag sale at Tonic this past Sunday was clearly more heat than light. Lots of crappy homemade jewelry, some crappy homemade baby clothes, sock puppets, and a collection of used CDs from OM that found them seriously cleaning house. Fortunately, nothing was more than 4 dollars. The only thing I purchased was an unopened copy of Amateur Night In the Big Top which was the considerably maligned Shaun Ryder (ex-Happy Mondays) solo project released last year. I didn't even realize it had been released in the States. It was universally hated by the usually forgiving U.K. press, and it's not hard to see why. A collection outdated beats over Ryder's now completely unintelligible warblings (akin to that of a stroke victim), it's not worth listening to more than once. It also only cost me two dollars.

This Hannukah is shaping up to be a rather musical one indeed. Thursday night will find SoF in attendance at night 3 of Yo La Tengo's "Hannukahpalooza" at Maxwells in Hoboken. Despite having been purchasing rock music on a fairly regular basis since the age of 12, only recently have I become enamored with YLT. Better late than never. The Hannukah shows are supposedly a little different than the average YLT shows....lots of rarities and guest appearances from comedians and whatnot. I'll just be happy to hear a few songs off of I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One and "Double Dare" off of Painful. I'll be the dude in the Al Leiter jersey.

Night 5 of Hannukah finds SoF at the Bowery for a Ted Leo and the Pharmacists gig. Ted's not Jewish, but his onstage enthusiasm could light a menorah from hundreds of miles away.

But the 8th, final, and easily most crazy night will be taking place at the Hammerstein Ballroom for Los Pixies. Also no Jews in that band, although there's so many members of opening act Broken Social Scene that they probably have a Heeb in there somewhere.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Everyone Loves a Random Top 10 List

A new addition to the blog - The Weekly Random Top 10 List

For the week of 12/6/04

Top Ten Songs the Blogger is Most Likely to Rock on the Juke At Hi-Fi on Avenue A.

1. Stone Roses - I Am the Resurrection
2. Stooges - Loose
3. Charlatans UK - One to Another
4. Happy Mondays - Dennis and Lois
5. The Dirtbombs - If You Can Want (Smokey Robinson cover)
6. New Pornographers - The Laws Have Changed
7. Chemical Bros. - Private Psychedelic Reel
8. Wilco - Monday
9. Weezer - Tired of Sex
10. Rolling Stones - Jigsaw Puzzle

Comment Away.....

I recently altered the settings on this blog to allow anybody, as opposed to Blogspot users alone, to comment. Go crazy.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Surely I'm Clairvoyant....

Who caught the O.C. last night? I wrote this back in November.

I think it's funny how the Bait Shack never looks sold out, and yet a mediocre "indie"-pop act like the Killers can sell out two nights at Irving Plaza in a day. And are we really supposed to believe that the dark-skinned, renegade groundskeeper kid who's going to royally screw things up between Ryan and Marissa is a Killers fan? C'mon now.

All the bands rockin' the Bait Shack are already huge within their respective circles....Josh Schwartz needs to get a band like X-Wife or Comets on Fire in there (just think...."hey Summer....I just scored two tickets to Comets on Fire! Wanna go?). That would freak the kidz out.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Musical Tidbits....

Coolfer has posted a link to #50-#25 of Blender Magazine's top 50 records of '04 (24-01 being available in the magazine itself). Well, I guess you can't accuse them of being eliteist, but a quick glance at the list goes a long way towards explaining why I'll only read Blender on a train.

It was recently brought to my attention that Tonic is hosting a Tag Sale this Sunday described as a 'hipster holiday shopping dream come true.' Nice.

The December 11th Ted Leo and the Pharmacists gig at the Bowery Ballroom has been sold out for quite some time. But ever the People's Rocker, he's added a second, not sold out show on Sunday the 12th. Furthermore, it's 16+, so you can expose your younger siblings to the joy of watching a lanky, balding 34-year old completely destroy everything in his path with the ROCK. His recent Shake the Sheets isn't nearly as awful as some indie sites have made it out to be (big fanbase = hopelessly high expectations).

But if you need to get bowled over by the ROCK sooner, Isis is playing a Bowery show with These Arms Are Snakes this Saturday. All you need to know about TAAS is that they toured with the Blood Brothers, although their recent (and extremely cumbersomely titled) Oxeneers or the Lion Sleeps When its Antelope Go is a pretty excellent scream-o/intelligent hardcore in it's own right. Isis are a brutally heavy band who write 8 minute epics suitable for when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. I have yet to hear their recent Panopticon, but I assume it would kick my ass. There's some dude opening this gig named Tim Hecker too, but I have no idea who he is. Chances are he's heavy. I'd probably attend this show had I not already made plans.

And finally, 12/2/04 is the nine year anniversary of 12/2/95. Phish played the New Haven Coliseum that night, and produced the greatest version of the song "Tweezer" that this reformed Phishhead ever saw (and I saw them play that song roughly 15 times). The rest of the show was subpar by Phishy standards, but for 14 minutes in the second set, my mind was completely blown to pieces. Whatever. I'm still not too bummed that they called it quits.

Well, duh.....

Not exactly a shock, and not nearly as cool as Keith Hernandez's "white devil" grand jury testimony in the 80's.

But with regard to Bonds, is the roof about to cave in? I doubt it.

I used to bat lead-off Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

It's Not Like Jigga Needs the Dough.....

I've always liked Jay-Z. He's one of the few mainstream hip-hop artists whose full length albums contain a proportionately larger amount of actual songs to skits, and those songs tend to be quality; featuring top flight producers and rapping from Jay-Z as opposed to the proverbial guest MCs.

That said, he's hardly immune to the massive egotism that often clouds the mind of superstar MCs, causing them to do stupid things. Case in point - his 're-release' of "The Blueprint Volume 2: Tha Blessing and Tha Curse," which was merely the original release (one of his weaker to begin with) minus a bunch of tracks and skits. Why would you expect your fanbase to pay again for the same record with fewer songs? Boggles the mind.

Still, far worse is his recent decision to go toe to toe with Linkin Park in "MTV's Ultimate Mash-Ups;" currently the strongest indicator that this whole 'mash-up' thing has gotten completely out of hand. Even in a current world in which Modest Mouse and Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out" can sit next to Jessica Simpson on "Now That's What I Call Music! #17," the "Numb/Encore" mashup is climbing the charts at an alarming rate; lest anyone thought that Linkin Park were going to be left for dead.

However, Jigga's apparent adoration of easily the most whitebread "metal" band in America is just another occurence of a phenomenon which I could never understand; mainstream rap artists' love of shitty nu-metal bands.

Both Ice Cube and Nas have lent their vocal talents to Korn albums. Method Man has rapped with Limp Bizkit, and DJ Premier has even remixed them. I once read an interview with Wu-Tang's U-God saying how much he "loved those Linkin Park niggas." What gives?

I'm guessing a lot of this has to do with the fact that it's not like Jay, Nas, and Meth have time to go rooting through back issues of Magnet or read Pitchfork to see what some lanky 22-year old white kid has to say about them. Therefore, most of the rock they get exposed to is what's on the radio, or played alongside their videos on the MTV. Who knows. To someone who's known nothing but beats and microphones for their entire lives, maybe adding incompetent raps to heavy guitars does somehow seem kind of revolutionary. Maybe mainstream rappers equate album sales with skills and/or respect. Linkin Park have unquestionably sold a lot of records.

Still, that lets Jigga man off too easily. He once did an unplugged set with The Roots as a backing band for cryin' out loud. He's enough of a talent that he should be able to smell mediocrity a mile away, and now he's spreading himself far too thin (especially for a guy who's supposedly retired from the rap game). Homeboy needs to take a cue from Jurassic 5 and engage in some 'quality control' to assure that this never happens again.


I'm kinda at a loss for words here. Kudos to Gawker for the dirt.