Thursday, September 30, 2010

Personal Favorite: The National and The Drive-By Truckers

A good dose of music invades the Circle City this weekend with the National playing at the Egyptian Room Saturday night and the Drive-By Truckers taking the stage at the Vogue on Sunday night. A couple of months ago I was gung ho for getting out to both shows, but am favoring just the National on Saturday night for now (Unless Patterson Hood shows up at our doorstep with a case of PBR and tells us to get our asses down to Broad Ripple Sunday).

Ticket information, visit here:

And here's couple favorites from both bands. "Mistaken For Strangers" by the National rattles along thanks to fantastic percussion from Bryan Devendorf  and Patterson Hood paints a picture perfect America in his lyrics to "The Righteous Path" ("A whole lot of debt, and a whole lot of fear."). Make sure you take a righteous path and get downtown or to Broad Ripple this weekend for some great music.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

David Bowie's Expanded 'Station To Station' Special & Deluxe Editions Released By Virgin/EMI

Just throwing this out there because the name of the website here IS named after a favorite David Bowie album of mine. 1976's "Station To Station" has been released as an expanded edition. Originally, it was an album released while in transition between his Thin White Duke days and his collaborations Brian Eno in Berlin ("Low, "Heroes"). "Station To Station", in it's original form, is rightly recommended by me for six winning songs out of six (Like Dustin Pedroia on a good night). "TVC 15", "Golden Years", and "Wild Is The Wind" are all strong taking the white boy soul he used on "Young Americans" and turning himself over into a cold crooner with music that matched his new foray, from disco to avant-garde minimalism.

The new Edition features remastered Dolby 5.1 sound and a live album from Nassau Coliseum in 1976. Here's to "Station To Station", the album this blog was named after. Cheers!

David Bowie's Expanded 'Station To Station' Special & Deluxe Editions Released By Virgin/EMI

The year was....1970

Random playlist for 1970:
1. George Harrison-What Is Life
One of my favorites by George solo. Like it better than "My Sweet Lord"
2. Nick Drake-Hazey Jane I
Nick Drake gets jazzy, in a miserable way.
3. The Guess Who-Share The Land
I actually like a lot of the Guess Who during this era.
4. Grateful Dead-Box Of Rain
Fantastic start to the Grateful Dead's finest album.
5. Black Sabbath-War Pigs
"Generals gathered in their masses..."
6. James Brown-It's A Man's Man's Man's World (Live)
More proof James Brown was a legend any way you cut it.
7. Credence Clearwater Revival-Who'll Stop The Rain
At a time when CCR chugged out singles effortlessly.
8. James Taylor-Fire And Rain
"Seen lonely times when I could not find a friend..."
9. Van Morrison-And It Stoned Me
Grab you fishing poles.
10. John Lennon-Power To The People
Just an upbeat winner from John's first solo offering. Life after the Beatles.
11. The Velvet Underground-Sweet Jane
Whether it's the Cowboy Junkies or the original from VU, always a winner.
12. The Supremes-Stoned Love
One of the last girl group songs to hit #1 on R&B as seventies saw them disappear, unfortunately.

7 Albums worth revisiting from 1970:
1. Nick Drake-Bryter Layter
2. Credence Clearwater Revival-Cosmo's Factory
3. Neil Young-After The Gold Rush
4. Van Morrison-Moondance
5. Grateful Dead-American Beauty
6. Simon & Garfunkel-Bridge Over Troubled Water
7. The Doors-Morrison Hotel

Random Quote From a 1970 Song:
"Sleep all day, out all night/I know where you're goin'/I don't think that's actin' right/You don't think it's showin'"
The song....

Random Thought On A Song From 1970:
I don't think their has ever been such a heartbreaking song including an imaginary friend. With "After The Gold Rush", Neil Young helped create the ever popular singer/songwriter genre that took hold for the rest of the decade. "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" lumbers along like someone who is having troubles coming to their senses and having troubles realizing that yes, only love can break your heart. When Young sings "I have a friend I never see/He hides his head inside a dream" has always made me feel the narrator is delusional and wise enough to know " did it feel to be alone?" Saint Ettiene covered the song in 1990 with a more upbeat and updated song (also a great listen in it's own right) but the original still holds the prize for honest heartbreak in a weary fashion. Young went on to abandon the genre as the decade went on (by "Tonight's The Night", he brought a whole new definition to the word weary) and other artists jumped on board to a point of over saturation. But it's tough to pinpoint a few songs that make you want to put your arm around the singer and give them reassurance they are not alone. "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" is one of those few rare moments.
"When you were young and on your own..."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesday's Top Ten: Nirvana Songs

Seventeen years ago today, Nirvana released their much anticipated In Utero album on September 21, 1993. Nineteen years ago this upcoming Friday, September 24th, Nirvana released their revolutionary "Nevermind". Today we celebrate the release of those two studio albums with two top tens. The first, station to station's top ten favorite singles. Secondly, station to station's top ten favorite "non-singles". In a nutshell, all of these songs stand the test of time pretty well and serve as a cornerstone of the early nineties alternative rock explosion. (Also included is the excellent "Unplugged" album released in November of 1994). So in celebration of the Mighty KC and his trio from Seattle, here's two top tens, along with poll questions for the week.

Top Ten Singles:
1. All Apologies
2. In Bloom
3. Come As You Are
4. Aneurysm
5. Smells Like Teen Spirit
6. About A Girl (Unplugged)
7. Heart Shaped Box
8. Sliver
9. Lithium
10. You Know You're Right

Top Ten "Non-Singles"
1. Scentless Apprentice
2. On A Plain
3. Breed
4. Where Did You Sleep Last Night (Unplugged)
5. Rape Me
6. The Man Who Sold The World (Unplugged)
7. Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle
8. Drain You
9. Lake Of Fire (Unplugged)
10. Polly

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Music Review: The Walkmen-Lisbon

The Walkmen-Lisbon
It's always nice watching a band that you like grow. I latched onto the Walkmen after seeing them on Lettermen back in 2004-05 when they performed "Little House Of Savages" off their album "Bows + Arrows" and loved the energy and lead singer Hamilton Leithauser came off to me as an angry Rod Stewart, if Rod Stewart had chosen a punk route instead of a kitschy "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" detour through the seventies. "Bows + Arrows" was a fine album, if not overwhelming, and showed some promise. What followed was a more folksy affair and less awe inspiring "A Hundred Miles Off" and an album with some strange covers that didn't go over very well "Pussy Cats". Thinking all that promise may be lost, they ended up releasing a gorgeous album full of gracious mystique with "You and Me" in 2008. It showed a band refocusing and playing on strengths they had all along, disjointed percussion, moody guitars lines, a grave site organ, and of course, Leithauser, whose vocals had gone from an angry young man to more of new millennium crooner. Songs like "The Blue Route", "In The New Year"  and "Four Provinces" showed a band combining those strengths and showcased even more promise with their dark candlelit songs of quiet, drunken despair and total intimacy.

So that leads us to the sixth proper album from the Walkmen, "Lisbon". The Walkmen continue a winning streak with a set of songs that are just as engaging as on "You and Me". The title was inspired to some trips the band  took to the Portugal capital of Lisbon, and you can feel some of that Portuguese romanticism dripping through these tracks whether it be the huge, ethereal, and lazy horns on "Stranded" that back Leithauser as he works his way to a chorus "I'm stranded, and I'm starry eyed." or the liquid horns that sound like the belong on a street corner in Lisbon in "Follow The Leader".

Those two songs don't mean they've totally abandoned the dark alley streets of the urban life we've come to admire these guys "torch songs" to come from (which oddly, the beautiful understated "Torch Song" is one of the great offerings on "Lisbon"). Opener "Juveniles" continues in the same drunken musical vein as the Walkmen's prior album with Leithauser crooning "You're one of us or one of them", perhaps a call to what a lot of people feel about the band you're either with them or not. And "Blue As Your Blood" works the same guitar lick over and over while creating this immeasurable wall of sound behind it. It's production value is so warm and inviting that you can't help but get lost in it's immediate aura. The Walkmen have done sad and lonely so well on "Lisbon" and "You and Me" that they've got the formula down now that these feelings lyrically and musically comes off effortlessly. It's become their second hand nature.

Leithauser plays loser with no hope left to perfection. On "Victory" Leithauser sees unattainable greatness, "Victory, is right beside me" and while "Woe Is Me" comes off as upbeat surf rock with a sunny guitar line and drums that belong in a Jan and Dean song, it is really another great sad, self loathing anthem these guys churn out on each album. My favorite here without question is "Angela Surf City". It gives a burst of energetic euphoria very reminiscent to past triumphs such as "The Rat" and "In The New Year", but yet stays it's own entity all at the same time. As Leithauser screams "You took the high road, I couldn't find you" over another surf rock beat, a splattering of cymbals and all out guitar frenzy, I just smile and think "This is the Walkmen at their finest...right here."

What's great and a bit different about "Lisbon" is that musically it is reaching for new heights, a huge sound that isn't trying to encompass an arena or a stadium, but a sound that can be both big and intimate at the same time. With experience under their belts they've mostly succeeded at doing this here and that is the biggest difference I can see between this and "You and Me". But with that, they've unfortunately lost some of the mystique that kept you engaged and bringing you back to that album. It's a trade off, but it's essential if you want to see a band grow and "Victory" may just be the calling card for those ambitions. Lyrically, Leithauser is still the bummed out crooner fans have come to adore. "Throw another dime in me my friend/And I'll sing a song I know for thee" he starts off on "Stranded". We wouldn't have it any other way Hamilton.

Grade: A

JHO Picks:
Angela Surf City
Blue As Your Blood
Woe Is Me
Torch Song

  The Walkmen - Stranded by Weallwantsomeone

  The Walkmen - Woe Is Me by IndieRockReviews

  The Walkmen - Blue as Your Blood by AMIM

  The Walkmen - Juveniles by antwake

Friday, September 17, 2010

Idaho (50 Songs For 50 States)

Not a potato, but a candy bar.
Idaho. Potatoes. Boise State. Potatoes. Thanks to Google analytics, I can see where in the country and world I'm getting traffic from. Idaho, you're the only state besides Wyoming who hasn't visited yet. So let's try to wheel someone in from Idaho. I love that aho brought up the fact that at the beginning of Lynyrd Skynyd's "What Your Name" they mention "nine o'clock in Boise, Idaho." She suggested I use it for 50 states, and I'm happy that she looks out for me in these ways along with cooking a mean baked spaghetti. But we're gonna have to go with the obvious "Private Idaho"  from the B-52's. The song itself has done a great deal in promoting tourism in the Gem State.

Take this Saturday for instance in Shelly, Idaho. They are celebrating Idaho Spud Day. You may be asking yourself what exactly is Idaho Spud Day like I myself did. Courtesy of, here's a tidbit of information:
Add Tug-Of-War to list of Spud Day activities

Spud Day is a celebration of the potato in Shelley, Idaho. The potato has come to be thought of as the crop of Idaho, but the state actually has a number of other important crops: wheat, hay, oats, barley, beans, peas, sugar beets, and fruits. Nonetheless, the spud gets the hurrahs with a festival that began in 1927 and includes a parade, potato-picking and tug-of-war contests, and, of course, potatoes fried, baked, scalloped, mashed, etc. Five thousand free baked potatoes are given to visitors.

Did you get that. 5,000 free baked potatoes are given away at Idaho Spud Day each year. And it's tomorrow folks. If we were in the area, we would have to swing by Shelley for this special event. And I'm not poking fun, this looks like a generally good time....and there are potatoes involved. So enjoy your weekend, and if I get a visitor here from Idaho make sure you head out to Shelley and have a baked potato for me.

In the meantime, get down with Fred Schneider and the gang:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sugar-Copper Blue (JHO Hall Of Fame)

Sugar-Copper Blue (1992)
After a couple of solo efforts, Bob Mould's short lived band Sugar popped like someone shooting a rifle onto the alternative music scene in 1992. It was fitting, Mould had been name checked by Kurt Cobain for Mould's work with underground band Husker Du in the eighties. While Cobain and the rest of Seattle was celebrating their takeover of American alternative music, and mainstream music for that matter, isn't it fitting that Mould had his brightest moment, if not as commercially successful, at that same time?

"Copper Blue" is perhaps the most shiny, bright, and energetic body of musical work I've ever loved. Each song bristles with energy and the harmonies are luminous. Like pop/hard-rock cotton candy. What holds it together and keeps itself in your collective memory is that the songwriting is just so damn good. My friend Trapper once posed the question to me, "Is there a better album that starts off with five knockout songs like "Copper Blue"? The answer is no (Maybe "The Joshua Tree", but it holds a different energy than what you have with "Copper Blue".)

The 5 starters:
1. "The Act We Act"-Starts the album off with Mould's grunge like guitar, drums and bass make an appearance then races into a sunny "faux" chorus. Mould stately sings "The act we act is wearing thin...I think we wear it out again." It's the perfect opener, partnering his melancholy lyric content with great illuminating, hooks. It is sometimes forgotten because the next four songs strike gold.
2. "A Good Idea"-The most sinister of the bunch with David Barbe's bass line rumbling along and jabs of guitars pushing in. A couple goes to the ocean on a warm summer night when the air is "thick with the smell of temptation." He then proceeds to "push her down into the water" as she "didn't fight it all". It's a lyrically morbid piece, but Mould pulls off the narration in a ornery state and the music chugs along a jet ski. The best drowning murder of all time, with a head bopping, nervous energy to hide the gory mischief going on. A gem.
3. "Changes"-The power pop treat of the bunch. Big guitar chords crunch along as Mould looks for a new lease on life. He's been let down, "I’m accustomed to your deception/Comes the rule with no exception" and wants someone new "And if I found someone who thinks/That they’ll be true to me/I really wouldn’t want to change it." The whole guitar solo at the end is fantastic as the song whistles by and settles on holding onto a note at the end before.....
4. "Helpless"-....busting into more perfect power punk on "Helpless". Here's where the shiny comes in full blast as guitars sound like rays of sunshine and the rhythm section moves things along at the right speed, all undermining the down and out lyrical nature of the song. The yin vs. the yang. As Mould sings "Time after make me feel so helpless", you could care less about his state of mind as you sing along and let the music warm you over.
5. "Hoover Dam"-Starting with backwards loops of keyboards and drums and then erupting into a drum roll, Mould delivers perhaps the most memorable song on "Copper Blue". His trademark melancholy was masked on the first four songs by the bright energy of the songs. Here, Mould gives into positive vibes. "Hoover Dam" is like the wind that washes over him. A nice acoustic guitar is the muscle of the song with guitar wah-wahs and a keyboard solo all incorporated. It's unique and always empowering to hear. The simple line "Standing on the edge of the Hoover Dam" near the end before fading back into the backwards loops that mark the beginning of the song is just icing on perhaps my favorite first half of an album ever.

This doesn't mean the rest of "Copper Blue" is bad by any means. "The Slim" is a slow burner that somehow retains a great deal of energy with its own brand of menacing guitars. "Slick" is warped fun, like being on an amusement ride that you're enjoying but could get "sick" at any moment. "Fortune Teller" has a great guitar line and a sort of memorable chorus and "Man On The Moon" ends the album on a lighter swaying note with Mould playing the part of the man inducing you to sway your arms as he serenades, "It's the man on the moon, saying goodnight to you..." A great ender.

Oh, and "Copper Blue" has one of the best acoustic guitar based, break up songs of all time. It's the one that should have, could have been huge. "If I Can't Change Your Mind" is sunshine, sixties power pop that belongs on best of lists everywhere based on whimsical, energy alone. "I guess you're leaving soon, I guess you've had your fill/But if I can't change your mind then no one will." Breaking up has never been so fun. Absolutely wonderful stuff, even the guitar line at the end he's had trouble duplicating the couple times I've seen Mould in concert.

Critics mention albums being watershed moments in molding music for future generations. Here's an album where you can just throw out that theory for a moment and enjoy it for face value, for unabated energy, for the best music Mould has ever committed to tape at one time. I've never met anyone who has heard a song or songs from "Copper Blue" and disliked it. It's a benchmark for how I want smart, energetic music to sound to me. It came out at a time when I was just loving a lot of new music on the "alternative" scene and is one of the few survivors from that time period. Without hesitation, I would throw "Copper Blue" into my top ten albums of all time, anytime. It's just that good and so refreshing eighteen years after its release. In my book, absolutely essential.

  Hoover Dam - Sugar by D-Waves

  Sugar - If I Can't Change Your Mind by misterwilson

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday's Top Ten: Fire and Rain Combo

Here's ten classic artists putting together a combo of fire and rain songs. My personal favorite combo deal here would have to go to the Cult for "Fire Woman" and "Rain". I could search all night for counterparts for other songs with fire or rain/storm in the title, but we'll go with these ten for the greatest "Fire and Rain" combos of all time. And as a bonus the best fire AND rain wrapped into one...why of course James Taylor has that base covered.
James Taylor-Fire And Rain.
The Ten Big Combos:
1. The Cult-Fire Woman/Rain
2. Jimi Hendrix Experience-Fire/Rainy Day, Dream Away
3. John Mellencamp-Paper In Fire/Rain On The Scarecrow
4. The Cure-Fire In Cairo/Prayers For Rain
5. Ryan Adams-Enemy Fire/Carolina Rain
6. R.E.M.-Fireplace/So. Central Rain
7. The Doors-Light My Fire/Riders On The Storm
8. The Rolling Stones-Play With Fire/Rain Fall Down
9. The Jesus and Mary Chain-Catchfire/Happy When It Rains
10. Peter Gabriel-Walk Through Fire/Red Rain

Monday, September 13, 2010

New Music Reviews: Interpol-Interpol

I could begin, well actually I am beginning, with comparisons to Interpol's stellar 2002 debut "Turn On the Bright Lights." But I'm not going to do that. That's what paid critics get to do and I'd like to try to judge the new album without those obvious comparisons. I'll leave it at "Turn On the Bright Lights" is definitely one of the best debuts, maybe in my top four, of the past ten years and still sounds great, sometimes better than great, than it did in 2002. And as my brother recently pointed out, it contains one of the great, ridiculous lines of the past decade, "I feel like love is in the kitchen with a culinary eye", from "Obstacle 2". Touche Adzilla.

I feel cleansed. I've got the sidebar out of the way in the first paragraph. A few things strike me about Interpol's self-titled fourth release. One is that these guys love the pattern they've created and have got it down to a science. Simple nervy guitars compete with a signature pounding bass and drums that make you want to get up and dance in a strange violent manner, and Paul Banks morose vocal delivery and completely icy and detached lyrics, which some have compared to Ian Curtis (I can buy the comparison). It's all been tied up with New York, fashionable chic. It's been a winning formula. Maybe I'd like to see some growth or something a little outside the box (they have added keyboards a little to the mix), but sometimes you stick to your butter...and bread. Or reverse that. If you like Interpol, like I do, then the pattern will suffice, if only the wow factor turned up a little more on this and the last two releases, you wouldn't feel the need to defend the occasional dull moments that pop up now and again on an Interpol release.

Carlos has left the building.
To the songs themselves, there are some winners, especially on the front side of the affair. "Success" rattles your eardrums with it's eerie guitars and if you've got the bass pumped enough some trademark excellent bass lines from Carlos Dengler. Dengler is the glue that keeps this machine flying and with his departure after completion of this album, well, he's gonna be missed. Paul Banks feels he's succeeded but he's not gonna show you...2010's most modest song lyrially I suppose. "Memory Serves" keeps up a winning pace with a cunning backbeat of strings combined with Banks artful lyrics and dark aura. Again, this is just what Interpol does and the production value keeps these songs sounding fresher than anything they've done in eight years.

The two winners here are "Lights" and "Barricade", the obvious first two releases. "Lights" pulls you into a dark lethargy or abyss without you even being aware that you're being taken there on a strectcher. A guitar slowly chugs you into into a slumber with a climax that may not be as memorable as it could be, but I'll be damned that if after repeated listens you can't get Banks stating to you "That's Why I Hold You Dear" out of your skull. "Barricade" works wonders as well. It's the most sturdy in this songbook. The chorus of "Gonna take a barricade to keep us away" competes with the disco, post-punk stomp that these guys have worked to their own perfection.

The whole album has been built around a strong foundation, but unfortunately the second half of the album isn't as good in execution and turns up some unmemorable tracks after "Barricade", the fifth track. Besides "Try It On" with the neat little build off a piano line and whistle (very un-Interpol like, I guess there are barricades they can break), this what I like to call, "an uneven affair." Always Malaise (The Man I Am)" tries to pull off the poignancy we found on older tracks like "NYC" (oops, a debut reference) but falls a little short. "Safe Without" also falls in the unmemorable category, better served as a b-side perhaps and the final two tracks "All Of The Way" and "The Undoing" kind of end things in a hazy, airy mist that's not top notch stuff these guys here.

Interpol, ready for new chapter.
The whole things sounds fantastic, but it's not going to be the Interpol album I reach for several years from now. It's a good chapter to end on, if this is indeed bassist Dengler's last album with the band. It was a pretty good four album run, one that would serve as a nice best of compilation of a band who helped contribute to the post-punk revival of the last decade. What will be interesting is if Banks and his mates decide to move on with a new release after Dengler's departure. That's when the critics will probably go into full charged comparisons on personnel instead of just albums. Let's hope they can continue a good streak without him, because I'll probably be making comparisons without him next time around as well. My favorite bassist from the past decade has flown the coop.

Grade: B

JHO Picks:
Try It On

  Success - Interpol by oldwaver

  interpol - summer well by o_wroblewska

  Lights by aqnb

  Interpol - Try It On by zar

Friday, September 10, 2010

The year was....1994

Another installment of the year was...1994

12 random songs from 1994:
1. The Beastie Boys-Do It
Nice album track from "Ill Communication", ah let's do it. Grade: A-
2. Live-Iris
"Throwing Copper" was actually chalked full of good tracks that Live never matched again. Grade: A-
3. Weezer-Say It Ain't So
"Your love is a heartbreaker." Grade: A
4. Dave Matthews Band-Ants Marching
If you saw DMB now, you'll probably get a 32 minute version of this hit. Grade: B
5. Ass Poneys-Little Bastard
A weird little one hit wonder that's still sits in 1994 firmly. Grade: B-
6. The Cranberries-Zombie
Back when the Cranberries ruled the airwaves, with anything. Grade: B+
7. Soundgarden-The Day I Tried To Live
I like this better than Black Hole Sun. I like any Soundgarden song better than Black Hole Sun Grade: A-
8. Sponge-Plowed
In a world of human wreckage... Grade: A
9. Rancid-Burn
The original "We Don't Need No Water, Let the Motherfucker Burn" song. Grade: A-
10. Nine Inch Nails-March Of The Pigs
"Step Right Up!". Grade: A
11. Oasis-Digsy's Diner
1994, These could be the best days of our lives. Seems so nostalgic now. Grade: A-
12. Hootie & The Blowfish-Hold My Hand
Hey, why not. Can't think of a better 1994 12 pack finale. With a little love, and some tenderness. Grade: B+

7 Albums worth revisiting from 1994:
1. Jeff Buckley-Grace
2. Oasis-Definitely Maybe
3. Blur-Parklife
4. Weezer-Weezer (Blue Album)
5. Nine Inch Nails-The Downward Spiral
6. Portishead-Dummy
7. Stone Temple Pilots-Purple

Random Quote From a 1994 Song:
Music scene is crazy, bands start up each and every day/I saw another one just the other day/A special new band/I remember lying/I don't remember a line/I don't remember a word/But I don't care, I care, I really don't care/Did you see the drummer's hair?
The song is....

Random Thought On A Song From 1994:
At first listen back in 1994, all I could think was "Why have the Jesus and Mary Chain released an all acoustic album?" They were the masters, in my eyes, of feedback drenched surf pop rock songs that could give me an alternative to the alternative that was now the mainstream on radio. "Sometimes Always", the first single for the album, has and always will be a song that has a special place in my heart. For one, they brought in Hope Sandoval from Mazzy Star, who was dating one of the Reid brothers at the time, to duet on the song. And secondly, the call and response with Jim Reid is simplistic bliss. Hope says, "You've been away but now you're back." Jim says "I've been away but now I'm back." It's a sort of acoustic ditty for estranged relationships, but one with a lot of simple heartfelt feelings for a love that is never meant to be. Now it's college nostalgia for me. "Stoned & Dethroned" had a few other songs that I liked "Between Us", "Come On", and "Girlfriend", but seems a bit uneven to listen to now. That November, getting to see JAMC at Metropol in the Burgh, was anything but an acoustic show. It turned into a drunken wall of sweaty feedback sound as they revisited older songs and Mazzy Star opened with shoegazing pride. Good times...and my look back at 1994 nostalgically ends here, "Lucky Son Of A Gun."
"I gave but you just threw it back"

Thursday, September 9, 2010

NFL 2010 Preview and Predictions: AFC

A look at the upcoming season in the AFC with predictions and the team theme song for the year which I feel best describes their season ahead (the only place in America you will find a Woods song describing a team's upcoming season...I guarantee). I even have playoff predictions at the bottom if you believe my garbage predictions, then Chargers fans should be happy with me. There is a reason for this. Bear with me, the AFC is always a difficult field to mine...Super Bowl prediction at bottom as well.

Who's buying hot dogs this year?
New York Jets 
Theme Song: Ash-T-Rex 
Outlook: I've read places where people are saying the Jets are Super Bowl or bust this season. I say "Ooh, settle down there, Mark Sanchez is a second year quarterback and nothing on their offense smells awe inspiring." And yes there is defense might be tops this year, but they should be happy just to get back to the playoffs with their crazy profanity laced coach (Tony Dungy just blushed).
Prediction: 11-5

New England Patriots
Theme Song: Aerosmith-Same Old Song And Dance 
Outlook: I'm afraid of Brady's new hairdo and I'm afraid the Pats and Coach Bill will be back in fine form winning games and making everyone envious in the NFL. It's the same old song and dance. It would be nice to see Randy Moss quit in a game and leave the field early like he used to, but those days are gone. I just think their defense has worn down the last couple years in the playoffs, if they fix that, they will make noise again this season, they're due to, whether people like it or not. But the Jets barely out-best them.
Prediction: 11-5

Throw me the ball Chad, or I will pout.
Miami Dolphins
Theme Song: America-You Can Do Magic
Outlook: It will be another five years 'phin fans until the Dolphins will make a run for the championship again. Besides Chad Pennington and Ricky Williams, we now have Brandon Marshall in the fold. Can one guy make that much of a difference? Can Pennington throw the ball more than 20 yards? Is the wildcat passe? Bill Parcells, if this team you've strung together pulls out some tricks this season, you are a magician unlike any other.
Prediction: 7-9

Buffalo Bills
Theme Song: Woods-Suffering Season
Outlook: The Bills hired a guy who hasn't coached since last century. They have Trent Edwards as a starting quarterback. They continue to have a defense who can't keep all their starters healthy past week 2 each year. Looks like another "Suffering Season" Bills fans.
Prediction: 3-13
Baltimore Ravens
Theme Song: Kanye West-Touch The Sky
Outlook: As I write this I find out the Ravens have picked up T.J. Houshmandzadeh. As I look for his spelling, I see we share the same birthday (that is kind of a letdown). I'm afraid this could be another piece to the puzzle for Baltimore to make a serious run at the Super Bowl, like their Vegas odds had to have gone from a 10:1 to 6:1. I'm falling back on their defense is not as good as it used to be even though everyone "says it's still stout" excuse. They will fall in AFC championship. The real question is has Joe Flacco moved out of his parent's basement yet?
Prediction: 12-4

You are the magnet, I am the Steel.
Pittsburgh Steelers
Theme Song: The Pretenders-The Wait
Outlook: Becuase "wait" is all the city of Pittsburgh can do, until Ben comes back to the fold. When players are saying we just want Dennis Dixon to not lose games when he's in there, it doesn't exactly generate a lot of excitement, more like a lot of anxiety. But the defense still rocks it as long as the million dollar hair is in place, Stiller fans should be "pleasantly surprised" if they get a playoff spot, and who knows? Ben's got something to prove and something to keep in his pants in the future.
Prediction: 9-7

Who do you want to throw under the bus first?
Cincinnati Bengals
Theme Song: Bob Mould-Egoverride
Outlook: Anticipating a 5-2 start then a six game losing streak. We find out T.O. has lost his edge and Carson Palmer just ain't what he used to be. Ochocinco asks for a trade at end of season. The Bengals are going to have a tougher schedule this year than last year and that will be their undoing...that and the amount of egos vacating their roster. Looking forward to press conferences after Bengal games this season.
Prediction: 7-9

Cleveland Browns
Theme Song: The Mighty Mighty Bosstones-Bronzing The Garbage
Outlook: I think I created the theme song just so I could use the Bosstones "Bronzing The Garbage". So why not hand it to the Browns who will be doing that this season with Jake Delhomme at the helm. To show I've got a tad bit of common sense though, Mike Holmgren will steer this guys in the right direction, it's just a matter of time until we're talking Browns and playoffs in same sentence again...but in the meantime they are "Bronzing the Garbage" this year in Cleveland.
Prediction: 4-12
The familiar January pose.
Indianapolis Colts
Theme Song: Tame Impala-Expectation
Outlook: All I can forecast is something along the lines, Colts lose opener to Houston, the town of Indy goes crazy and says their team is done, then they rattle off ten straight wins for division title because that's their expectation. Then they're due for another bizarre early playoff exit this year, to New England perhaps, because that's my expectation.
Prediction: 12-4

Houston Texans
Theme Song: Kenny Loggins-This Is It
Outlook: I mean this has got to be do or die for the Texans right? Everything is lined up, they've got a good looking offense and defense, Kubiak has yet to make a real bonehead move as coach, and Matt Schaub is better than Alex Smith who is in a similar situation. Plus the Texans cut their last remaining original Texan Saturday. That has to mean playoffs. Right?
Prediction: 11-5

Tennessee Titans
Theme Song: Alphaville-Forever Young
Outlook: Just give Vince Young the damn Heisman trophy so he can get on with his life. If he gets down on life again, then folks in Tennessee may see Kerry Collins again, and something tells me that this time around that may not be a good thing. Chris Johnson good, young defense with no veterans bad, Jeff Fisher is good at producing mediocre seasons, this will be one.
Prediction: 8-8

Perhaps the hat instead of the helmet David.
Jacksonville Jaguars
Theme Song: Michael Jackson-Remember The Time
Outlook: Do you remember the time when David Garrard, in a playoff game vs. Pittsburgh, rattled off a 27 yard run on 4th and 2 and set up the Jaguars game winning field goal? Then the Jags gave him a huge contract and they haven't been the same since. Should we start a countdown clock on Jacksonville moving to Los Angeles about now? Do people go to games in Jacksonville anymore? Should Gus Johnson be promoted up to calling better games than Jaguar games?
Prediction: 4-12
I guess we didn't need LT after all.
San Diego Chargers
Theme Song: The Roots-Now Or Never
Outlook: Like my vision of Jim Caldwell giving a losing speech in front of a white wall outside the locker room as the Colts lose in the Super Bowl (ask Adzilla, he'll back me up on that call), I have a vision in late January of LT giving an interview, holding back emotions, as he is asked "How do you feel now that the Chargers are going to the Super Bowl? Do you still wish you were a Charger?" People can talk up other AFC teams, the Chargers will slide in somehow and Norv Turner will be relieved.
Prediction: 12-4

Kansas City Chiefs 
Theme Song: Strokes-I Can't Win
Outlook: I saved the Chiefs to write about last because I've got nothing of interest to say about them this year. Maybe they can prove to be the ultimate underdog this season and rattle off like eleven wins and Matt Cassell can make SI cover and the Chiefs can be the toast of the NFL. Or Maybe not.
Prediction: 6-10

Denver Broncos
Theme Song: Eagles-New Kid In Town
Outlook: If I worked in Denver at a television station there, I think I would need therapy from the Tim Teabow coverage. The QB combo of him, Kyle Orton, and Brady Quinn may be the most stifling mediocre threesome I've ever seen in football. Plus Elvis Dumervil is gone for the season on defense, the Broncos savior last year. They won't be talking playoffs this year in mile high.
Prediction: 6-10

Al, your optimism is infectious.
Oakland Raiders
Theme Song: Guns 'n Roses-You're Crazy
Outlook: When Al Davis said Jason Campbell his new quarterback is the second coming of Jim Plunkett, it just affirmed one thing..Al Davis, "You're F***ing Crazy". The fans of Oakland deserve something better than these teams, they're crazy in a more joyful way than their owner. If Campbell can lead the Raiders to 8 wins, then I'm "F***ing Crazy" for not seeing the Plunkett comparison. My bad.
Prediction: 5-11

Bold and Ridiculous Playoffs Predictions:
(6) New England Patriots  vs. (3) Indianapolis Colts 
Winner: New England Patriots
(5) Houston Texans  vs. (4) New York Jets
Winner: New York Jets

(4) New York Jets  vs. (2) Baltimore Ravens     
Winner: Baltimore Ravens
(6) New England Patriots vs. (1) San Diego Chargers
Winner: San Diego Chargers

AFC Championship:
(2) Baltimore Ravens vs. (1) San Diego Chargers
AFC Winner: San Diego Chargers

Super Bowl Prediction:
Green Bay Packers vs. San Diego Chargers

Super Bowl Winner:
Green Bay Packers

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

NFL 2010 Preview and Predictions: NFC

A look at the upcoming season in the NFC with predictions and the team theme song for the year which I feel best describes their season ahead (the only place in America you will find an Echo and the Bunnymen  song describing a team's upcoming season...I guarantee). I even have playoff predictions at the bottom if you believe my garbage predictions, then Packers fans should be happy with me. It's pay dirt in Mr. Rogers neighborhood this year, get out the brie.

Pumped for late season collapse
Dallas Cowboys 
Theme Song: DJ Shadow-Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt
Outlook: Looking forward to another dominating season by America's team followed by a lot of talk of how the they have a fair shot of playing at their own stadium for the Super Bowl. Then, by some twist of fate, they have an inexplicable collapse in the first game of the playoffs and talk and doubts of Romo's will to win can commence in January. Like clockwork, how bout dem Cowboys?
Prediction:  12-4

Philadelphia Eagles 
Theme Song: Echo and the Bunnymen-New Direction
Outlook: I'm bumping the Eagles up to a dark horse playoff contender. I mean, they've got a hungry Kevin Kolb quarterbacking this year and he's been waiting in the wings for what....26 years or so to start. Looks like Andy Reid is heading in a new that ends with the usual letdown for Eagles fans by the end of the season.
Prediction: 9-7
New York Giants 
Theme Song: LCD Soundsystem-New York I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down 
Outlook: I've got a strange feeling this is going to be Tom Coughlin's last year in New York. He loves the town he got his Super Bowl ring in, but it's got to be bringing him down some. Especially if they're trying to deal RB Brandon Jacobs (he was bread and butter at one time) and Eli hasn't been exactly stellar with his WR corp either. I don't see a winning season here.
Prediction: 7-9

Who makes your money?
Washington Redskins 
Theme Song: Prince-Money Don't Matter 2 Night
Outlook: As much money as you want to throw out Mr. Snyder, your teams never have any chemistry. So even if you have McNabb as QB, Shanahan as your coach, Fat Albert trying to pass conditioning tests, you're headed for a 6-10 that if we're lucky enough, will be filled with a lot of Rex Grossman when McNabb gets hurt in week 4. Now that should generate excitement in D.C.
Prediction: 6-10
Green Bay Packers
Theme Song: Soul Coughing-Rolling
Outlook: The only concerns I hear about the Packers from "experts" is their defense is a bit uneven, but I don't see it. I think the stars have aligned a team that looks strong all around this year. Barring injuries, they're my pick to go to the Super Bowl from the NFC this year. As I write this, Aaron Rogers falls from a ladder in his garage and break his collar bone and the Packers season is in jeopardy....
Prediction: 12-4

Geezers need excitement
Minnesota Vikings
Theme Song: The Streets-Geezers Need Excitement
Outlook: Or better yet, Parliament's "Handcuffs", because my friends in the twin cities, Brett Favre has got you handcuffed. There are a lot of great weapons on offense again, the defense is back in top form, is it too early to Favre throw an inexplicable interception to help the Packers get to the Super Bowl in late January? I say no. Where Favre roams, danger looms, and geezers still need excitement.
Prediction: 12-4

Detroit Lions
Theme Song: Husker Du-Turn It Around
Outlook: It's been too long Detroit. This is the year you should be proud to say, "Hey, we're the best third place team in football." The Matt Millen legacy is almost completely gone from the rear view mirror, the 0-16 debacle has kind of passed on, and you've got a guy who threw a game winning TD last season with a broken collar bone. That's heart. It's time to turn it around.
Prediction: 7-9

Forecasting more INT's in Chi-Town this season.
Chicago Bears
Theme Song: Fountains Of Wayne-Sink To The Bottom
Outlook: Bears fan may think last season all those interceptions Jay Cutler threw was an anomole and it can't happen two years in a row. I'm bucking that trend by saying "Yes you can Jay Cutler...throw thirty interceptions this season." He's on a broken team and an aging defense. Lovie Smith can't be optimistic this year, can he?
Prediction: 6-10
Aspirin and coke before bed helps hangovers.
New Orleans Saints
Theme Song: Stone Temple Pilots-Still Remains
Outlook: Well, they still remain the super bowl champs. But I believe in the Super Bowl hangover as much as I believe in mixing Budweiser and Newcastle is the winning formula for a terrible hangover (been there almost every other Saturday night). But look, the Saints will get back to the playoffs this year, they've got a good offense still, Brees is the man, and when Darren Sharper gets back in six weeks, the defense will clamp down as well.
Prediction: 11-5

Atlanta Falcons
Theme Song: Midnight Oil-Back On The Borderline
Outlook: I used to hate Jerry Glanville's Falcons back in the day. Times change. Everything about the Falcons now I kinda like. Coach Smith, Matty Ice, Robert "The Burner" Turner, Roddy White, and who could really hate Tony Gonzalez? I'm not sure if their defense has improved, but maybe a more forgiving schedule will get the Falcons back on the borderline of greatness again this season. Slight dark horse here.
Prediction: 10-6

Byner/Mack combo of new millennium.
Carolina Panthers
Theme Song: Velvet Underground-Run, Run, Run
Outlook: Watching the Panthers final preseason game vs. the Steelers, I don't know how many times the fact was brought up that they hadn't scored a touchdown all preseason but they weren't concerned. These guys are going to run with Stewart and Williams, Steve Smith will throw a temper tantrum at some point in November and Panthers fans will dream at night of the day when Jimmy Clausen takes snaps permanently. Until then, a transitional season lies ahead. Just run the ball.
Prediction: 6-10

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Theme Song: Oasis-Going Nowhere
Outlook: I have no idea how or why anyone could be overly excited about the Bucs up coming season. What have they got brewing down in the bay? I haven't the foggiest idea. But I do like the odds of them getting next year's number one draft pick...that's always a good way to start the season, looking towards April with a smile.
Prediction: 3-13
He wanted winners. He's got momentum.
San Francisco 49ers
Theme Song: Spoon-The Underdog
Outlook: Mike Singletary...drop your pants no more sir. With some changes in Arizona, you have become the favorites to win the NFC West this season. All you need to do is make sure Alex Smith plays smart, and hopefully none of your key ingredients (Gore, Willis, Crabtree) get injured this season. Now, I'm giving you "The Underdog" tag, because that is what you will be wearing in the playoffs this year.
Prediction: 10-6

Seattle Seahawks
Theme Song: Sam Cooke-A Change I Gonna Come
Outlook: I have no idea what to do with the other three teams here. Pete Carroll has got a vision he'll be crafting with his fine intellect and coaching skills as he recruits some of the finest...what is that? He's back in the NFL again? Oh. And Hasselback is still playing football and they just dumped Houshmandzadeh? Well then. Seahawk football should be quite a bore this season.
Prediction: 6-10

Excited about Derek Anderson passes.
Arizona Cardinals
Theme Song: Dinosaur Jr.-Not The Same
Outlook: If Ken Whisenhunt can guide his team to the playoffs with Matt Leinart as quarterback he deserves to be coach of the year. Update: Matt Leinart waived Saturday, now backup in Houston. If Ken Whisenhunt can guide his team to the playoffs with Derek Anderson as quarterback he deserves to be coach of the year. Cards fans, this year will be "Not The Same".
Prediction: 6-10

St. Louis Rams
Theme Song: Rolling Stones-No Expectations
Outlook: Alright Sam Bradford, take the wheel kid. You don't have to worry about a sluggish season as a rookie because there are no expectations in St. Louis this year. I mean, if I was to tell a Rams fan I think they can pull off five wins in a weak division they might hug me, or offer me tickets to one of their sell out games.
Prediction: 5-11 

Playoff Scenarios...perhaps?
(6) Atlanta Falcons vs. (3) New Orleans Saints 
Winner: Atlanta Falcons
(5) Minnesota Vikings vs. (4) San Francisco 49ers 
Winner: Minnesota Vikings

(5) Minnesota Vikings  vs. (2) Dallas Cowboys
Winner: Minnesota Vikings
(6) Atlanta Falcons vs. (1) Green Bay Packers 
Winner: Green Bay Packers

NFC Championship:
(5) Minnesota Vikings vs. (1) Green Bay Packers 
NFC Winner: Green Bay Packers

AFC preview and predictions tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hawaii (50 Songs For 50 States)

Seven Sacred Pools, road to Hana, 2006

My favorite state of the union. The place where we are going to live if we ever hit the lottery even though we don't play the lottery. After two visits, the island of Maui is our heaven on earth. Lush rain forests, watching the sun rise over the crater of Haleakalā and then biking down it, body surfing on a Wailea area beach or anywhere where the waves are crashing in, snorkeling in West Maui and seeing tons of turtles, eels and gorgeous fish, taking day trips on the windy, treacherous roads to Hana and the north Maui, eating pancakes at Willie Nelson's restaurant "Charley's" in the hippie town of Paia or just shopping in the old port of Lahaina. These are just some of our favorite things me and Amy love about this island (we really need to go see some other islands next time, but why when you have so much to do and see here?)

The most peaceful part, and my favorite part about Maui, is it has the most tranquil sunsets I've ever seen. People gather at the beach, it is almost total silence for ten minutes or so and the feeling of tranquility is one of the best feelings I've ever experienced. When someone says go to your happy place, I place myself in Kihei, at the beach at sundown and remember how much beauty there is in the world.
Sunset at beach in Kihei with someone doing meditation dance.
For a song, you always here Israel Kamakawiwo'ole rendition of "Over The Rainbow" all over the place in Hawaii. It's ukulele paints a perfect, easy, laid back vibe to your day.

But.....we also need a song with Hawaii in the title, in all fairness, that is the purpose to 50 songs for 50 states. So filling that task will be Brian Wilson with a song from "Smile" that is gorgeous in its own right. Hawaii's song is "In Blue Hawaii". A hui hou and mahalo. We'll be back again someday soon.
Near top of Haleakalā.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Video: Ted Leo & The Phrmacists-Bottled In Cork

I believe director Tom Scharpling is making fun of Green Day's "American Idiot" on Broadway. The whole deal with the "docket" at the beginning is hilaroious and I swear in the crowd at the "Broadway" show you see Titus Andronicus front man Patrick Stickles in tears. (An interview with Scharpling with Pitchfork confirms this. Click here for article and interview.) "You're album "The Brutalists Bricks" is a good album...the music is good." Well you're not gonna see this on VH1 anytime soon or Broadway. But I'm all in for Ted Leo & The Pharmacist's "The Brutalists Bricks" on Broadway, it looks like an awesome time, Ted Leo Punk! Someone still gets it...and "Bottled In Cork" is a great, fun song to boot...."Tell The Bartender, I Think I'm Falling In Love..." Winner all around.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New and Noteworthy: Sufjan Stevens, No Age, Interpol, Phil Selway

Sufjan Stevens-I Walked
So he's not doing 50 state albums (Boo!) and it's been 5 years later since he hit jackpot with "Come On Feel The Illinoise". But Mr. Stevens is back with new material, albeit not the Delaware ablum. Here's a sneak peak with "I Walked" (You can pretend it's a song about New Hampshire)...his Broadway pastoral tune is replaced with a kind of atmospheric, sparse keyboard ditty. I'm indifferent to it, it's not terrible and it is noteworthy. His new album "The Age Of Adz" drops October 12th and his latest EP, All Delighted People is avaialable now....that's a lot of Sufjan Stevens. To download "I Walked" from Sufjan Stevens website click here.

  Sufjan Stevens - I Walked by Weallwantsomeone

No Age-Glitter
The guys from No Age are currently getting to open for Pavement on a tour across the US and will be playing some dates on their own come November. They have a new album out September 28th with "Everything In Between". That's what I call a pretty exhaust-eventful autumn. Oh and their first single from the album is pretty fly as well. Check out "Glitter" courtesy SoundCloud below. "I Want You Back Underneath My Skin Again"...words to grow on, and perfect guitar feedback to back it up.

  No Age - Glitter by subpop  

More new music from Interpol. Their self titled debut album is due out September 7th. And I will be venturing into it like a lost fox looking for someone to turn on the bright lights. If their first single "Lights" was a little spacey for you, well this has got a little more in the taco for ya. Look for Interpol in a town near you sometime soon.

  Interpol - Barricade by artsandcraftsmx

Phil Selway-Songs from "Familial"
Courtesy: Doug Moon, if you can't wait for the follow up to Radiohead's wonerfully warm and inviting "In Rainbows", drummer Phil Selway's latest release "Familial" was released this past Tuesday. From the excerpts it is sounds largely acoustic based and laid back for a rainy weekend afternoon. My favorite of the four here is "Beyond Reason". For more info on the new album visit:, and patience will be the keyword on a new Radiohead release.

Philip Selway - Familial (Album Sampler) by Bella Union