Is it Hot in Here or Is My Career On Fire?

 

Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan

Under the Red Sky

Just another Long Playing record of the Master doing his thing. As if the "thing" isn't enough, sometimes it's just enough to marvel at the ease at which he does that thing of his. This is as good a place as any to check in. Personally, the man's never let me down. There's something profound in that "Wiggle Wiggle." I swear it. Still not convinced? You don't deserve him. Go on back to your Seinfeld repeats. Ouch! (Note to self: Was that necessary? Probably not. I apologize.)

 

Fannypack

Live at the Du Nord

My old pal Ian Brennan promoted this show at the Du Nord and thought we might dig it. The Du Nord's a mere stone's throw from here, so what did we have to lose? Sure glad we went. Old school hip-hop? Soft-core Miami Grandmaster Flashdance? I dunno... Fannypack floored me. With a song called "Cameltoe" about cameltoe, and one about shopping and one about "things" (a clever rewrite of "My Favorite Things"—I think) which praises boys, toys, shopping, clothes, mom and dad, i.e. the usual. All sung/rapped in unison by three straight-outta-Brooklyn teens over some hooky 808 electro-clash Planet Rock damage— it's all pretty damned irresistible. Uh huh. Not as brainless as you might think either. The girl's have got game. The songs are all there. Danny would dig it.

 

Dan Stuart—Green On Red

Here Come the Snakes

Green On Red: Another band with a great future behind them. I came across some old demos Danny and I recorded before we went into the studio to cut the Here Come the Snakes album and I couldn't help but smile. Sometimes I miss my brother Dan. A walking contradiction of a man, Danny used to say to me, "Billy [yes, he called me Billy for years— not sure why], it's not the 22 hours schlepping around that gets to me on the road, it's those two hours on stage that's gonna be the death of me."

 

Tim Blume's (Motherhips) website.

"The TB sessions" http://www.golden-coast.com/surf/tb_sessions.html

I haven't surfed in years. But there was a time back in the OC where I lived, breathed and dreamt surfing. Surfing, surfing, surfing. I've hung out, played music, picked and grinned, sung Neil Young songs and broke guitar strings with Tim. But, I've never shot-the-shit-until-the-sun-came-up with Tim Blume and don't expect I will any day soon. Though I believe I can spew and spiel with the best of them—Conversely, I wouldn't say Tim's gift is that of the gab. Or so it seemed, until I found myself reading his on-line surf report. The science. The eloquence. This dude knows surfing! Fascinating, passionate, informative stuff. Tim's like a one-man PBS of surfing. Tim is to surfing what Howard Cosell is to football, he's like the Matador records of indie rock. The Jack White of the drum/guitar combo's*.

 

*Note to the rest of you aspiring drum/guitar combo's: get a bass player immediately.

 

Lorreta Lynn

Van Lear Rose

A few weeks ago, my pal Todd asked me if I had checked out the new Loretta Lynn record. And I just kind of rolled my eyes and gestured toward my record collection that takes up one wall and said, "Do you really think I need to hear it?" Just goes to show how wrong you can be. So he "left" it here on the kitchen table, thinking my morbid curiosity would get the best of me. He was right. I put it on and I immediately wanted to jump out the window as I'll probably never experience such a perfect roots rock moment again. Lorreta's own `68 comeback. Sexy. Weird. Like Elvis him-sel-vis, she only gets heavier as the years go by. Not the can't-squeeze-in-that-old-dress kind of heavy (she can!)- We're talking "In the Ghetto" heavy, American Trilogy heavy. Who are these losers in the band? Out-of-tune slide? Can't hear the bass... some drummer holding on for dear life. Somehow, like Dylan, it all just comes together tighter than a bullfrog's butth*le around that little freak Jack White. Ever wonder what the first Zep record would've sounded like with a real southern sinner/songwriter up front as opposed to that troll Robert Plant? You don't have to wonder any more. Really a great record on so many levels. And immensely listenable.

 

John Hiatt

Live at the Portland Zoo

(I recently had the privilege of opening a gig for Hiatt and Lucinda at the Portland Zoo.) Some people study their pain more than others. Some people will tell you that your pain studies you. Some people think they know everything. All I know is that I nearly forgot what a bad-ass John Hiatt is. Without pause, for an hour and a half, song after song after song Hiatt kept on singing without a fat lady in sight. It was all killer/no filler, and came in all shapes and sizes with a few surprises, pain both big and small. Big as in "Crossing Muddy Waters," and small as in "Perfectly Good Guitar." (It breaks my heart too John, to see those stars smashing those perfectly good guitars.)

 

In the VCR: Warren Zevon

"Inside Out"

With his razor wit well in tact, VHI's strangely uplifting documentary follows Warren around his final days before succumbing to cancer. Warren, a dude with more character in his little pinky than the rest of us combined, decides to spend what's left of his time on earth, you guessed it, making a record. Enjoy every sandwich. Words to live by. 

 

Vlad's "Housewife Goth/Americana Compilation"

My friend and neighbor, Vlad had never heard "I Can Help" by Billy Swan. Okay, so he was born behind the iron curtain sometime after the record came out - that might explain it. He claims he's never heard it. I sang it to him, "If your child needs a daddy, I can help... Remember? C'Mon Vlad..." Nothing. Then I sang the organ lick that opens the song, "wheedle-ah wheedle-ah wheedle-ah wheedle-ah..." No luck. So I sang it again louder... Still nothing. Time to make Vlad a Housewife Goth/H & W (husbands and wives) mix-tape.

 

Tony Joe White - "Little Green Apples"

Mickey Newbury - "The Futures Not What It Used to Be"

Don Covay - "I Was Checkin' Out She Was Checkin' In"

Don Williams - "I Believe in You"

Elvis Presley - "True Love Travels On A Gravel Road" 

Jerry Butler - "Got To See If I Can't Get Mommy (To Come Back Home)" 

Waylon Jennings - "Gypsy Woman"

Roger Miller - "Husbands And Wives" 

Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham - "I'm Your Puppet"

So I made Vlad this comp. I Liked it so much I made one for myself. Vlad later vowed to throw out all his Galaxie 500 records and now my job is complete. Not that I have anything against Galaxy 500. Funny thing is I never did put "I Can Help" on there. Maybe I made it for myself all along. 

 

Opal Book Club

"Tony Alva"

Along with the Mr. T Experience's Dr. Frank, Opal Books Club's E Blake does his part to save the East-Bay music scene from entirely sucking in 2004. Faster than you can say, "Bring back the Uptones!" Or: "get back in the Volvo right now or you'll make your brother late for his trombone lesson!" E Blake redeems all with this concentrated blast of Who-Velvets, 80-20 styled power exchange. Dig the "Tony Alva" track wherein Blake likens his meeting skateboard legends Jay Adams and Tony Alva at the age of nine, to that of "meeting half of Kiss." It doesn't get any better. Don't take my word for it, got to http://www.eblakemusic.com/obc/ right now and dig it your own self.

 

Six Feet Under on HBO

 

The Mrs. and I don't have HBO, but we've got a DVD player and ate up the first season of SFU disc by disc, episode after episode, until the sad day when there weren't any more to rent, beg, blag or steal. Low and behold, the other morning in my lonely hotel room in Nashville, I saw an awesome trailer for the upcoming season. It was, dare I say, moving. Was it some kind of trick? The trailer is a sort of dreamy, soft focus, supermarket sequence that has to be seen to be believed, or is it just me? Anyone? Anyone? Well... it's nice to have something to look forward to. Maybe I can figure out a way to splice into my neighbors cable. I'm already all over his wireless network

 

Metallica

Some Kind Of Monster

Just some dudes wrestling with some riffs. The usual studio stuff. Throw in a little rehab for good measure. Oh and a therapist named Phil who begins to think he's part of the band. And a disgruntled former bass player who quit to play worse music. Truth is stranger than fiction. That's what they say because it's true. Look no further than Some Kind of Monster. (You might be familiar with the directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky who, in the tradition of The Thin Blue Line, made one of the best documentaries period with Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills). Don't look now, it's James attending his daughter's ballet class. Oh and Lar's father telling him to "delete" the first song. Oh and don't worry friends, there's not a lot of music in it. But it is soulful in an odd way. And full of redemption. Unlike the recent Ramblin' Jack doc, for example, there's some actual growth. An awesome movie. I was as surprised as you'll be.