Here's the best of April:
Barkley's 'Super Bulge'
Peter, Bjorn, and John
BOTW - Pavement
BOTW - The Black Keys
BOTW - Sonic Youth
Barkley vs. The Skateboard
iPod Vending Machine
Sonic Youth Concert
The Black Keys Concert Webcast
Faculty Field Trip
This song is named 'Yellow Ledbetter' and was never released on a Pearl Jam album. The story behind this song being completely unintelligible is that when they recorded it there weren't actually words for it. Singers often do 'scratch tracks' in the studio; they just improv a vocal range over a song so that they can get a better idea of how to fit words to the music. RHCP does this and has even put some scratch tracks in their songs like 'soul to squeeze' and 'around the world.' What you hear in this song is just that, a scratch track. The problem was that the bluesy (AMAZING) guitar riff in the song didn't fit in w/ the album 'Ten' so the song never got completely finished. When the song was later released as a b-side, radio stations started playing it heavily b/c the disc-jockeys loved it. By the mid nineties this song was considered one of their best and is still a common closer at any PJ concert. The improved lyrics actually come out to a 'death letter' sort of meaning. The opening lyrics are "unseal-ed, on a porch that letter sat. Then they said 'I wanna leave it again.'" If you watch the video again w/ your eyes closed you'll pick up on more of the lyrics. The box or a bag comment is vague but when they sing it live the lyrics are 'coming home in a box or a bag' which kind of adds to the idea that the song is about a death letter and thinking back on someone that has died.
(LtoR) Lee, Thurston, Kim, and Steve
To be honest, I had them lined up for this week four weeks ago when I got the tickets but that’s beside to point. (I talk more about the show in my revised post from that night, so look below this post for that. Plus I added a bazillion photos and videos.)
When people write or talk about Sonic Youth they often use words like ageless, ever-young, w/o age, sans aging, etc. (ok maybe just ‘ageless’) But the reason people say this is because they’re REALLY old for what they do; the married couple at the core of this band are 49 and 53! They’re not the Stones up there playing hits they wrote in their 20’s, they’re a band out there in the prime of their career whose current songs stand tall beside their classics. (and they play them w/ the intensity they had in their 20's)
Before you go searching your favorite download source or youtube, Sonic Youth isn’t for everyone; they’re not even for ‘most.’ SY plays melodic noise rock that hints at punk riffing one minute and meanders into feedback walls the next. They’ve been at this for over 25 years; no one does what they do and I don’t think anyone could if they tried. Some SY loyalists would weep over this statement but I think their last 3 albums (Murray Street, Sonic Nurse, and Rather Ripped) are some of the best albums the band has made. Ya these albums don't have some of the grit that drove the band's earlier albums but their sound is getting more melodic, more musical. It's their best work since the first 6 years of the 90's.
Incinerate (live on Letterman in 2006)
Empty Page (2004)
Kool Thing (1996ish)
100% (in this video you see Jason Lee and Spike Jonze as the lead actors)
More videos to explore:
Do You Believe In Rapture? (2006)
Disconnection Notice (2004)
Incinerate (Live on Rove 2006)
Silver Rocket (Live early 90's)
Last 3 albums:
What A Waste
more videos and mp3's can be found here.
The day after my (hastily made) post I found a lot of pictures and a video from the SY show, here in Shanghai, so I'm adding them to my original post. (4 days later, I know. Hey I'm busy; like Pesci said in Goodfellas "whado-ya wanfromme?")
First off lets talk about the venue; it was like an opera house type place where orchestras play and pretentious rich people go to use their golden binoculars. Just gorgeous, prettiest place I ever saw a band play at. It sounded amazing too; just a great small venue!
Incinerate - Live in Shanghai (ya the audio is sketchy but that's the camera's fault)
John has a pretty good post about our evening over on his blog.
I'm still 'getting around' to posting the video I took onto youtube. But fear not (not that you were going to) I have the week off this week so I should be getting caught up on all kinds of blog goodness.
I'm gonna put in a quick post about my evening.
Tonight was one of the most amazing/random concerts I've been to. I can't begin to understand why Sonic Youth decided to come play concerts in China but man am I glad they did!
I'll post some of the video i took on youtube later this week and include it in a follow up post.
-Do You Believe In
-(I Got A) Catholic Block
-What A Waste
-Jams Run Free
photo by Magnovich
After the vigil I was thinking about previous times I felt this way and I thought back to to a similar moment I had after 9-11. These days when something horrible happens in America I feel it over here but I think it's different b/c we're so far away. Now I’m not going to go on and on about all of these tragedies but I did want to share a similar moment I’ll never forget; a moment that still brings me to tears:
I am the kind of person that has music interlaced w/ almost every one of my lasting memories and I’ll never forget the telethon for the victims of 9-11. On that night Eddie Vedder, Mike McCready, and Neil Young played a very somber version of ‘Long Road,’ a song by Pearl Jam. Many of you know that I’m a huge Pearl Jam fan but this has nothing to do w/ that (other than the possibility that my previous familiarity with the song and it’s meaning probably enhanced the impact of the moment) This is such a beautiful song being played at the perfect moment. It almost seems that this song was written after the attack. This is why music is such an amazing thing to me; this song really brought a measure of comfort to me at such a horrible moment in time.
So in this time of tragedy and pain I thought back to this moment and decided I would share this song that at one point really helped me.
As you read this entry you’ll undoubtedly realize that I’m not quite as stoked about Josh as I was about the two previous bands but that is not a knock on him. Josh Rouse is awesome and for many (most) of the people that read this blog, you’ll probably like Josh a lot more than the two previous. Unlike the sloppy swagger in the first two bands I’ve highlighted, Rouse makes melodious little songs w/ insightful lyrics. Basically, he makes songs that are easy to love.
A comprehensive ‘history’ on Josh can be found here. To summarize his story; he was born in Nebraska but grew up all over America before settling down in Nashville. In 1998 he recorded his first album, Dressed Up Like Nebraska, which garnered a lot of praise. In 2004, for no particular reason, he moved to Spain where he recorded his fifth album, Subtitulo. (released in 2006)
When I find an artist like this, the 18 yr old rocker in me immediately files them under ‘this is good, light music…’ This hardly sounds like a ‘recommendation,’ but in the last fifteen years some of my favorite artists/bands have once graced this category including Damien Rice, Violent Femmes, Nick Drake, Matthew Ryan, Wilco, M. Ward, Ben Harper, and Ryan Adams. So yes, I generally listen to up-tempo blues-rock w/ soul and swagger, but I also enjoy the ‘good/light’ artists of the world.
In a statement that will likely further the impression that I’m ‘mailing this one in’; Josh Rouse received this ‘BOTW’ because I know of 4 bands that, for various reasons, I want to mention during specific weeks in April and May. (due to album releases or concerts)
I also have to admit that I didn’t really listen to Rouse this week but I have a sneaky suspicion that I will this next week. That’s what happened w/ my last two ‘BOTW’; I listened to them more the week after I mentioned them than the week before.
And now for the ‘recommendations’:
Other songs: (listen to these first 4!)
Sparrows Over Birmingham
Why Won’t You Tell Me What
It’s The Nighttime
It Looks Like Love
While searching for videos for Saturday’s 'band of the week' I came across this…
If this was my dog I'd have to get rid of the little guy!
i wouldn't be surprised if he was raised by monkeys.
i tried to put this in their 'band of the week' post; it didn't work. but it works now and this is still The Black Keys' week so here's a concert of theirs filmed in Australia.
(i specifically recommend modern times, stack shot billy, and grown so ugly)
hopefully it'll still work by the time you read this...
photo by Laughing Squid
this is just ridiculous; an iPod vending machine!?!
a comedian once said "crack is God's way of telling you 'you got too much money!'" well i think we have a new measuring stick.
if you think this is a hoax or at best 'uncommon', think again.
sadly, reports say that these vending machines are making a killing in airports and supermarkets. we're talking $55,000 a month in some airports! here's an article about how successful these 'crack' dispensers have been.
don't worry, he's just playing. he doesn't really ever bark so this behavior only comes out when the skateboard comes out.
thanks to Buster for filming
this brings me to a side note:
a lot of the students we play against are dirty rotten spoiled little brats! (a lot, not all) they play dirty, they act cocky, they talk trash, push, shove, and act like jerks. i just wonder what their parents or coaches are teaching them.(or not teaching them) this sounds horrible to say but i can't help it; i don't know where it comes from. w/ that said, i couldn't be prouder of our kids for always playing w/ class and playing the right way. who cares if you won middle school basketball games in 7th grade when you're 30 and you treat everyone like a lesser being. i fully believe that our kids at SMIC will make great adults that bring positive things to the world.
but back to basketball.
we have a very bright future; we have lots of talent in the younger grades and our kids are really classy. i can't wait to see how my girls are playing in two or three years. i can already see a few of the girls are starting to have those moments where they realize what they're capable of and are really stretching their limits on the court. it's awesome to see kids have those 'epiphanies' where they go 'OOOH, that's how you do that..' we have one or two girls that are already a notch above all of their competition and it's fun to watch the others take their lead.
ok, i meant for this to be a short post. sorry for the whining i did in the middle...
so there was a mistaken identity early on in this tragedy and we now know that the shooter was from South Korea. tomorrow our school has an assembly about the shootings and i wonder if they'll mention this information; in an international school setting they sometimes have to be really extra careful about things like this. about 20% of our student body is South Korean, about 50% is American and beyond that even more of our students spent a large percentage of their lives living in the States. but we have an awesome community of kids here and i think they'll handle the whole situation very well. (the South Korean kids are really wonderful; this isn't a reflection of their country at all!)
Buster wrote a little post about this over at his site. i majored in journalism and for some reason i'm pretty bad at putting together the right words in a post. so go check out his, articulate, blog post.
i wrote this really fast so it might be full of mistakes...
i'm writing this b/c i know we're going to get emails about it (and i want to say something before i have class the next 4 hours); what happened in Virginia is CRAZY!!! and yes, it really freaks me out for two reasons:
a. i was in college a few years ago and picturing this whole thing gives me chills
b. this guy was within 15 minutes of my house when he left Shanghai
this also has a wider scope of affect due to the 'foreign student' aspect b/c a lot of our kids here are Taiwanese Americans that will need a visa to go to college and this thing might affect them. and i think that the seniors might freak out about going to college
things that just got updated at our photo site:
collection: Trip to the states; summer '06 - Florida and beyond
collection: China travel - Luoyang (October, 2004) and Zhujiajiao (faculty fieldtrip, 4-14-07)
collection: Random Photos (they got no other home) - Random - China '02-'05
things i'm still lacking:
all 5 trips to Beijing
all 3 trips to Yangshuo
our trips to America in 2003 and 2004
i'll let you know when those are done...
yesterday we had a faculty field trip; i know, it's a strange concept to me too. we went to a river town, about two hours outside Shanghai, called ZhuJiaJiao.(Jew-jyah-jow) this place is touted as 'the Venice of China' so i figured i'd go on this free trip b/c Italy is more expensive... if this is what Venice is like, i'm not interested! (please understand that that was a joke) ZJJ is pretty boring but it isn't all bad; it's got some nice things to see, it's just that we've seen this kind of stuff a dozen times here.
instead of telling you why it's lame or boring, i'll try to point out the positive stuff b/c we actually had a fun day.
after a very ill fated trip, to the Henan province in 2004, i realized that when your stuck in a bad situation you just have to let go, embrace the lameness, and laugh it all off. so that's what we did; we walked around the town joking w/ our friends and had a pretty good time.
interesting moments in the day:
we shot balloons w/ bb guns
(maybe i'll get a pic of this from one of the other people)
a lot of dogs! this town could better be described as the 'mangy mutt' town. this one dog had a baboon butt and another was trotting around w/ a chain dragging behind it. but strangely enough, we saw three pugs, real pugs. it was the most common/most recognizable breed of the day. they weren't the ugliest pugs i've seen but they were pretty ghetto. i got a picture of the oldest and most haggard one of the day.
the force is strong w/ this one...
later we saw a kid being held by his mom, dropping diarrhea on the sidewalk. kids often 'do their business' on the street here in China but this one seemed a notch beyond. partly b/c it's a tourist place w/ lots of bathrooms and also b/c it was diarrhea. i'll spare you from seeing that picture...
other stuff from the day:
they're either lighting these to bring their husbands back or to keep them dead. i'm not sure
they act like they never seen a dude w/ a camera before
i'm not talented at a lot of things but i am very good at catching Bet w/ a funny face before she can stop me!
The Canfields were there too, but they'd been here before so they did their own thing. (L to R) front row: Mandy, Bet, and Channing back row: Jamie, John, me, Thomas, Laura, Dan, and Fawn
yep, it was exactly this interesting
(ok, there's a Flickr update. it's not much, a lot of it's right here, but i said i'd mention when there's an update and i'm a man of my word)
in my last post i shared a recent video and mentioned that The Black Keys would eventually make 'band of the week'. well tonight i looked around youtube a little more and found some videos that put that last one to shame.
so, after 40 minutes of video watching, this week's 'band of the week' is The Black Keys. it was going to happen sooner or later, so i decided sooner is fine.
photos by spiderpops
i started listening to The Black Keys around the time i came to China. i saw them on Conan O'Brien the summer before i came here and later copied their first album from a friend of mine. in less than five years this band has made it's way into my top five and they might be the band i listen to the most.
this band is not for everyone; they make up tempo blues rock w/ a lot of groove and a lot of soul. it's like 50's blues w/ the growl of a 90's garage band; like jimi hendrix playing blues' standards in double time through a fuzz-box. these days there's a tendency for blues to be extremely, for lack of a better term, cheesy. look no further than recent albums by john mayer and, sadly, eric clapton. the Black Keys are anything but cheesy; their music is fun and soulful w/ a great beat.
The Black Keys are from Akron, Ohio; not exactly the kind of town you associate blues music. the band is made up of two people, Dan and Patrick, bringing instant comparisons to the White Stripes. while the two bands do have a lot in common, the Stripes run all over genres and the Black Keys are a one trick pony. this isn't a knock on them; they do one thing and they do it better than anyone else!
i'll skip a long boring history lesson and get on to the music. they've put out 4 great albums and a couple EP's so there's a lot to choose from. here's a few of my favorites that you can try. it's good clean rock that you can tap your toes to.
The Big Come Up:
Do The Rump
Have Love Will Travel
Set You Free
Rubber Factory: (my overall favorite BK album)
All Hands Against His Own
Grown So Ugly
Act Nice And Gentle
10 a.m Automatic
Till I Get My Way
You're The One
Just Got To Be
most of these videos are live, so you may think they're a little too 'disheveled.' if so, try their studio recordings; you might like them a little better.
Your Touch (live in store, Nashville, TN.)
Stack Shot Billy (on Letterman)
Set You Free (live on Australian TV)
Thickfreakness (live on Australian TV)
10a.m. Automatic (video)
Have Love Will Travel (live in Akron)
Busted (live in Akron)
Heavy Soul (live in Akron)
but ya, this isn't a 'band of the week' post so i'll just get to the point; i came across this video today and it 'made my day.'
this is their newest single (off their newest album of course) but this version is live on 'Late Night with Conan O'Brien'
the youtube sound quality leaves much to be desired but the performance is awesome! WHAT A BEARD! i'd love a beard like this; he looks homeless.
enjoy (there is no 'or don't')
Your Touch by The Black Keys on Conan O'Brien
well guys; next time a 'D C' or 'confidence' joke pops up, I WON'T HAVE YOUR BACK!
THE REBEL HAS SPOKEN, KA-BLAM!!
(after posting this i realized that neither of them can comment on this post b/c they're also here in china where blogspot is blocked and you can't comment while using anonymouse to view this page. hehe)
this won't necessarily be a 'new band' or even a band that's new to me. the idea is just that i pick a band that stood out that week; i.e. they put out a new album, i picked up an older album, a suggestion from a friend, i listened to them a lot that week, a concert experience, you get the idea. so that's how this thing will work. i'll play it safe for a while, choosing bands that i really love. for every 'band of the week' i'll give a few song suggestions that you can (legally?) download and check out.
(yes i'm aware that barely anyone is reading this blog and that i'm just talking to myself)
but moving on, my debut 'band of the week' isn't as much a band as songwriter. this songwriter has been in bands, a great band, and they're included here. this 'band' is a long-time love of mine but recently i've been listening to them alot more.
this week's 'band of the week' is...
Stephen Malkmus (of Pavement and solo fame)
i'll try not to bore you w/ too many details. Malkmus spent the 90's as the front man of one of the biggest 'indie' bands of all time, Pavement. (i mean real indie, old school indie. not 'i made this album w/ my parent's money' indie) since then he's been making solo albums and touring w/ various musicians as his 'band'. now, while i know that he wrote a lot more 'outstanding' songs w/ Pavement, i think he's been more consistent as a solo artist.
his music is like that really great plaid button up you bought at second-hand store; its held together by some 15 year old threads w/ a few 'replacement' buttons. but the shirt has character, its one of a kind, looks great, and makes you wish you could find 6 more kinda like it. that's like Malkmus' music; the songs sound loosly held together w/ lots of off key moments but the songs are fun, powerful, and straight forward. i wish i could find 6 more bands that sound like him.
try these on for size:
Cut Your Hair
The Unseen Power Of The Picket Fence
Harness Your Hopes
Summer Babes (for Mat)
No More Shoes
1% Of One
I've Hardly Been
Cut Your Hair
be sure to congratulate Stephen next time you see him...
i really enjoyed this video. by themselves, (the song and the video) neither is ground breaking or 'amazing', but together i think it's a perfect combo. it was a bright spot in my day today.
this is the kind of thing that could sum me up; i love music and expecially music perfectly matched w/ something else; i.e. movie soundtrack moments, or when a song pops up in the shuffle and perfectly accompanies a moment in your day, or a video+song, a concert experience, etc. music is so much more interesting to me than the other forms of entertainment like books, video games, tv shows, etc. i really like movies and all but music is by far my favorite.
today i told my friend that i was going to make a shirt that says "you're cool and all, but i'd rather be listening to music." of course i was joking, i'm not that big of a jerk, but i think that'd be a funny shirt.
enjoy the video (or don't)
(new to the internet? click the sideways triangle)
i really can't say enough about how great the girls did this season; they improved beyond my expectations, and their own i think. the beginning of the season was a little rough but toward the end we were hanging w/ teams that had beaten us by 25 or more earlier in the year. at one point, we even beat a team that had beaten us by 28 this season.
man that game was amazing; we were down seven w/ 3 minutes left; which in our league is about the same as a 20pt lead, basically the game seemed over. but the girls dug in on defense and brought it to a 3pt game w/ 17 seconds left. off an inbounds play, our point-guard hit an amazing three from the wing to send it to overtime. then we finished them off w/ a freethrow at the end of OT. kind of a storybook game for our team. it's weird, when i was on varsity in high school, our team went all the way to the state championship game, in Florida no less. we won a lot of amazing games along the way to get there, but somehow this was the most exciting basketball moment i've ever had! proudest moment too. i can't explain it; it was a magical moment... (and yes, i know that i sound like an uber-nerd but i'm just being honest)
then came the tournament; my girls fought hard and hung w/ the #2 team in the league for 3 quarters before coming up short in the 4th. but all was not lost, we turned around and won the next game against a higher seeded team.
i'll stop boring you w/ details, that you can't really picture, and just give you a summary; last season we were never close enough in a game to even have a chance of winning but this season we played close games w/ teams #2 through #5 in our league, while winning 4 games. we showed that we're a force to be reckoned w/ in the future! (we did it all w/ a freshman and four sophomores as 5 of our top 6 players)
i am so insanely proud of my girls! they worked so hard this year and really came together. like i told them, i've never seen a team improve so much so fast. i think they really had a blast this year and they seemed to enjoy the party too.
here's a shortened version of the video i made for them.
not as good as the version they watched but you get the idea
also, when i shortened it and compressed it, some of the transitions became glitchy
(for those non-tech savvy readers, just click the little sideways triangle in the middle of the box)
so you can accurately wish her a happy birthday; she turns 27 today.
for your birthday, here's your son wearing a tie
read on, trust me it's nothing gross
here's how it happened:
two months ago, after we had his 'luggage' surgically removed, the stress caused him to lose a nickel size patch of hair on his left hip.(no lie) so we took him to the vet and they gave us some some pills and some spray; we never really questioned what either was until yesterday.
so yesterday, when we got Barkley back after a washing/grooming session, we noticed a peculiar bulge on his left hip (upper butt basically) and thought he had some swelling going on, maybe an allergic reaction.
to preface a little; we took him in to get 'the works' b/c he's been shedding his winter coat and puppy coat simultaneously, thus WRECKING our house and we have my basketball team's party at the house today so...
so after the grooming, all the tufts of under coat were gone, groomed away, accept this amazing bulge. we investigated a little and realized that it wasn't swelling or anything; evidently the spray we administered was some kind of crazy hair strengthening spray or root strengthener b/c the 'bulge' on his hip is simply undercoat that will not let go!
it's thick, soft, poofy, full of body, and relentless!
(it's almost like he has one of the nelson twins on his hip)
now i fear that his hip will over heat this summer
you can kinda see it there, the light angle is making a shadow across the front of it.
here's a funny photo to buy me some time til i write some proper posts
ya, that lady is standing. Bet looks like a giant!
'banana lady' yangshuo, june '04
so it's barkley's birthday, or so we say. we didn't get him till he was 6 months old and that means he was born in early april; so we decided april fool's day suits him quite well. now while he didn't have an exciting day today; yesterday he went w/ me to watch Bet play ultimate frisbee. two of my (wonderful) students were there and he got to run around w/ them for a couple hours; its probably the most fun he's ever had. one student was scared of him so he got to chase her and the other loved him so he got lots of attention! (which is what he loves the most!) they took some great pictures of him, something i've totally failed at, so once she gets me those photos i'll post some in here and in our flickr site.
don't fall for that face, he's evil...