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19 days

I won't be counting down over the weekend (I don't think) b/c I have to make a movie for our sports banquet.

So I'll post two today:

Both songs are from KCRW's 'Morning Becomes Eclectic' which you can get as a free podcast at iTunes.

Denial Twist (A very rocking version. I have another version of this song that's just as cool but very different; I'll post it soon.)

Folk Singer (Brendan Benson cover)

Have a nice weekend...


20 days

Today I bring you one of my favorite songs by The White Stripes, "Death Letter", and it's possibly the best version I've ever heard of it as well. This song was written by Son House around the time my dad was in elementary school and it has aged VERY well. I found a video of Son House playing the original version and included it for good measure. I have to admit that I like the original a little more, but I enjoy the WS version more. (I like to rock)

Death Letter/People Grinnin' - White Stripes

Death Letter - Son House

Music Player (finally)

I finally have a working music player for the site! (in the right hand column) A big thanks goes out to my friend Kellie for pointing me in the right direction.

I'm going to start (randomly, NOT weekly) talking about songs stuck in my head and I'll be sure to add them over there so you can hear that which I speak of.

It's a pretty cool media player w/ more features than I care for but if you want to check it out, go to Stickam.com.


21 days

'Ugly As I Seem' - live on KCRW's 'Morning Becomes Eclectic'


22 days

While looking for the new White Stripes video I stumbled across dozens of spectacular videos of them on youtube. Some are live and some are music videos, but all of them are great. Instead of posting them all at once I'll spread it out over the next 22 days as a count down of sorts.

Why 22 days you ask, because their new album comes out on June 19 and I have a sneaky suspicion it'll be amazing.

So every other day or so I'm going to post a video or two so you all can get as excited as I am.

Here's a little taste:

Let's Build A Home/Going Back To Memphis/John The Revelator live on Conan O'Brien

From the www, Vol. 9 - Icky Thump

Bet's brother posted the new White Stripes video over on his site and guess what, it doesn't play in China. So I jumped over the youtube and it wasn't up so I just got all frustrated and pissy that I don't get to see their new video.

back ground info:
a. I LOVE the White Stripes
b. They make great videos
c. Their new song rocks

A month or so ago I heard their new song and thought "I should talk about this on my website" but I can't for the life of me find a music player that works on a blog site, suggestions are welcome. So I got this idea yesterday to make a bare-bones video for this song and put it on youtube so that my 'vast loyal reader base' could hear it. (ya right, there's like four of you) It only took a little while to make the video and put it on youtube. That was last night so before I posted it on here I decided to give youtube another try and WAH-LAH, there it was.

Things you should know before you watch this:

If you have strong opinions on immigration, don't get all up in arms; I think the song is more about a singular incident they might have experienced (or thought up) during their crazy South American tour. It seems to be more of a story than anything else. But ya, it has some other themes that I don't really care that much about so I'll just enjoy the rock.

That weird bagpipe/Indian sound (other than the keyboard part) is from a guitar pedal effect.

Icky Thump

The new album comes out June 19 and its gonna be good. (understatement)


BOTW has died, I think...

Ok band of the week has been missing for three weeks now; I think BOTW is dead. If you happen to see him, you might want to run b/c he'll eat your brains...

I'm just joking; but BOTW is dead. Don't get out the paddles and yell 'clear', or tear your clothes and put on sack cloth and ashes, just yet; I'll still be spotlighting great bands in the exact same format.
(Don't you all just love when I pretend that there's actually people that read/care about this blog?)
Back to BOTW; I'm just killing off the 'weekly' portion of the whole thing b/c the stress of posting weekly was shortening my life. (ya right)

In the meantime this will mean more 'From the www' posts b/c there's a lot of times when I find a good video or some album news that I save it for a BOTW post.

So lets 'poor some for the hommies' and cherish the times we had w/ him; besides, there's always memory lane over on the right in the 'previously mentioned nonsense' section.


From the www, Vol. 8

I won't taint this w/ too many words; this is 6 minutes of guitar perfection!

Ball & a Bisquit



Rasheed pushed off and James got fouled. It doesn't get anymore obvious. The refs decided that game, what a shame. I have a feeling I'll be able to post a video about this soon; someone's cooking up a youtube video about it right now I'm sure.

ok I haven't seen any video yet but I did find this highlight from the game:


Basketblah, blah, blah

I try to avoid talking about basketball too much on this blog b/c I think most people don't care to hear about the NBA and my middle/high school teams. Yet for some reason I seem to believe that you all would care to read my ramblings about music, I'm clearly delusional.

For closure's sake, I'm going to talk about the Suns-Spurs NBA playoff series that went awry. This was a series that seemed to be going the Suns way and then it was ripped away by the NBA and their illogical rule interpretation. If you don't know anything about how dirty the Spurs played (and benefited from their dirty play) then you'll have no idea what I'm talking about and frankly, you wouldn't care. So I'm going to post this link for those of you that know a little about it so you can take joy in the knowledge that the vast majority of the world also thinks its a shallow victory to 'win at any cost' and take comfort in the reassurance that there's still a high value in doing what you do w/ some class and respect for your fellow man.

A quick summation of my views on the Spurs:
My friend says they're a classy and honorable organization w/ only one or two dirty players (one of which is known to be the dirtiest player in the league) my reply to that is

"If they're so classy why don't they bench their teammates for taking cheap shots like the ones in the video below? Is aiding and abedding a known felon classy? Is being an accessory to a crime honorable?"

That's the way I look at it; back in the day when I was the captain of a basketball team, or today now that I'm a coach, if I had a teammate or player pull a stunt like this I'd have been all over them, zero tolerance!

The evidence:

This one's a joke; Tony Parker of the Spurs is 'from France' (even though his dad's from Chicago and he spent a lot of time in the states) and he loves hip-hop. So, logically, he made a French rap album. Here's a video from one of his songs, the thumbs up at the end and the Spurs players trying to act like rappers, is HILARIOUS!!

Now for my team:
When my girls won second place two weeks ago, that team was made up of 'the best' of our two 7th and 8th grade teams and we played against the best of the other schools. Other than that weekend, our two teams haven't been having much 'fun' on the court. Yesterday was our last day of regular season games and the girls played well. We tied one team, lost by two to another team, and beat the school that never loses at girls bball, so ya, it was a fun day for them. (We missed some shots we usually make or we would have won the other two games as well. But that's no big deal b/c it's middle school basketball and winning's not the point; they played hard, played well, and played right. They did great this year!) Hopefully we can carry this over to Saturday so they can have fun at the season ending tournament.



Worst Album Covers (May 22)

Ok I'm getting back on track...

Sometimes I have to really click around for awhile to find 5 albums for this post but this week's WAC post was an easy one!

First we have gaudy art:

This is bad, really bad! I've said this before in previous WAC posts but I have to say it again; how does this happen, who signed off on this album cover? It passed w/ the band, w/ the 'artist', and w/ the record company. HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN? I'm not all for 'big government' but I might be ok w/ some kind of 'department of common sense' if it'll keep this kind of crap from happening.

Now this band has been around for a while and has a mild fan base so there's no excuse for this. I can't even figure out what this album cover is supposed to mean. Is it saying that a diamond is a 'light at the end of the world'? Do any of you single ladies out there take offense to this?

Next we look at a very sizeable chapter in the 'Worst Album Covers' book of history, the 'Band photo' which seemingly always involves photoshop, one of the band members looking off into space, and one of them holding one of their arms like it might fall off if they didn't clutch it tight. Sadly, these two only have the photoshop part, but there's always next week:

This band is one of those shtick bands; they started out playing bluegrass versions of ACDC songs. (if you say their name a few times you'll get the pun) This seems to be a joke but I went ahead and included it b/c I have a weird story to go w/ it.

Hayseed Dixie is a little band out of Huntsville, Alabama but I've come across their albums all over America and I even found one here in China, but that's not the weird part, what's weird is that one of these dudes is the uncle of a guy I went to school w/, no lie. (I think it's the one in the front)

This one's not singularly horrible, I think what drew me to it was a combination of photoshop, one dude is missing half his torso, and that the words 'funk tango' are tied to this pack of straight laced computer techies.

Lastly there's this clever little album cover from Candye Kane; notice the title that perfectly matches the oh so wonderful photo. I'm guessing this album is a high-art 'concept album' along the lines of Tommy, Quadrophenia, and Kid A. Actually its probably more along the lines of Kilroy Was Here. (which will be featured at the bottom of this post as my classicly bad album cover)

History lesson; back in the day STYX was a pioneer in the 'worst album cover' community and this 'concept album' was no exception to that rule. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you 'Kilroy Was Here'; not only was it a bad album cover, it was also a bad album.

All photos are from Amazon.com


What A Weekend!

I mentioned in the last post that we were going away this weekend to celebrate our five anniversary, here's how it turned out.

So we stayed in a 5 star hotel suite all weekend and it was AWESOME! We checked in late so they bumped us up to a more expensive top floor suite for no extra charge. The room was like an apartment, a super nice apartment!

We went to dinner at this little back alley place and it was so good; they gave us this private table in a window sill, really cool. The food was great and when we ordered desert they brought us a chocolate mousse cake for free. It was so rich we couldn't even finish a quarter of it.

What a great weekend!

Here's some pics from the weekend:


View of the city (a VERY small portion of the city) from our hotel room
(sometimes I forget that Shanghai has more people than Australia)



Today 'The Bates Dynasty' celebrates its fifth year in power! I'm not refering to this blog, I'm refering to May 18, 2002. On that day Bethany Brewster decided to marry me, poor thing, and the rest is history.(or 'crap that happened', that's for Dan)

So this is my indirect way of telling you all that I won't be blogging this weekend; I'll be chilling in a 5 star hotel suite for three days!

I promise, I'll get back to my regular posts next week. I'm gonna start a new weekly too, ya it's music related. I'll post more stuff 'From the www' in the future as well. (this is my best sales pitch)

Till then, root for the Suns against those cheap shot thugs in black and silver!



From the www, Vol. 7

So this week is me and Bet's 5 year anniversary (crazy!) and we're going to a hotel for a 'getaway' this weekend; which means there may not be a BOTW this week, and there probably won't be a Worst Album Covers post either. I already know who this week's BOTW is, it's just a question of whether or not I'll have time post it before Friday. We'll see...

But since I've been slacking on the posts the last two weeks (really busy w/ bball) I figured I'd throw in this video I found today. This is the perfect collision of two things I distinctly remember from my childhood. (it's kind of low quality and dorky but it made me a laugh)


No BOTW This Week

My middle school team had a tournament this weekend so I didn't get it together. But since I mentioned it; my girls played their butts off this weekend! We were definite underdogs going into the tournament but we came out w/ a 2nd place trophy.

Highlights of the day:

(useful info; each game was 22 minutes of running clock so it was like two quarters of a real high school game)

Game one we were down 0-4 at the half but turned it on in the second half and won the game 17-6. Late in the game one of my girls hit the only three pointer I've seen in MS bball. This game was against YCIS, the team that beat my varsity girls in the HS tournament. Their coach is kinda crazy; he's always cussing out the refs, acting like a jerk to other people, and his high school team was the only dirty team in the league, so it felt really good to beat them. (he coaches every basketball team at his school; boys and girls middle school, j.v., and varsity. kinda weird)

Game two was a tough one b/c some of the teams we play use a full court man-to-man defense but they don't know how to do it so they just foul the whole game. The thing that sucks is that the refs suck and just try to balance the calls even though my team is playing a zone and fouls less. We stayed neck and neck the whole game but came up short in the end.

Game three was a crazy little dog fight for the champion of the pool. We had the same reffing situation as the game above so I sent out my biggest, toughest bunch of players and battled to a 2 or 3 point win in double overtime.

We got a bye for winning the pool but as luck would have it we ended up playing the same team that we battled in game three. This time we had the good refs, b/c it was a semifinal game, and the game wasn't even close; they called so many fouls on the other team that we coasted past them to the championship game.

In the championship game we played the perennial powerhouse, Concordia. The game wasn't even close but we fought hard, had fun and went home w/ 2nd place. Considering how much my girls had to fight through, I couldn't be more proud of how they kept their composure and got the job done. (well, they almost lost their cool a few times but they are only in middle school and they were getting beat up pretty bad)

So I'll get back on the BOTW train this week. Last week was going to be Dinosaur Jr. b/c they reunited and released a great new album. I'll get around to that one soon but until I do, just check out their new album 'Beyond'.


Worst Album Covers (May 8)

This week’s theme is Portraits…
(For those that don't get the premise; these are albums released this week.)

first off:
Paula Abdul has spent the last 5 years telling young ‘talent’ how the industry works and what they should do to be successful and then she turns around and puts this on the shelves. This actually isn't that bad of an album cover, for a cassette tape! What is she wearing? And what is she looking at, circling vultures? (she's always so hammered she probably thinks they're magical little fairies) I'm glad she at least named it 'Straight Up' so we could all say it's 'straight up horrible'!

Next we got Streisand who is on the list b/c she’s Streisand, a walking nightmare. Great cover idea too; somewhere her publicist said "We need to find one of those big foam headed mics from the 60's so we can cover half her face!" (I think Babs sees the vultures too)

This one can also be blamed on Streisand; I’m sure the liner notes even give her a ‘shout out.’ I love that this is the ‘Deluxe Edition’ meaning that there’s a lesser version of this album on the market. The body language and album title, which I'll avoid discussing, are perfect! Bill Simmons would rank this really high on the ‘unintentional comedy’ meter. Furthermore, nobody ever wanted to see her in that dress... But Carole gains a little street cred for her audacity to smile at you and look you in the eye before slapping you w/ this hot loaf.

Here we have the unexplainable, oops, I mean the inexplicable, or, the inconceivable, the unbelievable, the… oh you get it. Its a monkey pope!? Is this connected w/ the airport Krishnas? And what does any of this have to do w/ a flow of grace.
Just to take inventory; we have a chanting harry Krishna monkey bishop oozing abundant grace. I'm completely lost; if this is some religious thing, someone tell me so I'm not completely offending the world.

The last three are artists that cranked out albums comprised entirely of other people’s music, yet they felt the need to plaster their mug on side A of the jewel case.

First is Lang Lang; poor guy, he can't be 30 and the vultures are already after him.

Lastly we have Richter, who decided the best way to sell cover albums is to slap a floor to ceiling shot of yourself looking worried on the front of each one. (which he did at least three times)

This week's throw back comes from over 15 years ago. I enjoy some songs from this album but no amount of 'riffing' can undo the lameness of this cover.

photos are from Amazon.com


I know I know

I'm slacking on the 'worst album covers' post; I'll get to it Thursday.

side note:
Never have I been more angry about the incompetence of another coach or school! I went to a game at another school today and was forced into a horrible situation where I was the one controlling the whole game, gym, students, etc. Complete incompetence! I'd say more, because I'm so pissed, but my students might read this blog. I had players leaving crying and they're not wimps; we're just classier than that school.


BOTW (April 30-May 5)

When I started this whole Band Of The Week thing I knew I’d eventually stick my neck out there for a new band b/c of some concert or something and today’s the day. After a GREAT show here in Shanghai, this weeks BOTW is Madison, Wisconsin’s breakout band, Locksley.

Tonight (last night, by the time I finished the post) Bet, two friends and me went to see Locksley play at a small place here in Shanghai.

The venue was a little music bar here in Shanghai called 4 Live. This is the second time I’ve gone to this place for live music and it won’t be the last; they get great local bands and, obviously, international acts too.

-side note- Every year our school organizes a charity concert; a bunch of high school bands play and all the money goes to help Chinese children go to school. This year 4 Live has donated their space for the charity concert. So ya, this is a good little venue.

Back to the band/show, Locksley sounds like the early Beatles and Kinks with more distortion and a lot more energy; basically a garage rock version of the early 60’s rock scene. If you still don’t get it, try to imagine the band from the movie ‘That Thing You Do’ mixed with The Strokes. If you still don’t get it you’re out of luck b/c I’m out of similes. Any of you that know me know that this kind of music is ‘my bag.’ But as they say on Reading Rainbow, “don’t just take my word for it;” The three other people I went with (one loves Lilith fair, one loves U2, and the other loves movie scores) were all VERY impressed. If you can please that broad of a demographic, you’re doing well.

Here’s where it gets tricky; if you heard their music w/o seeing them live you might dismiss them as just a retro pop act riding that whole Hives schtick. Also, if you just googled them and read their story, you might think they’re a little too mainstream b/c they owe a lot of their success to MTV. (which is very lame, but it’s not their fault) So to prevent this from happening, or to just let you know you’re wrong, I’ve included some videos here to give you a better perspective on the band. That’s not to say that they won’t turn out to be all those things and thus, I end up looking foolish…

Oh ya, if you're over 50 the odds of you liking this band are drastically reduced by the second. (that's not meant as an insult; points for honesty?)

'She Does' (live on BLK20Live)

'Don't Make Me Wait' (live on Jimmy Kimmel)

'Why Can't I Be You' (music video)

Ok last of all is a little video clip I made of the show last night. Before you watch this you should know a few things:
- yes I know that the audio quality is horrible
- yes I know that the video quality is horrible
- my movie program was messing up when I made it so it's very 'bare bones'
- watch the whole thing b/c there are a few great moments in there

They closed w/ a new song that they've never played before b/c the crowd kept cheering them back out and they ran out of songs that they know. In a moment of honesty they came out for the second encore and announced that this would have to be the last song b/c they don't know any other songs and that this new song that they were playing had only been rehearsed while it was being written. The song sounded flawless, the show was great and the crowd was left happy, well done fellows!

Here ya go, sorry for the bass overload w/ about 1.5 minutes left but it goes away and there's some GREAT 'riffing' around the 1 minute left mark. Watch the little timer...

oh ya, almost forgot:

Barkley, Barkley, Barkley! (that's just for you John 'DC' Taylor)


Worst Album Covers (weekly)

It’s May break here in China so I’m a little bored. I’m making this post on a whim so I can’t guarantee it will actually be weekly, but w/ all the no-talent hacks out there I’m sure there will be plenty of material to keep it going.

A friend of mine recently sent me a link to some bad record covers from the 60’s-80’s and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed them. This gave me an idea; dozens of major releases come out each week from ‘artists’ in all genres and thus album covers. Considering that 90% of the music that comes out each Tuesday sucks, I’m guessing there’s horrible album covers ‘aplenty’! So this is the first installment; I’ll pick the worst album covers of the week and then maybe throw in a classic from the 90’s-present.

5. John Tesh, perennial purveyor of poor taste, brings us this new gem. If you look close you can tell that the girl is either photoshopped or a vampire.

4. I HATE these kinds of album covers! Pink Floyd did this kind of album cover well and Dream Theater has been trying since. Now we have this new pack of weirdos, Young Galaxy, out there picking up the torch.

3. This was obviously done on purpose; nobody makes an album cover this bad on accident. So because this putrescence was done as part of their schtick, I only put it at #3.

2. My only mentionable thought on this album cover is that I'm so glad I'll never hear the nuevo Boy George music!

1. Congrats goes out to Kelly Marie for winning the first Worst Album Cover! If this album came out in 1988 we wouldn't be discussing it. Not b/c I'd be nine and Al Gore hadn't invented the internet yet; it wouldn't be horrible in the 80's b/c it looks like it is from the 80's! I can't believe anyone allowed this to happen; where were her friends, the record company, her own logic?

A nice added bonus to this whole thing is that I’ll always know when new albums (by artists I like) are coming out.

As for an old classic, try this hot pile dropped by Scott Stapp. It doesn't get much worse than this steamer!

photos came from Amazon.