31 May 2006

No shuffle today

No shuffle of the day today as I'm busy with a giant chiller.

30 May 2006

Shuffle of the Day 15 - "O2" by Sleater-Kinney

Sleater-Kinney might be the archetype for college radio bands. Well, I feel that way because I discovered them in college when I was working at WCFM (Guerrilla Rock for the 90's, motherf*&ker). I found myself in love with my copy of Dig Me Out, thinking this was the future of the future, loving every moment of the frantic vocals, charged guitars and driving rhythms. Here was an album with passion that wanted to go somewhere and wasn't going to take no for an answer. Kind of like me, Sleater-Kinney has slowed down a little with age, and this track from One Beat, the album that marks the transistion of the band from youth band to adult band, is much more my pace these days. Most people in the U.S. have never heard of or will never hear any Sleater-Kinney, but hey, I feel like I've grown up with them since college.

26 May 2006

Shuffle of the Day 14 - "Morning New Disease" by Jets to Brazil

Today might be one of those days where I have nothing to say about my shuffle. Good song from an underappreciated band. I've always loved the name "Jets to Brazil" and Orange Rhyming Dictionary still grows on me each time I listen to it.


Current iPod Top 10
*The iPod is going to get some major restructuring over the weekend, so the playcount will be totally reset. Might be the last time you see some of these for awhile.

10 No Culture Icons by the Thermals
9 Once, A Glimpse by Maximo Park
8 The World Loves Us and Is Our Bitch by Mclusky
7 Where There's a Will There's a Whalebone by the Islands
6 The Ballad of the Sin Eater by Ted Leo/Pharmacists
5 Jogging Gorgeous Summer by the Islands
4 Our Days in Kansas by Tullycraft
3 The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living by the Streets
2 Pull Shapes by the Pipettes
1 Y.M.M.W.D.S.B. by Mon Frere


New TIG Review: Panda & Angel - Panda & Angel


25 May 2006

Shuffle of the Day 13 - "Blue Sky Mine" by Midnight Oil

Let's pretend. Let's pretend we all live in Australia. Ok, maybe some of you actually live in Australia. I don't. I need to stand on my head to get the idea of living down there, which is fine. Australia seems to have a lot of nifty features, not the least of which is that Peter Garrett of Midnight Oil was elected to their House of Representatives (Aussie Labour Party) since 2004. Sure, he looks like a toned down, smaller version of Sloth from Goonies. Sure, he's the lead singer one of the biggest Australian musical exports this side of INXS, Kylie and Men Without Hats. And now he's a politician. Brilliant! Imagine that here in the states? Dennis Hastert and the Wild Boyz! Barak Obombers! Barney Frankalicious! Heck, John Kerry was supposedly in a garage band in his youth, but since Sonny Bono met an untimely demise, we've been short of the musicians in Congress. Ah well. "Blue Sky Mine" is one of my favorite Midnight Oil tracks, possibly more than "Beds are Burning" but they're very similar political protest songs that bring to light the problems with Aussie relations with the aboriginal people of the continent. It's catchy, it's original and went nowhere in the U.S. Which is too bad. Now I guess I'll sit back and wait for Conor Oberst in 2016!

24 May 2006

Shuffle of the Day 12 - "Powder Blue" by Elbow

Elbow is one of many children of Radiohead in the British music scene. Not that they are directly descended from Radiohead, but that dour, drifting sound that Radiohead pioneered on The Bends and OK Computer permeates this track off of Elbow's debut. The thing that sets this song apart is, well, horns. Specifically, saxophones. Saxophone solos. At the very end of the song, suddenly this very INXS "Never Tear Us Apart"-esque saxophone solo comes in for maybe 20 seconds and on one hand it seems entirely out of place, but on the other hand it does actually add a lot to the song. Does this mean I want more saxophones in my British alternative rock? Well, no. However, you have to hand it to Elbow for at least trying something a little different in what might otherwise seem like a Radioclone.

23 May 2006

Shuffle of the Day 11 - "Malo" by Bebe

I'm sometimes troubled by my choice of music. I first heard this song (as a music video) in a hotel room in Pucon, Chile on one of the various Latin MTV-type stations. It was black & white and was pretty much a single shot of this woman with a buzzed haircut singing the song with a guitar. Very stripped down, very intense for MTV like fodder. I liked the song, it seemed kind of indie in a Latin-pop sort of way. However, it troubles me to think what I might have thought if this song was in english and I had seen the video on the American MTV or VH1 (well, if they still showed videos). Would I think it was just another Alanis/Avril/Ani style angry women rocker song? Am I totally biased by its Latin origins that I ignore what I might normally find bland and offensive to my musical sensibilities? At this point, I have no idea. I like the darn song and maybe I should spend less time worrying about whether music fits into my preceived musical heirachy of quality and instead just decide if I like it.

22 May 2006

Shuffle of the Day 10 - "There is No-One That Will Take Care of You" by Palace Brothers

There is really nothing like bleak bleak Will Oldham for a bleak bleak Seattle morning. Here we are, almost into June, and we still have to put up with grey, cold, wet mornings. Maybe that's part of the reason I'm pretty excited to leave Seattle (although I am very fond of the city). I have to admit, amongst the Palace Music/Brothers ouevre, this is one of the lesser known songs to me, and its not as totally bleak and stripped down as "(End of) Travelling" or "I Am a Cinematographer", but there is something captivating and haunting about Oldham's ever-crackling vocals. It sounds like, no matter what he's singing, he's pouring his heart and soul out to you, the listerner. Heck, he could probably sing "Yummy Yummy Yummy I've Got Love in My Tummy" and still sound like someone had recently broken his heart, kicked his dog and slashed his tires. He's just got one of those voices, a voice perfect for a dreary morning when you just didn't get enough sleep the night before to justify being up so early.


New Review on TIG: The Rogers Sisters - The Invisible Deck


19 May 2006

Shuffle of the Day 9 - "The Dirty Song" by Cars Can Be Blue

Cars Can Be Blue have a special place in my heart for a number of important reasons
(a) They are named after a skit from the shortlived but undervalued MTV skit show The State. In this skit, contestants on a game show win orphans. Of course, both players play to lose and the final question is "Name a form of transportation". One contestant answers "blue" and the judges decide "Cars can be blue!" and every wins!
(b) The lead singer is cute. There, I said it. When I saw CCBB at the Croc in Seattle, I saw her wandering around the bar and thought "she looks like a cute indie girl with glasses" and I was right. What I didn't realize was the filth that would come from what appeared to be a demure lady.
(c) They saved me after a breakup. Yay!
Now, one thing you need to realize about CCBB is that they are very, very dirty. I mean filthy dirty. I mean, the drummer was in the crowd in his tighty whiteys grinding with random audience members dirty. And "The Dirty Song" is exactly what it seems. It starts sounding like a cute little indie rock song only to become a song that might make Chingy blush. For example, we find the lead singer singing lines like you can sodomize me/get behind and ride me/stuff your c*^k inside me/proceed to f$#k me blindly. Yes, indeed. Its all topped by the slow and tender bridge of we don't have to anything/if you don't want/we could just look into each others eyes/...and masterbate. Oh yes. I just get all red-faced thinking about. How I love you Cars Can Be Blue.


This week's iPod Top 10

10 Emily Kane - Art Brut
9 Our Days in Kansas - Tullycraft
8 The Ballad of the Sin Eater - Ted Leo/Pharmacists
7 Jogging Gorgeous Summer - the Islands
6 Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby - the Islands
5 The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living - the Streets
4 Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me - the Pipettes
3 Like U Crazy - Mates of State
2 Can't Con an Honest John - the Streets
1 Y.M.M.W.D.S.B. - Mon Frere


I was horribly excited this week to discover I am currently 12th place in the Baseball Prospectus Hacking Mass competition out of 1427 entries. HM allows you to pick a lineup of the worst players in baseball and see who ends up with the worst of the worst. Its tricky, they must be bad but not bad enough to not play. I've lucked out with gems like Rodrigo Lopez of the Orioles and Jose Molina of the Angels, but Tony Womack and Joe Mays are both currently jobless, which is bad for me. Ah well.


18 May 2006

Shuffle of the Day 8 - "Fearless" by the Bravery

Alright folks, this is what I've been afraid of all when I started this. This is when I wish I could call a "do-over". Not when the song is embarassing. Not when its a repeat. No, instead it's when a song like this comes up: Uninteresting, filler, trite music that ended up on my iPod as something to maybe give a chance. I suppose its my own doing by putting anything on my iPod by the Bravery that isn't "Honest Mistake" or "Unconditional" (and they aren't that great anyway). "Fearless" is just well, bad. It's like you took a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy of Franz Ferdinand. It's exactly like what Pitchfork said in their review (and I normally don't agree with them): the Bravery are dance-rock's Stone Temple Pilots. Of course, the Bravery didn't end up being nearly as popular STP, which is fine with me. I'm still baffled about the popularity of Scott Weiland and the boys, but that was the alterna-crazy 1990s for you. "Fearless" just seems so lifeless especially when the next song to come up on my iPod is "Why Can't I Touch It?" by the Buzzcocks. So close, yet so far away. Sigh.


Here is my review of the Streets' Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living. In rereading it, maybe I was a little harsh on a lot of it because I really enjoy it. Ah well.


17 May 2006

Shuffle of the Day 7 - "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers

This is the first potentially "embarassing" song to come up for SOTD, and well, its not even that bad. This song has been a favorite of mine for a long time, sadly, ever since I got a hold of a dirty, scuffed 45 RPM copy of "The Gambler" at a flea market for 10 cents when I was a kid. Most of my early memories of the song revolve around an odd Muppet Show skit centered around the song. Odd when you consider muppets (a) gambling, (b) drinking whiskey and (c) hanging out with Kenny Rogers. The images of the old muppet on the train telling Kenny about the secret to surviving stuck with me and when I could sit back and listen to the crackling and popping of the old 7", it was like comfort food in audio form. Even today when my copy of "The Gambler" comes in perfect digital version (althought sometimes I wish I could listen to a digital version of the 45). Kenny himself is a bit of a icon of a bygone era. His bread, his flowing pile of greying hair. He'd never be a star today. He's sort of the lighter, safer, softer version of Willie Nelson, especially when you start considering his even-more-embarassing hits like "Lady". "The Gambler," however, has the same charm as something like "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" and more charm than dreck like "American Pie". It's cheesy, Disney-style Americana.

16 May 2006

Shuffle of the Day 6 - "Excuse You" by MC Paul Barman

To say that MC Paul Barman is a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a really crass white guy might be an understatement. To many, he represents all that is evil in the world: overpriviledged white rapper with questionable skills and the uncanny ability to rap mostly about how much he likes naked women and personal gas emissions. Yet somehow he finds himself working with MF Doom, Dan the Automator and the like. "Excuse You" is one of the more, well, artistic songs from his Paullelujah! Sometimes his rhymes work great (e.g., the way I communicate could make a freaking enuch mate or Jesus H. Christ, where H. stands for "holy crap!"), sometimes they make no sense (e.g., I have a very goth towel/terry-cloth cowl/and when I wear it I'm a hairy moth owl and sometimes ... well ... I'm advancing the artform/depantsing a fart storm? And yet, somehow, I still like hearing his nonsensical/offensive songs every time they come up. It's as if Paul is a nerd rock equivalent to Eminem, but without the (wholly serious in Eminem's case) mysogyny and homophobia.


15 May 2006

Shuffle of the Day 5 - "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" by Keane & Faultline

On the whole, I don't care for Elton John. Yet, if I hear an Elton John song performed by someone else, I like the damn thing, like the version of "Your Song" from Moulin Rouge or Me First & the Gimme Gimmes cover of "Rocket Man". The same can be said about Keane & Faultine's pretty much note-for-note cover of "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". I don't particularly care for Keane and Faultline had one real good song ("Where Is My Boy" with Chris Martin of Coldplay), but they capture the melancholy nature of this song of loss. Maybe I like this song so much these days because thats kind of how I feel these days I as grope around for a direction for the future. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" seems to convey that loss of direction that I've been feeling. Not that I really lack direction, on the contrary, I know exactly where I'm going physically, but it doesn't seem to temper the feeling that part of me is still seeking an anchor or at least a compass of some sort. Of course, being 29, maybe I'm asking too much to have both my professional and personal life in order like so many ducks in a row, but hey, one can dream, right?

So, Friday I meant to skip work and have fun. Instead I skipped work and got, well, sick. So no entry on Friday. Luckily, I seem to have mostly recovered from my malady. I spent a lovely weekend watching episodes of Newsradio, the most underappreciated show ever, along with two great movies: Ghost World and Night of the Hunter. If Robert Mitchum isn't the creepiest preacher ever, I don't know who is (and in rewatching Nigth of the the Hunter, I realized where a lot of the the inspiration for the Caleb character on BtVS was derived.)


Here is last week's iPod top 10
10 Blue Light (Engineers' Anti-Gravity Mix) - Bloc Party
9 Emily Kane - Art Brut
8 Ballad of the Sin Eater - Ted Leo/Pharmacists
7 Jogging Gorgeous Summer - the Islands
6 The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living - the Streets
5 Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me - the Pipettes
4 Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby - the Islands
3 Like U Crazy - Mates of State
2 Can't Con an Honest John - the Streets
1 Y.M.M.W.D.S.B. - Mon Frere


Here is a new double review on TIG: Built to Spill - You in Reverse/Quasi - When the Going Gets Dark


11 May 2006

Shuffle of the Day 4 - "This is Not a Love Song" by Public Image Ltd.

This is one of those songs that either you like it (I fall here) or you hate it with the fire of a thousand suns. Let's see, it's (a) highly repetitive; (b) features Johnny Lydon's nasal, whiny vocals; (c) kind of disco-punk from the early 1980's. Not exactly middle America's cup of tea. "This is Not a Love Song" almost appears as a performance art piece disguised as music, making a statement about writing a song that isn't a love song, and making sure we know its not a love song. It might sound a little date these days, however, when I listen to "This is Not a Love Song" today, you begin to realize that lots of today's current dance rock bands owe a large debt to Public Image Ltd. Heck, they practically invented the genre after the demise of the Sex Pistols allowed Johnny to combine punk & dance into a gooey mess. Listen to pretty much anything by the Rapture and what do you get? Whiny vocals, guitars and dance beats, repetitive vocals. For that, Johnny Lydon can know that no matter how much his talk shows fail or his unpleasant Sex Pistols reunion tours might offend, PiL will live in on all these bands.

I had the good fortune to see Casey Dienel and Tiger Saw again last night, this time in a sparsely filled club in Seattle (the Sunset Tavern). And just like the first time, Casey wowed me yet again, she seems to be able to easily get the crowd to just eat out of her hand whether she knows it or not. She comes across as so demure, but then just belts those songs out. Those of you who haven't checked out her album, Wind-Up Canary should do so. Now.
Tiger Saw was in Readers Digest form - instead of the 8 man entourage that I saw in Boston, they were down to 3: Dylan, Casey and the new drummer angel. The songs were on a diet too, shorter than I remember, but still captivating, especially at the end when they "let loose" (i.e., Dylan looked slightly more animated) on one of my favorites, "Postcards & Letters". Both Casey & Tiger Saw are playing in Portland this weekend and then they head to California. Go see them. Do it!
I was recently asked if I really am choosing the song that is the first to come up or am I cherry picking. Never! First song, no matter what. You're all just going to have to trust me. Really.

10 May 2006

Shuffle of the Day 3 - "Do Re Me So Far So Good" by Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine

1992 feels like a long time ago. I suppose it is 14 years ago now, but back in the day, Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine (Carter USM for short) was selling out shows left and right in the UK. They were huge. Why they never made it in the US with a name like that, especially considering that it was spawned from former president Jimmy Carter, their lack of fame always baffled me. Then again, when I listen to "Do Re Me So Far So Good", only an ok song from 1992: the Love Album I realize maybe it was because, heck, Carter USM weren't that good a lot of the time. I mean, I really do quite like "The Only Living Boy in New Cross", but "Do Re Me..." is just kind of flat. Yes, synths. Yes, guitars. Yes, sort of witty lyrics. Satisfying, not really. I think it falls into the category of songs on my iPod of "Maybe they're still good, we'll see". I do remember liking the song when I was younger, when I could be the only boy at Oakmont Regional that was listening to Carter USM (yes, I was that cool, if by cool you mean totally uncool). These days, I just think that Carter USM was a poor man's Pop Will Eat Itself or a less polished Jesus Jones. And that, in itself, is an odd statement and a testament to the oddness of the late 80's/early 90's British music scene.


Red Sox 14, Yankees 3. Need I say more? No, I needn't.

Anybody wanna find me a place to live in Davis?


09 May 2006

Shuffle of the Day 2 - "Chemicals" by Notwist

Apparently, to match my mood this morning, my iPod has decided to deliver me a rather bittersweet, melacholy song. Unlike most though, this is a sad song if sad songs were written by and for robots. Everything about this song has an odd metallic sheen to it: the synth is static-y, the drums are artificial, the vocals are stilted (ok, the lead singer is not a native English speaker, but the effect is the same). The instruments creep in one by one building the song like some sort of sad bastard Voltron. However, beneath all of the technological skin beats the heart of a human. "Chemicals" has an undeniable tenderness that says both pain and forgiveness for whatever wrongs have been done. You are no good/you are no good he sings in the chorus, but the tone is undeniable not one of anger but instead of sadness and redemption. I honestly could not name another Notwist song to save my life, and that might be the way I like it. "Chemicals" is as close to being a perfect song (for the band) that hearing another might ruin my perception. I hope the robot gets his wish, that's all.


New TIG review: Starlight Mints - Drowaton


08 May 2006

Shuffle of the Day 1 - "Movin' On Up" by Primal Scream

5/8/2006 - "Movin' On Up" by Primal Scream
So, in the inaugural SOTD, I get a song that I never would have guessed would come up (how would I expect to guess what would come up? No idea). Primal Scream's "Movin' On Up" was a favorite in high school for me, heck I had the cassingle for the song and listened to it repeated on my old, grey, creaking cassette Walkman on the bus. Nothing like riding the bus in high school, especially when you're an awkward, nerdy youth who is listening to obscure British bands. Ah yes. Funny thing, after haven't not really heard this song in years, I wished that I still thought it was good. I must have at the time, but now, it just seems to derivative. Screamadelic, the album that "Movin' On Up" is culled, has some real classics like "Come Together", but this song sounds like a bad 70's rock knockoff right down to the overly austentatious gospel choir. What it does have going for it is a great intro - I still got excited at the roughly strummed guitar that leads the song - but the rest seems to fall flat. Oh well, some much for youthful memories.


I think I'm in love with this band. You should be too.

07 May 2006

Big Changes to the blog

Hello all --

When I started this blog, I had no idea what I was doing. I ranted about things - baseball, music, love, life - but really, it was merely of interest to people who know me. That's all well and good, but I would like to become universal. Ok, not universal, but more universal. I had attempted to do this my attempting to write my Island of Lost Albums column, but that failed pretty miserably. Instead, I needed to simply. I needed to attempt something that can be done is less than 1 hours per day. So, I was struck by a new idea: the Shuffle of the Day. Starting tomorrow, each day I will have a paragraph or two about the first song to come up on my iPod (set on shuffle) in the morning. I'll keep a little journal on what I think about when I hear the song. Maybe my attempt at a Songbook. That's why the blog got a new name: Ionic Radiio (no, it's not a typo). I'd like to get any comments once I get rolling. Don't worry, the other stuff will stick around too, but I'd like to have a little rhyme or reason to the whole thing. Hope you enjoy it!


05 May 2006

Busy day

Ok, well, first things first. The proposal I wrote with the faculty I will be working with in Davis didn't get funded, yet again, by the National Science Foundation. This time, it was fundable, they just ran out of money before they got to it. It makes me wonder, what exactly does it take to get funded these days? Everyone I know gets turned down, but someone has to be getting that money. Who? And where? I mean, what kind of profession requires that your workers need to go out and find their own money to do the work you want them to be doing anyway (i.e., research at a university). The system is ridiculous. Add in the fact that everyone wants you to have postdoc experience, yet no one wants to pay you to be a postdoc (I've lucked out), you begin to wonder if they might as well cut to the chase and say that all recent Ph.D. need to do a year of indentured servitude before they can apply for real positions. My friends, I love geology and teaching, but if you want a stable life that doesn't drive you mad and isn't stacked against you most of the way, don't do academics.

Well, thats my rant for the day. I guess I don't handle rejection well, and I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired and I won't take it anymore. Blah.

Anyway, I seem to have taken over TIG lately, so here is a new review Islands - Return to the Sea.

And the weekly iPod top 10!
10 I Will See You in Far Off Places - Morrissey
9 Blue Light (Engineers Anti-Gravity Mix) - Bloc Party
8 Emily Kane - Art Brut
7 The Ballad of the Sin Eater - Ted Leo/Pharmacists
6 The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living - the Streets
5 Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby - Islands
4 Can't Con an Honest John - the Streets
3 Like U Crazy - Mates of State
2 Y.M.M.W.D.S.B. - Mon Frere
1 Walk Through the Fire - Cast from Buffy the Vampire Slayer*

* = this may be the last week for Buffy before she's retired. Right now she doubles the playcount of #2. Ah well.

04 May 2006

Thursday, yet again, again

Today seems to have ground to a halt and possibly starting moving in reverse. In fact, today I caught myself telling someone that I would take care of something yesterday. Yes, I can't even keep my temporal frame of mind working in the right direction. Ah well. Not much to do this evening except go to the gym and watch more episodes of Angel on DVD. I have to admit, I might not have given the show a fair shake when it was first on as I am quite enjoying it so far in Season 1. Ah well.

Anything else? No.

Anybody out there reading from Davis, just out of curiousity? I got me some more questions.

01 May 2006

The Return of Dumpy Doug

We couldn't go too long on ICYI without mentioning the return of Dumpy Doug Mirabelli to the Red Sox (for Josh Bard, Cla Meredith & $). I, for one, like anything that makes Tim Wakefield pitch better. Doug will even be in tonight's lineup vs. the Yankers (after arriving at Fenway an hour before).

Back from California

Well, It's final. I will be moving to Davis for that postdoc sometime in the early summer. Let the fun begin. I guess that means I have to move again. And I love moving. Did I mention that?

My flight to Davis was 1 1/2 hours late because the 737-700 was leaking from the tail rudder. Yeah, that much fun. They apparently decided it would be A-OK except "we might fishtail a little". Now, call me crazy, but I prefer my large aircraft to not fishtail. Well, the flight was fine.

Davis seems like a cool place. Sunny & warm when I was there, full of bikes & women. Yeah. The Geology department is full of friendly, relatively young faculty. I was duly impressed with the set up (although they are a little cramped for space).

I'll be posting some pics from the flights to and from Sacramento here sometime soon. Guess what? They're mostly pics of volcanoes. Surprising eh?