what have i become?

i've noticed that this site is (perhaps subconsciously) veering towards audioblog or mp3-blog territory, which is fine with me. i'm not a critic or a music journalist, but i know what i like and sometimes i can coherently explain why i like it. i've always loved music and my tastes have changed and expanded, especially in the last ten years or so (note the country music appreciation, mentioned earlier this month).

in the past, i've used this forum (and the old "personal status" page on my website) as a way to clear my head and air out a few grievances
(i think the disclaimer i used to have said something like "i type this crap out so i won't have to purchase an automatic weapon and plan a trip to a crowded shopping mall") because i was practically the only person who read it. i know i don't have thousands of hits a day, and that's not something i'm really looking for, but it's clear that i'm not alone here anymore. therefore, i'll probably try to cut the shit out because i'm not a whiner or a hater (well, at least i try not to be) and nobody wants to see my dirty laundry.

the point i'm trying to make is that any mp3s i post will likely be through yousendit.com links. those are available for seven (7) days or a finite number of downloads (i think it's twenty or twenty-five)(don't you hate these goddamn parenthetical asides?). i'm just posting random (generally independent) shit that i like, so if you like it as well, why not take a chance and purchase the disc. i guess that's it.

jamie ^_^

hey pretty baby, get high with me

www.anti.com has a new neko case track, "star witness", available for download. her album, "fox confessor brings the flood" is due on march 7, and it couldn't come a moment too soon. "star witness" is, i think, about a boyfriend who dies in a car accident. the songs feels dark and sad, with a little bit of hope. the piano at the end is absolutely brilliant. do check it out, it's on the page that's linked at the beginning of this paragraph, or use this handy dandy yousendit.com link.

also on the site, there's an electronic press kit. it's a fifteen minute video of neko discussing the process she went through in making this album. the bird song is gonna be on this album, i can't fucking wait. the last 4-5 times i've seen her, she's played this song and i never caught the title. there's a snippet of the song on the video, she said she wrote it a few years ago. the song is called "maybe sparrow", but i've been calling it the bird song because she always prefaces the song by briefly mentioning a fascination with birds. also, some of the musicians get to talk about their part and their relationships with neko. it's pretty neat. unfortunately, you'll need real audio player to view the video.


year of the dog

happy new year, bitches (get it? ^_^)

show me a place i might find you

i just heard this song, "where's my love?", by caroline. you can pick up her single from temporary residence limited. you can also download the mp3 on the TRL site, and you can stream it (and the very cool remix) on caroline's myspace site. the song itself is really pretty, it sounds like a music box with little electronic glitches. it's really cool. check it out and grab a copy of the single, i know i will. i was able to dig up a bit of info on her here. this is her first single and she apparently has an album coming in march.


when the world ends, what will you be listening to?

this album, "under the pipal tree" is by the japanese instrumental band, mono (you can buy it here). my favorite track on the album is "the kidnapper bell". when the world is about to end, this song should be playing over the loudspeakers. everywhere. it sounds like impending doom. about seven and a half minutes in, this laser beam of a guitar comes in and rips a hole in your eardrum, it's beautiful.

download (for a short time): mono > the kidnapper bell

go see them play live if you have the chance, it's well worth it. bring earplugs. they're releasing a new album this spring, and a tour should follow.


i write down everything they say

a couple weeks ago, i was checking out a stream from rhino records called future retro (click here if you'd like to check it out). it's a bunch of remixed 80s tracks, which you can conveniently purchase here. so one of the tracks on there is book of love's "boy", used to be one of my favorites. i hadn't heard it in aaaaaages so i dug out the album when i got home from work. it's a bit dated, but still catchy synthpop. "i touch roses" and "boy" were huge club hits back in those days, and they still sound good. the cd has a couple remixes of those and other tracks. my other favorite songs are "you make me feel so good" and "book of love". a little bit of trivia: susan ottaviano had a small spot in silence of the lambs. she plays a friend of the first victim. when the cops go back to interview her to try and get more info/insight, you can hear a book of love song playing in the background (although i can't remember which one it is and i don't have a copy of the movie). also, you can hear "modigliani (lost in your eyes)" in the movie, "planes trains and automobiles".

a couple tracks for you to check out:
you make me feel so good
i touch roses (long stemmed mix)


one kiss can lead to another

so i've had the flu, or some variation of it, for the past week. i missed more than half the work week, which is fine, but for all the wrong reasons. i missed my hockey games this week. i've been sitting around at home, feeling like shit. i've been coughing so much, my voice sounds like froggy from the little rascals.

tonight, i was okay enough to get out of the house for a bit. i decided to treat myself to some shopping at amoeba. i finally succumbed and picked up the rhino records release, one kiss can lead to another: girl group sounds lost & found. 4 cds. 30 tracks each. 107 artists. fucking brilliant. i've listened to three of the discs so far, and i swear i haven't heard a bad track. if you're into 60s girl groups, or even if you have a passing interest, do pick this up, i think this is essential stuff. i think the most interesting feature is that it's not an overplayed hits compilation that you'd see advertised on late night television. most of the songs here either didn't make it or were simply overlooked (much like the "beg, scream and shout" box set i picked up last summer, which you should get as well). roughly around $65, i think it's actually inexpensive considering the fabulous packaging. the cd cases are like faux compacts, the liner notes are printed in a book that's labeled "diary", and it all comes in a hatbox. how cool is that?

a few tracks to entice you (these will be up for a short time):
earl-jean - i'm into something good
little eva - the trouble with boys
four pennies - when the boy's happy (the girl's happy too)


cigarettes and speed for livin, sleeping pills to feel forgiven

in 2003, on the strength of a glowing review, i picked up ted leo/pharmacists' hearts of oak. much like my experience with neko case, the album didn't catch me and i put it away. fast forward to february of last year. i had driven down to los angeles to hang out with a few friends. we were looking for an inexpensive gig to check out, and ted leo happened to be playing at the el rey theater. you guessed it, he and the pharmacists pretty much wowed us while rocking the goddamn house. i went back to hearts of oak and loved it. i picked up a couple more albums (the tyranny of distance, tell balgeary that balgury is dead) and was pleasantly surprised to find out that he was coming to san francisco at the end of the summer. when that show finally rolled around, me and cc went, we had a blast and we picked up a copy of shake the sheets at the show. the guy just flat out rocks, period. the melodies are catchy, the lyrics are thoughtful, he updates his website...what else do you need? there are a couple more albums i need to get, the ones pictured here are the ones that i have.

hearts of oak: where have all the rude boys gone?, bridges squares, 2nd ave 11am

the tyranny of distance: under the hedge, timorous me, the gold finch and the red oak tree
shake the sheets: me and mia, counting down the hours, bleeding powers

tell balgeary, balgury is dead: ghosts, dirty old town, loyal to my sorrowful country

links links links
http://www.tedleo.com (lotsa mp3s available for you to check out)
ted leo/pharmacists@lookout records (buy cd's here, dirt cheap)
http://www.timorousme.org/ (semi official community)


jeff yang's asian pop

jeff yang's column usually rolls around every couple weeks at sfgate.com. it's called "asian pop" and pretty much centered on anything that's pop culture with an asian angle. this week had steven seagal getting clowned pretty hard, i burst out laughing while reading it at work.

-- Steven Seagal's Lightning Bolt Energy Drink ($2.99 per can): Martial artist-turned-action-hero-turned-Tibetan monk-turned-assclown Steven Seagal has put his questionable endorsement on a grade-Z line of energy beverages that promises to offer the "Asian Experience." You may disagree, but Seagal is just about the last person on earth I want interpreting the Asian experience, especially for something that I'm supposed to put in my mouth. The drinks' listed ingredients range from Tibetan Goji Berry to Asian Cordyceps to Gingko Biloba. I suspect they actually taste of shame and desperation.

"when i was a younger, i never thought i'd like country music" or "the beginner's guide to neko case"

i first became acquainted with neko case when my then-housemate, ben, picked up "blacklisted" when it was first released way back in 2002. he was completely obsessed with the album at the time and made me a copy. i listened to it, but i wasn't too fussed over it. a few months later, i'd kinda forgotten about it and ben mentioned that she was going to be playing here. we decided to go check it out. seeing her live completely struck a nerve for me. let's see, voice of honey. check.
charisma. check.
stage presence. check.
wicked sense of humor. yup.
h0ttt. oh yeah.
what's not to love? i went back home with a newfound appreciation for blacklisted, and quickly picked up the rest of the albums that i could find. since then, i think i've seen her about 8 or 9 times. this past summer, i flew out to denver to see her play a pair of gigs at the bluebird theater. very cool.

these are pretty much all of the regular releases, so i'll list those (in order of release) and my favorite tracks. so what you need to do is open up another browser (or tab), get your credit card out, log onto your favorite online music shop, and do a search for "neko case" and add all of these albums to your shopping cart. seriously, you can't go wrong with any or all of these.

"the virginian": check out "bowling green", "misfire", "thanks a lot", "high on cruel", and "the virginian".

"furnace room lullaby": check out "set out running", "twist the knife", "thrice all american", "whip the blankets", "south tacoma way", and "bought and sold".

"canadian amp": check out "dreaming man", "knock loud", "make your bed", "in california", and "favorite".

"blacklisted": check out "deep red bells", "tightly", "look for me (i'll be around)", "stinging velvet", "i wish i was the moon", and "runnin' out of fools".

"the tigers have spoken": check out "if you knew", "soulful shade of blue", "this little light", and "wayfaring stranger".

i also have a copy of an appearance she made on the john peel show back in 2000 which is fucking superb. her new album is coming march 7th. it's on anti and it's titled "fox confessor brings the flood".

neko case @ anti.com
www.nekocase.com (hasn't been updated in quite a while)
album reviews @ allmusic.com
tonevendor cool online (US based) music store. i recommend them, they're nice people.



a couple sites i found by chance this past summer. i check them out regularly. perhaps you will, too.

3 kg suolaa: the owner is finnish (i think), and i have no idea what (s)he is saying, but that's okay because it's mostly just pics. old skool pics. very cool. reminds me of that R.E.M./Natalie Merchant song, "Photograph". if you know the song, you'll know what i mean.

BLDGBLOG: the header reads "architectural conjecture | urban speculation | landscape futures". that's it in a nutshell, and it's really fascinating (and i have absolutely no clue about stuff like this). it's kinda like real life science fiction.