i'm back, bitches

i'm sorta moved in and i have internet; even the tv works! i still have some cleaning up at the old place to do, so i'll leave you with this invitation (by way of Tom Waits).

tom waits > come on up to the house


a sheep in wolf's clothing

perhaps it was the desert heat, or it might have been the fact that i was doped up on decongestants all weekend, but i didn't really like rilo kiley when i saw them at coachella last year. fast forward to a couple weeks ago, the time i fell in love with jenny lewis' album. i decided to give RK another try, so i downloaded a handful of tracks and they turned out to be pretty cool. maybe i'm just infatuated with that voice of hers right now (umm...yeah, she's pretty cute, too...) but i've revised my opinion on RK.

it's a hit (is it me or do sleighbells really make a pop song that much better? this could be a whole topic by itself)
the good that won't come out

rilokiley.com (official site -- pick up their cd's on the cheap!)
(fansite -- lotsa goodies!)



no old pix today, aren't you glad? so, i'm in the middle of relocating. i'm moving to oakland, where my family lived when i was a kid. the apartment, next to lake merritt (pictured above) is actually about a fifteen minute walk from the old house. thinking about it has me kinda weirded out. as long as i've lived in (and as much as i love) san francisco, i almost feel as if i'm returning home. there are so many memories here. nowadays, the area is much, much nicer than it used to be. that doesn't mean i'm some gritty kid from the mean streets of oakland. it's just a lot more upscale than it used to be.

the cool thing is that i'll be close to public transport and freeway access is nearby. getting around won't be a problem. another cool thing is that i'll be living by myself. in a word, heaven. san francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the USA in which to live, and i've almost always had housemates in the past. there was one stint in the mid 90s when i lived alone for about four years, right before the dot com explosion. then the rents just got outta control. it's kinda settled in the past few years, but rent is still relatively high.

in any case, the song bouncing around in my head lately is joe jackson's "hometown". it's from the "big world" album, which was released in 1986. the interesting thing about this album is that it's a live recording but it doesn't sound like one. jackson asked the audience to not make a sound until the songs were completely over. "hometown" has one of my favorite opening lines, "of all the stupid things i could have thought, this was the worst".

listen: hometown

the joe jackson archive
city of oakland website


now it's dark...

i think i posted this pic before. it was taken last summer when rick was visiting. we had gone out to ocean beach on this grey and cloudy day, i think it was a saturday.

today, i was listening to sigur ros, specifically the sigur 1/sigur 9 ep. the third track, "sigur 9B", made me think of this picture for some reason. the song just so haunting and melancholy, sort of like that pic. the song feels like it can go on forever, like the seemingly neverending beach in the pic. it's kinda like the clouds; dark, ominous, with a hint of light and hope trying to break thru. and that empty bench, oh, that empty bench.

i was telling my cousin, cc, today, while listening to the song. i said the song made me feel like i was floating away while sirens sang to me. floating into darkness until i could neither see nor hear any longer.

do you remember that scene at the end of excalibur? arthur was dying after the battle with his son, mordred. arthur was put on the boat, funeral pyre blazing, floating out to meet his end. this song would have been the perfect musical companion for that scene.

or maybe i'm reaching...

listen: sigur ros > sigur 9B

what are you looking at?

maybe i shouldn't have had a coke so late at night, but i found the pic. the girl is nicole. she was dressed up for a fund-raiser show that was being put on by an organization to which she belonged. nicole had hired jennifer to take pix of the event. this was shortly before the end, she had come to the lobby for a breather. i sat her down and was giving her a neck rub when jennifer came by and snapped us. still one of my favorite pix.

team russia

the other night, i had been looking thru some old files when i came across that embarcadero freeway pic. another one i found is this pic which was taken by my friend, roger, who happens to be jennifer's significant other. kinda neat, them both being photographers. in any case, i'll qualify this by saying that i'm not very fond of pix that i'm in and i don't feel like i'm particularly photogenic (and i'm not fishing for compliments, so don't bother). however, this is one of the few i like. i almost look like a real hockey player. so yeah, there it is. roger, unlike jennifer, has a website. check it out, tell him i sent you.

ps: another picture i like is of my ex and i that was taken by jennifer. it's really cool and it doesn't bring up any of those bad ex memories. i'll see if i can drag that one up.


nobody steps on a church in my town

one of my all-time favorite pictures. my friend, jennifer (from high school, not the music fiend buddy i've previously mentioned), took this pic shortly after the great san francisco earthquake of 1989. that solitary figure in the photo is not me, by the way. i wish she had a website, because i'd totally spam for her. this is what was left of the embarcadero freeway. it was shut down after the earthquake as it suffered too much structural damage and was unsafe for travel. the clock tower is part of the ferry building, which still stands today. the freeway was eventually torn down after much public debate regarding whether to rebuild it or not. it was not rebuilt and this whole area underwent a serious beautification process.

this area used to be a shithole. there were people living under the freeway, lotsa crackheads, bums and thieves. not a place you'd like to walk around at night. there were empty warehouses and vacant buildings, just watch some of the old dirty harry movies and you'll probably get a glimpse. if you're in san francisco, take a walk along the embarcadero. it's absolutely gorgeous these days. you can walk from the baseball park (where the sf giants play) to fisherman's wharf. it's clean, smooth and well-lit. make sure you stop by to see the seals.

listen: belle & sebastian > san francisco (be sure to wear some flowers in your hair)
(this is from the september 2001 show at the warfield, here in sf)


those who cannot hear the words

i got my paws on a copy of neko case's "fox confessor brings the flood". all i have to say is "maybe sparrow" is worth the wait. fuck me, it's gorgeous. somebody please tell me what that instrument is that makes the little bird sounds.

check it: maybe sparrow
buy it

you are what you love and not what loves you back

i recently acquired a copy of "rabbit fur coat", by jenny lewis with the watson twins. my buddy, jennifer, gets another mention. she said i would probably like this album given my neko case obsession, and she was correct. i absolutely adore this album, i've been listening to it constantly for the past week. standout tracks for me are "rise up with fists", "you are what you love", "melt your heart", and "handle with care" (yeah, the traveling wilburys song). they've just finished a uk tour (they were on the bbc the other day) and next month they'll be here in san francisco, i'm definitely gonna catch that gig.

jenny lewis is also in another band called rilo kiley. i've heard a few tracks which were good, but didn't jump out at me the way this album has. last year, i caught part of rilo kiley's set at coachella but they didn't impress me much, although it could have been the desert heat. however, i think i'm gonna try out rilo kiley again to see if i've overlooked something. her voice is really pretty, definitely worth a second try. i'm also interested in hearing the watson twins. they've just released their first album, according to their website.

download: rise up with fists (live bbc)
download: you are what you love (live bbc)
download: melt your heart (live bbc)

*note: these are yousendit links (as usual). you can download the entire session at rbally.net, i did.

links links links
rilo kiley
the watson twins
team love (label) they have a couple mp3s for download


i thought i knew you, what did i know?

i had to go to work today (a fucking saturday) because of valentine's day. for those of you who don't know, i work for RedEnvelope. these guys live for valentine's day. i just work there to pay the bills. anyways, i've collected a few tunes to help get me thru "VDAY", as it's called at work. in the words of frank booth, from blue velvet:

I'll send you a love letter! Straight from my heart, fucker! You know what a love letter is? It's a bullet from a fucking gun, fucker! You receive a love letter from me, and you're fucked forever! You understand, fuck? I'll send you straight to hell, fucker!

i don't know why i just thought of that. weird, man, weird. oh yeah, i think i used that quote to illustrate how i feel about the whole st. valentine's day line of bullshit. so there you have it.

i hope i got the links correct, gimme a shout if i didn't.

cat stevens > here comes my baby
xtc > your dictionary
the beatles > i'm looking through you
neko case > if you knew
stars > your ex-lover is dead
gloria jones > tainted love
joe jackson > happy loving couples
lesley gore > look of love
blondie > just go away


anything is possible

a couple weeks ago, i was talking on the phone with my dad. the conversation ended and the phone froze up. the backlight went on and the keypad locked up. that was it, phone-death by seizure. so a couple days later, i got one of those fancy-schmancy razr phones. it's pretty sweet, but the ringtones are either inaudible or plain obnoxious. so i downloaded a puffy amiyumi ringtone which is both audible and obnoxious. it's part of the theme song from the "hi hi puffy amiyumi show".

i'd first heard of puffy amiyumi a couple of years ago, when they were scheduled to play a show at the fillmore. i saw the listing, wondering who they were, and looked them up. the internet is a wonderful thing. the description was enough to hold my interest and i found an album, called "Nice", to download. BAM! it was like a knockout punch. the catchiest pop album ever. i was hooked. to me, it sounds like the best parts of all the best pop songs i'd ever heard, but it didn't sound like a cheesy ripoff. the music is fun, doesn't take itself too seriously, and it stands on its own (despite the obvious laundry-list of influences). oh yeah, and the girls are cute.

between then and now, i've managed to get my hands on most of the releases i could find and i've seen them live once. i don't really like the cartoon show that much. the voices aren't even the real ami and yumi. whatever, i'm all about the music.

you can be as well...
download: hi hi (tv show theme)
download: kore ga watashi no ikiru michi
download: always dreamin' about you
download: sayonara

the old puffy site
wikipedia entry


movies and music

the other night, my dad and i went to see the new terrence malick film, "the new world". i enjoyed it quite a bit, my dad even said he liked it (although i think it was a bit slow for him). my buddy, vanessa (who didn't like the movie) pointed out several contradictions in the film. i'm not as much of a history buff as she is, what captured me was the beauty and the overall feel of the movie. i thought q'orianka kilcher performed well and she's really pretty. i thought he might, but colin farrell didn't get on my nerves. so yeah, i'd like to see it again. i'd also like to pick up the soundtrack, as some of the music was really lovely.

a couple years ago, i had just heard of a band called explosions in the sky and i had been listening constantly to their albums ("how strange, innocence", "those who tell the truth...", and "the earth is not a cold, dead place"). what attracted me to EITS is their ability to switch gears within their songs. they can be delicate and melancholy one moment, intense and triumphant the next. it also impresses me that they're able to convey these feelings or emotions without words, as they have no vocalist. i'm a big fan of instrumental music.

one of their songs, "have you passed through this night" (from "those who tell the truth..."), has this spoken word part at the beginning. one fansite mistakenly said that it was one of the guys in the band who was speaking. i later found out it was dialogue from a movie called "the thin red line", which was directed by terrence malick. after reading about the movie a bit, i picked up a used copy of the dvd. it's a war flick, but it's not your typical war flick. it juxtaposes the beauty of nature against the ugliness of war. there are a lot of poetic voice-overs, a malick trademark apparently (they're used extensively in "the new world" as well). the scenery is absolutely gorgeous and it's really quite interesting, the way some of the characters sort of withdraw into themselves in order to keep their sanity.

basically, explosions in the sky introduced me to terrence malick and the two are connected in my mind, which would explain the subject matter of this post. a few tracks for you to check out. the first is from the soundtrack of "the thin red line". in the movie, one of the main characters, private witt, has gone awol and is exploring a nearby island. he happens upon some locals and they sing this song in one of the scenes, it's really pretty, i wish it were longer.

a couple EITS tracks, one is the aforementioned "have you passed through this night" which features some of the dialogue from "the thin red line". the other is "a slow dance", from the "friday night lights" soundtrack. i haven't seen that movie, so i can't comment on it. i bought the soundtrack because EITS did most of the music for the film.

download: god u tekem blong (from the thin red line)
download: explosions in the sky > have you passed through this night
download: explosions in the sky > a slow dance


computer cat: i chat with world using email

my initial encounter with takako minekawa was about two years ago, jennifer was visiting from chicago. we're both music fiends, so we made a special point to hit up amoeba in addition to jen's tourist itinerary. she had a laundry list of cd's she wanted to buy, it was pretty cool. much more efficient than i am, as i tend to wander from section to section and can sometimes take hours to decide on one title.

one of the cd's jen picked up was takako minekawa's fun9 (from what i've read, it's supposed to be pronounced as "funk"). driving back, we popped in the disc. she skipped around, trying to find the song that she hoped was on there. i liked the sound of what i was hearing, kinda quirky, avant pop sung sometimes in english, and sometimes in japanese. the song she was looking for (we later found out it was called "fantastic cat") wasn't there, but i was very interested in hearing more takako. after jen left, i eventually picked up most everything i could get my hands on. "fantastic cat" turned out to be on an album called "roomic cube: a tiny room exhibition", which is probably my favorite album.

a couple songs for you to check out. the first is the original version of "fantastic cat". the second is a remix of "sleep song" from the "recubed" ep. "recubed" contains six remixed tracks from the "roomic cube" album.

download: fantastic cat
download: sleep song (portastatic remix)

wikipedia entry
fansite info and pix (but hasn't been updated in ages)
emperor norton records info/pix/sound samples (us label)
polystar site (japanese
label, but it doesn't seem like there's much going on there lately)
nick kent's discography (fairly detailed, lotsa info)

late to the party, as usual, but i made it! (how i found soul sides again)

i vaguely remember seeing this site sometime last year and kinda forgetting about it. i had somehow followed links to poplicks, which is a pop-culture and politics kinda site. poplicks is done in part by a guy named oliver wang. his other blog is an audio-blog called soul sides, which is what i'd like to mention. the reason i'm bringing this up is because i was reminded about it the other day. there was a brief paragraph and link over at pitchfork. looks like soul sides is releasing a compilation (on march 21) with some hard-to-find stuff. it looks pretty cool, and the money is going to the rhythm and blues foundation, which can only be a good thing. if you're into soul or r&b (hello sharon!), then this is the site for the both of us. i won't forget about it this time.