Alternate Tuning

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Location: Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

Friday, September 30, 2005

Scientific Studies

Thanks to Coolfer for the raw data.

He points out this IceRocket graph that shows bloggers mention Switchfoot more often that Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. I suspect that means a) Switchfoot has more fans; b) Switchfoot sells more records; c) Snark-bloggers aren't as important as they think.

I did my own study in this vein. It turns out that Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is blogged about 53.74 times per day, whole "Clap Your Hands Say" is used over 73 times per day. My conclusion: people like making fun of the band's name, perverting it by changing that final word.

A third, and probably inaccurate, study reveals that very few people are blogging about me.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I Need Help, You Need Help

I'm not going to spill all the beans on it, but I'm going to be doing an advice column. Want advice on anything, or your more philosophical questions answered? Email them to me, and if I use your question, you'll get, like, a heartfelt thanks or something.

I assure you that your questions will be treated with the utmost seriousness.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

New Releases This Week

I missed last week's new releases. The winner: Nada Surf. Now on to this week:

The Band -- A Musical History [box set] (Capitol)
Jello Biafra and the Melvins -- Sieg Howdy (Alternative Tentacles)
Big Star -- In Space (Rykodisc)
Blackalicious -- The Craft (Anti) 3.5/5
Junior Brown -- The Austin Experience (Telarc)
Calla -- Collisions (Beggars Banquet) 3.5/5
The Detroit Cobras -- Baby (Bloodshot) 3.5/5
DJ Jazzy Jeff -- The Soul Mixtape (Groovin)
Grandaddy -- Excerpts from the Diary of Todd Zilla EP (V2) 3.5/5
Morcheeba -- The Antidote (Echo) 3/5
Robert Pollard -- Music for Bubble EP (Fading Captain)
Supergrass -- Road to Rouen (Capitol)
Various Artists -- Children of Nuggets (Rhino)
Gretchen Wilson -- All Jacked Up (Epic)
Wolf Parade -- Apologies to the Queen Mary (Sub Pop)
Neil Young -- Prairie Wind (Reprise)

Friday, September 23, 2005

Ted Leo Covers the Beatles

It's a perfect match. Ted Leo throws just enough of his sound into an otherwise true cover to make this version of "I'm Looking Through You" work. Here's a stream:

The track's a preview of an upcoming album called This Bird Has Flown - A 40th Anniversary Tribute To The Beatles' Rubber Soul on Razor & Tie. Tracklist:

1. Drive My Car - The Donnas
2. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) - The Fiery Furnaces
3. You Won't See Me - Dar Williams
4. Nowhere Man - Low
5. Think For Yourself - Yonder Mountain String Band
6. The Word - Mindy Smith
7. Michelle - Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals
8. What Goes On - Sufjan Stevens
9. Girl - Rhett Miller
10. I'm Looking Through You - Ted Leo
11. In My Life - Ben Lee
12. Wait - Ben Kweller (featuring Albert Hammond Jr.)
13. If I Needed Someone - Nellie McKay
14. Run For Your Life - Cowboy Junkies

Monday, September 19, 2005

Pick of the Week (9/19/05)

Willie Nelson -- Red Headed Stranger (Columbia) 1975

It's a classic concept album, and one that put a giant whole in my wall of prejudice against country music. Mostly dark, but with moments of humor and an element of hope. Hater or not, "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" should undo you.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Concerts A/K and whatnot

My thoughts on Akron/Family's live show are up:

But now I'm off to see Blackalicious. My thoughts on that will be on the Stylus Turntable in the next few days.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

New Releases This Week

Biggest list ever:

Devendra Banhart -- Cripple Crow (XL Recordings) 3.5/5
Bloc Party -- Silent Alarm Remixed (Dim Mak)
Brakes -- Give Blood (Rough Trade) 2/5
Cave In -- Perfect Pitch Black (Hydra Head) 3/5
Dandy Warhols -- Odditorium or Warlords of Mars (Capitol)
Steve Dawson -- Sweet Is the Anchor (Undertow) 2.5/5
Diamond Nights -- Popsicle (Kemado)
The Double -- Loose in the Air (Matador) 3/5
Freakwater -- Thinking of You (Thrill Jockey)
Annie Hayden -- The Enemy of Love (Merge)
Iron and Wine/Calexico -- In the Reins EP (Touch and Go) 3.5/5
B.B. King -- 80 (Geffen)
Lake Trout -- Not Them, You (Palm Pictures) 2.5/5
The Like -- Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking? (Geffen) 3/5
Little Brother -- The Minstrel Show (Atlantic)
Paul McCartney -- Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard (Capitol)
Charlie Sexton -- Cruel and Gentle Things (Back Porch)
Nada Surf -- The Weight Is a Gift (Barsuk) 3/5
Sam Champion -- Slow Rewind (Razor & Tie) 2.5/5
Sister Gertrude Morgan -- King Britt Presents (Ropeadope) 3.5/5
Neon Blonde -- Chandeliers in the Savannah (Dim Mak) 3/5
Ohmega Watts -- The Find (Ubiquity)
OOIOO -- Gold and Green (Thrill Jockey)
Opeth -- Ghost Reveries (Roadrunner)
Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic -- Ensemble The Eleventh Hour (ECM)
Princess Superstar -- My Machine (!K7) 4.5/5
Bonnie Raitt -- Souls Alike (Capitol) 3/5
Sigur Rós -- Takk... (Geffen)
Stellastarr* -- Harmonies for the Haunted (RCA)
Stiffed -- Burned Again (Outlook) 3/5
Super Furry Animals -- Love Kraft (XL Recordings)
Vandermark 5 -- The Color of Memory (Atavistic)
xbxrx -- Sixth in Sixes (Polyvinyl)

All those records, and Princess Superstar trounces them all (even the ones I haven't heard).

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Today It must be 1970

Because this is for real:


As such, they tend to oppose policies backed by their feminist peers who campaign for women in military combat roles, pay equity between men and women and ending gender discrimination in the workplace.

[So they're *pro*-dicrimination and -pay inequity?]

"Of course they're not for women at all," she said, referring to the programs. "They're just for their own intolerant, radical feminist and usually lesbian beliefs."

[Ah, the '70s stereotype of feminist as hairy dyke]

What's so aggravating is the factual inaccuracy of much NeW's argument. I understand someone not being a feminist, but shouldn't you at least take the time to learn what that actually is before launching out against? Okay, you're a conservative, but does that necessitate hate, vindictiveness, and head-burying? No one on any position has gotten intellectually strong without an honest attempt to understand the other side.

Yes, there are intolerant feminists, too, you don't need to point that out to me. I just haven't read an article on them in a while.

(For the record, I have a strong conservative past.)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Pick of the Week (9/12/05)

Elbow -- Cast of Thousands (V2) 2003

Picked this week in honor of their new release, which I think comes out, at least internationally tomorrow.

Cast of Thousands is the only album I ever heard one time (streaming through, I don't know, NME's website) and immediately fell so in love with it that I had to order the import (since the US release was months away). The album opens with as strong a three-song sequence as anything this decade. The band made a great artistic decision by following those beautiful tracks with "Snooks (Progress Report)." The noise on that track grounds the album and gives it a corporeality. Its placement here also allows the track to sound better than it otherwise would, and it's that kind of attentiveness that propels a collection of great songs into the status of a great album. Plus, it's got the most gorgeous, collective singalong I can think of.

Friday, September 09, 2005

This is on constant loop in my head

The Legendary K.O. mixes up Kanye with Kanye. Your very own copy is here.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Akron/Family Values

I'm doing a review on last night's Akron/Family show so I can't say much here, but these guys are beyond (in all meanings of the word) anything else I've seen live. They're so good they inspire hyperbole.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

New Releases This Week

Black Dice -- Broken Ear Record (DFA/Astralwerks) 3/5
Kate Campbell -- Blues and Lamentations (Large River) 3/5
daKAH -- Unfinished Symphony/Remixes (KUFALA)
The Divorce -- The Gifted Program (Made in Mexico) 2.5/5
Frontier Index -- Frontier Index (Rainbow Quartz) 4/5
Jose Gonzalez -- Veneer (Parasol/Hidden Agenda) 3/5
Richard Hawley -- Coles Corner (Mute)
Mad Science Fair -- For a Better Tomorrow (Parasol) 3/5
James McMurtry -- Childish Things (Compadre) 3/5
The Morning After Girls -- The Morning After Girls (Rainbow Quartz)
Mt. Eerie -- Singers and The Drums from No Flashlight (Secretly Canadian)
North Mississippi Allstars -- Electric Blue Watermelon (ATO)
The Rolling Stones -- A Bigger Bang (Virgin)
Space Mtn -- A Drawing of a Memory of a Photograph of You (Aeronaut) 3/5
Richard Swift -- The Collection Vol. 1 (Secretly Canadian)
Viva K -- Viva K (Stinky) 2.5/5

In a week in which I mumble that most things are average, Frontier Index stands out even more.

Today's Writing Award

Today's writing award goes to Thomas Friedman:

"These are people so much better at inflicting pain than feeling it, so much better at taking things apart than putting them together, so much better at defending 'intelligent design' as a theology than practicing it as a policy."

What does this have to do with music? Nothing. So there.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Worst Music Article Ever.

I don't think I even need to comment on this dim-witted tripe:,2933,168551,00.html

Pick of the Week (9/5/05)

Junior Kimbrough -- All Night Long (Fat Possum) 1997

It's coincidental but fitting that I put this pick up just after Burnside's passing. Kimbrough was the other key figure in Fat Possum's blues resurrection. This album is the only one of his I have, and it fully lived up to the glowing recommendation with which I was given it. If you don't know Fat Possum Records, you could do worse than to start here.

In other blues news, the new Otis Taylor is a jaw-dropper.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Thank You For Talkin' To Us, Kanye

I think John Darnielle is saying it most succinctly:

Friday, September 02, 2005

Musical Donations

I've posted a couple places on the Stylus Turntable where you can donate through music sources if that's your thing (and it's sometimes mine). Here are two more:

Conscious Alliance is related to the festival and jam band scene, and uses music and art to try to feed the hungry. They're going to be focusing on Katrina relief for a bit.

The John Entwistle Foundation is collecting money to go directly to individual victims.

I'm sure there are tons of places to donate; these are just what have cropped up in my wanderings.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Just found out that R.L. Burnside has passed away. The news is up at Fat Possum.

Burnside was a fantastic musician with a bluesman's life, and he continued to be innovative (including his melding of blues and sampling) and a touring force late in life. Check out Wish I Were in Heaven Sitting Down as a good starting point.