Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thursday Tidbits

For all you fans of Weekend, tomorrow's section will be super-sized. But unlike those Extra-Value Meals at McDonald's, this super-sizing is a good thing. While it usually weighs in at an average 32 pages, this week's section is an obese 44 pages. So get thee to the newsstand tomorrow and read a whole lot of me and entertainment coverage.

Because of this, my blog wasn't updated yesterday. Sorry. Here's a bit of news, though:

Michelle Branch has a stalker. Wouldn't you think someone would have already moved on to stalking someone popular? I mean, maybe five years ago, but stalking Michelle Branch these days sounds so sad.

This story is just ridiculous. Don't people ever learn? I wonder if the kid is as annoying as her dad was on TV.

Modest Mouse sold 129,000 CDs last week, making it the No. 1 album on Billboard. So in the past two months, we've had The Shins and Arcade Fire hit No. 2, and The Mouse get to the top. 2007 is already shaping up as a banner year for indie rock.

And speaking of Billboard, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers' new disc, "No More Beautiful World," hit No. 185 on the Billboard chart, and No. 8 on the Internet Sales chart. For a disc with absolutely no hype, that's amazing. And it's an amazing disc. Let's toast to Roger, above.

Lastly, if you care to see the Jennifer Aniston-Courtney Cox kiss, go here. I'm not sure what all the hype was about, though. It's a bummer, dude.

That's it. I'm done.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Oh, Owen

Let's talk about good detective work, good ol' Lennie Briscoe-like detective work. So last night some friends and I took in the Rocky Votolato, Owen, Drag the River and Aeroplane, 1929 show at the Hamden Masonic Temple.

It was a great show, but a little odd. So after Aeroplane's energetic set that featured guitarist/keyboardist Noah Goldman playing his guitar with a vibrator, we headed out to the car to stand outside and, um, stand. But wouldn't you know, my little Honda Civic was parked next to a Honda Element. Some guy and his female friend got into the Element. That's when the fun started.

For about 20 minutes, she sat motionless in the passenger seat while he blasted '80s punk rock — Misfits stuff and such — and he just frantically air-drummed (you thought this going somewhere else, right? Get your mind out of the gutter). Anyway, this went on to the point where we were all laughing out loud and, through quick glances, noticing that he was sweating a ton. That didn't matter, the dude just blared the Rawk while sitting in his car, air-drumming away. The whole parking lot could hear the music, but, whatever, you know? He was going to air drum.

So then we go inside to see the so-good-I-can't-stop-listening-to-them Drag the River. The guy from the Element? He walks in and goes and takes a seat at a merch table.
I say to friends, "I think that may be Owen." My friend Jeff responds, "Owen, who is he?" My response? "He's the guy playing before Rocky; he's from Joan of Arc."

Then Jeff asks where Joan of Arc is from. I say, "Chicago." And then, putting his detective hat on, Jeff says, "The air-drummer's car had Illinois plates." Mystery solved. Owen — nee Mike Kinsella, above — likes to pump himself up by playing air-drums for a half-hour before all his shows.

Oh, yeah, when Owen took the stage, he asked everyone to sit down on the floor and then proceeded to play the quietest music you'll ever hear.

The Future Of The CD

My morning began with a quick read of the New York Times, and I stumbled upon an article by Jeff Leeds that said, once again, CDs are on their way out.

What's funny is that although we've been hearing about this for the last five or so years, I had a good conversation about this very subject with David Lewis from Play magazine and musician James Velvet just last Thursday.

See, here's the problems with Leeds' piece, according to what we talked about. Leeds uses an R&B group as his main subject, talking about how Universal only signed them to record two songs, not an entire album. He uses this factoid to deduce that albums are on their way out, throwing out the statistic that people download songs 19-1 to whole records. Well, duh!

First of all, the R&B genre has been singles-based for a very long time ... a very long time. And if labels didn't kill off the CD single in the early '90s, they would still be selling. But, you see, a CD single used to cost about $4, or you could buy an entire CD for $12. With such a small price differential, you'd get the whole darn thing. But now, thanks to iTunes, you can get a song for $1. Why wouldn't you only get the one song you like?

But, albums are still selling. The album as a piece of art will never go away, and those are the records that people buy. A brand-new R&B group? Well, those are the ones that sell singles. Leeds mentions this, but doesn't give it enough gravitas.

I guess the key is this: For all the stuff about CDs going away, hundreds of millions were still sold last year. As long as people are buying, the labels will be selling. I don't think it's that much of a jump to say that little CD stores are on the way out, but places like Wal-Mart and BestBuy, stores that sell CDs for cost or a little above cost just to get people in the door? They're not going anywhere.

See, Leeds' main source is someone from Radar Research, a media consulting company that's whole business, for the most part, is based on emerging technologies and understanding them first. You don't think they're going to say the CD is dying? That's what they want. That's what makes them cash.

Anyway, I'm rambling and this is a complicated issue with few definites and no easy answers. But it's something that we should all be talking about. No matter what the future holds, we can be sure that record companies will lag behind and fight it all the way, and that's just stupid and counterproductive.

Labels still have the majority of the power. They need to use it to adjust the paradigm of how we all consume music. That doesn't mean completely change the paradigm, but adjust to incorporate new technologies and not fight the clear changes in the consumers' patterns.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Not Balboa, But Still Rocky

No news today, but I wanted to post a last-minute reminder that Rocky Votolato will be at the Masonic Temple (3732 Whitney Ave.) in Hamden tonight. The guys over at Manic Productions have a hell of a show scheduled to begin around 7 p.m., with Rocky, Drag the River, Owen and Aeroplane, 1929.

All four of these bands are quite great, but Votolato's "Makers," which came out a little more than a year ago, is just a perfect folk record. I've made at least a handful of people listen to the disc, and everybody comes away raving. This is a show not to miss. See you there.

Timberlake Review

Here's my review of Saturday's show. More to follow.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Post Justin Notebook

Here are just a few thoughts about last night's Justin Timberlake show at Mohegan Sun Arena. You can read my full review of the concert in Monday's Register, right on page D1.
  • I've never heard the sound at Mohegan Sun Arena as bad as it was last night. The Arena is actually one of the best-sounding big rooms that I've ever attended. I have no idea if it was the venue or the sound guy, but something was amiss.
  • After the show, as I was leaving, I got a big laugh seeing all the parents waiting for their kids outside of the Arena. They looked bored, very bored and on edge.
  • With that said, the audience was much older than I thought it would be, with about 90 percent of it being twentysomething women.
  • And those women, man oh man, I don't think they give a crap what Timberlake's music sounds like. Why else would they scream until they're dizzy ever time he comes near?
  • To the woman I saw lift up her shirt when Timberlake approached her side of the stage: He's seen better. And, if you can't handle that much beer, stop drinking.
  • The stage was huge. Actually, it was way too big. I had great seats. I wasn't on the floor, but I was in the second row, about 15 feet from one part of the stage. And since I was in seats, I could see over everybody's head. Yet, there were many parts of the show when the performer would go to the other side of the stage, and I couldn't see anything.
  • This might go without saying, but I have never, ever, ever gone to such an attractive show. Sure, most of the women were wildly over-dressed, but they were looking good.
  • Speaking of over-dressed, listen up ladies: A Justin Timberlake show is not a prom. And, I don't think it's smart to wear very high heels when you have floor tickets, meaning you'll be standing. I saw too many women holding their shoes after about an hour. I saw one telling people her shoes were stolen. Um, OK. Mohegan is a very clean place, but not clean enough for bare feet.
  • Pink needs to retire. Now.
  • Talk to you tomorrow.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

News And Notes

Sadly, Manic Productions has canceled its Low and Loney, Dear show. This makes me cry. Although I'm not much of a fan of Low's new record, this is a great band, and Loney, Dear and the other opener, The One A.M. Radio, have put out a couple of the best records of the year, so far.

In other news, at The Space last night, we had a pretty good round of the Battle of the Bands. All of the acts were good, in their own way. The remnants of old local favorites GFN, The Circuit (above) took home the Audience Vote, but would have won with the judges, too. Good stuff. Be on the lookout for the these guys; it's clearly emo-ish, but there's a lot of pop in there.

I think I'm about done now. I've have to save my energy to review Justin Timberlake and Pink at Mohegan Sun Arena Saturday. I hope it's at least a good show, if not musical experience. We'll see. Look for my review Monday. That's it for now. Talk to you tomorrow and make sure to pick up Weekend in the morning. It's a good issue, but aren't they all?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I'm A Little Late, I Know

You come to this blog expecting new releases every Tuesday and what do I give you? Nothing. So I know, you spent your Tuesday cursing that Ferrucci guy and planning to never read Blog Like An Egyptian again. But, of course, this blog is like crack: You might want to stop using, but, alas, your body will go crazy if you try.

With all this said, let's give you your dose of new releases right now. Look for full reviews of all these in Friday's Weekend. Well, all except Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers' record, which I want to make a featured review, and with Modest Mouse this week, it wasn't going to happen. So, here we go:

Modest Mouse"We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank"
three-and-a-half stars

Joss Stone"Introducing Joss Stone"
one-and-a-half stars

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists"Living With The Living"
Touch & Go
three stars

Jesse Malin"Glitter in the Gutter"
Adeline Records
three stars

Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers"No More Beautiful World"
Emma Java
four stars
On to some other news, now. Let's see, well, The Space presents Round 5 of the Battle of the Bands tonight. I'll be there judging. See you at 7 p.m., when a bunch of acts I've never heard of compete for fame and fortune.

Cafe Nine has The Kits performing. I got a disc in the mail and it's pretty damn good, some weird takes on typical garage rock. Little Steven probably drools when he hears this.

Stephen Marley has a CD-release party going down at Toad's Place. What's in a last name? Everything.

Britney Spears has left rehab, for the 19th time. This time she's been cured of all her ills, though. I'm taking action on whether she goes back in this year. Send bets to

Don't mess with Keanu! It seems Keanu Reeves, the actor and sometimes musician, decided he had enough, and ran over a photographer. What did say after? "Woah."

You want proof that the apocalypse is near? You won't proof that the majority of Americans — and Canadians — aren't very bright? Read this.

A judge has ordered everyone that's ever been 1 mile or less away from Anna Nicole to take a paternity test.

Did you know that you can show up to any Dunkin' Donuts and get a free iced coffee today? What are you waiting for?

I don't know about you, but a Flaming Lips (above) musical sounds just about amazing. On Broadway! Throw in a script by "West Wing" creator Aaron Sorkin (who should be better known for the amazing "Sports Night") and you've got one hell of an idea. Supposedly, the musical will be written around the Lips' 2002 "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots." I can't wait. But, remember, "Christmas on Mars" has been in the making since I was like 6.

That's enough on this end. See you soon ... or tonight at The Space?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Slow Weekend

Well, here we are on a sunny Monday morning, and there's barely anything going on. Besides the NCAA tournament, nothing much happened in the entertainment world this weekend. I mean, SXSW went down, but, unfortunately, I wasn't there, so I've got nothing for you on that.

I was at a bar Saturday night, and happened to see Chris Rock drop in on "Saturday Night Live." It was pretty damn funny; it really made you remember that "SNL" wasn't always 90 minutes of slapstick. You can see Rock's appearance here.

If you can't wait until its release date tomorrow to hear the Modest Mouse record, go here to check it out. AOL is also letting you listen to the entirety of Joss Stone's inhumanly mediocre new one.

"Law & Order: Criminal Intent" will features guest spots from Kristy Swanson, David Cross, Peter Bogdanovich and Tate Donovan during May sweeps. And what are the episodes about? Yep, you got it; they're a couple "ripped-from-the-headlines" shows. One's about the whole astronaut thing from a couple months ago, and the other is about Anna Nicole. Fun stuff.

And that's about it for this slow day of news. I'm planning on doing a Q&A on here next week, so send me some questions to That's it. Have a good one.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Now It's On

About two minutes ago, the 2007 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament tipped off (with Bobby Knight, who's going to lose today, left), an event that will bridge the gap between football and baseball for many of us sports fans. You see, when the Super Bowl ends, my life goes into a giant depression because there aren't any sports.

That all changes when baseball begins in April. Come March though, when the depression is at its worst, it always gets a little better when the tourney starts. Sure, I can watch some NBA games here and there, but, like college basketball, the NBA isn't really interesting, to me, until the playoffs.

It's on, now, though. And my spirits are rising. If you were to walk by my desk right now, you'd see a very smiley boy. If you're looking for more of my random thoughts on the tournament, check out the Register's Couch Potato Blog, which will find me sitting in my apartment and posting thoughts during tomorrow's games. We'll see ... I'll probably just whine that Providence College missed out on the big dance, even thought it didn't deserve a spot and lost in the first round of the NIT last night.
In other news, we should all be scared, seriously, that Angelina Jolie could show up here in New Haven and adopt us. I mean, I guess there would be positive aspects to that, but this women is an adopting machine.

The star of bad TV shows, crappy action flicks with Gary Busey and some softcore skin flicks on Cinemax has been arrested for drunk driving. If that's all you did, you might want some alcohol relief, too.

It was announced yesterday that Brad Delp's death was actually a suicide. It's so sad, really.

Miss America went back to Oklahoma. I find it amazing that anyone would care about this. But what I find even more amazing is how every Miss America looks exactly the same.

Thank God this didn't happen in Bridgeport a few months back; there might have been a riot.

Universal has decided that "Peaceful Warrior" is such a bad flick, that it will give away tickets. Those are my words, not the company's. Of course, it uses some marketing speak about this is a good idea. All I know is that the trailer to this weirdo drama looks damn awful, and its release has been delayed like 341 times. That spells bad movie.

Um, the True Colors Tour was announced? If a tree falls in the forest ...

It stinks being a Ben Folds fan right now. You see, I would have found somebody else to review John Mayer's show at the Dodge later this summer, because, of course, his music makes me want to vomit and a concert filled with screaming middle-school-aged girls is not my cup of tea. But now it's been announced Folds will open. I will go and review ... and deal with the high-pitched screaming. I reviewed a Mayer show for a Boston paper about four years ago (and I've been to another since). His feminine rock music wasn't loud, but I had to wear earplugs to drown out the screams. Mayer's audience can be described best by Matthew McConaughey's character in "Dazed in Confused": He gets older, and they stay the same age.

It's only the first leg, but I'm thinking the Moz won't be coming to Connecticut. I'm sad.

It looks like "The Riches" did very well in the ratings this week. We had a conversation in our Features Department yesterday about Minnie Driver. I believe she has a huge, bulbous head.

I don't watch "The Gilmore Girls" for obvious reasons, but I may start now since GEDDY is on it.

And that's about it on this end. I must get to making Weekend as pretty as possible for you, my lovely readers.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Hall of Fame Thoughts

You'd think that with all the talent in the building during any given year, that the fine folks over at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame could find a way to make the induction ceremonies more entertaining. Hell, the baseball inductions are more entertaining and they don't have the luxury of legendary bands.

But last night, we still got to see some bands, while others stayed away. Patti Smith gave a great speech and showed, once again, why everyone likes and respects her. She may not have sold as many records as most of the artists enshrined in Cleveland, but her legacy will live forever and her influence can be heard on countless other records. Rage Against The Machine singer Zach de la Rocha basically echoed these same thoughts in his induction speech.

The two main acts of the night, Van Halen and R.E.M., showed why one of those bands is still together and making a good music, and the other is rock's version of Britney Spears.

Eddie Van Halen's in rehab for the 19th time; this time entering only after the band's summer reunion tour was canceled due to contractual snafus. He didn't come. His brother, drummer Alex, couldn't care less, apparently, and didn't come. David Lee Roth wanted to sing three songs with Velvet Revolver and when that couldn't happen, he didn't show.

That left former singer Sammy Hagar and former bassist Michael Anthony as the only two members of Van Halen who came, the only two that really get it. For the rest of the guys not to show, not counting Eddie, it's really just a kiss off to their fans, and to the countless other important bands in attendance and enshrined in the hall.

As for R.E.M., not only did the current trio attend, but former drummer Bill Berry left his farm and played drums on a few tunes. It was a great performance, one that featured Eddie Vedder on vocals for "Man on the Moon." The band was humble in its acceptance speech and vibrant on stage. It was what this ceremony should always be about: the music, not the bullpoop.
As for new-music releases today, we've got a few things. It's been a slow few weeks for CDs, but look for that to turn around in the next month or so when we'll see a whole bevy of big releases. Anyway, here's a list of what hit stores, streets, iTunes and more today. It's a consistently good group of records. Look for full reviews of all these CDs come Friday in Weekend.

Neil Young"Live At Massey"
three stars

Amy Winehouse"Back to Black"
three stars

The Fratellis"Costello Music"
Cherry Tree
three stars

Graham Parker"Don't Tell Columbus"
Bloodshot Records
three-and-a-half stars

Monday, March 12, 2007

Manic Monday

Factoring in the name of this blog, and the headline I just put on this entry, you'd think I was a big Bangles fan or something. I'm not sure if that's true or not. Interesting, though. If I start bringing up "Eternal Flame," then you know we have problems.

Anyway, so much has happened over this weekend. Let's first pay tribute to Brad Delp (left), the singer for classic rockers Boston. Delp died in New Hampshire on Friday, and will be missed.

I had the opportunity to interview Brad in person a few years back (and then again a couple years later), before he was playing a gig with his Beatles tribute band at a bar in Boston. One of my biggest pet peeves is how when someone dies, they're all of a sudden "the nicest person in the world," but Brad really was a genuinely nice guy. He liked to talk, and mostly he liked to play music. Here's a guy that was in one of the best-selling bands of all time, and he didn't have to work anymore, yet he was playing in a tribute band, performing at dingy bars just for kicks.

It's a very sad thing; Delp was only 55. But we'll never stop hearing his amazingly perfect voice, ever. Boston's debut album is one of the very few records that at any given time, you can hear any song from it on the radio. Think about that: Every song on "Boston" is a radio staple. Amazing stuff. Add in "Don't Look Back" and "Amanda," and you'll be hearing Delp forever.


Richard Jeni committed suicide Sunday. Here's another guy I've interviewed. Pretty funny comedian. Not great, but good. In all seriousness, it must be hard being a comedian. Most never make much money, and the ones like Jeni get a taste of success, but never really attain it.

Go listen to the new Wilco tune. It sounds like The Band, or even The Dead. Good stuff. I've heard the record once. I'm not sure how much I like it yet. It's definitely very good, but is it great? I'll let you know in a few weeks.

So the NCAA tourney is about to start later this week. This is a lot of folks' favorite part of the sports year. And while Providence blew too many games at the end of the year, I'll still be watching. How Syracuse, with 22 wins overall and 10 wins in the best conference in America, could be out is so beyond me.

So Kate Moss decided to talk to the press, and she complained, but never mentioned that overrated boyfriend of hers, Pete Doherty. I think Kate should worry about laying off the nose candy, then maybe she can complain about the press that she invited to cover her little fashion show.

You know what the worst thing in the world would be? Well, maybe not the worst thing, but it'd be pretty damn awful if Fred Thompson quit "Law & Order" to become president. The former senator is so good on the show. And he's such an awful politician, what with his wacko views and all. At the bottom of this linked story, just look at the things he believes. I may not be conservative, but this guy's views are just dumb and ignorant.

Remember "Parker Lewis Can't Lose"? Well, go watch it here.

My friend Harris is probably very happy that The Drifters avoided serious injuries in a crash. I'm not sure how many, if any, members of the group are an original member, but these guys did "Under the Boardwalk."

Aerosmith will perform in India for the first time. Oh those poor Indian people. Having to see Steven Tyler in person is about as awful a thing possible. The man is a walking Botox needle, singing crappy music.

No matter how bad a movie looks, never underestimate comic-book geeks: They will run and see anything. Wow, "300" had the best March opening for a movie ever. Amazing stuff.

Here's something about R.E.M.'s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For a while, in the mid '90s, the Athens quartet may have been a tad overrated. Now the foursome is easily one of the most underrated bands of all time. This is a group that's only real contemporary is U2, and while that band gets more good pub than Mother Theresa ever did (of course, Bono is the Music Jesus), yet makes mediocre music (now), R.E.M. keeps pumping out challenging and good records. And speaking of the group's records ....

Go here to listen to Avril Lavigne's new single, "Girlfriend," in many different languages. What's the saying? Oh yeah: "No matter what language you sing it in, a bad song still sounds bad."

Thank God, it looks like my future wife is single again.

On television tonight, two of the only shows I actually watch: "Prison Break" and "The Black Donnellys." I don't eat candy or anything, but "Prison Break" acts just like sweets to me. It's just too good. As for "Donnellys," I caught it by accident one night and liked it. There have only been two episodes, so I'm reserving final judgement.

Speaking of TV, the wonderful Joe Amarante let me take his "Entourage" screener home this weekend, which let me watch the first five episodes of the upcoming season. Good stuff. When I was a kid, I used to have a crush on Carla Gugino. After watching these episodes, I realized that I still do.

Most local venues are closed tonight, but head over to Cafe Nine for Beatnik 2000, which will feature The Lost Forty Fives.

Talk to you tomorrow. Have a good day and night. OK?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Battle Recap

Well, I'm only judging half of the qualifying rounds at The Space's Battle of the Bands IV, but you can expect recaps of the ones I do attend on here the day after. So, here we go ....

Last night saw a whole lot of metal, so a whole lot of crap. Besides a few significant outliers, metal these days is just pathetically generic and derivative. It's like the only thing bands are trying to say is: "Look, we can play loud and scream in a dumb voice. You can't even tell if we're playing chords or riffs! Woo-hoo!" Anyway, because of this, most of the bands last night were lacking.

The evening began with Chiasmus, a very young foursome that showed some potential. Buried underneath a metal sludge, there were some songs. The guys wanted to be old Metallica, but that'll take a few years. Chiasmus won the audience award, so we'll see them in the semi-finals. As my fellow judge, Tommy Lee (not that one), said about this guys, "What do kids so young have to be so angry about?"

Next up was The 809 State, a band from New Haven and the only non-hard-rock act of the night. I had seen these guys at Cafe Nine a few weeks ago and thought its brand of pop-garage was pretty good. And, you know, the songs were OK last night. A couple of them were better than that. The real problem with this quartet was how off the rhythm section would get during almost every song. The main culprit was the bassist, who must think he's in a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band. The sheer amount of overplaying, which led to him totally messing up the tempo, was amazing. If he played a whole note every so often, this could have been good. My other problem with this band? The lead guitarist looks so damn familiar; it's killing me.

Wowee, zowee, then came A Perfect Honesty, a brutal group from Newington. I'm not even sure where Newington is, but there must be something in the water making these guys so upset. Maybe if I was a REAL metal fan, I'd have a different opinion, but this band was a stereotype. Everything it played, I've heard 2,453 other bands perform. The same songs. It was so generic. That's it.

The Return to Plague thy Inventor definitely would have won the best-name award, but the group's tunes were way too odd for me ... and I love odd music. This was tuneless oddity, though. Most of the songs were OK, but they weren't songs, rather little sketches. These guys are young though, so there's potential to be a really decent band, when they realize screaming as loud as possible isn't a good idea. Sing, damn it, sing. Another Newington band, too. I will never have a drink if I ever find this mystical land of Newington.

And then came the judges' winner, Fearless. The Bristol-based quartet won easily, but it was so not special. The band was tight, the tunes had melodies and the stage presence was good. The problem? Fearless sounds like Nickelback. That's not good.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Wacky Wednesday

Wow, it's been awhile since I updated this here blog. And so much has happened:

About an hour ago, Genesis announced its 2007 reunion tour. The trio of Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins comes to the Hartford Civic Center Sept. 16. Is it wrong that I am so much more excited about this tour than I am The Police? I simply can't wait till September. I even watched the press Web conference earlier this morning. That's sad. Tickets go on sale Monday. Look for details in Weekend.

The Arcade Fire dropped its new disc, "Neon Bible," yesterday. And although I wasn't as big of a fan of the band's last disc, "Funeral," as most rock critics, I absolutely love this new album. It's bigger, better, more Springsteen, some Cafferty, huge orchestration, less introspective ... just gloriously grandiose. I haven't stopped listening to it for about three weeks, and I can't imagine it leaving my CD player anytime soon. Of all the great material that's come out of Montreal in the last few years, this is the crown jewel. Just a tad bit more than two months in, Arcade Fire and The Broken West are neck and neck for the coveted Register's Album of the Year Award, but there's tons of time. Pick up "Neon Bible." It's too good to miss.

The Space's Battle of the Bands IV begins tonight. Yours truly will be putting his judging hat on for the festivities. So if any band competing is reading this, leave some cash under the venue's welcome mat and we'll talk. I'm just kidding .... I can't wait to hear the bands and eat pizza. Come join me in watching some new up-and-coming local acts and support the scene. It begins at 7 p.m.

We have a huge Weekend coming up, for both the section and the actual days. Look for preview articles on The Smyrk and Switchfoot in Weekend, and Sparta in Thursday's paper.

It looks like Captain America is going to die. I used to love him, although I've never read a comic book in my life. I'm talking about the really cheesy movie that came out in the early '90s. That kicked butt.

Why can't George Michael just enjoy his drugs in peace? I'm not a fan of legalizing drugs or anything, but George gave us "Faith," "Monkey," "I Want Your Sex," Wham! ... If anyone has made a lasting contribution to the world, it's him. Leave him alone. And a character in "Arrested Development" was named after him. That's high praise.

Just when you thought Bono might not be the second coming of Jesus (in his own mind), he gives you this. What would the world be like without a singer who's made mediocre music since the early '90s?

Too bad for those Yankees, it looks like the team's Japanese pitcher is a ball-throwing machine. And I mean the opposite of strikes when I say ball.

Hanson came to New Haven last Friday. The show sold out incredibly quick. Don't believe there are still huge fans of the brotherly trio? Read on.

And I guess that's about it on this end. I'll write more tomorrow, promise.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Lemon-Scented Afternoon

So Evan Dando, I'm not sure the dude's all there, but he definitely knew how to put together a very good setlist at last night's show at Toad's Place.

Relying heavily on material from "It's a Shame About Ray" and "Come On Feel The Lemonheads," the band was surprisingly better than expected. A lean-mean trio, the sound was firmer, harder and added a much-needed shot of adrenaline to tunes like "Big Gay Heart" and "The Great Big No." Even "It's a Shame About Ray" rocked with an authority not heard by these ears before.

Off the very good new record, Dando performed "Black Gown," "Pittsburgh" and "Baby's Home," the three best songs on the disc. Overall, a very good show.

The one piece of bad news floating around Toad's last night was that the very good Shadowgraphs is breaking up. Expect more on that later.

And, oh yeah, The Mountain Movers rocked and was easily the best band of the night.

Matt Thomas, who gigs around as MT Bearington, is just about done with his new record. And the bet here is that it's just about great.

No news today. I'm a bit tired.