Sunday, December 30, 2007

Missing The Cut

So here I am, sitting on my couch and trying to recover from a little sickness. I mean, tomorrow is New Year's Eve and that means I have some big plans. Actually, to be honest, I don't even have real plans yet. I know I'll be doing something, and I know other people will be involved, but I am not sure what yet.

Anyway, excuse this post if it lacks any humor. I've filled myself with Sudafed and feel like I'm in a daze. But enough talk about that stuff, let me quickly mention that my friend Danny's band, The Black Noise Scam (that's them above), will bring its brand of old-school punk to BAR tonight. The guys will be opening for another one of my favorites, The Tyler Trudeau Attempt, which features the Advocate's Brian LaRue, a really good guy. It all starts around 10 p.m. Make sure to be there. And, hey, bring some tissues in case I need a few.

In other news, if you picked up Friday's Weekend section, you read my article on the top 20 records of 2007. Well, as usual, I had to leave off a bunch of really good albums that I loved a lot. So, I wanted to list my near-misses.

One disclaimer, many readers have wondered why I didn't include Radiohead's "In Rainbows." Well, here's the thing, I'm going to consider that really great disc a 2008 release. Why? Because you can't buy it in stores until next month. So, consider me old-fashioned or stodgy or whatever, but that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

Anyway, here are the discs, in no particular order, that just barely missed inclusion in my story:
21. Menomena - "Friend and Foe" (Barsuk)
22. Paper Airplanes - "Boyhood" (54-40 or Fight)
23. Loney, Dear - "Loney, Noir" (Sub Pop)
24. The One AM Radio - "This Too Will Pass" (Dangerbird)
25. Mother Mother - "Touch Up" (Last Gang)
26. Immaculate Machines - "Fables" (Mint)
27. Neil Young - "Chrome Dreams II" (Reprise)
28. Rocky Votolato - "The Brag & Cuss" (Barsuk)
29. John Vanderslice - "Emerald City" (Barsuk)
30. Sea Wolf - "Leaves in the River" (Dangerbird)
31. Band of Horses - "Cease to Begin" (Sub Pop)
32. Levon Helm - "Dirt Farmer" (Vanguard)
33. Phonograph - "Phonograph" (Arclights)
34. Nick Lowe - "At My Age" (Yep Roc)
35. Amy Winehouse - "Back to Black" (Republic)
36. Ryan Adams - "Easy Tiger" (Lost Highway)
37. The Magic Numbers - "Those The Brokes" (Astralwerks)
38. Aqueduct - "Or Give Me Death" (Barsuk)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Taking A Look At R.E.M.

Recently, while talking amongst some friends, someone asked me what I thought the best R.E.M. album was. And since the band has a new album scheduled to hit stores and iTunes early next year, I thought maybe I would answer that question here.

I mean, it's the day after Christmas and nothing is really going on, so why don't we have a discussion? Let's rank the best R.E.M. albums, OK.

So, without further ado, here is how I rank R.E.M.'s many offerings. Please, please, please, post your opinion, if you have one. So here we go, from worst to first.

"Reveal" (2001): This was a tough decision for me, choosing the worst record of the band's career, but I have to go with "Reveal," which just lacks cohesion. I understand the trio is going for a Beach Boys-meets-old-R.E.M. sound, but other than "Imitation of Life" and maybe one other song, this one just doesn't do it for me.

"Up" (1998): OK, so I have the most mixed feelings about "Up" as any record I've ever listened to. I can still remember when this was delivered to my college radio station a few weeks before release. I was so excited and took it back to my apartment immediately. My roommates and I listened to it straight for about two days before I put it into rotation at the station. If you asked me back in 1999 or so, I would argued on and on that this was a truly great album, regardless of critical perception. Well, when I went back and listened to the remastered, double-disc version that got sent to me a year or so ago, I just didn't like it. At all. Call it a keener critical sense, being less of a devout fan of the band ... call it whatever you want, but I'm not sold on much of "Up" anymore.

"Fables of the Reconstruction" (1985): Plain and simple, the worst of the IRS years. It's not a bad disc, but it just pales in comparison to everything else in band's early days. The songs just lack that something, that certain something.

"Monster" (1994): This disc holds a special place in my heart for being the soundtrack to one of my years in high school. I like certain songs a lot. But, and this is a big but, Peter Buck made me never want to use a delay pedal again. What do I mean? On "Monster," Buck uses a delay pedal so damn much, it makes me want to die. But, hey, "What's The Frequency, Kenneth?" is just too good to ignore.

"Around the Sun" (2004): I know I'm in the minority on this, but I really think "Around the Sun" is a very good album. Barely anyone bought it, but longtime R.E.M. fans who did ignore it should really give it a second listen. It makes me excited for the new disc.

"Green" (1988): The band's major-label debut, "Green" features "Turn You Inside Out" and "World Leader Pretend," two of my favorite songs by the group. The reason the disc is this low lies in the amount of filler on the very top-heavy album.

"Reckoning" (1984): Man, I heard "So. Central Rain" on XM just this weekend. That tune is way too good. I love it. Add "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville" and a few other gems, and you have quite the disc. This is the point where it becomes very hard to rank albums because I love them all so, so much.

"Out of Time" (1991): Here's the one and only reason I put "Out of Time" ahead of "Reckoning": "Country Feedback." Oh sure, I love "Losing My Religion" and "Me and Honey" a ton, but "Country Feedback" is, probably, my favorite R.E.M. song. The guys don't play it anymore now that Bill Berry retired. That's sad.

"Murmur" (1983): The record that started it all, it's tough to rank "Murmur" this low knowing it's the blueprint for countless bands that came after. But, it's got to rank somewhere, and I think there are some lesser tunes here.

"Document" (1987): I can still remember being 8 and seeing the "The One I Love" video on MTV incessantly. My dad used to mock the song and tell me it was bad, but I didn't listen. I made him take me to some mall record store to buy the tape. Somewhere, probably in my parents' attic, I still have that tape.

"Automatic for the People" (1992): Many people of my kind, you know, rock critics, rank this at the top of the R.E.M. hierarchy, but I put it third. I love it, and still listen to it, but I just can't bring myself to put it ahead of the next two, no matter how I (sarcasm alert) controversial it might be to place it here.

"Lifes Rich Pageant" (1986): I love this record. When I was having that conversation with friends, my first inclination was to say this was my favorite. Every song is good. The disc is short. "Fall on Me" is perfect. There's so much more I could say, but that'd be just piling it on, wouldn't it?

"New Adventures In Hi-Fi" (1996): I know this is "new R.E.M.," sort of, and that it's not even really a traditional studio album, but I just don't think R.E.M. ever got better than this. It's really sad knowing this was Bill Berry's last disc with the band because the guys clearly had so much momentum. I can only imagine what the followup might have been. I know this record is a tad bit long, but it's so good. There is not one mistake to be found, one note out of place. I still listen to this consistently.

OK, so time for your list. Hope your Christmas was good. Mine was OK, for a little while. Thanks for asking.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas ... Eve

I'm sitting here in suburban Boston, at my folks' house, and I thought I would drop a quick line.

So I did see five movies this weekend, catching "Charlie Wilson's War," "The Savages," "Juno," "Atonement" and "Sweeney Todd." If I had to rank them, I'd probably say "Charlie Wilson," "Juno," "Atonement," "Sweeney Todd" and "The Savages."

But - and this a big but - those top four are actually very close. That's "Juno" pictured.

I want to thank Rachel Hinkel, Harris McCabe and Helen Bunch Blanchard for joining me at these various movies, especially Harris, who actually went to all five with me. I like company.

The Rev. Dave Kelsey sent me this new profile photo that I put up. It was only taken last week, so it's a better shot than the one that was a couple years old.

I guess that's it. I need to go to bed soon so Santa can come down my chimney and eat the cookies we left out for him. My hands are killing me because my little brother, Little Nicholas, has "Guitar Hero" for Wii, and it's too damn addictive.

OK, so everyone have a merry Christmas and we'll talk soon.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

An Early Recap

If you guys read my column in the paper, you know that my plan is to see five movies this weekend. Well, I went to two yesterday, and I thought I'd provide an early recap, just in case anyone is thinking of going to the cinema today.

OK, here goes:

"Charlie Wilson's War" - A very good, funny and well-done comedy. Honestly, I'm a Tom Hanks fan and thought the film would be good, but it's actually much better than I anticipated. I went with three others and we all really loved it, and we all have very different tastes.

"The Savages" - OK, so my best advice on this one? Stay the hell away. After seeing Philip Seymour Hoffman turn in an award-worthy supporting role in "Charlie Wilson," we thought we'd be getting a whole lot more of good Philip. Well, here was good, as was Laura Linney, but not even the best actors could save this script. Not good. Not good at all.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Disappointments Of 2007

I've come to a big conclusion: 2007 has been a decidedly mediocre year for music. Sure, there are plenty of really great albums that hit stores this year, but too many bands disappointed. Heck, too many of very favorite bands disappointed me over the last 12 months.

I'm sitting in my apartment trying to come up with the CDs that will make up my best-of-2007 list that will be on the cover of the Dec. 28's Weekend. I've got about 47 discs that I'm considering and just like every year, this is the hardest part: getting that number down to the magic 20. It's a tough job.

But as I look at my list of every significant release of the year, I can't help but see too many of my favorite bands in the mediocre category. I mean, you name a favorite of mine, and I can almost guarantee they put out a record this year that disappointed me greatly. Besides Okkervil River, Dinosaur Jr and The Weakerthans, I can't think of one that bested its previous efforts.

The list of mediocrity is long: Wilco, matt pond PA, The New Pornographers, Spoon, The Good Life, Bright Eyes, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers and, especially, Rilo Kiley (that's singer/songwriter Jenny Lewis above, credit for the photo goes to Trombontim). The sad thing about Rilo Kiley is that I'm listening to a live show of the band's from not even three months ago, and the new tunes sound good without all that crappy production. If you want make a Fleetwood Mac record, do it, but don't layer on oodles and more horrifying oodles of synths.

Anyway, I'm just thinking out loud right now, waiting to head off to my department Christmas party. And, of course, I'm only talking about groups that I would have mentioned out loud if someone asked me what my favorite bands were sometime in January. Believe me, there are plenty more disappointments and successes of 2007.

So here's the question, what were some of your highlights and lowlights this year? Let me know ...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wednesday Warbles

So here we are, on this wonderful Wednesday, less than a week before Christmas. I have no idea why I started this blog with that sentence; it just felt right. Don't we have to go by our gut feelings sometimes? My other gut feeling wants a buffalo chicken wrap, but I'll ignore that one for the moment.

Anyway, I'm just taking a break from getting Weekend all ready to go. You've got plenty to look forward to on Friday. I've got a column about vomit, movie reviews of about 37 movies, Todd Lyon visiting the Valley and, of course, our annual New Year's Eve roundup featuring more restaurants and clubs than you can shake a stick at. Watch out shaking sticks though; someone could lose an eye ... or a nose.

So the photo at the top of this story is me and Huck, a blow-up doll that I met through a bunch of Yale students who believe in eugenics. You see, when I was writing my column on The Game, a group of Yale alums invited me to have beer with them and listen to their plan about only having sex with fellow Yale alums, thus creating more and more Yale football fans. Sounded OK to me.

The biggest thing for me today will be my Celtics facing the Pistons on national television. I'll get to watch the Celts for the first time in a long while, and the team will finally compete against a quality opponent. Good times.

Sometimes, press releases rule. Let me share with you two press releases for books I've received in the past 40 or so hours. Here we go. This first one is about "They Want You to Know ... Messages from Beyond the Grave."

One of the most interesting compilations of predictions, past experiences and mysteries from life yesterday and today is expressed in an interview book unlike any other published, "What They Want You to Know ... Messages from Beyond the Grave." Carter Shepard's second book is replete with comments and thoughts from some of the most powerful and elite people of our society ... who, by the way, are all deceased!

The interviews were designed to be done with no preconceived notions. As in a case like O.J. Simpson, there has been tremendous interest regarding his innocence. When I asked Nicole to describe her murder, I had no clue what her answer would be. It is not I, but Nicole, who accused O.J. And it is interesting to note that Nicole said O.J. would be in trouble again — and look what is happening in his life right now!

No excerpts from the press release for this one, but how about a book aimed at alcoholics titled, "Just Snap Your Fingers and ... Bingo You're Sober." That's just too perfect.

In other news, it seems Jessica Simpson thinks taking her clothes off will give her more credibility. I can't agree more. You see, before I was able to write things in newspapers, I had to do a full-frontal scene in some obscure art film. If I didn't do that, I would not be taken seriously today.

Like sister, like sister: It seems Britney Spears' sibling Jamie Lynn Spears also doesn't understand the value of a condom. Some folks, especially 16-year-olds, just shouldn't procreate, OK?

Well, the Lying Lunch Lady won't collect her cash. Poor, poor her. Yeah right.

If I ever get married, I hope my bride wears a toilet-paper dress. I mean, I might get nervous and have to use the restroom suddenly. Plus, I'm guessing most women never wear their bridal dress again, so why not have one that can provide another use?

It's been 10 whole years since Chris Farley died. Wow. Read this tribute piece to a guy I never really found funny, but had his life sadly taken early.

I guess Lily Allen is pregnant. I wonder if the kid will pop out spewing pointless swears.

Well, the writers' strike is getting so bad, NBC will begin airing episodes of "Monk" and "Psych" in January. The sad truth about this is that those two shows are far better than anything on NBC currently ... besides all those "Law & Order" shows.

I guess that's all I've got for today. We'll talk tomorrow in between my two Christmas parties. Smile.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tuesday Time

OK, so your friend Pat (that would be me) got out of work about an hour ago on this lovely Tuesday evening, picked up a Modern pizza on the way home and decided to get more work done before he went out tonight.

I'm done with the third-person thing now; it's giving me the creeps. Anyway, I checked my e-mail and noticed I had a blog comment, one about missing me. It made me feel bad. So here I am.

Yep, I was bad last week about updating. The end of the year is a tough time. I've been trying to get things done in advance so I can work as little as possible over the next couple weeks. But I need to make time for blogging like an Egyptian. I just need to do that.

So anyway, this weekend was an OK one. I braved the snow for Cafe Nine's Christmas party, which is always my favorite holiday fest of the year. It's too bad the snow made Sarah Borges cancel. I'm a big fan.

If you've read this blog long enough, you know that I have a soft spot in my heart for "Survivor," so you should know I had to watch the finale Sunday. It was pretty good, a solid ending for a solid season. I happened to be talking to Gorman Bechard about the season earlier last week and he and I were sure Amanda would win. I guess we're both big stupid heads.

Speaking of "Survivor," it seems the lunch lady should be called the lying lunch lady. Man, how can you go on national television, lie and not think it'll be figured out?

In other news, Amy Winehouse was arrested again. Her record may end up on my best-of-2007 list - which will be published in the Dec. 28 Weekend - but she's quite the mess. I mean, we know she's a crackhead, so I guess that makes sense. If you're going to live by one motto and one motto only, use this: Don't ever count on a crackhead. It's bad business.

What's the age-old question? If a tree falls in the forest, does anyone notice? Well, how about, if Anthrax gets a new singer, does anyone really care?

So Peter Jackson will have a hand in "The Hobbit" movies. The "Lord of the Rings" helmer won't direct the prequels, but will executive produce. I'm sorry. I just don't care. The "LOTR" movies are OK, but I'll never watch them again. I don't like all the goobly-goblin stuff.

Rachael Ray has a new show on the Food Network. Why is this news? Doesn't she have like 43 shows on the station? They should give more shows to that Gia (or something like that) woman. I like her, even though she has a huge head, or so says Joe Amarante.

Pitchfork has announced its 50 best records of 2007. It's not a bad list, but the site always seems to like certain artists (MIA, ahem) more than it should.

As I type this, the show "Duel" is on in the background. Can a contestant really not know how many oxygen molecules are in carbon monoxide? Where did they find these folks? And why didn't they call me?

While we're talking about television, the big news around New Haven is, of course, Michael Bolton and a bunch of local folks on "Clash of the Choirs." I will never watch this show, but I'd like to send out a big good luck to Greg Sherrod, a really nice guy and great singer who's on the show. Good luck, Greg.

And with that, I'm done for the evening. By the way, a reader sent me a note about me having a Wikipedia page. I can die now, I'm so happy. Talk to you tomorrow. I promise.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hot Night At Toad's

When I got to New Haven in 2004, Hot Rod Circuit had pretty much moved on, with members spread out all over the country. I can't write a column about seeing them here first and finding out they're local.

If you want that kind of piece, take a look at my friend Brian LaRue's story in the Advocate. It's really well-written and Brian's knows what he's talking about.

In Play, editor Jeff Petrin, a good guy who likes big Dunkin' Donuts coffees, conducted an insightful interview with Hot Rod frontman Andy Jackson. The singer/guitarist talks a lot about the reasons for the breakup and the future of the band members.

All I can say is that it'll be a sad night tonight when HRC takes the stage for the final time. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at Toad's Place and will also features performances from the very good Diamond J and the Rough (featuring former HRC bassist Jay Russell) and Titles.

I first heard HRC in 2000, when "If It's Cool With You It's Cool With Me" arrived at my college radio station. At the time, I was program director at the station and pretty much decided a lot of the playlists for the DJs. My friend Brendan Ryan and I loved the disc so much, we put it straight onto the must-play list, we gave it an add, and I think for at least one week reported it as our No. 1 CD to CMJ.

So I might not have a personal connection to HRC, other than interviewing Andy a couple of times and sort of knowing Jay Russell, but it'll be sad to see them go. I honestly think this year's "The Underground Is a Dying Breed" is the band's best.

Not many New Haven bands make it out of here and go on to the national level, but HRC certainly accomplished that. The band made emo before emo was a word, and it ended its run with a record with tinges of country, Americana and straightforward pop. It's a great disc from a great band.

It's certainly a band I'll miss. In some ways, HRC put New Haven on the map, so let's help them go out with a bang. When I moved here, I knew of two bands from here: HRC and Miracle Legion. I didn't even know Michael Bolton came from the area. I think that says something.

So, make sure to head over to Toad's tonight and pay tribute to HRC. Say hi to me. I'll be wearing a Red Sox hat and glasses.

Just Go Away PETA

I'm all for PETA, really am. I don't incorporate fur into any of my outfits, no matter how much the thought of a mink coat on an August evening makes me happy. But seriously, the group does its thing and whatever ... I really could care less either way, but the idea of not needlessly killing animals sounds good.

On the other hand, here's something from WENN:

Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen have been attacked by animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which claims they have "ignored pleas to stop wearing fur and using it in their fashion collection." PETA has dubbed the pair "the Trollson Twins" and "Hairy Kate and Trashly" in a stinging new campaign. A poster, with the tag line "fur is worn by beautiful animals and ugly people," is to be unveiled on Tuesday at their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los Angeles.
Seriously, how can you respect an organization that would resort to such immature and stupid behavior? "The Trollson Twins"? Come on. And calling them "ugly people." Can't find a more adult way of criticizing people for wearing fur?
Better yet, can't they stick to getting actresses to get naked in their ads? That's a good way of doing things.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tuesday Tidbits

I hope everyone had a good weekend. Mine was pretty OK. But there's a lot to talk about today, so let's get going. That rhymed.

First, we really need discuss why the city would be doing roadwork where 91 and 95 meet at 10 a.m. Let's see, well, that's one of the busiest areas, traffic-wise, in the entire city, so why not do roadwork during the tail-end of rush hour. It makes complete sense to me. To get from my apartment in East Rock to the Register, oh, about 30 minutes this morning. Fun.

Now that I'm done complaining, and thank you for listening, let's talk about "Friends (With Benefits)," Gorman Bechard's upcoming comedy. I saw the film Saturday and it's definitely worth keeping tabs on, making sure you know when it comes out. Many, many scenes are laugh-out-loud funny and, simply, it's a good movie. I'll keep you posted. By the way, the picture above is of three of the stars of the flick.

Angela Easterling and The Hickups perform at Cafe Nine tonight, which makes the venue the spot to be if you like your swinging country music. It's a top-notch bill, so head over if you're so inclined.

I lost in my fantasy football playoffs. I'm a sad man. Sad.

It turns out that 25-year-old guy who spent like $200K on tickets to Led Zeppelin's show last night made a good investment. All reviews say the band was amazing.

Well, Quiet Riot's Kevin Dubrow died of a cocaine overdose. Sadly, this isn't the least bit surprising.

I can't say I've ever watched "Dancing with the Stars." It's been on in bars that I've been in, so it's not like I'm completely naive to it. Anyway, what a month for the 19-year-old dancer Julianne Hough. First she wins her second "Dancing" championship, then she ruins someone's engagement and now she's been signed to a record deal. She's going to make country music.

So I guess that's it from this end. We'll talk tomorrow about Hot Rod Circuit's final show. That's it.

See you at Anna Liffey's for trivia tonight? My team came in fourth last week with only four people; we have our sights on first tonight. See you there.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Hate Mail

I get a lot of mean e-mails and voicemails; it just comes with the territory when your job is to criticize music. I mean, like I always tell friends, if you say something bad about U2, people think you're insulting their mother.

So, inevitably, I'll write a negative review of some artist that some angry person really likes and they'll shoot off some hate mail to me. Most of the time, they're just dumb. But sometimes, when I'm lucky, the messages are both dumb and hilarious. Here's one I got Friday, from Cathy in Hamden, which is too good not to share. Keep in mind, this is totally unedited and presented exactly as how I received it.

I HATE YOU!!!!! YOU SUCK!!!!! I hate the fact that you have an outlet to voice YOUR opinion - who cares about YOUR opinion??? Not me - or anyone else I talk to for that matter.

I couldn't resist writing her back and basically telling her she needs to take a deep breath, and that we all have different tastes in music, I'm just giving her the critic's perspective, blah, blah, blah ... And here's what I received:
You're right - we all have our own taste in music (Opinions are like (swear)- everyone's got one). NO ONE'S gonna tell me who I should or shouldn't like as I would not try to shove my opinions down anyone else's throat. WHAT GIVES YOU THE RIGHT TO SHOVE YOUR OPINION DOWN MY THROAT EVERY WEEK???

I HATE that you get your own paper to do that every week!!! WHERE'S MY PAPER to tell people what to listen to, what to like, what not to like???

I hope these brought you the same joy as they did me. Honestly, this made my day yesterday and were way too funny not to share. All because I dissed Godsmack and Daughtry. Oh no!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Why ...

... have I not heard a peep this week about the millions of people who can't watch tonight's Bears-Redskins game? Isn't it everybody's unassailable right to watch every football game free of charge?

Woo-Woo Wilco

I'm waiting for confirmation, but it looks like Wilco will perform at the Shubert Theater in New Haven Feb. 24. I have no ticket information yet, but this is great news for the city. Or maybe for just me.

But, seriously, this is a very significant show for the venue, which doesn't have many mainstream rock acts play there. A good turnout for this concert could change that. I, for one, am excited to know that I can ride my bike to see one of my favorite bands.

In other news, Grammy nominations were released earlier today. I wrote an extra column about it, so take a look at that in tomorrow's Register. So, you know what that means? Yep, you get two Ferrucci columns tomorrow. Get excited.

NOTE: OK, just got got confirmation from the Shubert. Tickets for Wilco go on sale Dec. 15. Tell you more soon. I'm starting my weekend now. Have a good one.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Did I Miss Something

If you would have asked me about Chuck Norris any time over the past couple years, I would told you a few things.

First, I would have said he used to star in "Walker, Texas Ranger," and that I have a good friend who enjoys getting drunk and then watching the show on the Hallmark Channel at like 3 a.m. Then I would have said that anytime I turn the television on early in the morning, I see Chuck flexing his senior-citizen muscles on some machine he wants the American public — and the whole world! — to own. Lastly, I would have said he used to be some kind of kung-fu action star, but that was before I was born. I then would have taken a sip of my beer, and blurted out, "Oh yeah, he has a sweet red beard." That's it.

So imagine my surprise when the front page of Yahoo today says that Chuck may help get a presidential hopeful elected, that good ol' Chuck, who's not that famous, is just as influential as the GOD OF TELEVISION of herself, Oprah. How did this happen? A quick look at Chuck's Wikipedia page tells me that the actor is a staunch Christian who believes in Biblical creationism. We're listening to this guy? He invented Chun Kuk Do. Um?

In other news, tonight over at Cafe Nine, my friend Danny's band, The Black Noise Scam, will open for the Murder Junkies. That's it for that. The band plays old-school punk, I'm told. Go see them.

I thought we were all done with the "Borat" lawsuits. I guess not. The driver's ed teacher that appears in the comedy is now suing. People need to get over things. I'm quickly in "300 Mondays," at the end, and I'm not suing. I didn't know my voice and face would be in the movie. I'm laughing now.

Some group doesn't want the children playing video games with people peeing in them. Oh my. When I was a kid, I wanted a Power Glove or something. Would I want a game with people peeing if I was a kid today? You betcha.

I'm a big fan of Harp magazine. It's honestly a must for any serious music fan. And, oh my, the pub just released its best-of 2007 list. I'm nervous about putting mine together in a couple weeks because for the first time in years, I don't have a clear-cut No. 1 record. We'll see. Anyway, Harp chooses my favorite band Okkervil River's "The Stage Names" as its choice. That makes me so happy. I think my list and Harp's will have a few similarities, that's for sure.

Please, please, please go visit Bob Mould's Web site and download his new single, from an upcoming February release, "District Line." Mould, the former Husker Du and Sugar frontman, is one of my absolute favorites and this song is his best in years. Years. It makes me so excited for the record. I can't wait.

Anyway, that's it on this end. I'm getting back to work. Enjoy your hump day and pray that Johan ends up with a "B" on his hat.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Clearing The Desk — Online Edition!

So my weekly column is called Clearing the Desk because when I started it about four years ago, I thought it would be a good place to get a ton of little notes that didn't fit anywhere else in the paper. Somehow, well I know how, it's morphed into a more traditional column, a traditional column that uses the word poop a lot. Anyway, here's a bunch of things I would have gotten in to my column a few years back, but probably won't have the room this week. Enjoy.

Saturday's "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" fundraiser went off even better than expected. I had a great time. Cafe Nine was sold out; they stopped letting people in. How often does that happen? Answer: a couple times a year. It was a great feeling to know that a good cause and good local music could sell out the place. I loved, seriously, all the bands' performances, but I particularly dug The Sawtelles' take on "Life In Prison." Here's the setlist:

"You Ain't Going Nowhere" — Eric and Sandra Lauren Lichter
"I Am a Pilgrim" — Mercy Meadows
"The Christian Life" — Mr. Ray Neal
"You Don't Miss Your Water" — Lys Guillorn
"You're Still on My Mind" — Frank Critelli
"Pretty Boy Floyd" — Shandy Lawson
"Hickory Wind" — The Freewheelin' Chris Bousquet
"One Hundred Years from Now" — James Velvet and the Ivory Bills
"Blue Canadian Rockies" — Mercy Choir
"Life in Prison" — The Sawtelles
"Nothing Was Delivered" — PonyBird

The photo above of The Sawtelles is courtesy of Jennifer Dauphinais of the very good PonyBird.

In other news, AOL has just released the results of a "survey" that determined "TV’s Sexiest Women—Ever." The results came out today, but we got an embargoed list yesterday and we here in the Register's Features Department discussed this topic. Pam Anderson No. 1? Really? I'm not really sure who I'd choose in my top 10, but I have to say it'd be a lot different than this list. Part of it is a generational thing, for sure, but part of it is knowing Eva Longoria belongs nowhere near a the top five. Nowhere. So who's your top 10? I did see "Chuck" for the first time ever last night ....

I don't know why anyone would care, but Red Lobster's chefs now have a blog! The e-mail came to me this morning. How exciting. I want to know how they prepare so much shrimp during that month where you can eat shrimp until your belly explodes.

I don't watch much television, but this makes me happy.

Is the Spice Girls reunion really worth the nine-year wait? Really? Can this be true?

What an escape by the Pats last night, huh?

That's all I got for now. See you at Anna Liffey's tonight for trivia?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Oh, 'Sweetheart," Listen Up

Man, can you believe it's December? I mean, it feels like the last six months of this year have dragged by, but, all of sudden, here we are and it's almost 2008. Amazing stuff.

So how are you going to celebrate the first day of the last month of 2007? I got up, went to the gym, watched a bit of TV, had some food and, soon, I'll head over to Cafe Nine for Chris Bousquet's fundraiser for Elm City Cycling. This should be one cool show.

Chris and a host of other local musicians -- including James Velvet, Shandy Lawson, Frank Critelli and more -- will perform The Byrds' classic "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" in its entirety. I'm excited for this. You should be too.

I really like it when folks try something that might not be easy. This kind of show could be a logistical nightmare, but that's OK. It should be great. See you there. OK?