Thursday, May 29, 2008

This Week in Video: Once, Twice, Three Tiiiimes a Kanye Edition

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Kanye West - "Flashing Lights"

Kanye West - "Flashing Lights"

Kanye West - "Flashing Lights"

Friday, May 23, 2008


Regular readers may recall that a while ago I posted a few excerpts from the really awesome book, Revolution in the Head: The Beatles Records and the 1960s by Ian MacDonald. I gave the book to my dad originally, and upon reading it, he said, "Have you read Shout! ?" I said I hadn't, and he promptly sent it to me a month later for my birthday. It's a pretty well-known book, and for good reason. You can't possibly imagine how exhaustive Phil Norman's portrayal is. I'm only on page 110 (a fifth of the way through), and they haven't even recorded a song yet but it's still fascinating reading about the comedy of errors that was the Quarry Men, then Johnny and the Moondogs, then the Quarry Men again, then the Silver Beatles, then the Beatles. Their living conditions during their residency on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg make for a great read, but I also really enjoy the anecdotes about their family. One of my favorites:

"Paul's father, Jim McCartney, was the first of their parents to investigate
this new epoch [the band's gigs at the Cavern Club in Liverpool]. He had
noticed the state in which Paul came home from the Cavern, with clothes stinking
of mold and a shirt so drenched it could be wrung out over the kitchen
sink. Jim was still in the cotton business, working at the Cotton Exchange
just around the corner from Mathew Street. Venturing into the Cavern on
his own lunch hour, Jim could not get near enough to the stage to speak to
Paul. When he came after that it would usually be to drop in some meat he
had bought to cook for Paul and Michael that evening. Above the din in the
band room he would give Paul careful instructions about when, and at what
number, to switch on the electric cooker."

The book is great at showing you how amateurish the greatest pop band of all time were in their formative years -- hell, they got kicked out of Hamburg because George was only 17 and couldn't play past the midnight curfew. Anyway, I highly recommend reading this book and I plan to post more excerpts as I go.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rocker Falls Off Bike; Teaches TRS A Lesson

Not sure if you all had heard, but earlier this month David Byrne, of Talking Heads fame, was BUIing and broke a few ribs. From his blog (or as he calls it, a "Journal," which is online, also known as a blog...):
“You drank too much and fell off your bike” could be the title of a drawing by David Shrigley. But in this case, it actually happened to me after meeting Shrigley for dinner and drinks. While riding home, C and I were briefly separated. Upon reuniting, my tire slipped on the cobblestones of West 14th St., and I remember lying in the street, looking at oncoming headlights and rolling towards the curb so they wouldn’t run me over. Two cops approached and looked down at me. “Have you been drinking?” they asked. Probably a typical question in that neighborhood at that time of night. “Yes, I’ve had a few drinks,” I replied. “But I’m hurt.” I managed to get up by myself and retrieve my bike (no help from the NYPD, though one of them asked if I was David Byrne) and it wasn’t until later, when I was in bed, that the pain made itself truly known. I wondered how I would ever even get out of bed. The next day I went to the hospital and x-rays revealed two broken ribs — numbers 3 and 5, way up high. They're healing now, little by little, and I was told that in 3 weeks I should be OK.
I have been known to imbibe a little and hop on a bike. Let's not delve into things, but there have been a couple rides to Bolis that I don't remember. It's a sobering when you discover rock stars aren't infallible. Let's all learn from this...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Formula? What formula?

Our old friends The Hold Steady have just released the first song from their upcoming album, Stay Positive. And it sounds like.....exactly what you think it would sound like. Though I have to say, Craig Finn's voice sounds a little better. It's almost like he's singing. Almost. Please do enjoy.

The Hold Steady - "Sequestered in Memphis"

Courtesy of The Tape

Monday, May 19, 2008

Rockist Exam, Part I

In what I hope will be a recurring series here, below you'll find a series of questions I am posing to my fellow Rockists. I'll ask, they'll both answer, and then we'll move on to the next question.

1. If your wife was going to cheat on you with one of the Beatles (in their prime), which one would you prefer it be?

Rob: Ringo. Did he ever have a prime?

G.L.: I'd have to say George. I think he'd be the least disease-ridden, you know, down there.

2. Would you rather have a few beers with:

a) Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse
b) Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses
c) Britt Daniel of Spoon
d) Patterson Hood of The Drive-By Truckers
e) Craig Finn of the Hold Steady

Rob: e) But only while walking around.

G.L.: I'd like to say Isaac Brock, but I'd be seriously concerned for my safety. Dude's weird. So, it's Craiggers for me, too.

3. True/False: Wilco will one day be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Rob: False. Well, at least not while Tweedy is alive. His head may literally explode.

G.L.: False, unfortunately.

4. True/False: Jeff Tweedy will act like he doesn't care about being snubbed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Rob: True.

G.L.: I think a better one would have been, "If Wilco are somehow inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Jeff Tweedy will act like he doesn't care." True.

5. Where would you rather spend Memorial Day weekend?

a) an Octopus' garden
b) a yellow submarine
c) in the sky, with diamonds
d) back in the USSR

Rob: d) Who likes bread and milk? Not this guy.

G.L.: Only with Maxwell's silver hammer (and sickle), right? But seriously, an Octopus' garden. Depending on the shade of course.

6. How do you feel about world music?

Rob: Isn't all music world music? Why do ugly people who can't write songs get the whole genre?

G.L.: I guess I like a lot of things that could be considered world music, but I think I see what you're getting at. Those afro-cuban-psyche-flamenco albums that they sell at Starbucks make me want to barf.

7. Which of the following musicians googles him or herself most often:

a) Jeff Tweedy of Wilco
b) Bob Pollard, formerly of Guided by Voices
c) Will Sheff of Okkervil River
d) Chan Marshall, aka Cat Power
e) Anton Newcombe of The Brian Jonestown Massacre
f) Neko Case, of the New Pornographers (when she feels like it)

Rob: c) But only to see if the blogs are commenting positively on his bangs.

G.L.: Gotta be Chan Marshall.

Better band name:

8. The Kinks or The Kingsmen

Rob: The Kingsmen

G.L.: The Kinks.

9. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin or Clap Your Hand Say Yeah


G.L.: Same here. Better name, better band.

10. Ra Ra Riot or Ra Ra Rasputin

Rob: Both are Ra Ra Retarded.

G.L.: Who? We're way to cool to be talking about either of these bands.

11. The Knobs or The Slits

Rob: Seriously, GH?

G.L.: Push.

12. The Bad Livers or The Drive-By Truckers

Rob: DBT, but only because we're seeing them tonight. (Answered 5/9/08)

G.L.: The Truckers, hands down.

The Swell Season @ Toad's Place (Richmond, VA)

Not your typical Rockist outing as it was a) not located in a gentrifying neighborhood of the District of Columbia, b) featured an Oscar-winning male-female duo rather than some scruffy mustachioed dudes from your favorite college town music scene, and c) was really more of a date for me and my girlfriend. But some of you (us) still like this stuff, and, at any rate, there were a few purely Rockist moments that would be worth reporting regardless.

The Swell Season are basically just Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova's project that turned into the 2007 hit indie flick Once. Before Once, Hansard was/is in Irish band The Frames -- who are huge over there despite their only tepid reception stateside -- and Irglova was an unknown Czech teenager (she's now 20). On this tour, The Frames are along as a backing band, but just as often he plays solo or she plays solo or just the two of them play together. They're a funny couple onstage. She's barely half his age and shy, while it's pretty apparent he was born to perform in front of an audience.

If this tour is still something of an introduction -- "Hey America! Remember us? We're a real band, it wasn't just a movie!" -- then the set's undeniable high point, the Oscar-winning tune "Falling Slowly", is their nightly victory lap. In Richmond, they soaked it up and stretched the song out, and Hansard took the last few bars to recount the whirlwind feeling of the past year (something like that when what you've been striving for actually comes true, 99% is incredibly happy and the other 1% wishes nothing had changed). The movie's best scenes -- when the drums kick in on "When Your Mind's Made Up" and grab the studio engineer's attention, when Hansard plays their recordings for his father and Pops replies "it's just so good, son" -- are quietly triumphant, and "Falling Slowly" was the tune that matched that feeling best.

As far as Rockist material, during the set proper, Glen and Marketa did a spirited, harmony-laden duet on The Pixies' "Levitate Me" that was a lot of fun and had me searching for a new copy of Come On Pilgrim the next day (Glen interjected "this is a Pixies song" halfway through -- a decidedly un-Rockist thing to do). And then The Swell Season closed with "Ireland's greatest songwriter" Van Morrison, doing a fine cover of "Into the Mystic." Hansard's voice doesn't suit it as well as you might think, but the harmonies were good and the couple got the crowd to sing the horn parts.

We now resume your regularly scheduled Rockist programming...

The Swell Season - "Into the Mystic"

Friday, May 16, 2008

This Week in Video: Bike To Work Day Edition

Who would have thought that it would be raining on Bike to Work Day? Probably the same people that predicted it would rain on Sunday. Let's not get all huffy and start complaining on how sucky the rain and Nissan Pavilion/Live Nation are and how awesome yet awful Radiohead is. Just be glad that those of you who missed the show might have another chance (in the armpit of America).

"Ladies love the feel of the wheel." Get me a mustache, roller skates and rapist sunglasses STAT!

Flight of the Conchords - "Ladies of the World"

I'm amazed that MMJ played one of my favorite songs off of Evil Urges on SNL. Oh, by the way, TRS has Evil Urges, due out 6/10. Jealous?

My Morning Jacket - "I'm Amazed" on SNL

Listen, just because I like DCFC, doesn't make me less of a Rockist. Jerks. This is my guilty pleasure. This song kinda sucks, though. Sorry.

Death Cab for Cutie - "I Will Possess Your Heart" on The Late Show with David Letterman

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

“Another thing that's bugging me ”

Heh. Neil Young is immortalized... as a spider.

He now joins the ranks of other rockers with bugs (or dinosaurs) named after them.

Roy Orbison
Mark Knopfler
The Beatles
The Ramones
and many more.

Congrats, Neil. TRS will never squash a spider again.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Radiohead Setlist - Nissan Pavilion (5/11/08)

To round out our weekend of rock, the Rockists traveled in our fuel efficient vehicles out through the set of Deliverance to good ol' Brostow, VA. G.L. and I enjoyed our 4 hour car party while the heavens opened up around us. Luckily, I had mistakenly bought pit tickets and G.L.'s coworker had extra pavilion tickets so our group got to stay (semi) dry. Suckers...

I heard there were a lot of people who weren't able to make it into the show due to 2 hour waits to park and closed roads. That blows and our hearts go out to those not in attendance. We were quite lucky to get in there quickly and out of there (relatively) quickly.

The show was amazing. I have been waiting over 7 years to see these guys and it wasn't worth the wait (why would anyone wait 7 years to see a show?), but it was worth the weather. The songs were flawless except for Johnny messing up the beginning to Faust Arp... twice. Did anyone else notice Thom shouting "Barack Obama" during "The National Anthem"? I know G.H. did.

All I Need / Jigsaw Falling Into Place / Lucky / 15 Step / Nude / Pyramid Song / Weird Fishes/Arpeggi / Myxomatosis / Idioteque / Faust Arp / Videotape / Paranoid Android / Just / Reckoner / Everything In Its Right Place / Bangers + Mash / Body Snatchers // Like Spinning Plates / Optimistic / Karma Police / Go Slowly / Planet Telex // Fake Plastic Trees / National Anthem / House of Cards

Drive-By Truckers Setlist @ 9:30 Club (5-9-08)

Great, long, and (sometimes) painfully loud show from Rockist heroes DBT. Let it also be noted that The Dexateens opened with a full hour-plus set that was worth the price of admission in its own right. Their newest album, Lost and Found, is quite good and downloadable for free (legally) on their website. I also picked up one of their previous releases, Hardwire Healing, which is very strong as well.

Anyway, the Truckers were their usual selves. Not having Jason Isbell around sort of cuts out the pretty-melody, radio country stuff, leaving the group to just obliterate your eardrums for as long as they (and you) can take it. On a number of occasions, lead singer Patterson Hood waxed with varying degrees of eloquence on how much he loved the 9:30 and how DC was always so great to his band. Seemed pretty genuine to me. As you'd expect, the setlist was strong and varied, though I can't believe I missed Cooley's "Self-Destructive Zones" on Saturday night. And you almost sense that they just can't resist the urge to play "Let There Be Rock" and "People Who Died" in the encore -- the crowd just eats it up too much. My vote for the night's best song? A tie between "Guitar Man" and "The Company I Keep", with Shonna's "I'm Sorry Houston" making a good run for it.

The Drive-By Truckers - 9:30 Club - May 9, 2008
Putting People on the Moon / Where The Devil Don't Stay / The Righteous Path / One of These Days / The Company I Keep / Play It All Night Long (W. Zevon cover) / Gravity's Gone / The Living Bubba / Checkout Time in Vegas / You and Your Crystal Meth / Goode's Field Road / A Ghost to Most / I'm Sorry Houston / Sink Hole / Dead, Drunk, and Naked / Guitar Man / Lookout Mountain // 3 Dimes Down / Zip City / Let There Be Rock / World of Hurt / Buttholeville > State Trooper (B. Springsteen cover) > Buttholeville* / People Who Died (J. Carroll cover)*

*with members of The Dexateens

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Best of Mike Cooley

Patterson Hood may be the outspoken front man, Jason Isbell may be boy genius, Shonna Tucker might be Isbell's ex-wife and a hell of a whiskey slugger, and Spooner Oldham might be a living, breathing rock legend, but lately I've been appreciating Mike Cooley's work with The Drive-By Truckers. On each album over the course of their career, one of the Truckers seems to have the better batch of songs, and on the latest, I think it's Cooley. So ahead of tonight's official Rockist outing to catch DBT at the 9:30, here are the all-time best lyrics from Cooley tunes:

"I went stumbling through the fog trying to find a reason for the things I told her / She woke up sunny side down and I was still thinking I was too proud to flip her over / Between the champagne hand jobs and the kissing ass by everyone involved / Cocaine rich comes quick and that's why the small dicks have it all." - Gravity's Gone

"If the part about being who he was didn't help Tom get loose, what's a guy without a T. gonna get? / Totally screwed, while chicken wing puke eats the candy apple red off his Corvette." - Three Dimes Down

"Well, my daddy didn’t pull out, but he never apologized / Rock and Roll means well, but it can’t help tellin’ young boys lies." - Marry Me

"Mr. Phillips never blew enough hot air to need a little gold plated paperweight / He promised him a Cadillac and put the wind in Carl's face / He did just what he said he was gonna do and the money came in sacks / New contracts and Carl Perkins' Cadillac." - Carl Perkins' Cadillac

The Drive By Truckers - "Women Without Whiskey" (Live)


*On a side note, check out Chris Klimek's interview with Patterson Hood on DCist ahead of the band's two shows at the 9:30 Club this weekend. A particular quote I like: "You can be in Seattle, which is a pretty cosmopolitan, liberal, blue-state American city, but get in your car and drive 25 minutes outside of town, and it could be Georgia with different trees."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hypothetical Songs on a Hypothetical Guided by Voices Reunion Album

The Sneaker Kings of Ipswich
Nuclearize the Swollen Substitutes
Introducing the Nitrous-Faced Lizard Champion
Know the Fecund Specter
Hemeroid Terrarium
A Vectorless Mountain Climber
Mortuary in the Vaccuum
Thunderclouds are Essential
Never Foxes, Never Werewolves

feel free to add your own in the comments.

Guided by Voices - "Titus and Strident Wet Nurse"
Guided by Voices - "Buzzards and Dreadful Cows"

Friday, May 2, 2008

Bob Nastanovich, Rockist and Racing Legend

Tomorrow's the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby, which for a native Kentuckian is quite the deal. The other Rockists have professed their faith in the gospel of mint juleps, sun dresses, and betting on ponies, and we all try to go all out for the event.

But we're not the first Rockists to do so. Not hardly. In fact, each year when spring rolls around, and the rolling hills near my childhood home in Central Kentucky turn a deep kelly green, I'm reminded of a true Rockist and Horse Racing legend, Pavement's Bob Nastanovich. As many of you (hopefully) know, Bob was Pavement's "drummer" in their early stages, though his role may be best described alternately as "assistant time-keeper" and "resident court jester". I don't mean to make light of his musical contributions -- which included backup vox, auxillary percussion, and "effects-based keyboards" -- but I don't think I'm entirely inaccurate in saying that Pavement's music (though not its spirit) might not have been altered much in his absence.

Now all of us Rockists came into the game too late to ever see Pavement (a sad fact of history lamented to varying degrees by each of us), but concert footage and music videos seem to prove some initial hunches about Bob: he is freaking hilarious, and he takes his role as a sideman with the perfect mix of seriousness and irreverence. He'd woo-hoo like hell on stage and make the most out of banging the crap out of a tambourine -- think those guys in Arcade Fire without the pretense. And, if you're like me and I imagine many other not-so-musically inclined Rockists out there, this is the role you can see ourselves playing.

After Pavement broke up (someone give G.L. a tissue, or five), Bob tour managed Steve Malkmus and the Jicks for a while before settling on his other passion: horse racing. He became a jockey agent for the successful Greta Kuntzweiler, who unfortunately got convicted on meth charges last year and is on probation for a long time. He also started a website, Lonely on the Rail, as an avenue for his twin passions of racing and writing (the site's no longer up). He's done some breeding too from his home in Louisville, and right now he's working as a chart caller -- the guy in the press box who figures out the distance between horses during the race, for example -- for Equibase.

You all that have seen the Pavement doc Slow Century may recall the debaucherous Derby weekend the band spends at Nastanovich's place in Louisville, messing around with the fellow revelers and generally getting goofy in his house. It's the best of both worlds -- rockisting and horse racing. We Rockists will attempt similar and similarly-inspired feats tomorrow. Happy Derby Day, folks.

*To Mr. Nastanovich: if you would ever like to do an interview or -- even better -- come catch some races with us at Keeneland or Pimlico or wherever, please email us at

This Week in Video: The First Saturday in May Edition

This week was a great one for late night talk shows. Let's go through the week.

Although I never watch it (I hate Scots), The Late Late Show has some pretty good acts (second video excluded). Go to RnR on 6/15.

Grand Archives - "Torn Blue Foam Couch"

Check out this nervous, back room lounge singer... I mean Morrissey. WTF is with the AI shirt? I can't imagine they are going to have a Morrissey week; especially not after Neal Diamond.

Morrissey - "Irish Blood, English Heart"

First R.E.M., then John Legend and now this? Lovely.

Feist - "I Feel It All"