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Preview: i'd love to stay here and be normal, but it's just so overrated...

i'd love to stay here and be normal, but it's just so overrated...

Updated: 2015-09-16T11:59:03.215-07:00




(image) 'dare' | the mary onettes

hi, kids. the mary onettes have a new e.p. coming out next month called 'dare.' this is the title track. it's rocks mightily. therefore you should buy the e.p. when it comes out. if you don't, you will die a horrible and unpleasant death.

the mary onettes: dare
the mary onettes: make me last



(image) 'a change of heart' | el perro del mar

today's good news is brought to you by sarah assbring, a.k.a. el perro del mar: el perro del mar's new album, 'love is not pop,' is set to drop on april 1 in the scandinavian territories. no release date for the US, so far as i can tell. but given the usual delays in releasing stuff stateside, you'll probably be able to buy your own copy about the time the sixth and final season of 'lost' wraps up about a year from now. until then, enjoy 'a change of heart,' probably the best song she's done yet. remarkable stuff, this.

el perro del mar: a change of heart
el perro del mar: a change of heart [what kind of breeze do you blow? remix] -- link corrected



(image) 'hysteric' | yeah yeah yeahs

i'm back! but i don't know for how long. at least long enough to heap tons of praise on the yeah yeah yeahs new album, 'it's blitz!'

holy &%$@! i'm so completely blown away by this album. funny thing is that i never really listened to them before because i instinctively reject so-called 'art rock.' [at least i admit to my biases, right?] it drives me nuts because it's usually just code for really crappy and really, really pretentious--or in other words, no talent. i'm just sayin'.

so imagine complete and utter joy to find 'it's blitz!' so blindingly and undeniably brilliant. trust me, the 'critics' are going to peeing themselves over this one. and you know what, they should. i'll spare you the play-by-play and excessive superlatives because i want you to listen to it and find out for yourself.

congrats, yeah yeah yeahs, the album of the year award is yours to lose. for real.

yeah yeah yeahs: hysteric [link fixed!]
yeah yeah yeahs: heads will roll

i'm still alive...


(image) i admit i've lost a bit of enthusiasm for updating the blog of late, but i will be back to writing about music and the occasional book or movie i enjoyed, or even my latest hopeless crush on monday.

until then, we all know who the REAL national champion is. suck it, trebek, er BCS! [hint: it's the big U to the left!]



(image) 'autumn story' | firekites

sorry for the lack of updates lately. what with christmas, family in town, my new 46" samsung lcd and playstation 3, i've been rather occupied the last week. i've been shopping that tv for the better part of six months and i finally pulled the trigger on my birthday, so happy birthday to me from me with best regards. you're a swell fellow, matt.

here's some nice new music from down unduh! i knew there was more to aussie music besides midnight oil, inxs, and men at work [i'm kidding, i'm kidding]. i don't know that much about firekites, but a friend of mine suggest i check them out and so i did. and i have to say, i was pleasantly surprised. not that i thought they'd be lousy or anything like that, but with the gajillions of bands out there these days, it's always nice to find a little nugget that warms the heart. i particularly like listening to these guys on headphones because you can really here all the little nuances floating throughout the songs. and i also like that it sounds like it was recorded in a warehouse. that's not to say it's lousy recording quality, but rather you can here the faint traces of echos. it gives the songs a really nice quality that seems lacking from a lot of studio produced stuff. good stuff.

you can find out more about firekites here and here, so go check 'em out.

final thought for the day: is it just me or is anyone else wondering where the bleep 2008 went?

firekites: autumn story
firekites: same suburb different park



(image) 'the end of summer on bookbinder road' | cocoanut grove

'i was born to tell the story...' begins the lead track from cocoanut grove's album, 'madeleine street.' well, first of all, dood looks like he's fourteen, so i was a bit suspect at exactly what kind of a story someone so young could possibly tell. and after having listened to 'madeleine street' a number of times this week, the story mr. grove has told is this: this might be the best debut album of the year! [imagine had the clientele grown up in sweden instead of the uk and you'll have an idea of the sound. yeah, i don't make clientele references lightly because they are one of my favorite bands of all-time, so it's heady praise, indeed!]

as per usual, when i find something i really like i do a little internet research. and yeah, you know exactly where this is going. i don't even have to say it because you already know. he's from a place that rhymes with wedon and starts with 's.' that's really all you need to know because we all know by now that sweden has a disproportionate number of quality musicians. so add 'cocoanut grove' to the list. if he keeps this up, i'm only sure it's a matter of time before he's at the top.

trust me, kids, this is one album that you'll be glad you spent a couple of kronas on.

cocoanut grove: the end of the summer on bookbinder road
cocoanut grove: the castle



(image) 'once is not enough' | the bicycles

i knew my pepsi points would come in handy sooner or later. actually, since they expire at the end of the year, i had to use them or lose them. so, i checked the pepsi points website and the only 'goodies' i could still get was a pepsi tote bag, which if you figure each pepsi point equals approximately 1 dollar, cost me about 50 bucks. but there was nothing else to get, so i'm now the proud owner of a striped pepsi tote bag. great.

well, i still had some pepsi points, so i cruised on over to to see what mp3s i could buy with all my pepsi points. i had happened to hear that the bicycles new album, 'oh no it's love!' had been released digitally. lucky for me, i was available via pepsi points. here's how it works--you get 1 mp3 point for five pepsi points. remembering our ratios, and given that 'oh no, it's love!' cost me about 95 bucks. awesome. that's a lot of pepsi for one album, but it was either that or spend 50 pepsi points to get a jump drive that you can buy on amazon for three bucks. hm, three bucks vs. fifty bucks. is it me or are pepsi points a rip off? i love me the diet pepsi [it is the nectar of the gods and i drink far more than i should, but c'mon]. ok, now i'm just getting angry. i refuse to support pepsi points from this day forward, but i will still drink the diet pepsi for it is very tasty.

at any rate, i loved the bicycles first album, 'the good the bad and the cuddly,' and i happy to report that 'oh no, it's love!' is just as great. its 19 songs come in at a mere 39 minutes [all but two songs come in under three minutes], but each song is a little treasure of feel-good pop. i highly recommend it you check it out. digital downloads are available now and the hard copy comes out tuesday.

the bicycles: once is not enough
the bicycles: i'll wait for you



(image) 'the shoe that fits [thomas white mix]' | the pipettes

i guess this is the current pipettes lineup. honestly, keeping track of that revolving door lineup is a bit like...keeping track of something that changes a lot. i was trying to come up with a clever metaphor there like 'elizabeth taylor's husbands' or 'sybil's personalties' but i got nuthin'. blame it on the 12-hour work day and 2.5 hour commute this snowy morning. ugh.

anyway, the pipettes. yeah, in what may be the most egregious example of self-indulgence in these many years, the pipettes have recently released a remix album containing twenty remixes of the same song. you know, it actually doesn't bother me as much as it should. if it were like five for fighting or some crap band like that, i'd probably feel different. but this, after all, is the pipettes, purveyors of all things retro-cute, so hey, more power to 'em, right? what's more, it's interesting to see how the same song can be interpreted twenty different ways.

my favorite of said twenty mixes is thomas white's remix. i think because a) it's the truest to the pipettes sound, b) it's very, very saint etienne-esque [and y'all know how much i love saint etienne. favorite. band. ever]. it's got such a great chorus -- could this be it? the shoe that fits. i've been waiting in this queue for a while...[queue, for we yanks, is the same as 'line.'] oh, you clever pipettes, use a shoe as a metaphor for love. or is it a metaphor something else entirely? hmmm....

the pipettes: the shoe that fits [thomas white mix]
the pipettes: the shoe that fits [actress hands mix]
the pipettes: pull shapes [rac remix] | video



(image) 'try telling that to my baby' | the heavy blinkers

this is another one of those songs i sent out when this was an e-mail list, but it's such a great song [and even greater video], that i decided to post it again in hopes that if you haven't already beheld the heavy blinkers greatness, that you would now have the chance.

the heavy blinkers--from halifax, nova scotia--released four albums between 1998-2004, but have been relatively quiet ever since. jason, apparently, has been working on the fourth long player ['health'] for the last couple of years, but two founding band members have left since 'the night and i are still so young,' so maybe that has something to do with. here's hoping 'health' sees the light of day sooner rather than later because the world desperately needs a new heavy blinkers album--at least i do. the three tracks below are all from their most recent album, 'the night and i are still so young,' which is an amazing album. go buy it.

and here's the vid for 'try telling that to my baby.' it's genius, i tell you.

(object) (embed)

you simply can't beat a cupcake surfing down a river a syrup. trust me, i've tried and it was a spectacular failure.

the heavy blinkers: try telling that to my baby | video
the heavy blinkers: the night and i are still so young | video
the heavy blinkers: gentle strength



(image) 'winter wonderland' | goldfrapp

i can't believe christmas is only two weeks away. where the bleep did the last year go? i tell you, the older i get [and i'm getting old], the faster time flies and it's kind of alarming, to tell you the truth.

you know, for some reason i haven't felt the spirit of the ye olde christmas season too much. i think that it's partly due to the fact i got a massive head cold my last day in l.a. and here i am a week later and it's still hanging around. maybe because work's so busy that i've been working late every night [not complaining though--i'm very fortunate to have one of the most secure jobs in the country these days]. my goal for today is to feel some christmas season. maybe i just need to eat a candy cane and watch 'a christmas story 14 times on tbs. yeah, that's what i'll do.

goldfrapp: winter wonderland



(image) 'come saturday' | the pains of being young at heart

so, imagine, if you will, bob wratten joined my bloody valentine or the jesus and mary chain circa 1990. yeaaaaah. that's right kids, the pains of being young at heart are so very mighty and kick copious amounts of backside. i was super impressed with their earlier e.p. [i think i might've posted a song or two off it before], and i relieved to report the album surpasses all expectations. it really does!

their self-titled [i've put a moratorium on 'eponymous'] debut l.p. doesn't officially drop until february 3, but i'm glad i got to give it a listen this year 'cos it's definitely making my top 10 favorite albums--and maybe the top 5--of 2008. who knows, it might even make next years list, too! oh, such fortuitous timing, pains of being pure at heart. and durn you for being so very awesome.

now check out these songs and prepare yourself for joining the, ahem, ranks of the pure at heart.

the pains of being pure at heart: come saturday
the pains of being pure at heart: young adult friction



'fool for you' | duffyi made it back to utah this afternoon after ten glorious days in the land of my birth. it's always hard coming back to utah, especially when henry and kate are back in l.a.. seriously the cutest kids ever. i know everyone says that, but they really are. if you don't agree, i will fight you. and i will win. consider yourselves, duffy is going to release a 'deluxe' version of 'rockferry' here in the states on 12/23. that sounds like a mighty nice christmas present, if you ask me. the deluxe version comes with a bonus disc of b-sides and such, and wow, those are some great songs. it's another one of those cases of 'how did these songs not make the final cut?' not only is it a testament to duffy's prodigious vocal talents, but bernard butler's knob-twiddling skills as well. i think it's safe to assume the former suede axe-man will be in even more demand than he currently is. good on ya, favorite track on the 2nd disc is 'fool for you.' it's got a pretty sweet bee gees-esque vibe going on. duffy has repeatedly said she's not the next dusty, but good grief woman, you are! and i mean that as a compliment! embrace it. and for the rest of you, be sure to hit your local shop on the 23rd for more duffy--deluxe for the trip, it was awesome. my first saturday there we drove down to torrance and took a picture of me in front of buffy summer's house. this is that picture:yep, it's true. i'm about the most un-photogenic person that's ever lived, but who cares. the house itself is actually a really beautiful home. i would be more than happy with a home like that! i can see why the joss whedon and co. used this house. in case you're ever down that way, the actual address is 1313 cota street, torrance, ca. it's super easy to find. just take the crenshaw exit off the 405 and you'll run right into cota. and if you just head south down the street, you'll run into torrance high school which doubled as sunnydale high. i didn't know that until after we got back to my sister's house, but i will definitely check it out next time.the other best part of the trip, aside from spending time with the family, of course, was a tour of dodger stadium. they do tours every day of the offseason at 10 a.m. and 11.30 a.m. turns out that chris, henry and i were the only folks who showed up for the 11.3o tour the day we went, so we had the tour guide all to ourselves. it was pretty neat to see all the places you never get to see as regular fan -- the training room, the press box, the organ, the umpires clubhouse, the martini lounge, the suites, the two world series trophies, and coolest of all -- the dugout! here's a picture of the boys in the dodgers dugout. very cool, indeed. right here i was just about to get on the phone and make a call to the bullpen and tell jonathan broxton to start warming up. ;)i tell you, i could have stayed there all day. since we were the only three on the tour [which will run you $15], we got to spend an extra little time on the field. it was great. seriously, i love the dodgers almost more than i love music. it's my first love. i've been bleeding dodger blue since i was about five years old. i can so vividly remember listening to vin scully call dodger games during the summer on my little white radio with the radial dial. there wasn't a night that went by where vin scully didn't talk me to sleep. they are very sweet memories and can't help but get a little misty eyed every time i hear vin scully's voice. i think next year will be his 59th year calling dodger games. i hope he lives to be 300 years old. i bloody love that man.anyway, i'll probably post some more photos later in the week. until then, enjoy some duffy.→ duffy: fool for[...]



(image) 'around the bend' | asteroids galaxy tour

hey! it's that new ipod song! it's a pretty great song, too.

sorry for the lack of updates lately. i flew down to my sister/brother-in-law's house on thanksgiving morning and i've been doing pretty much nothing but playing trains with my three year old nephew, henry. during the course of the trip, however, we did make it down to torrance to pay a visit to the buffy the vampire slayer house. it was pretty cool. i snapped some photos that i'll probably post here when i get back to utah. we're going to hit disneyland on wednesday, do a dodger stadium tour on monday or thursday [super stoked about that] and maybe hit some local comic shops. but mostly it's about spending time with the family. it's a lot of fun to have nieces and nephews. i highly recommend it!

in the meantime, enjoy asteroid's galaxy tour latest and greatest...

asteroids galaxy tour: around the bend | video
asteroids galaxy tour: the sun ain't shining no more



(image) 'rock me in' britney spears

what can i say? people love the britney. i love the britney, too. i've been spinning the album quite a bit this week and i gotta say, it's very good. it's actually better than very good. it is mighty!

now, apparently there are some bonus tracks on the international version of 'circus,' among them are 'trouble' and 'quicksand,' both of which are fantastic. it's kind of surprising they didn't make the final track list. then again, with the two 'bonus tracks' on the u.s. version of the album, 'circus' comes in at 15 tracks. add three and that's a monumental 18 tracks [who said i wasn't good the maths?]. in other words, way too long. didn't any learn from the mess that was 'mellon collie and the infinite sadness?' more isn't always better. sometimes it's just...more.

at any rate, one of the bonus tracks on the u.s. version is 'rock me in.' it is super. and mighty. i really love this song, especially the chorus where the britney's vocals go all airy. a less pouty britney is a good thing, i think. hey, it looks like britney is all growed up. it brings a tear to the eye and warms the cockles of the heart.

circus' drops next tuesday.

britney spears: rock me in
britney spears: trouble
britney spears: quicksand



(image) 'nothing good about this goodbye' | rachel stevens

for as much as i like britney and mandy, rachel will mop the floor with both of them [well, you know, when britney has hair. otherwise it might be kind of squeaky...and difficult]. of all the pop royalty, i think only kylie minogue could take rachel--but it'd be a good fight. i dunno about you, but i'd pay top dollar for a front row seat to that donnybrook.

it's pretty amazing that here 2005 album, 'come and get it,' [her 2nd solo album] didn't catapult her into superstardom. it's a mystery right up there with where's amelia earhart, who built the sphinx, who killed laura palmer, who's behind the dharma initiative, and why can't i get a date. but that's another story.

i say this in all seriousness: 'come and get it' is one of the best, if not the best, pure pop albums released this century. it's quite remarkable, really. no s club 7 alumnus has any right making a record this impeccable. but she did. and we're all very grateful. hey, i'll be honest. i need some more rachel stevens in my life. and so do you, for life is exponentially better when rachel's involved. that's a true story.

'come and get it' was never officially released stateside, but you can find import copies pretty readily and inexpensively. i think i paid about 16 clams for my copy.

now, ms. stevens, about that 3rd album...

rachel stevens: nothing good about this goodbye | video
rachel stevens: negotiate with love | video
rachel stevens: some girls | video
rachel stevens: dumb dumb [album bonus track]



(image) 'unusual you' | britney spears

so the new britney spears hits december 2nd. confession: i like britney. always have. sure, she's a complete disaster, but she's done some brilliant pop songs in her day. it seems like just yesterday that ' one more time' and 'oops...i did it again' were everywhere. was that really ten years ago? wow.

so i gave the new album, 'circus,' a couple of spins this week and i have to confess again: it ain't half bad. in fact, it's pretty darn good. for someone who's life has had more ups and downs than a game of whack-a-mole, it's amazing she's even managed to record a new album.

the song that struck me most first time through was this one, 'unusual you.' it's actually a really, really sad song and perfectly captures what it must be like to be britney spears. to wit: 'hey baby, you're so unusual. didn't anyone tell you you're supposed to break my heart? i expect you to. so why haven't you? maybe you're not even human 'cos only a angel could be so unusual. a sweet surprise i could get used to. unusual you.' man, that's just sad. but i also love it musically. most britney songs fall into one of two categories: syrupy ballad or hi-nrg dance floor stomper. 'unusual you,' on the other hand is a much more mature recording. surprisingly enough, it's mid-tempo track, neither aggressive, bombastic or sentimental, and appropriately subdued [and very under-produced for a britney song, and it's all the better for it. in fact, it reminded me of the stuff off mandy moore's excellent debut]. it's a fine example of when the music matches the sentiment. i haven't seen the liner notes yet, so i don't know who produced it, but hats off to you, mr./mrs. producer. nice job.

people can say what they want about britney, and i'll be the first to admit she hasn't done herself a lot of favors, but who among us, put in her situation, wouldn't have jumped on the turnip truck about five years ago? hats off to you, ms spears.

britney spears: unusual you
britney spears: out from under
travis: one more time [live acoustic]



(image) 'birthday' | bon voyage

it's official. i hate jason martin. i've done nothing but listen to starflyer that last 24 hours. i must've listened to 'leave here a stranger' about 10 times today at work. the thing is a masterwork. it actually drove me to tears. i was sitting in my cell, er, at my desk for 12 hours today. i was listening to the 'give up the war' and the blasted thing made tears well up in my eyes. da-yum you, jason martin! why must you be so bloody brilliant?

and if that's not enough, he's married to this beautiful lady. and she sings in his other band. good goo. charmed life, my friends.

bon voyage sounds a bit more like his brother's band, joy electric. lots of poppy synths and julie's airy vocals. it's kind of like micki from lush singing for the 'holiday'-era magnetic fields. only with more minor chords. or something like that.

anyway, bon voyage has released three albums to date, the most recent being 'lies' which came out in june. as with all things jason martin, i highly recommend it. you can buy it here. and you better because you're just isn't complete without it. aaaand i will beat you up if you don't. check out a couple of songs, including a tasty cover of the smiths' 'girlfriend in coma.'

i'm going to go sulk now while i let my jealousy get the best of me.

bon voyage: birthday
bon voyage: girlfriend in a coma

p.s. i've switched from using googlegroups to mediafire as my file host. just click on the song and the download should automatically start. this way i can see how many times a song is downloaded and decide whether or not i want to keep this blog going.



(image) 'm23' | starflyer 59

coming in at no. 2 in my useless favorite albums of the year list [at least for right now], is starflyer 59's latest, 'dial m.' [is that as in 'dial martin?' is this an open invitation to join the good ship starflyer?] and with its release, i pose this question: is jason martin the single most underrated songwriter in america? answer: yes.

how did i arrive at that conclusion, you ask? well, the consistent quality of starflyer 59 albums is mind-boggling and staggering. what's even more staggering, is that jason doesn't wait 3-4 years between albums. since 1993, he's released 12 albums. 12 albums in 15 years. this doesn't even take into account side projects with his brother [the brothers martin] or his wife [bon voyage]. adding it all up, i count 16 albums in 15 years. six-freaking-teen. that's just stupid silly [not bad for a guy who still drives a truck for his late father's company]. yet, for all his accomplishments, how many people actually know who you are talking about when you mention starflyer 59? not too many.

well, amigos, if you've not heard starflyer 59 yet, here's your chance to discover their majesty. whether its the thick and heavy shoegaze-inspired guitar of the first two albums, the brian wilson-esque pop of 'leave here a stranger,' or the instantly addictive melodies of 'dial m,' starflyer 59, it seems can do no wrong. bands aren't supposed to last this long and they certainly aren't supposed to make their best album after releasing 11 previous albums. yep, i said it.

jason martin, i salute you! way to represent the 909 area code.

now go buy 'dial m.' it'll be the best ten clams you spend all week. i guarantee it.

starflyer 59: m23
starflyer 59: minor keys
starflyer 59: i drive a lot
starflyer 59: no new kind of story



(image) 'happy hour' | the housemartins

like the smiths before them, the housemartins racked up a very impressive discography over a very short career. obviously they never even came close to achieving the smiths' popularity [particularly stateside], but one could make the argument that the housemartins are one of the of old blighty's most important bands of the 80s.

simply put, they wrote amazing songs. they were generally short snippets [most songs run between two and tree minutes] jam packed with exquisite melodies and paul heaton's alternately hilarious and scathing lyrics [he's every bit the mozfather's equal, and in many cases his superior. though some would accuse heaton of being to clever for his own good]. musically the band drew heavily on 60s motown and soul music and married it with quintessentially british jangle pop. the results were unquestionable magical.

but all good things must come to an end. heaton and drummer dave hemmingway would go on to form the beautiful south a year later [one of my favorite bands...ever], bassist norman cook would become fatboy slim, and nobody knows what happened to stan cullimore. that's probably not true, but i'm too lazy to look it up.

so, we have two studio albums ['london 0 hull 2' and 'the people who grinned themselves to death'], a 'best of/rarities' album ['now that's what i call quite good'], a b-sides album ['raise the flag'], a bbc album, and a scattered assortment of gems that will forever live on my cd collection, er, itunes.

the housemartins: happy hour | video
the housemartins: build | video
the housemartins: me and the farmer | video



(image) 'beatific' | glass candy

this song was, hands down, one of my favorite songs of the 2007. good goo, i listened to it so much. i had glass candy on the brain for like two straight months.

i wanted to throw up here because glass candy has just released a collection of singles, b-sides, and rarities called 'deep gems,' which is 325 kinds of awesome. maybe even 326. i ain't lyin. go check it out. and while you're at it, i highly recommend 'beat box,' because it's so mighty.

i dunno that you'd find a more distinctive vocalist working today than ida no [oh, i'm so punny]. seriously, that's her name. or at least that's the name she goes by. the first time i heard her sing i was like 'ohmifreakingheck.' and dood, girl is a foxy lady. add that voice to equation and holy cha cha. welcome to seduction city. population: you and glass candy. just check this awesome live performance. check out this, too. man, these guys must be so great live.

i hope i get to see them sometime. i just want to hear ida sing 'hey, bring it back. alright, that sounds good. hey d.j. can you turn it up? that's better.' i'll probably melt on the spot.

word on the street is that they're releasing something new next year. if it's even remotely good as 'beat box,' it will rock at previously unknown levels. true story.

glass candy: beatific
glass candy: candy castles



'black metallic' | catherine wheeli love, love, love, love catherine wheel. if i could pick one band to get back together, i had have a hard time choosing between catherine wheel and pulp. can i choose both?at any rate, i dated this girl many years ago who loved catherine wheel, and while i enjoyed several songs ['black metallic,' 'i want to touch you'], i couldn't, for reasons now unknown, fully embrace the band. it all seems silly now, but looking back most of 20's seem pretty was their 4th l.p., 'adam & eve' that the lights went on and i began to fully understand and appreciate catherine wheel for what they really were: one helluva rock and roll band fronted by rob dickinson--easily one of the most dynamic frontmen in the history of rock. after three albums that ranged from fizzy shoegazing to 'siamese dream'-inspired rock, 'adam & eve' found catherine wheel finally comfortable in their own skins, delicately balancing chest-thumping power chords and a new-found inclination to the pastoral. from beginning to end, its consistency is almost alarming and it should have, by right, catapulted catherine wheel into the mainstream. alas, it was not be and after one more studio album, the unfairly maligned 'wishville,' catherine wheel disbanded in 2000. rob dickinson later released a solo album called 'fresh wine for the horses,' which is very mighty.'adam & eve' is now out of print, unfortunately; but click here and you'll get a little treat. oh, the glory of the internet. i highly suggest you also seek out 'ferment,' 'chrome,' and 'happy days,' too. they rock so hard and whenever i want to listen to them i want to plug my guitar and turn up amp up to eleven.and here's something for you gee whiz collection: rob dicknson is cousin to, yes, the bruce dickinson. rob did more than simply follow in his cousin's footprints. just like bruce's iron maiden, rob, too named his band after a medieval torture device. you just don't learn that kind of the stuff on the t.v.→ catherine wheel: black metallic | video→ catherine wheel: i want to touch you | video→ catherine wheel: waydown | video→ catherine wheel: judy staring at the sun | video→ catherine wheel: sparks are gonna fly | video→ catherine wheel: wish you were here [pink floyd cover][...]

some thoughts on 'lars and the real girl.'


a few months ago my cousin gwen asked me if i'd seen 'lars and the real girl.' 'no,' i said. 'it looks kind of silly.' she agreed it did look silly, but she said it was really good and recommended i check it out. i trust gwen, so i added it to my netflix last week just in time for it arrive in the mail on saturday.the premise of the movie, in case you've not already heard or don't know anything about the movie is this: lars, while generally a functional member of society [he has a few friends, he's politeto people, he has a job], suffers from social anxiety, tactile emotion, and suffers from mental illness which makes him delusion. one day a co-worker tells lars about life-size, customizable 'love dolls,' and i'm not talking about the wholesome variety, if you know what i mean. lars, fortunately, doesn't see it in that light and ends up getting one simply for companionship and the love he has to offer. naturally things get a little awkward when 'bianca' arrives at the house, much to horror of lars' brother gus and gus' very pregnant wife, karin [played by paul schneider and emily mortimer, respectively]. as lars explains at their first dinner together, bianca is a brazilian missionary with danish blood raised by nuns and currently on sabbatical to experience the 'real world.' she also went to nursing school. oh yeah, she's also in a wheelchair. gus, of course, blames himself [you'll have to watch to find out why], while karin, on the other hand, accepts 'bianca' as part of the family as she, maybe more than anyone else, has seen lars gradually withdraw further and further into his loneliness and she'll do anything to help him.the movie's real beauty comes from the way lars' friends and family treat him in the middle of his helpless delusion, including margot [played by a terrific kelli garner], the cute office girl who clearly has a crush on lars. i don't really want to say anymore than that because it would rob you of some of the enjoyment that comes from watching this film. i know it sounds quirky and odd and strange, and to a degree it is. but the writing is so genuinely honest, the acting so subtly superb, the direction artfully constructed, the score appropriately subdued, and film so beautifully shot, that as roger ebert said, 'only after the movie is over do you realize what a balancing act it was, what risks it took, what rewards it contains. a character says at one point that she has grown to like bianca. so, heaven help us, have we.' well said, that.i have to say something about ryan gosling. he further cements his status as the best of his generation. he's incredible as the titular lars. he so exquisitely balances the humor and pathos of lars' unique situation, never once letting the audience feel sorry for him, but rather encouraging them to accept lars for who he is and gently rooting for him to overcome what can be such a terrible and debilitating illness. he's great, mustache and the end, 'lars and the real girl' is about treating others as they deserved to be treated, even those we see as different, odd, or strange; and that's with love, respect, and most of all, dignity.i absolutely loved this movie. i went out and bought in monday and i'm going to beg my one or two friends to watch it with me. and a word of advice: before you sit down to watch it, make sure you have a box of kleenex handy. you'll need. i sure did.spitcake verdict: buy it. and then watch it again. and again.[...]



'telegraph' | orchestral manoeuvres in the darki got my new omd compilation, 'messages,' in the mail today [darn those import prices!]. of all the omd compilations out there ['the best of omd,' 'omd: the singles,' etc], i think 'messages' probably represents the band best because it's not limited to singles [those most of them were--in fact, as i look at the track list, i think they all were] or the most popular omd songs. case in point--'messages' contains what are, in my opinion, two of the band's better songs: 'telegraph' and 'genetic engineering,' both from the criminally underrated album, 'dazzle ships.' it's puzzling that those two songs were left off the original 'best of omd' that came out back in 1988. holy craps, i just realized that was 20 years ago. what happened to my life?'dazzle ships' was, and still kind of is, something of enigma in the band's outstanding career. it was very experimental, very techy, and very mechanical with its use of sonar blips, old radio broadcasts, looped vocals, and all manner of weirdness. consequently, a lot of folks balked at it, and to a degree i get it. up to that point, omd had fashioned themselves a pop band. sure they utilized still-emerging technology, but at their core, andy mcclusky and paul humphries were classic pop songwriters. they had an uncanny knack of churning out quality pop songs with memorable synthlines and instantly memorable sing along choruses.omd, of course, had a pretty expansive catalogue before they ever broke big in the US of A with 'if you leave.' i think it's a shame more people don't know about their early stuff, albums like the aforementioned 'dazzle ships,' 'architecture and morality,' 'organization,' 'omd,' and 'junk culture.' you could probably even throw in 'the pacific age' and 'crush' [these two, while boasting some of omd's finest moments, simply don't match the overall consistency of the earlier work]. they were all incredible albums. i encourage you search them out, particularly 'junk culture' and 'architecture and morality.' i think they are probably omd's two consistently great any rate, the main reason i bought 'messages' was for the bonus disc of 27 videos! i'd seen quite a few omd videos in my day, but there were plenty i'd never seen, and well, let's face it, a few i don't want to see again. andy mcclusky, i love you, but dood, you cannot dance. you write a mean tune, but you cannot dance. thankfully there were only a few awful vids. in fact, most of the videos were quite good. omd actually tried to tell a story and there's definitely a narrative thread holding a lot of the videos together. so good job, omd.i'm in a bit omd mood right now, so be expecting some lesser known and rare omd tracks here in the near future. i also read in the 'messages' liner notes that the band is planning a new album soon. hopefully a tour will follow. i saw them back in 1990 at kingsbury hall during the 'sugar tax' tour and it was a blast. paul had left the band by that point, but they are back together and i, for one, am stoked.on a personal note, i can't listen to omd without remembering how i used to listen to them on my walkman during those long drives from utah to california or vice-versa. i can't listen to 'so in love' or 'secret' and not picture the nevada desert or the california high desert; and 'hold on' is still the soundtrack to my summer of a thousand broken hearts circa 1992. of course there are dozens more, b[...]



the following is a true story:i was once in a movie. sure, it was only about 1.32 seconds, but hey, i'll take it. who wouldn't right? the movie? 1986's disaster movie, 'ACCEPTABLE RISKS.'how did this all come to be? well, before we moved to utah back in january of 1986, we did some work as 'extras.' i only did this one movie, but the twins, if i remember correctly, had a brief appearance in the rob lowe/demi moore classic, 'about last night.' i think they might have done some print work, too. i'm not quite sure [remember, this was 1984-85. the old memory ain't workin' as well as it used to].easily the best part of being an extra was getting out of school for the day. i think we might have even gotten out of school two days. i even got a free t-shirt. and yeah, there was free food. tinsel town definitely has some awesome perks! especially when you are eleven years old.believe it or not, i vividly remember this day of filming. what's funny is that not only am i running up the stairs to safety, but i'm also in the bus that rushes away right before i hustle up the stairs. oh, the magic of television. what's also cool is that three of my four sisters are also in the same shot [see photos below]. unfortunately, megan was only three years old at the time, so no movie for her. sorry, megs!the movie itself is pretty darn awful. a mustachioed brian dennehy plays a boss-guy of a nuclear power plant, cicely tyson plays a city council member, and christine ebersol plays a mom who works at the power plant. as you can tell by the movie's tagline ['the government says man says no!'], it's one melodramatic feast. the basic plot: the government doesn't heed warnings of a nuclear meltdown! oh, that nasty bureaucracy. no one ever heeds a warning, do they? being a 'movie of the week' [do they even do made-for-tv movies anymore??], of course the nuclear meltdown eventually happens and people start dying left and right. looking back at it now, it's borderline laughable. actually, there's no borderline about it. it's down right hysterical. people fall down stairs, fall of bikes, get in car accidents, they cough and hack, and they all die. check out the paper boy trying to hack up a lung! good times! but they person in the car with his/her head on the steering wheel is a high point.anyway, here a couple of screen shots so you can see where all are [the actual video is right after the photos]. my sister morgan absolutely kills me. this is nuclear meltdown morgs! look terrified! let's see some panic! she's just chillaxin' like it's no big deal. she's laid back like that. you also get a quick shot of twins right before the scene changes. being twins, they are, of course, dressed identically. way to go, mom! allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='' class='b-hbp-video b-uploaded' FRAMEBORDER='0' />[...]



'glitter song' | a band called quinni'm not really sure why quinn changed their name to a band called quinn. quinn seems like a perfectly suitable name, but what do i know? i'm just a kid.i mentioned before that this blog used to be an email list. when people started emailed about some hot new song they wanted me to hear--a song that i had previously sent out via the email list--i knew it was time to ditch the list because it was pretty clear they were just hitting 'delete' upon getting the email in their inbox. but it's all good. i get it. i figure it's better to let the people come to me if they so desire instead of sending them something they didn't necessarily any rate, quinn [as i once knew them], where one of the first bands i sent out via that list. there were two songs from their first album, 'luss,' that i fell for head-over-heels: 'dressed like a girl' [the best song-from-a-john-hughes'-film-to-never-appear-in-a-john-hughes'-film] and 'astronauts.' i thought they were both really outstanding pop songs! but then i really didn't hear much more from them for awhile. oh, mighty quinn--where had you gone?it wasn't until a friend of mine over on the other side of the pond tipped me off that quinn, now 'a band called quinn,' had released their second, 'sun moon stars,' back in may. i guess the real question is 'where i have i been, oh, mighty matt?' [yes, i am mighty. might at what, i don't really know, but mighty nonetheless.] the good news is that the new album is every bit as enjoyable as the previous. they got some production assistance from the very mighty kid loco and some dood who worked with echo & the bunnymen. that's always a good thing.'glitter song' is a great intro to the band -- louise invokes a little bit of the alison goldfrapp, but as someone who worships at the alter of goldfrapp, i don't really care. that's not to say, however, that louise is a goldfrapp wannabee. hardly. she's great in her own right. as is the band. here's hoping they make some bigger waves because i really enjoy them. i think you will too. aside from the songs below, you can check out another video here -- 'the light night i saw,' which is also on the new can find more on a band called quinn here and here.→ a band called quinn: the glitter song→ a band called quinn: dressed like a girl→ a band called quinn: astronauts | video[...]