Wah

I'm listening to Howard Stern right now. I can't wait for his move to Sirius and I'm even more psyched that Kelly got me Sirius for Christmas. That was the best gift I've received in years.

I got a cool e-mail from Ian Christie, who wrote "Sound of the Beast" which is a history of heavy metal. He's also got a weekly show on Sirius's Hard Attack channel called "Bloody Roots."

Anyway, Ian was saying he used to read my zine Yakuza back in the day.

It got me thinking about the zine and how in recent years I've given serious thought to doing another zine.

That said, I always come to the same conclusion - that I don't need or want to take on another endeavor like that.

Don't get me wrong. Doing a zine is great fun, you meet a lot of cool and like-minded people, get turned on to all kinds of cool music, help support a network of independent and progressive artists and thinkers and support a culture that I've believed in for years.

You also end up spending 80 hours a week working on a project like that, get punk rock credibility that has no currency in the "real" working world and not much else that I can think of at the moment.

It's important to keep in perspective that doing Yakuza helped me make the leap to a real job at CDNOW that paid well, allowed me to write about music and interview artists and paved the way for my current gig where I'm an entertainment editor, have plenty of opportunities to write about whatever suits my fancy and get paid well.

Doing a zine wouldn't offer anything remotely similar in terms of sustaining my life at this point.

I do miss it. But I don't want to go back to it either.

What a wonderful world

So, I actually had a few days off of work and with Kelly and the boys (and girl) off in N.C., I had to come up with a way to amuse myself.

No problem.

First off, I listened to quite a bit of Sirius radio and I gotta say it exceeds my expectations. The metal channel is good and there are three or four solid rock stations and an oldies channel I dig.

The traffic and weather channel for major metro areas is awesome and will come in very useful. Instead of trying to tune into KYW 1060 for a brief snippet of traffic news, Sirius' coverage is much more comprehensive and is updated every five minutes.

Then I watched a whole bunch of movies.

"Saw" was surprisingly decent. It kind of reminded me of "Seven" in that the killer sets up a series of scenarios as enjoys watching them unfold as detectives (and victims) try to outwit the bad guy.

"The Manchurian Candidate" remake was kind of over-the-top for my tastes. I really liked the original, which seemed eerily realistic. The new version seemed implausible at best, and while it didn't suck out loud, it came close on an occasion or two.

HBO's original film, "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers" seemed right up my alley and indeed it's quite awesome. While it doesn't match any of Sellers' proper films ("The Party" is my favorite), actor Geoffery Rush does an unimaginably good job at recreating the comedic actor.

As with a lot of films about great actors, musicians, thinkers, etc., some of the stuff you learn about the subject makes you dislike them somewhat.

I tracked down some MP3s of The Kids' first two albums. Hadn't really known much of anything about this Belgium punk band until Terre T hepped me to them on the Cherry Blossom Clinic.

Why these records are out of print is beyond me. The music is prime late '70s punk with a Ramones-ish feel and delivered with some primal fury and angst.

You can find the band's song, "This is Rock and Roll" from their first album, on the Killed By Death #5 compilation.
Hooray for Sirius

Well, Kelly hooked me up with a really cool Xmas gift: a Sirius radio receiver and car kit!

I ended up getting a home kit for it as well and have been enjoying it since yesterday.

Overall, it's a really cool product, especially for someone like me who listens to radio all day (two hours per day commuting, plus hours on end at work.) And with Howard Stern joining in 2006, it's a no brainer that I'd like Sirius.

I had listened to Little Steven's Underground Garage syndicated radio show before, and his channel, also named Underground Garage is pretty awesome, and the Sirius Disorder and Left of Center channels will probably be my favorites.

I see and hear a lot of potential in Sirius' future; on-demand programming, a return to a more free-form style of radio and bypassing of a lot of the bs that corporate radio has created.
Music for Pleasure column archives

Here are links to my column, "Music for Pleasure," which I wrote for phillyBurbs.com from 2003-2004. There are 34 columns in all.

John Peel RIP (Oct. 28, 2004)
A farewell tribute to John Peel, the most influential, exciting and important DJ in the history of broadcasting.

New CD releases (Sept. 30, 2004)
Fall 2004 new CD release previews.
Reviews: Mono - "Walking Cloud and Deep Red Sky" | The Delgados - "Universal Audio" | Social Distortion - "Sex Love and Rock and Roll"

Back in black (Sept. 16, 2004)
Preview of phillyBurbs.com's "Must Have Music Guide."
Reviews: Rogue Wave - "Out of the Shadow" | The Lovekill - "The Lovekill" | Mike Keneally - "The Universe Will Provide"

50 free MP3 downloads (Aug. 5, 2004)
Shameless shill to sell Emusic.com subscriptions. A man's gotta earn a paycheck. You do get 50 MP3s for nothin' though.

Makes no sense (July 29, 2004)
Sifting through the emotional aftermath after Delaware musician Phil Healy and Del. State Trooper Christopher Shea were killed while Healy was driving drunk.

Old memories (July 15, 2004)
Discovering music at Booth's Corner Farmer's Market, Your Worst Nightmare and my discovery of punk rock.
Reviews: Jing Chi - "3-D" | The Briefs - "Sex Objects" | The Soviettes - "LP II" | The Helio Sequence - "Love and Distance" | Various Artists - "Wantage USA's Hits Omnibus"

Middle-aged metalhead (July 1, 2004)
Lame attempt at being cool by proclaiming love of metal. Motley Crue book analyzed and Iced Earth/Death drummer Richard Christy joins Howard Stern Show staff.
Reviews: Motörhead - "Inferno" | Zeke - "'Til the Living End"

Nick Drake: Born to make magic (June 24, 2004)
Overview of the folk troubadour's career and recorded output.

Am I a criminal? (June 11, 2004)
What does it mean when a consumer downloads an album before it is released, then goes and buys the CD when it hits stores?
Reviews: Sonic Youth - "Sonic Nurse" | Mission of Burma - "Onoffon" | The Thermals - "Fuckin' A" | Rachel Z - "Everlasting" | Spyro Gyra - "The Deep End"

Someone to lean on (May 27, 2004)
Benefit for former co-worker Gehrett Ellis organized by Jen and Jon Oliver. Kim Chowchuvech cancer update. American Idol top 5 moments.
Reviews: Antietam - "Victory Park" | Ghetto Ways - "Ghetto Ways" | Carina Round - "The Disconnection" | The Marked Men - "On the Outside"

Remembering Elvin Jones (May 20, 2004)
Obituary of legendary jazz drummer Elvin Jones. Jessica Simpson sells out.
Review: Iggy and the Stooges - "Live in Detroit"

Thanks Howard (May 13, 2004)
Acknoledgement of the King of All Media.
Reviews: The Catheters - "Howling ... it Grows and Grows" | The DT's - "Hard Fixed" | Turn Me On Dead Man - "God Bless the Electric Freak" | Really Red - "Teaching You the Fear"

Unfrigginbelievable (Apr. 29, 2004)
Taking on America's top celebrities who sell crappy keychains, coffee mugs and t-shirts to their fans and followers. Much to my surprise, Howard Stern read this article on his show.

Sell and resell and resell (Apr. 22, 2004)
The gratuitous reselling and repackaging in the music and film industry has plucked my last nerve. Much to my surprise, Howard Stern read this article on the air.

Rembering Joey Ramone (Apr. 15, 2004)
Three year anniversary of Ramones frontman's death. With exclusive pics of CBGBs shrine.

Don't blame downloaders for lack of CD sales (Apr. 8, 2004)
Could file sharing and downloading of music really have no tangible impact on CD sales?
Reviews: Korn - "Y'all Want a Single" | Mimi Fox - "She's the Woman" | Particle - "Launchpad" | The Bigger Lovers - "This Affair Never Happened … And Here Are Eleven Songs About It"

Now they are 20 (Mar. 18, 2004)
A look back on the Dead Milkmen and the death of bassist Dave Blood.
Reviews: Federation X - "Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman" | Decapitado (ex-Die Kreuzen)

Kim's cancer (Mar. 11, 2004)
The life of music fan, Buddhist Kim Chowchuvech and the "We Love You Kim" benefit.

Kim's cancer (Mar. 4, 2004)
The life of music fan, Buddhist Kim Chowchuvech and the "We Love You Kim" benefit.

Condensed life (Feb. 26, 2004)
Summary of my life in 20 line items. Hate mail.
Reviews: The Briefs - "The Joy of Killing" | Negative FX - "Government War Plans E.P./1982 Demo Tape" | Stereolab- "Margerine Eclipse" | The Homosexuals CD

Are you experienced? (Feb. 19, 2004)
My fake near-death experience, Mitch Albom and Devo. Kim Chowchuvech benefit annoucement. Andee Connors runs a triathlon.
Reviews: Screamers - "In a Better World" | The Nuns - "The Nuns" | The Von Zippers - "The Crime is Now" | The Slog Movie DVD | Descendents - "'Merican" EP

Bungle in the jungle (Jan. 29, 2004)
I mistakenly said "Aqualung" has the most annoying flute solo. Angry hate mail from Jethro Tull fans ensues. Heavy Metal Parking Lot on DVD update.

Pictures tell the story (Jan. 22, 2004)
Lame Michael Jackson pictorial. Also, hate mail from a reader who writes, "Your column was the longest piece of written bullshit I've read in the past three days."

All funked up (Jan. 15, 2004)
How I pissed off the Grand Funk Railroad fanclub.

I do ... nevermind (Jan. 9, 2004)
Bashing Britney's marriage, George Clinton on crack, Rush guitarist's son refuses to leave stage, both arrested, Ray Davies, Cris Kirkwood and Bruce Kulick are shot, Elliott Smith cause of death a mystery.

Predictions for 2004 (Dec. 20, 2003)
I actually predicted someone's boob would pop out on the Super Bowl. I just got the person wrong.

I hate Christmas music (Dec. 4, 2003)
The Christmas songs I wish they'd make
Reviews: The Darkness - "Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End)" | Pedro the Lion - "The First Noel" | Clairdee - "This Christmas" | Yellowjackets - "Peace Round"

Britney's big bomb (Nov. 20, 2003)
Review: Song-by-song analysis of Britney Spears' CD, "In the Zone."

Punk rock and roll (Nov. 13, 2003)
Reviews: Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros – "Streetcore" | Iggy Pop – "Skull Ring" | Television – "Marquee Moon" & "Adventure"
Feature: Going Underground: The Soviettes, FM Knives, The Flash Express, Federation X, Fleshies

Let's have a party (Nov. 7, 2003)
Reviews: R.E.M. – "In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003" | Beth Orton – "Pass in Time" | Ying Yang Twins – "Me and My Brother" | Lyrics Born – "Later That Day" | The High & Mighty – "The Highlite Zone"
Feature: Listening to radio online, Wanda Jackson

I love rock and roll (Oct. 30, 2003)
Reviews: The Strokes – "Room on Fire" | The Darkness – "Permission to Land" | Andrew W.K. – "The Wolf" | Grandpaboy – "Dead Man Shake" | The Dirtbombs – "Dangerous Magical Noise"
Feature: The Beatles get "naked," Macca is a daddy … again

No more sad songs (Oct. 23, 2003)
Reviews: Clay Aiken – "Measure of a Man" | Ludacris – "Chicken-N-Beer"
Obituary: Elliott Smith, 34, singer/songwriter
Opinion: Ludacris vs. Bill O' Reilly

What the world needs now (Oct. 16, 2003)
Reviews: Martina McBride - "Martina" | OutKast - "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below" | The Distillers - "Coral Fang" CD | Travis - "12 Memories" CD | Stereolab - "Instant O in the Universe" CD

One is the loneliest number (Oct. 9, 2003)
Reviews: Dave Matthews "Some Devil" | Sting "Sacred Love" | Dido "Life for Rent" | Obie Trice "Cheers" | Lost in Translation soundtrack | "Mainlines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs reader"
Feature: The Bellrays
Hello vacation

I'll be on vacation for a few days. Much needed, as I've been having my annual bout with sinusitus and infection.

I'm taking a new antibiotic called Ketek.

I went to the website to find out more about the drug and I couldn't get past the flash intro with an owl that hoots and swooshes away. What that has to do with fighting bacterial infections in my sinuses is beyond me.

Lou Barlow has a new album that comes out next month called, "Emoh." You can read an interesting interview/profile on Lou that Josh Modell did in Magnet.

Merge Records is putting out Lou's new record. Then they have the 1st three Dinosaur Jr. albums lined up for reissue in March 2005. I just sold my original SST CD of "Yr. Living All Over Me" on amazon.com for $25.

Elliottsmith.com has some great looking and sounding video from May 2000 at Irving Plaza, NYC. Also check out somesongs.net which has loads of live shows by Elliott.

It seems that the MPAA did what the RIAA couldn't quite muster - knock several major sites for downloading offline. Several bit torrent sites pulled the plug on themselves this week, including Suprnova.

Fret not, the folks behind Suprnova are apparently working on a new decentralized network based on the Bit Torrent principal called Exeem. I couldn't find too much about Exeem or whether it will put file sharers out of the reach of organizations looking to squash P2P.

In the meantime, there are always the newsgroups. With Grabit and Newzbin, one can essentially find anything they would want, although it might mean coughing up a little cash for usenet news server access via a place such as Giganews.

I can't figure out why it's so cold where I work. I was wearing a hat, sweatshirt and winter jacket and was still freezing. No wonder I'm sick. Seriously, this cold wave sucks out loud.

I got the new metered dose bottle of Sinus Buster. I'll have to update my testimonial, but I will say that this is their most effective delivery mechanism yet. I definitely felt the sting and bite of the pepper spray, but it also cleared me out for a few hours last night.

I took some pictures of Kitty, the puppy that Kelly and I got last week. I'll try to get those posted soon. She's a cool dog, even if she did go the bathroom all over the house yesterday.
Freakin' Friday

Man, I'm so glad I'm on a regular Monday through Friday schedule. Now I can actually feel a sense of relief once the weekend rolls around, instead of having to roll out of bed at 3:00 a.m. on the weekends.

I'm listening to Turing Machine's new album, "Zwei." I thought these guys had broken up for good, but they're back with a solid second album.

Jerry Fuchs' drumming isn't quite as Billy Cobham-esque, yet it still commands a solid, driving presence. Scott DeSimon's bass downstrokes sound more powerful on this release and Justin Chearno's guitar work has some nice spacey atmospherics attached to it.

I'm reading Derrick Jensen's "The Culture of Make Believe." When I initially skimmed through it, it seemed like heavy reading, but I'm about 50 pages in and really am digging it.

I have Naomi Klein's "No Logo" lined up to read next. Throw in a couple of recent issues of Razorcake and I've got enough stuff to last me through the end of the year.

Kelly and I got a new puppy. I re-charged the batteries for my camera, so hopefully I can take some pictures of her this weekend. Her name is Kitty and she's a little Yorkie Poo. Cool dog.

We have a bunch of toys, dog and cat food and supplies to drop off at the Delaware Humane Association this weekend.

Even though we finally got a third dog, I still want to see the dogs in there and say hello. Just a visit cheers some of those dogs up. It's sad to see how many of them there are, just waiting for someone to adopt them.
Mayor of the Sunset Strip

I watched "Mayor of the Sunset Strip," which is a documentary about the life and lifestyle of legendary KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer.

Rodney Bingenheimer and KissThere are tons of celebrities vouching for Rodney and his role as a tastemaker and pivotal DJ giving many musicians their first radio airplay. Musicians such as Cher, David Bowie, Kim Fowley, Ray Manzarek (The Doors) and Nancy Sinatra to name a few.

The film leaves one with the impression that after 30 years, Rodney has become marginalized with his show moved to a Sunday midnight to 3:00 a.m. slot.

Indeed, the days of DJs on commerical are long gone - something that is completely regrettable.

That's why I've turned to Internet radio and listening to independent and freeform stations such as WFMU and DJs such as Mike Lupica and Terre T, who have a genuine passion for new music and try and turn listeners onto new sounds.

Hopefully satellite radio will help reinvigorate the radio medium and bring back the kind of DJs who actually have personalities, are willing to break new artists and are in it for the love of music and not just a corporate lackey playing pre-programmed playlists and being a slave to the man.

On DVD: "Mayor of the Sunset Strip"
Endless Mike Jambox

I've been meaning to say thanks to the guitarist dude from Endless Mike Jambox who works at Dead Presidents in Wilmington, Delaware.

One day I was in there having lunch by myself and reading a copy of MRR. We struck up a conversation over punk rock and the next time I was in there he hooked me up with a copy of his band Endless Mike Jambox's new CD.

I threw their CD in the pile of stuff to review in the next week or two.

Here's a story about Endless Mike Jambox and what is going on in the Delaware punk scene.

Here's the lowdown on rock clubs sprouting up all over Delaware
McG's CD mini-reviews

Been digging some French rock-and-roll lately.

Just got Operation S' self-titled album on Broken Rekids. Pretty good keyboard-influenced synthrock with male and female vocals and aggressive rocking out.

Kind of reminds me of early Blondie, The Clash (circa "London Calling) and maybe even a little Cars (first album only.) The lyrics are in French, but I don't pay attention to singing much anyway. Solid drumming, good songs. May have to give this one some more spins.

Also been digging the Prototypes after hearing their live session on WFMU on the Cherry Blossom Clinic. My pal boof in France tracked down their CD "Tout Le Monde Cherche Quelque Chose A Faire" for me.

While it's not as rockin' as their live stuff (in fact, it's kind of disco-y), it's still pretty good and is way better than any of the U.S. new wave-influenced bands being touted by pitchfork, insound and the indie "community" at large (if such a thing exists). Reminiscent of Elastica in spots.

Josh from Wantage USA just sent me the new Fireballs of Freedom CD, "Greasy Retrospective," which collects singles, a newly recorded session and some tracks from their full-lengths. I've never been able to get into this band, but I think this CD may change that.

Their cover of Hendrix' "Ain't No Tellin'" is spot-on and songs such as "Give it a Rest" and "Scream Therapy" are intense spurts of punk-infused mayhem. Seems like seeing the Fireballs live would be certainly close the deal, but since I rarely go out to see live music anymore, I guess I'll have to stick with this CD.

I've got a ton of CDs that I want to write about and hope to churn out some reviews soon. Been busy at work writing a bunch of movie reviews as of late.

I know, wah wah wah.
MP3: John Peel, December 11, 2003

Here's what I think is the best John Peel show I've posted to date.

This one is from late 2003 and features a great Peel Session by the Midnight Evils.

It's also a great example of what made Peel such a great DJ. He plays an eclectic mix of electronic, rock and country music.

Also touching is his interchange with his wife as she introduces the Pig's Big 78.

MP3: John Peel, December 11, 2003 (right click, save as, 69MB)

John Peel tracklistings: December 11, 2003

Blushanti - ''Unknown' (7")' (White Label)
Gimmick - ''Le Ciel' (LP - '(Back to Basics)')' (Toytronic)
Midnight Evils - ''5th Avenue Blues' (Peel Session)'
Steve Miller Band - ''In My First Mind''
The Von Bondies - ''C'mon C'mon' (CD Single)' (Stollstiener)
Paper Cut Out - ''Less a Roof, More a Cieling' (7")' (Jealous)
Vive La Fete - ''Niordesir' (12")' (Surprise)
Frankie Miller - ''Sailaway' (7")' (Chrysalis)
Circuit Breaker - ''I tell the DJ' (12")' (Dangerous Drums)
Midnight Evils - ''Thunderbird' (Peel Session)'
The Secret Hairdresser - ''Sign of Life' (LP - 'Top Ten Conditioning Tips')' (CDR Demo)
Billy Williams - ''Where does Daddy Go' (Pig's Big 78)' (Zonophone)
Guther - ''Personal Confusion' (LP - 'I Know you Know')' (Morr Music)
Tazz and Concept - ''Planet of Dreamz' (12")' (Digital Beats)
No Routine - ''Find Someone New' (CDR Demo)'
Chuck Wagon Gang - ''As The Life of a Flower' (LP - 'Goodbye Babylon')' (Dust to Digital)
Bad Company - ''Stay Tuned' (EP - 'Ad Infitum')' (BC Recordings)
Midnight Evils - ''Lost Control' (Peel Session)'
FS Blumm - '''Ankern' (LP - 'Lichten')' (Audio Dregs)
Storey Sisters - ''Bile Them Cabbage Down' (LP - 'Everybody's tuned to the Radio')' (Center for Public History)
Leo Laker - ''Bent' (12")' (Tresor)
Beenie Man - ''Greatest Species' (7")' (Greensleeves)
The Young People - ''The Lord' (LP - 'War Prayers')' (Dim Mak)
Midnight Evils - ''Staging' (Peel Session)'
Anaal Nathrak - ''How the Angels Fly' (LP - 'When Fire rains Down from the Sky, Mankind Will Reap as it has Sown')' (Mordgrimm)
Koffi Olomide - ''Tcho du Sorcier' (LP - 'Tcha Tcho')' (Stern's Africa)
Video of Elliott Smith's final performance

Somesongs.net, an Elliott Smith live resource, has posted video footage of Elliott Smith performing, "Say Yes" during his last show ever at Redfest, in Salt Lake City on September 19, 2003.

There's also an audio recording of the performance.

Video: Elliott Smith - "Say Yes" 9/19/2003 (quicktime)
(right click, save as)
Much to my surprise

On the front page of the official Grammy Awards sight, there's an article about John Peel!

The Influence Of DJ John Peel (grammy.com)

Does this mean there will be some sort of tribute to Peelie at this year's Grammys?

Listening to Don Caballero's "American Don" record right now. What an amazing album!

Let's hope there's a new Don Cab record out soon. I don't care what people say about Damon Che. He's an extraordinary drummer and musician who is long overdue for some serious respect.

I heard that the Speaking Canaries have been playing some live shows lately.

I really enjoyed the latest Cherry Blossom Clinic show on WFMU. Terre T had Martin Moscrop, of A Certain Ratio, as a guest. He talked a lot about the early Manchester days in the late '70s.

The Cherry Blossom Clinic with special guest Martin Moscrop, 12/4/2004

I'm an admittied total Johnny-come-lately to the whole BBC comedy The Office, but can I just say that it's fantastic.

Usually I'm not a fan of British films or comedies, but this one hits the mark and then some. While season one was good, it's season two that is just spot on.

Kelly had been wanting to watch the remake of The Stepford Wives and we both agreed. It is one of the crappiest movies released this year.

I really liked Young Adam with Tilda Swinton and Ewan McGregor. A good film about a ne'er-do-well drifter and how he f's up everyone's life he comes in contact with. Here's the U.S. Young Adam site.

I haven't been reading much but I think I want to read some stuff by Derrick Jensen and Naomi Klein's No Logo.

Right now, I've read the introduction to The Man Who Talks to Dogs.

Speaking of talking to dogs, Kelly and I went to the Delaware Humane Association last week to try an adopt a dog. The one we had our hearts set on was already adopted, but we did get a few of the dogs out of their cages and visited with them.

It's amazing how many pets are out there who are in need of a loving home. And it's downright disturbing how many of the pets in shelters have been neglected or even deliberately abused. Sometimes you have to wonder what the f is wrong with people.
Get yourself some free DVD and video game rentals

Here's a story I wrote for phillyBurbs.com on how to get free DVD and video games rentals from Blockbuster Online.

Link: Top five reasons free DVD and game rentals are cool
Hey from Sharp of Ill Ease

I got an e-mail from Elizabeth Sharp who was cool enough to let me know about a gig she's playing in Philly later this month with her band Ill Ease.

Gig: 12/17/04, Ill Ease, Philadelphia, PA, Mill Creek Tavern

You can listen to a live set Ill Ease did for WFMU here:

Listen: Ill Ease live on WFMU, 9/13/04

Sounds like after a couple of CDs Elizabeth has hit full stride, having fleshed out Ill Ease into a pretty rockin' trio. They've even got a record out on Too Pure Records! It's called "The Exorcist."

Ill Ease official site
Fark me!

Fark has featured the Best and Worst of 2004 piece that I wrote for phillyBurbs.com.

That's almost as cool as when Howard Stern read one of my articles on the air (Unfrigginbelievable) or when Rolling Stone wrote about my old fanzine, Yakuza (twice!)

I continue to become famous ... at the slowest pace possible.

Read the Fark article:
Fark.com is named best website of 2004 by Bucks County Courier Times
More DVD consumption

I've been enjoying Blockbuster's free trial membership to their DVDs-by-mail service.

While I'm no fan of the chain store by any means, I'm more than willing to take advantage of some free movies on their dime.

The trial membership is two weeks only, but when I went to cancel, they offered an additional month at no charge.

So, that's six weeks worth of free DVD rentals along with four free in-store rental coupons. Not too shabby...

Anyway, I finally got around to seeing "Super Size Me" and thought it was an intriguing documentary.

It's less of an indictment against McDonald's and more a study of the American diet and sedentary lifestyle.

If that film doesn't encourage you to get back to the basics of eating well, exercising and feeling good about yourself, then you may be a hopeless case.

Shrek 2. The first Shrek was so fun and clever, but the sequel is neither. Too much story line, not enough laughs. What happened?

And since Eminem has a new album out, I figured I'd backtrack a little and check out his film "8 Mile."

There's no arguing Eminem is one talented mofo. His album, "The Marshall Mathers LP," is probably the strongest argument for him.

The film is pretty decent, but doesn't go that far in showcasing his unique and stylish rapping methods.

Fortunately one of the DVD extras is a 30-minute documentary that shows the rapper doing some improv battling which shows why he slays.

As for Eminem's new album, "Encore," there are some good moments, but overall it's not that thrilling.

What is up with Dr. Dre's production? The music is unimaginative and flat and really takes away from Eminem's otherwise solid rapping.

Topically, the album is kind of a retread of themes previously visited on "The Eminem Show" and doesn't break new ground in any significant manner.

But then what the hell am I expecting? It's just a rap album.

Peace out.
MP3: John Peel Show, October 1, 2003

Here's another John Peel show in its entirety.

This one dates back to the beginning of October, 2003 and features The Futureheads in session.

MP3: John Peel, Oct. 1, 2003 (70.6 mb, right click, save as)
See full track listing for this show.

See also: John Peel Show, September 2, 2003
Another good radio show

Hats off to Mike Lupica.

The November 20 edition of his show, "Hip Transistor," on WFMU is especially fine.

Listen: Mike Lupica's "Hip Transistor" - November 20, 2004
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Peel Session

This was a big hit over at Oink's Pink Palace, so I thought I'd post it over here (for a very limited time) for your pleasure.

This is the Yeah Yeah Yeahs Peel Session from 2002.

The performances are solid and the versions are rougher than the ones found on the LP.

(Files are permanently offline. Look here for sessions by similar artists.
I'm Not Afraid

I checked out the film, "I'm Not Afraid" (Io non ho paura) last night.

Cinematically speaking, it's a very beautiful film with tons of Italian countryside scenery full of rich colors and crispness.

As far as the narrative goes, while there are two or three scary moments, this is film is primarily a suspense/thriller, and a good one at that.

Viewers beware: It's in Italian and has subtitles.

"I'm Not Scared" official site & trailer
McG's massive media consumption

I finished Monte Melnick's book, On the Road With the Ramones and thought it was great.

Monte was the Ramones tour manager throughout their entire career and sheds some insight on the interpersonal relationships (or lack thereof) between the Ramones.

Lots of good stories about life on the road, aiming for commerical success, Johnny's disciplinary attitudes versus Dee Dee's wild partying and more. A must-read for any Ramones fan.

I made it through the end of season two of Dead Like Me, which is my new favorite TV show.

It's so damn good, that I'm thinking of picking up the Dead Like Me season one DVD and enjoy it all over again.

Speaking of TV shows, I've watched most of the Greg the Bunny DVD.

While it's not rip-roaring funny, there are some good moments for sure.

I can see why this show failed on Fox. It's a show that would be more at home alongside some late-night, way-out programming on Adult Swim (although it's not a cartoon) or Comedy Central.

Dawn of the Dead exceeded my expectations.

It has everything I love in a zombie movie and things I didn't even know I loved, including a one-armed Asian zombie who can run about 35 mph, gratuitous scenes of cars and buses running over zombies and about 1,000 exploding zombie heads.

Hard to believe that the star of this film, Sarah Polley, is the same Sarah Polley who starred in the incredibly sad, but amazing film, My Life Without Me.

I watched Suspicious River the other night and have to agree that the film is disturbing. Had I known it was a grim tale of prostitution and rape, I might have skipped this.

Don't get me wrong, it's a decent film, but it's not a pick-me-up by any means. If you're looking for a film that will make you feel that your life isn't that bad, this is your movie.
John Peel Show, September 2, 2003

Here's John Peel's show from September 2, 2003 in its entirety.

MP3: John Peel Show, September 2, 2003 - (70.2 MB)
(right click, save as)

John Peel Tracklistings September 2, 2003
John Peel Show, September 2, 2003 tracklisting (.txt)

Miracle Chosuke - 'Loop (LP- The 7/8 Wonders of the World)' (Dim Mak)
Disciples RS - 'Roots Workout (10")' (Jah Tubby's)
The Blueskins - 'Girl' (Peel Session)
Gossip - 'Lesson Learned (LP- Movement)' (Kill Rock Stars)
The Jimmy Smith Trio - 'The Sermon (LP- Get Yourself' (MGM)
DJ Hazard - 'Rubber Chicken (EP- No More Games)' (True Playaz)
Willis - 'The Space Within (7")' (679)
Camera Obscura - 'Before You Cry (LP- Under Achievers Please Try Harder)' (Elefant)
The Coachwhips - 'Just One Time (LP- Get Yer Body Next Ta Mine)' (Narnack)
Tarli Digital - 'Mundey Patey Jann Geh (LP- Desi Nation)' (Stern's/ Earthworks)
The Blueskins - 'It Makes The Room Look Bigger (EP- Saucy Haulage Ballads)' (Probe Plus)
Cyde FX - 'Time Scape (12")' (Nu Electro)
The French - 'The Wu Tang Clan (LP- Local Information)' (Too Pure)
DJ C (feat Capleton) - 'Conscience A Heng Dem' (Mashit)
Army of Flying Robots - 'The Goths Brought Revels and I Felt Cheated (EP- Army of Flying Robots)' (The Audacious Art Experiment)
The Caretaker - 'I Saw Your Face In A Dream (LP- We'll All Go Riding On A Rainbow)' (V/Vm)
Wine Lord - 'Sex On A Stick (LP- Wine Lord)' (Bloat)
The Blueskins - 'The Stupid Ones' (Peel Session)
Polmo Polpo - 'Farewell (LP- Like Hearts Swelling)' (Constellation)
Freddy Fresh - 'I Can't Compete (7")' (Howlin')
The Thermals - 'Goddamn The Light (LP- More Parts Per Million)' (SubPop)
Digital - 'Gateman - Keaton Mix (12")' (Phantom Audio)
Lutan Fyah - 'Never Surrender My Faith (7")' (Jah Warrior)
The Original Surfaris - 'Failsafe (LP- Big Noise From Waimea!)' (Sundazed The Blueskins - 'No 23' (Peel Session)
Knifehandchop - '2 Sexxxy Booty (LP- Rockstopper)' (Tigerbeat6)
The Fall - 'Touch Sensitive (LP- Touch Sensitive)' (Castle Music)
MP3: Ol' Dirty Bastard press conference UNCENSORED

Here is ODB's infamous press conference, which Howard Stern has played repeatedly throughout the years.

Here it is, finally uncensored! The gang talks over it a bit too much, but it's still pretty awesome.

MP3: Ol' Dirty Bastard - Press Conference - (2.4 MB)
20% off at Borders this weekend

I always try to buy from indie bookstores or direct from the publisher when possible.

That said, I always take advantage of Borders' coupons and this is the best one I've seen yet.

20% off almost everything in the store, plus 40% off all food and beverages.

I may just go and have lunch there this weekend and pick up a book.

Borders 20% off coupon
(Valid Friday Nov. 12, 2004 - Monday Nov. 15)
John Peel radio shows surface

In the weeks following the death of legendary DJ John Peel, quite a few of his radio shows have turned up online in newsgroups and torrents.

Here's a show Peel did for the great VPRO (Netherlands) in 1986.

The John Peel Show - January 29, 1986
(click on uur 1 when you get to the page)

I have a bunch of Peel shows which I may post here, especially if anyone drops me a note of encouragement to do so.
This is one of the best friggin videos I've seen in years

Video: Dizzee Rascal - "Dream"
Blockbuster is a bomb

I signed up for a trial membership to Blockbuster's DVD-by-mail trial membership.

I make a point to patronize local video stores over corporate stores such as Blockbuster, but I wanted to take advantage of getting some free movies.

They e-mailed me a coupon for two free in-store rentals, so I went for the first time in years.

I have NOT been missing much. What I found were half-stocked shelves, a mixture of VHS boxes with faded covers, softcore sexy thrillers and a crapload of Shrek 2 DVDs. Not impressive.

Plus they've got the store littered with cheaply priced new and previously viewed DVDs, video games and crap candy and microwave popcorn.

I couldn't even find a DVD I wanted to rent - for free - so I just left, more certain than ever that I would be cancelling my free trial membership just before they charge my credit card.
Request: Oxes on BBC Radio 1, November 3, 2004

Let me know if you can help me with a copy of the Oxes in session on BBC Radio 1.

It aired November 3, 2004 and was recorded for the John Peel show.

E-mail me at daveATdavemcgurganDOTcom. Thanks.
McG's new blog at phillyBurbs.com

I have a new blog about pop culture at phillyburbs.com that launched today.

The blog will be updated daily and will muse on all things that go "pop" in our culture.

Read: McG's phillyBurbs pop culture blog
Sitting round at home

Kind of a grey and rainy day here in Wilmington today.

Had a nice lunch with Kelly at Bertucci's.

We got seated in a booth next to some old bat who was talking WAY too loud, so we asked the waitress if we could move, claiming we wanted to watch a college football game on TV.

After that, everything was O.K.

I've been trying to listen to records and groups that I hadn't ever gotten around to listening to. Been digging Joy Division's "Unknown Pleasures" (36-year-old just now discovering his goth tendencies) and The Fall's "50,000 Fall Fans Can't be Wrong," which comps up a greatest-hits style overview of the band's output.

Listening to Dogs Die in Hot Cars right now. Why bands like this, Hot Hot Heat and Futureheads are rehashing what XTC did so perfectly 20 years ago is beyond me. It is making me wanna listen to "English Settlement" again though.

Really though the new Blues Explosion album, "Damage," was surprisingly good. Usually I don't care for their stuff, but this one was pretty swank I thought. Queued up for spins are Kings of Leon, Ed Harcourt, The Czars and Stina Nordenstam. I picked up the Starlight Desperation's "Violate a Sundae" a while ago and need to listen more.

I watched another episode of "Family Bonds." That is a pretty good show about the life of a bail bondsman and his wacky New York family. The main guy in it resembles Morton Downey Jr. but isn't as obnoxious. Actually seems like a good dude whose clients are total scum.
Oxes in the Netherlands!

The excellent site VPRO has audio of Baltimore's best, Oxes, playing in the Netherlands.

Listen: Oxes, October 27, 2004, Club 3Voor12

Can't wait for a new record by Oxes. They are one of my favorite bands of all time.
John Peel RIP

John Peel was, perhaps, the most influential, exciting and important DJ in the history of broadcasting.

Read my new columm, John Peel RIP, at phillyBurbs.com.
The day after

Spent most of yesterday listening to Radio One and their tributes to John Peel.

It's hard for most to understand how important a part of many people's life John Peel and his radio show were.

John Peel was to new and adventurous music, what Howard Stern is to schock radio, what Kurt Cobain was to generations of punkers.

In other words, the guy was huge.

Over the past year, I relied heavily on radio shows to get me through early hours and crazy weekend shifts when no one in their right mind would be awake.

DJs such as Peel, WFMU's Mike Lupica and Terre T and all their other DJs, are just some of the people who played music that really kept me going.

Probably the most poignant post on the BBC bulletin boards said, "John Peel is dead, now what do we do?"

***

So, I have today off. Pretty nice. Walked up to the post office and watched the first episode of Taken, which seems to be equal parts traditional epic mini-series, X-Files and romantic love story all wrapped up into one.

I have some episodes of season two of Dead Like Me to get through. This is one of my new fave shows. Just really good writing, concept and characters cloaked in sublime and occasionally biting darkness.

Also on my list of things to view is The Power of Nightmares, which explores the culture of fear generated by the war on terror.

Haven't watched any episodes of Arrested Development lately, but will do so soon. I picked up the 1st episode of Greg the Bunny, but haven't watched yet. Both of these shows came out on DVD recently.

I finally got my copy of On the Road with the Ramones by Monte Mellnick. I've only read a few pages, but it looks like it will be a great read.
McG on the passing of John Peel

With the advent of Internet radio, people like myself in the United States recently became able to hear what Britains and musicians had known for decades.

John Peel was one of the most influential and important DJs in the history of broadcasting.

And his show was enormously fun to listen to.

Perhaps most important about Peel and his love of music was his willingness to embrace new music of all sorts including reggae, heavy metal, folk, vocals, pop, punk and more.

No genre of music was off-limits when it came to the John Peel show. One could often hear an old song from the 1930s followed by a song by a band called Selfish Cunt.

If it were interesting, groundbreaking or unusual, chances were Peel would give it a spin. The ultimate factor in deciding what music was played on the John Peel show was that it be good.

That's how he became the ultimate tastemaker of musicians old and new alike. His "Peel Sessions," in-studio performances recorded specifically for his program, were the stuff legends are made of.

These sessions often saw the light of day via bootlegs and more recently, through file-sharing and official release.

In the end, it can be said John Peel championed music because he loved it. And that love was clearly present during his broadcasts.

In recent months, Peel recounted how he had been working on his auto-biography. Regrettably, he won't be able to finish it, but certainly it will be released and will be just one of many reminders of how John Peel became and will remain a part of music history.

I feel fortunate to be able to call myself a regular listener of John Peel's radio show for the last year.

I've learned about several new bands and went back and did my homework about bands that I had only heard of, but never listened to. All thanks to John Peel.

All music fans owe a huge thanks and debt of gratitude to John Peel for being there for the past 40+ years ... and letting us listen in.
Legendary BBC radio DJ John Peel dies

Veteran BBC broadcaster John Peel has died at the age of 65, while on holiday in Peru. Peel, whose radio career spanned 40 years, was on a working holiday in the city of Cuzco with his wife Sheila when he suffered a heart attack.
(...more)

BBC News: John Peel obituary
BBC: John Peel passes away (with links to message boards, tributes)
Listen: Tribute to Bomp Records' Greg Shaw on WFMU

Kudos to Evan "Funk" Davies who recently did a terrific three-hour radio show on WFMU devoted solely to the music and life of Bomp Records proprietor, Greg Shaw.

WFMU: October 25, 2004: HE put the Bomp: RIP Greg Shaw
Siouxsie Sioux fills in for John Peel

Listen to Siouxsie as she fills on for the legendary BBC DJ.

Siouxsie Sioux on the John Peel Show, Wednesday Oct. 20
(Note: This show will be archived for one week only)
Bangbus is one ride you don't want to take

Don't make the same mistake Lori did.

At 22, she was broke, unwed and pregnant. And her relationship with the father was rocky.

To make some quick cash, she took a ride on bangbus, and has regretted her decision ever since.

Read Lori's sad story and the evil empire of bangbus
(Note: SFW, but contains content for mature audiences only)
Good dude, Three Stooges superfan passes away

I've had the same P.O. box at Rodney Square in Wilmington, Delaware for 12+ years.

One of the things I like about this particular post office are all the people who work there.

They're all very friendly and willing to put up with my incessant mailings and yellow slips indicating "parcel to large to fit in box."

Anyway, one of the good people who worked at the P.O., Dennis Badger, passed away over the weekend.

Dennis was always cool to me, and we'd often share stories about music, football and dealing with everyday life.

On Saturdays Dennis would bring in videotapes and play football games that he taped. He was also a huge Three Stooges fan and would play them as well.

It was always cool to go mail stuff on a Saturday and see Dennis in the post office and see Shemp, Larry and Moe carrying on in the background.

Dennis was a good dude to me and it was a sad day when I went to the post office and Miss Theresa told me he had died.

These Stooges clips are for you Dennis:

Wav: Curly: Woowoowoowoo
Wav: Curly: Tryin' to think, but nothin's happening
MP3: Bush the Genius

Here's a funny montage of clips featuring our commander-in-chief in a series of verbal screw ups.

MP3: Bush the genius (file permanently offline)

Thanks to Howard for playing this earlier this month.
Love it when I find stuff like this

I was reading one of my fave music sites, Something I Learned Today.

I found a link to a site I hadn't seen before, Agony Shorthand.

Zinesters who toiled in obscurity in the '90s will recognize Agony Shorthand's editor as none other than Jay Hinman, who used to put out Superdope zine.

This little find made my morning.

Lame site linking

Man, I just found a site that I really like is linking to an MP3 I posted on my server (via delawarepunkarchives.com).

I have no problem with people linking to my content, but I do have a problem when people link to the content without giving proper credit or even allowing a way for people to visit my site.

I would prefer it if people linked to the original posting that has the MP3 links, instead of just linking to the MP3 itself.

Maybe it's just me, but I think that is common courtesy.
Registered to vote ... again

I went down to the Dept. of Elections to register to vote. Today is the deadline in Delaware.

I registered to vote by mail months ago, but never got any information back saying I was registered. That's usually an indication that you may not be registered.

You can't check online to confirm your voting registration status in Delaware.

I was surprised that when you register in person, that your information is taken down by hand and a form filled out for each voter.

You don't even get any paperwork that indicates you are registered. All I got was a sticker saying, "I registered to vote today."

Why isn't this stuff computerized and in a tamper-proof database?

You can file your State and Federal taxes online and even check your filing status online. The IRS is clearly up to speed with their technology.

Why can't Delaware and the other 49 states do a better job of managing and processing all voter registration information?!
MP3: Black Flag - Live 7" #1 bootleg

Here's a nice find from alt.binaries.punk, a five-song, live 7" bootleg by Black Flag.

Soundboard recording circa '82 or '83 with Hank on vocals.

MP3: 1. Black Flag - Spray Paint the Walls
MP3: 2. Black Flag - Room 13
MP3: 3. Black Flag - Rise Above
MP3: 4. Black Flag - Six Pack
MP3: 5. Black Flag - Life of Pain

Flex discography review of Black Flag - Live 7" #1 bootleg
'Mean Girls' sucks out loud

Oh, so I promised I would tell you how that flick "Mean Girls" was. I think there was one laugh throughout the entire flick. Don't even waste your time.

As my grandfather once said, "I wouldn't walk across the street to see those bums," (referring to the Rolling Stones concert in Philadelphia in 1981.)

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I wouldn't walk across the street to rent this movie (but in fact, I regrettably did drive to the video store), even if Lindsay Lohan would personally check out my copy.

If you're looking for a dumb and mindless, yet funny teen flick, try "The Girl Next Door," which was retarded in all the right ways.

It gets my personal "Dude-who-is-35-but-still-watches-shitty-teen-movies seal of approval."

I really dug the flick "Open Water," which will be out on DVD soon and I had countless laugh-out-loud chuckles and snorts while watching, "Shaun of the Dead."

So, my new favorite TV show is "Dead Like Me." The pilot of that show is amazing and draws you in completely. Really well done stuff.

I still don't have Tivo (yet) and Comcast (sucks) still hasn't installed their DVR which they called me about two months ago and said it was available in my area.

I've been catching up on the TV phenomenon that is "Arrested Development." Like my pal Dave said, "Who knew Jason Bateman and Portia De Rossi could be so funny?"

Good question indeed. I was able to snag the entire first season online at a site like this.

Which brings me to a small rant.

Is downloading the TV show "Arrested Development" from the Internet wrong?

In my case, I would say no.

Simply because I already paid to have this content delivered into my home via cable.
True, I wasn't watching when it was broadcast nor did I tape it on my vcr for personal use. Instead I downloaded the shows which were already delivered into my house via a paid service. I just accessed them through a different medium.

Still OK?

Why not. I'm essentially using the Internet to download the shows as an alternative to the VCR in a way. It's as if a pal taped it for me and lent me his copy to watch.

If Tivo has told us anything, its that people want to watch TV on their own terms. And with the success of Comcast's On-Demand, people want the ability to watch shows when they want.

Like I said, I already paid for the content ... so what if I rely on the Internet instead of my VCR to watch a recorded copy of the show.

Low self-esteem kicks in ...

Blah. I know you don't care about any of this. That's fine.

I just like hearing my own voice shouting into the endless galaxy of blogs.
McG's top 10 new release CDs

In my column this week I wrote about my pick for top 10 new CD releases including albums by Hot Snakes, Brian Wilson, The Clash and more.

I also reviewed new CDs by Mono, Mastodon, The Delgados and the awesome new CD by Social Distortion.

Read the column: New CD releases (phillyBurbs.com)
McG's MP3 recommendations

Some crazy Russian pinheads have the Ramones' first album which you can download for free here.

I really liked Neal Casal's "St. Cloud" which you can grab over at
Fargo Records along with tracks by several other artists.

Tychonaut has some great songs on their site including "Half Mast" from their album, "This Is." Tychonaut official site.

Register over at the Stern Fan Network and go into their file sharing section. You can find some cool stuff there including the new Eminem single and a cut from the new U2 album.

McG's obligatory MP3 commentary

I've noticed that U.K. and European bands often only post snippets of songs in MP3 instead of full songs.

I can sympathize with the "giving-it-away-for-free" argument, but bands have to realize that free MP3s has pretty much replaced the days of singles and getting your record played on the radio.

Another John Peel ass kiss

I listened to John Peel's show from this past Thursday and loved it. The Delgados were in session and Peel played a ton of cool stuff. Can I just say I love listening to this friggin radio show.

Peel says he's working on an auto-biography. That will be a must-read.

And by the way, the new Delgados album, "Universal Audio," is awesome.

Cheesey movie update

I rented "Mean Girls" today and can't wait to check it out.

Kelly was with me and she asked the video chick if any copies had been returned and one had just come back.

I would have really been embarassed to ask for that one myself.
Paris Hilton: Prepare to be blown

This high-larious article brought to you by Paris Hilton who released her first CD, "Screwed."

"Please, my album is so insane, people are going to be blown away."

Correction: People are going to be blowing themselves away.
F U Friday

When something makes me laugh out loud, it's usually really twisted, something dark or just something that is insanely funny. This story is all three:

Hi, My Name is Jeff and I Sometimes Smell Like Poop

Jonathan A. Zdziarski conducted an interesting experiment to test the theory that file-sharing benefits the music industry.

Jonathan's impressive and not-boring report on file-sharing

Listen up. Loo and Placido have done some interesting bootlegs. They have a couple of tracks you can download as well as some demos that you can stream. My favorite was:

MP3: Loo and Placido - "Get Your Green On"

Which mixes Green Day's "Stuck With Me" and Missy Elliott's "Get Your Freak On."

The result sounds kinda like The Bellrays.

First there was dirty dancing. But dirty dining? That's just gross.

Fave dirty dining quote: "After eating at this McDonalds in Erwin, Tenn., last March, one hundred people became violently ill. Some ended up in the hospital, dehydrated and even hallucinating."

Can you imagine tripping after eating chicken McNuggets?

That would freak me out.

Sometimes you get lucky on the Internet and stumble across great blogs such as Blogjam.

Other times people tell you about funny blogs such as Tard-Blog where special education teachers blow off steam.

Through Tard-Blog I found Stokie Jaye's Slow Children at Play which recounts his experience working in a group home for emotionally disturbed boys for the past decade.

Through Slow Children at Play I found Tucker Max's Web Site. This guy sounds like a real a-hole. He's got a lot of cool sites linked on his page though.

Oh, and the reason I called this "F U Friday" (other than I'm running low on ideas on what to call my posts) is that I work on the weekends.

So on Fridays I always hear people say, "...well, at least it's Friday!" and for me it isn't. I feel like saying to them ...

Well, you get the idea.

Have a good friggin' weekend.
MP3: Dan Rather gets pranked

Here's a good prank call by Kidd Chris who called up Dan Rather to discuss the whole CBS memo incident.

MP3: Kidd Chris calls Dan Rather (right click, save as)

I'm officially overwhelmed and sickened with the pre-election coverage. I guess this is how people become apathetic.

With empty debates about candidates' credibility, actions during and after Vietnam and hardly a discussion about key issues (economy, jobs and prosperity) it's no wonder many Americans tune out politics.

That said, I will be voting in November. Hope you will too.

Download this

If you're like me and are a torrent fiend, then you should check out Protowall. It's much like Peer Guardian, in that it blocks out unwanted IPs from connecting to your computer when it downloads.

It requires a few setup steps before you use it, but its easily to get up and running in no time.

How does Ali G do it?

One of the few shows that makes me laugh out loud is Da Ali G show.

If you haven't seen the show before or want to catch episodes you missed, the place to go is Lando's Stinking Hole.

Here's an article that reveals how he's able to score so many killer interviews.

How Ali G keeps conning famous guests
MP3: Killed by McG #2 compilation

Since so many of you missed this the first time around, once again, here is the second volume of the "Killed by McG" series. Styled after the "Killed by Death" series, this collection of punk killers was assembled by yours truly.

Killed by McG #2 - download liner notes (.txt)

1. Really Red - "Too Political" - We start off with some vintage Texas punk circa 1981. This track is from Really Red's amazing 1981 album, "Teaching You the Fear." Unlike the overbearing politics of fellow scene mates M.D.C., Really Red tastefully spells out the injustices of the haves and the have-mores with poetic precision. Musically, the band taps into the post-punk vein like a seasoned junkie and 23 years later, this amped-up hardcore anthem doesn't sound dated in the least.

2. La Peste - "Better Off Dead" - In 1978, La Peste released this fine 45 on Black Records. The vintage proto-punk sounds have aged well, unlike that of, say, Throbbing Lobster, the Pixies, the Damnbuilders and any other number of shitty Boston bands. It ain't "This is Boston, Not L.A." but then again it ain't the Mighty Mighty Asstones either. Sad but true: Matador correctly issued an album's worth of studio and live sessions by La Peste in 1996. Only problem was everyone was obsessing on how great Pavement was, and the reissue was overlooked and went out of print faster than Wesley Willis' two major label albums.

3. Testors - "Time is Mine" - Believe it or not this is the b-side of the Testors one and only 7". Damn good! The remaining recordings are of varied quality and have surfaced in several different configurations, but the only collection you need is "Complete Recordings, 1976-9" which has it all. It's catchy and poppy NYC punk rock stuff. It's a wonder the Testors went unrecognized. Guess everyone was too busy marveling how Blondie went from being a punky new wave band to disco then to rap then to flat out sucking.

4. The Spelling Mistakes - "Hate Me Hate Me" - Before the '90s infatuation with New Zealand Pop and Flying Nun, there was a punk scene going on down under with bands such as the Spelling Mistakes, Scavengers and Suburban Reptiles. The best looking band was the Spelling Mistakes who liked to dress in funny clothes (Nazi uniforms, drag) and making lots of noise. This sucker dates back to 1980. The band's entire output has been reissued on a 2-CD set with a surprisingly good 1999 reunion recording of the album they never made the first go round. Ace.

5. The Quick - "Pretty Please Me" - Now this is more like it! Sublime melodies and hooky guitars all over the place. Yeah, yeah, the Dickies made this song their own on "Stukas Over Disneyland" but it's the Quick's original version that is the quintessential recording. Bands like Redd Kross copped this shit up and down the S. Cali boardwalk, but the Quick remain the true Cali heroes of power pop. This song was released on a 10" fan club record, in a limited edition of 200, after Mercury Records dropped the band. How could you pass on a killer cut like this? Oh well. My guess is that the Quick weren't made for their times.

6. Adolescents - "Who is Who" - They say this is classic OC hardcore (that's Orange County for all you Dischord-lovers) from the Adolescents' 1981 debut album. All I know is by the time I heard about this band, they were releasing records on one of the worst labels ever, Triple X. Mudhoney covered this song and I liked their version a whole lot better. What do I know? Oh well, back to scanning the MRR classifieds for punk pen pals...

7. Angry Samoans - "I'm in Love With Your Mom" - The 'Moans might be one of the best punk bands ever. Three guitarists. Three friggin guitarists to play the most retarded and fundamental punk rock ever written. Hitler's cock, homosexuals and lame parents, the Samoans sang about every kid's worst nightmares. But it's this ode to MILFs dating all the way back to 1978 that is the real shit. This demo finds the band honing in on the psychosexual appetite of every fourteen-year-old.

8. Flipper - "Ever" - They couldn't play their instruments that well, and the songs were retarded and kind of bad. They were so bad, they were punk. Flipper were yesteryear's Beat Happening except you actually would want to listen to Flipper. This is from their "Generic" album which is curiously out of print. In the post-Nirvana punk blitz it saw a major label reissue on Rick Rubin's American label, but went out of print again raising the question: who the fuck is running the music business anyway? The working man's anti-punk punk band. See also No Trend.

9. Helen Keller - "Dump on the Chump" - The Helen Keller 7" was the stuff that Killed by legends are made of. Scarce pressings, little band info and a ridiculous collector scum price tag. Well, pay through the nose no more, because the original 7" was reissued along with some previously unreleased sessions, including this alternate version of chump dumping. It's pretty good stuff, but not essential.

10. Scavengers - "Mysterex" - Don't confuse these Kiwi fruits with the resurrected Avengers, who have been performing under the Scavengers moniker. The New Zealand punk scene spawned newspaper headlines such as "Mums and Dads Were Shocked" and "Punk Rock Claims Victim." Sounds like a pretty rough scene! From 1978, here are the Scavengers.

11. Suburban Reptiles - "Razor Smile" - Here's a previously unreleased cut from this great New Zealand ensemble. With a chick named Zero and a dude by the name of Jimmy Zero delivering wicked saxophone solos, the Suburban Reptiles offered more than the usual punk fare. Practically impossible to find their stuff, so hopefully someone will get to comping up their stuff soon.

12. The Adverts - "Gary Gilmore's Eyes" - England's The Adverts had a string of killer singles including this morose ditty receiving a serial killer's eyes in a transplant operation. Now that's friggin punk. They re-recorded all those singles for their debut, "Crossing the Red Sea with the Adverts." If you don't have this album in your collection, shame on you. The band dropped a bomb of a second album and promptly broke up.

13. Robin Johnson & Trini Alvarado - "Your Daughter is One" - This diamond in the rough is culled from the "Times Square" soundtrack, which you could find in the cut-out bins in the early '80s. On RSO records, the same label responsible for the Bee Gees and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Obviously the label rep wasn't paying attention too closely when previewing this release.

14. The Diodes - "Red Rubber Ball" - The Diodes were allegedly the first Canadian band to sign to a major. For that, they faded into obscurity faster than Nice Strong Arm and Love Child. This is from their debut album from around 1977 and is a cover of the Paul Simon composition. Curiously, the bass player's name was Ian MacKay.

15. The Left - "Fuck it" - This awesome D.C. band kicked some major ass in the early '80s right before the Dischord boom. For some reason, there's not much fanzine ink about this killer cut or what the band was all about. They were recently comped up on the first volume of "Killed by Hardcore" which just came out on CD not too long ago.

16. 999 - "Emergency" - This U.K. band never really made a big impact over in the USA, despite being on Polydor, the same label that brought us the Jam. This is one of their more catchy and melodic efforts that you'll often find comped up on shitty punk comps like this one.

17. Pere Ubu - "Final Solution" - OK, the singer is really fat and can't really sing. Despite the fact that they still put out records on shitty labels (spinArt, Tim Kerr), this 1976 self-released gem is really a great punk track. Unfortunately the rest of their output wasn't up to snuff. In fact, Pere Ubu falls into the same category as Captain Beefheart: allegedly important music that is godawful to listen to.

All files are currently offline.
New column this week

I reviewed CDs by Rogue Wave, The Lovekill and Mike Keneally in my column this week

I still have a lot of CDs on my desk that I need to review for next week.
Coffee drinking Mike checks in

I got an e-mail from my friend Mike the other day.

I remember one morning at college I was riding my bike on Main Street in Newark at 7:00 a.m. putting up flyers for my band and I saw Mike walking to work.

He was drinking coffee. Since then I've always associated him as being a coffee drinker.

Some people associate Mike as the dude who tried to break a baseball bat by slamming it against a telephone pole. Of course, the bat bounced right off the telephone pole and back into Mike's face.

Anyway, here's what Mike had to say:

"Just thought I'd tell ya Fran and I saw Nels Cline the other night, quite impressed. I never thought that monkey'n around with yr effects pedals could garner a crowd -- and he did it w/ a jazzy style, very inspiring.

It reminded me of shite that occasionally burbles out of my amp here at home with Debbie going "that's weird" and me digging it but thinkin this would never hit it off w/ the kids at clubs.

Fran and I have started a new two-piece project doing some of the mellower folk-psyche-noisey Lettuce Prey material. We jammed last weekend and it sounded damn good. He's using two floor toms, kick, snare hat, cymbals and I'm using two amps through some crazy-ass effects I've collected over the years. We hope to incorporate Debbie on accordion. Sounds like a more lively Dirty Three meets Sonic Youth meets VU and Donovan (not his candy-ass shit though).

Heard Zen Guerrilla is releasing a new record soon -- anxious to hear that. Not sure if the new Zen record will be live or if they recorded new material. I doubt the latter. Andy is going to send me a copy soon -- I'll let you know.

Debbie and I plan to get a new dog after we move and have a park or backyard. I think Ben would dig it too. We miss Stevie so much, but as George says "All things must pass."
Johnny Ramone dies at 55

Say it ain't so...

Remembering Joey Ramone
McG's must-have music guide

Check out the Must-Have Music Guide I wrote for phillyBurbs.com.

It lists the top 10 CDs in a number of genres including jazz, punk and a whole lot more.

And in case you missed it ...

A few weeks ago I wrote how you can get 50 free MP3s from emusic.com.
In search of new Don Cab CDR

Can anyone hook me up with a copy of the Don Cab CDR floating around? It's got five new songs on it.

E-mail me if you can help. Dying to hear it.

In the meantime, check out Don Fanallero

Just listened to John Peel's radio show. The guy is awesome. I hope archives of his old shows turn up one day.

I started using the Opera browser last night. Should be interesting to see how I like it.

Today is my girlfriend's birthday! She is the best. Happy Birthday.
Link-a-licious

This is awesome (registration required - but totally worth it)

This is also awesome (registration required - but totally worth it)

I think the Hot Snakes website looks totally cool

MP3: Hot Snakes - "Hi-Lites" (from "Audit in Progress," due out October 5)

Flipside is one of my fave punk zines of all time.

I wish Jimmy Johnson would reissue some of the old issues of Forced Exposure

Prank video: Dude screams like a sissy

Prank video: Plumber gets bejesus scared out of him
Friday should be fantastic

I should be happy because it's Friday.

I'm not.

It's usually the kickoff to the weekend, but for someone like me who works all weekend, it's kind of a bummer.

Fortunately, my work schedule will be changing soon ... for the better.

My friend Becky reminded me that Hampdenfest is next week in Baltimore.

Tons of bands playing including The Rogers Sisters, The Apes and The Fleshtones.

My pal Taylor e-mailed me today that he quit his job and he's moving to France.

His goals:

"I'm looking into property renovation and other crazy schemes. Ideally, I might actually get into shape, but I may just be dreaming. I'll probably have lots of time for writing, but i never really liked my writing. You might get lots of random shit sent your way."

Tay is a good dude, very smart and a good writer. I hope he sends me some good shit.

MP3 downloads at NME.com

Free MP3s of Q Not U, New Rhodes, Neon, Micah P Hinson, Kaito and more ...

MP3 downloads at NME.com.
(need a user id/pass? click here).

Slowly back to normal

Things are getting back to their normal state of messed-up-edness.

Computer problems continue with invalid drivers, cd drives that vanish and reappear on their own and "serious error" messages from Microsoft. Other than that I'm loving this new computer!

I dropped the dogs off this morning at Fluff Pet Salon to get a haircut and shampoo. Actually just Jazz needed his haircut. Augie went along for moral support. They're brothers and they've spent so much time together they're inseperable.

Think I'll just sit in front of the computer today and catch up on writing, work on a new column for this week and read stuff online. What else is there to do?
So much for the vacation

I hadn't had a vacation in over two and a half years and was looking forward to some time off.

Well, Hurricane Frances put the big kibosh on the entire vacation. Instead of flying down to Florida for some R&R and attending a wedding, I watched reports of impending disaster on Fox News.

I did get to see some good movies (Garden State, The Girl Next Door) and have lunch at Angelo's Luncheonette, which is my all-time fave place to eat here in Wilmington. I went to a couple of parks and walked with my girlfriend and my dog.

Still, I can't help but feel a little cheated out of an actual vacation.

Yesterday afternoon I got sick with some stomach bug and laid in bed all day yesterday and most of today.

I am off until Thursday. Hopefully I'll feel better and can do something productive.

I may work on a new column for work this week. I haven't written one in almost six weeks. I was really busy with two work projects, one was creating rss feeds and the other was building a must-have music guide.

I got my new computer, but it hasn't been steady sailing. Right out of the box the thing didn't work properly, and I ended up reinstalling Windows XP. The mouse didn't work and the CD burner on the machine is acting suspect.

Ya know, sometimes you just wish things would go the way they're supposed to.
Too busy at the moment

Been tied up with some work projects. Once I finish up, I'll be heading to Florida to attend a wedding and try to have a mini-vacation.

It'll be my first vacation since I went to Amsterdam for New Years Eve 2001/2002.

Here's a good coupon:
Borders: 20% off any one item. Valid this weekend only.
McG's friday follies

Exodus rocks my worldI cranked the new Exodus album, "Tempo of the Damned," on the way into work at 3:15 a.m. That kept me awake as did Bad Religion's "Suffer," once I got into work.

Now I'm rocking out to the Riverboat Gamblers' "Something to Crow About," which is a great record.

Henry Rollins' 2.13.61 label has released the 1979 compilation, "30 seconds over D.C." which I ordered this morning, along with the Muffs' new CD, "Really Really Happy."

Here's an update on what happened to bugmenot.com.

eBay search results via RSS is an awesome idea.

I bet these guys do all the work and then eBay comes and buys them out. eBay should already have this function on their site.

Explosive diarrhea incident at Old Navy (with pictures)

I almost had the same thing happen to me, except

-I don't have Crohn's Disease
-I wasn't at Old Navy
-fortunately, I made it to the bathroom in time

Cowtown easily has the most disgusting public bathroom on the planet I've ever used.

If you're lucky, you'll only have to go number one. They have one of those old-style urinals which looks much like a tub that you just stand in front next to some hillbilly and do your thing.

The only other place I've seen one of these is Rex's in West Chester, PA.

If you're at Cowtown and need to do number two, good luck. There's always at least one cockroach or big crawling bug roaming around on the floor and trying to crawl up your leg.

Funny update from Mister Pants.
This site is updated too infrequently.

'Wack the Iraq' boardwalk arcade criticized as tasteless, anti-Arab

A live-target paintball game in which patrons take aim at runners dressed as Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden has drawn fire from critics who say the game is tasteless and can only encourage violence against Arabs. (...more)

Ironically, war is still considered tasteful along Americans.

Marked Men & Riverboat Gamblers side project launches, MP3 demo available

The Marked Men are on hiatus as one of the members is going to school in Japan.

A new side-project called The High Tension Wires features members of The Marked Men, Reds, and Riverboat Gamblers. They'll have an album coming out on Dirtnap Records in Feb 2005. In the meantime, here's the first song off their demo.