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

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.

My awesome haircut

Yesterday I went to the Ft. Washington Barbershop in Ft. Washington, PA. When I worked at CDNOW, I would stop by the shop and have Geno cut my hair.

Geno is a cool dude. He is 65, came to the USA from Italy when he was in his teens and went to barber school. He worked for a shop for a while and in his mid-20s he opened his own shop. He's been cutting hair ever since.

We had a good chat, talked about how we are both flying to Florida next month to go to weddings, getting old and other miscellaneous barber chit chat.

Another crappy DVD rental

crappyI was in a "I'm-gonna-rent-some-dumb-mainstream-movies" frame of mind yesterday.

One of the DVDs I rented up "13 Going On 30."

This film exceeded my dumb flick expectations.

Essentially it's a rehash of "Big." Or so my girlfriend tells me. I've never even seen "Big."

Despite its attempt to be teen-friendly, "13 Going On 30" has a bunch of mixed messages about how a woman can manange her professionally career poorly and get away with it.

What I learned from the "13 Going on 30":

1. It's OK to sleep with someone else's husband.
Just don't get caught.

2. Get people you don't like fired.
It moves you up the corporate ladder.

3. Betray the company you work for.
You can get a better job at another company anyway.

4. Stab co-workers in the back.
Not sure why it's OK to do this. It's fun?

The most important lesson of "13 Going on 30" is that no matter how deep the doo-doo (it's a PG-13 flick) you create, it's easily remedied by wishing away all your problems with the snap of a finger and some wishing dust.

This movie is an utter piece of crap.

Late sleeper

This morning I slept in until 3:15 a.m.

My morning ritual: Music, energy drinks and problem solving

greatI listened to Mission of Burma's "ONoffON" during my drive into work. What a great album. Unlike most reunion albums that sound kind of contrived and forced, this record is just as natural as it could be and the three very different songwriting styles of Miller, Conley and Prescott are awesome and the performances are super tight.

I had a Rockstar Energy Drink and got into work and immediately started having technical problems that not even an energy drink could help me solve.

Eventually I found a way around the problem. It's rare that I can actually ever solve a problem. I just find some way to circumvent the obstacle and usually go around. Some things you just can't fix. Like my big head.

Where have all the good sites gone?

Another fave site of mine, bugmenot, has bitten the dust. It was a great resouce for passwords and registration info. For instance, if you wanted to read something from the New York Times and needed a password/user id, you could get one from without having to register to the site. Oh well.

I used to be punk

I listened to the current Maximum RocknRoll radio show which has a playlist you can check out.

They played some really awesome old school U.S. hardcore and Euro and South American stuff. The amateur banter in between sets is just icing on the punk cake.

I think the current incarnation of MRR is the best its ever been. They've gotten away from the strictly hardcore mindset the mag seemed stuck in during the mid '90s. Now it's more of a blend of American underground stuff and a good overview of European and Japanese punk. I buy the magazine every month!

Props to a co-worker

My co-worker, Bob Bankard, wrote a funny column about
a crazy chick who wants to get married.

Awesome Wednesday links and MP3s

Remember those red plaque tablets from elementary school?
5ives has five memorable childhood pills.

I totally remember number five!

Artie Lange fans concerned about his welfare will cringe when listening to:

Artie the Sad Clown part 1 (right click, save as)
Artie the Sad Clown part 2 (right click, save as)
Artie, the day after talks about meeting Dana (right click, save as)

I have a feeling today that I'm going to have a good experience.

My girlfriend says Chip Ralston's columns on are funny.

Dell recently lost their #1 customer service satisfaction ranking I'm planning on buying my new computer from Dell. I had a quick question for their customer service department.

The first time I called, they hung up on me.

The second time I called, I got the answer I was looking for, but not before the representative exercised some poor customer service etiquette and scoffed at me for what she perceived as a stupid question.

After researching I found some people are incredibly dissatisfied with Dell customer service.

Some people have reported that Dell computers stop working shortly after purchase, or fail to work properly straight out of the box.

Maybe I should look into getting an HP, since they snagged the #1 customer service satisfaction ranking from Dell.

Junkyard Willie hijacks customer service calls (links to MP3s).

Jim Florentine terrorizes telemarketers (links to MP3s).
McG's top 10 CDs for August 17

1. John Coltrane - A Love Supreme - I wanted to pick up the 2-CD deluxe edition of this stellar jazz classic, but opted for the 2003 single disc reissue. Sourced from a recently unearthed master, this sonic masterpiece is allegedly more perfect sounding than before. Whatever the case is, this is simply a masterpiece of an album.

2. Bad Religion - The Empire Strikes First - Bad Religion's latest record keeps finding its way into my CD player. It's because the production is crisp, but not overbearing and the performance, especially the drumming is tight. BR's killer punk melodies and oohs and aahs, may sound similar, but Bad Religion's cultural and political observations have never sounded so fresh.

3. Bad Religion - Suffer - This is a newly remastered edition of this classic LP originally released in 1987. No bonus tracks or liner notes unfortunately, still, this is a kickass record that really put Bad Religion on the map and was the foundation for many great BR records to follow. Stripped down, to-the-point melodic punk that never loses its appeal.

4. Art Blakey - Unbreakable - At one point in time, I had a pretty killer jazz collection, but ended up selling it for $$$. I'm trying to build up my collection once again and this was on of my first acquisitions. Blakey's drum fills are subtle but amazing and his backing band, the Jazz Messengers, (including my favorite trumpetist, Lee Morgan), are smooth and sublime on this 1964 recording.

5. Elliott Smith - From a Basement on a Hill - Not sure if the copy I downloaded is the official advance copy, or one made up of demos and unmixed masters. Either way It sounds pretty close to what Smith's posthumous album will most likely be. There are several quiet acoustic pieces alongside a few louder, more rocking pieces. At least two songs have a heavy John Lennon and George Harrison influence. Not as immediate as "XO" and "Figure 8," "From a Basement on a Hill" will probably please fans nonetheless and will undoubtedly raise the question of what other Elliott Smith material we can expect from the vaults.

6. The Marked Men - The Marked Men - This first album by ex-members of the Reds has been getting consistent play in my car CD player. I just can't get enough of this hyper quick melodic punk. I think this might even be better than their current album, "On the Outside," which is also insanely catchy.

7. The Reds - It's About Time - The second and final album by the Reds, 3/4 of whom went onto form the Marked Men. While the songwriting is a little more primitive than what these guys have produced under the Marked Men moniker, this is essentially the same type great punk pop stuff played ridiculously fast and recorded in a charming and slightly crude setting.

8. The Briefs - Singles Only - This CD collects the bulk of the Briefs' 7" output. The band has always been really engaging, and their overly melodic singles always had a snide sense of humor. Why this band already isn't huge is beyond me. They are really great and some of their best tracks are here.

9. The Fall - 50,000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong - Nice overview of the Fall's output from their early singles right up to the most current record. It's kind of startling to hear some of the drum machine driven stuff of the late '80s that was in vogue at the time. However there is plenty of the primitive pummel and the Fall's discordant drone here.

10. Lee Morgan - The Sixth Sense - This is recently reissue of "The Sixth Sense" was remastered by the premiere engineer of essential jazz, Rudy Van Gelder, who also presided over the original sessions. Morgan churns out some nice bop and a mellow ballad on this collection. Tacked on the end are three bonus tracks that don't quite fit the laid-back tone of this album, but are decent and upbeat boppers just the same.
Not enough time for McG's recommended links

Every now and then I just sit at the computer and go out of my way to find interesting things to look at that I haven't seen before. This is like link-clicking-stream-of-consciousness of all sorts of things right now.

My former boss' husband does stuff on which has some decent music and film coverage. The humor is sarcastic (always a fave wih me) ... the woman sitting next to me at work is listening to AC/DC's "For Those About to Rock" ...

...I thought this story called Dirty Fan Male was pretty good if you're into reading the type of fan mail porno stars receive ...

...I've been digging the new Bad Religion album, "The Empire Strikes First," a lot lately. This interview with singer Greg Gaffin is worth checking out if you're a BR fan ...

... I used to be infatuated with the Jackalope a long time ago, when I used to road trip a lot ... I wish I lived in Australia so I could buy the 4 CD boxset by the Saints ...

... Someone once said that Benn Ray of Atomic Books shares my cynical comedic leanings ... I thought this column on scammers was pretty good ...

...The other day I was in front of my house and some dude kept yelling, "Excuse me sir!" and against better judgement, I stopped to see what he wanted. He started in with asking if I could perform an unspecified favor for him, (which probably would have fallen under the category of nuisance crime), to which I honestly replied, "probably not." He immediately countered with, "you won't do me a favor because I'm a black man? What are you racist?" ... this is why I ignore beggars, panhandlers and anyone who addresses me as sir or says, "Excuse me sir!" ...

... I found the other day and thought it might be of interest to someone ... the possibilities of MP3 blogs are pretty exciting, but I've found too many sites that regurgitate what free MP3 links are out there and don't help readers discover exciting music ...

... I linked to an advance copy of the new Elliott Smith album the other day ... I didn't list the exact content of the link (for obvious reasons) and the only comment I got was from someone asking, "What is this? You have to register!" ... now what we be the point of explicitly publicizing and linking to a site to download an album that isn't out yet? ...

... One of my favorite download sites, infekt, was finally taken down. A bunch of loudmouths on a bulletin board ruined it for everyone ... forget Red Bull, I'm sticking with Red Skunk ...

... Actually, I'm a fan of Rockstar Diet Energy Drink because it helps me stay awake when I have to get up at 2:45 a.m. ... I think the lamest energy drink out there is Pimp Juice which is essentially antifreeze-colored apple juice ...
Still tied up

Well, I was supposed to have some free time to myself today and tomorrow, but as I suspected, something came up at the last minute.

I wanted to do some reading, work on a mix CD, download some new music and catch up on my backlog of tapes of Howard Stern. All that has to wait.

I do have access to a computer which is nice, but I'm kind of burnt out on all the sites I usually read.

I saw a camel cry yesterday

I saw the film, "The Story of the Weeping Camel," yesterday which was a cool documentary about a family in Mongolia and how they deal with a mother camel who shuns her newborn colt.

It was really an interesting film, with minimal dialog. Just images of the Mongolian desert, lots and lots of camels and sheep and little pockets of families living out a daily existence with only the bare essentials.

Razorcake rocks!

I got the first issue of my subscription to Razorcake Magazine. I am so stoked. It really is a great zine and fills the gap left by Flipside and does the punk rock magazine thing better than Punk Planet could ever manage.

Must have music coming soon

I'm finishing a project for work called, "Must Have Music," in which I reviewed the ten must have CDs in ten genres including hip-hop and country to punk and soundtracks. Writing 100 record reviews was a lot more demanding than I thought and editing them has proved to be a challenge.

I have six more reviews to write, do some additional editing, then track down all the images. I'll be building it starting this week and should have it online at the beginning of next month.

I haven't felt too inspired to write any new record reviews for my column, but then again, I haven't had much time at all to do so. Maybe I'll try working on it tomorrow?

New PC is on the way

I'm going to be getting my new computer soon! I am psyched on that.

Which reminds me, I couldn't believe how many of you were mortally offended by my suggestion that you consider donating a buck to help me buy a new computer.

While a few of you realized what I was trying to accomplish and chipped in, a lot of you said I was simply begging and panhandling. I got some responses where people were incredibly offended. You would think I had uttered some racist slander or some other grievous offense.

You know, I donate money frequently. Whether it's laying down a nice tip for the friendly waitresses at my favorite Mexican restaurant, Tijuana Taco Shop, or chipping in a dollar or two to help greyhound rescues, help fund presidential campaigns or keep my favorite sites online.

What's a buck or two these days anyway? Not much at all.
I'll be back shortly

Hey folks, I've been occupied this week with some personal business I had to tend to. I'm finishing things up today.

Once I get some much needed sleep, I'll have some new stuff for you including two book reviews (Dan Fante's "Spitting Off Tall Buildings" and Jacob Slichter's "So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star"), this week's top 10 CDs as picked by yours truly and some Web sites and videos that made me laugh out loud.
Some songs are rough demos ...

... some might be closer to the final mixes.
Catch a good deal

I've been finding lots of good coupons and deals on

Borders coupon.
20% off almost everything at Borders in-store. Good for stocking up on CDs! Hurry up though, the coupon expires tomorrow, Monday, August 9.

Old Navy coupon.
$5 off a $25 Old Navy purchase in-store. They also have a $10 off a $50 purchase coupon.

I shop at Old Navy because everything they sell matches easily. On their website, it even tells you which shirts match which pants, which is essential for a person like myself who was raised on Garanimals.
McG's current top 10 CDs

Bad Religion - The Empire Strikes FirstI hate it when people say things like, "You know, there isn't any good new music out there!"

I just give them a look that says, what the !*$#? are you talking about?!

I think the problem is just the opposite; there's too much good new music out there, and try as I might, I can't keep track of it all.

Anyway, here are my current picks for top 10 CDs.

10. Bad Religion - The Empire Strikes First - Business as usual with the catchy melodies and oohs and aahs, but played with impeccable precision. The drumming on this record is sick. I downloaded this and was so impressed, I bought my own copy.
Bad Religion MP3s

9. The Lovekill - The Lovekill EP - Kinda has the urgency of mid-'80s Dischord bands such as Scream and Rites of Spring. Songwriting is interesting and rocking and singer sounds like Guy Picciotto at times and like Mick Collins at others. The kind of band Touch & Go would put out - if they were still a rock label.
The Lovekill MP3s

8. Floor - Floor - They just released their lost album from 1994, but its this 2002 self-titled CD that is must-have. Heavy in the vein of Karp, Melvins and Sabbath. Easily one of the most dense recordings I've ever heard.
MP3: Floor - "Scimitar"

7. The Paybacks - Harder and Harder - What a rockin' record! Brash, confident swagger with cut-to-the-chase riffs. Reminds me a little of Joan Jett, but much harder and grittier.
MP3: The Paybacks - "Scotch Love"

6. Sahara Hotnights - Kiss & Tell - Slicker and more cleaned up and produced than "Jennie Bomb," but still some good songs here.
Listen to clips at

5. Career Suicide - Career Suicide LP - Raw and crude hardcore punk. Short songs, fired up singer and good ol' fashioned punk rock vibe circa MRR 1984. This is supposed to come out on a Career Suicide comp CD. Can't wait for that.
MP3s at

4. Henry Fiat's Open Sore - The Parallel Universe of - Really kicks ass. Fast-as-hell thrash rockers who spew out 25 songs in 35 minutes. Swedish dudes who just unleash everything and give it their all. Rock and roll in its most primitive and accelerated state.
MP3: Henry Fiat's Open Sore - "Hey Ju"

3. The Knockout Pills - 1 + 1 = Ate - New LP on Estrus is a ripper. A polished 4-track recording (i.e., it's raw and alive!) with some killer cuts. Fans of Clorox Girls and Marked Men take note.
MP3: The Knockout Pills - "Target H"
MP3: The Knockout Pills - "Do the Skin Crawl"

2. The Soviettes - II - Every record store I've been to in the past month hasn't stocked any Soviettes CDs. I can't understand why, since this is primo punk-rock-and-roll and is rife with killer melodies and well written songs.
MP3: The Soviettes - "#1 is Number Two"

1. Mastodon - Leviathan - Over-the-top metal infused punk with jazzy drumming, pummeling rhythms and intense guitar work. This band just slays it on every song and is one of my favorite new discoveries (even though they have an EP and two LPs to their credit.) Out at the end of August, I downloaded this recording, but you can bet your ass I'll be buying a copy when it comes out.
Mastodon official site
Negative feedback

This was the first image that I could find that conveyed negativity after reading somethingSometimes I wonder why I do this website, write about music and make an effort to tell people about interesting things.

Feedback is rare, but when I receive it, its usually negative and has tones of hostility and is usually topped off with a nice insult.

I've understand what Howard Stern says about his recently launched bulletin board on He built a place where interested people could meet up in a forum and share ideas. Most people go there to insult people and express a lot of "negatism." (That's a word invented by O.J. Simpson.)

There's something removed about the Internet that allows people to feel they can unleash harsher sentiments than they would when talking to someone face to face.
Titanic Pimp video

Holy crap.
Hacking murder & Zeke "West Seattle Acid Party"

If you've been following the story of the missing woman from Utah, Lori Hacking, and her husband Mark Hacking who was just arrested for the murder of his wife, you may have picked up on the mention of a song by punk rock band Zeke.

During a search of Hacking's house last month police confiscated a shirt from murder suspect Mark Hacking's house that said, "West Seattle Acid Party" on it.

I was almost certain that the shirt had to have been referring to the Zeke song of the same name. In fact, after some googling, all that came up was Zeke's song.

I first heard the mention on Court TV, then read it in this article:

"The police report also detailed some of the evidence seized on July 19. That evidence included papers, two T-shirts that said "Big Rock" and "West Seattle Acid Party," a hat, orange twine, pillow, pillow cases, bedding packages, men's athletic shoes size 11, a blue and white plaid shirt and a pair of men's denim jeans." (...more)

Of course, this is no way whatsoever implies any actual connection between Zeke and the Hacking case. I just found it an interesting tidbit.


In completely unrelated news, according to Zeke's official site, they will be touring with Motorhead! A perfect match if I've ever heard one.

McG's Tuesday playlist

Everyone at the post office knows I'm a music writer so they often chat me up about new music. Today somebody asked me if I was into the Allman Brothers!

If I see that "Whipping Post" video on VH1 one more time, I'm gonna hurt someone.

Then the conversation turned to country and rockabilly, and then to the Eagles training camp. Totally weird, as I just wanted to pick up my mail and not have to think about sports (which I have to deal with at work), because I really hate them!

Anyway, I'm sitting in front of the computer today and writing record reviews and listening to music. Here's the playlist for today.

The Knockout Pills - "1 + 1 = Ate" - The 2nd album by this Tuscon, AZ quartet. A really killer LP in the vein of recent rippers by Clorox Girls and The Marked Men. Not out until Sept. 14, but Estrus has graciously posted 2 MP3s to rev up your appetite.
MP3: The Knockout Pills - "Target H"
MP3: The Knockout Pills - "Do the Skin Crawl"

Mastodon - "Leviathan" - I heard John Peel play these guys a month ago and was instantly hooked. Insane metal with great melodies. Imagine Slayer crossed with King Crimson. There's also a prog rock feel a la Don Caballero. Is it punk? Is it metal? It doesn't really matter, it kicks ass. Out August 31.
Check Relapse Records for MP3s

The Undertones - "Listening In: The BBC Sessions" - Not the best sounding radio sessions I've ever heard. The performances aren't as tight and punchy as the studio recordings. I recommend the band's first album, "The Undertones" highly.

Here's an MP3 from from that album, which you can get on vinyl from No Ambition Records.
MP3: The Undertones - "I Gotta Getta"

Henry Fiat's Open Sore - "The Parallel Universe of" - Just listening for the first time. Kind of reminds me of the Dwarves and the Hives' first record. The band members are wearing suits and masks on the cover. I think this will be good driving music as I commute into work at 4:00 a.m.

Here's an MP3 from the band's 2001 7", "Makes Your Cock Big."
MP3:Henry Fiat's Open Sore - "Hey Ju"
10 dollar bag of heroin, just off I-95

$10-a-bag heroin, just off I-95 describes how you can pull off of I-95 in Wilmington, Delaware and buy yourself some reasonably priced and nearly pure heroin.

I live in Wilmington and while I've seen drug deals go down in the street, I had no idea I could get heroin so cheaply. And in my neighborhood nonetheless. Convenient!

McG's movie trailer recommendations

Watching movie trailers online is fun if you have a solid high-speed connection and the video doesn't get all choppy.

The trailer for John Waters' new film, "A Dirty Shame," is pretty friggin funny
Waters should wear the NC-17 rating as a badge of honor.

"Mean Creek" looks good
But it does raise the question, how many of these Culkin kids are there?

Check out the kid in the McDonald's costume in "The Corporation"
This is from the same folks who did the Noam Chomsky documentary, "Manufacturing Consent."

I've heard nothing but glowing praise for "The Battle of Algiers"
I hope this comes to my local art theater, Theater N.

The Japanese version of "The Grudge (Ju-On)"
looks way creepier than
the American Version of "The Grudge"
Why does Hollywood have to remake foreign films all the time?