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.