March 31, 2010

Spoon: Part 2

It was invigorating searching for the Royal Oak Music Theater. My Mapquest directions, scratched on a little notecard in a sloppy hand, failed me miserably. Econ combined his limited knowledge of the area with Vanessa's GPS, in response to which I got to use one of my favorite Bogart quotes where it fit in a natural conversation. "You're a good man, sister." To which she responded, "Yeah, I know." She was little impressed with my Mapquest directions.
But we made it.

Deerhunter flopped miserably. Sound difficulties and apparently an improperly tuned guitar, or something of the sort, led to awkward silly remarks from the front man, which in turn roused comments of "Leave!" and "Spoon! Spoon!" from the crowd. It was embarrassing. Towards the end, the front man for Deerhunter asked "Are you ready for Spoon?" to which the crowd responded in the affirmative, then he quipped, "You'll have to be louder than that, we can't stop playing unless we can hear you! So, are you ready ...for SPOON?!?!" And the crowd was forced to repeat itself.

Now, to reiterate some of our previous comments, Vanessa and I are not "Spoon fans." There's no reason for it, other than neglect and other bands commanding our attention. But the instant the first song began, the first two words that came into my head were "tight" and "professional." This was partly due to the contrast of the opening band, but the impression held throughout the show.
Vanessa and I both enjoyed the length of the set. I was dancing to songs that I didn't know the words to, and whose progressions I could not anticipate. It felt like discovering new material from an old favorite band; the "this is a new song" rush. However, I was also very embarrassed to be among the goombas who lit up when "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb" began. I realize a band is more than its big hit, and hate to be one of "them." On the other hand, I was pleased to be singing along to their cover of "Modern World" by Wolf Parade, while all the committed Spoon fans swayed awkwardly out of time.
We have little to say about the details of the concert, except that we are now Spoon fans.

Random observations:

Vanessa: liked Britt Daniel's little leather jacket.
Kyle: noticed he kept running his hand through his hair, presumably to give it a "wild, haphazard" look for photographs.
V: enjoyed watching Daniel, as she could only see him through the crowd, and noticed he is very unaffected and cool. One might say "unaffected" is a definition of "cool." And that, Britt Daniel is.
K: kept a sharp eye on the drunk frat monkey behind V, particularly his hand which strayed dangerously near to the back of V's skirt as he swayed.
K & V: were annoyed by the intense white lights that flashed into the crowd during key moments of certain songs, but loved the light show in general. Excellent color schemes. Especially the slate purple combined with slightly yellow-tinted, horizontal spotlights on the band.

On the ride home, Vanessa fell asleep and Econ and I pondered the abruptness of a certain exit off the highway into downtown Ann Arbor, which nearly impaled my little Honda on a concrete divider.

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Three thoughts

Over the past couple of days, I've casually mulled over three different topics. I figured it'd be good to toss them to the wind and get some feedback:

1. What's the deal with the Drive-by Truckers? - They sound like terrible modern-day "southern rock." Something in the vein of "Sweet Home Alabama" ... something that leaves me wanting a shower after a listen.

2. Phrase explanation - Take a look at this make-believe conversation:

PERSON #1: I wish you'd stop comparing the size of my ass to Jermaine Dye's. WTFuck, man? What? Do you hate me?

PERSON #2: It's not that I hate you, it's that you eat a lot of mayonnaise.

PERSON #1: Oh. Okay, cool. No problem then.

When Person #2 says: "It's not that I hate you, it's....", does that mean that Person #2 admits to hating him (but that's not the reason he made the comment)? OR, is he saying, 'What are you talking about? Don't think I hate you. I don't.'?

3. You got it - I used to hate when people asked me to wish them luck. I never knew how to respond.

If you say, "Oh, good luck!" you've forced yourself into an awkward spot in the conversation, not to mention you run the risk of sounding half-interested. But if you don't say anything at all, you look like an ass.

Up until a couple of days ago I'd laugh nervously and say 'Yeah!' But a better response dawned on me two nights ago:

Just say: "You got it."


March 30, 2010


A weekly sampler of what we're listening to (new and old), and what we think you might like, too.


WILCO -- "I'm A Wheel"
The more I listen to A Ghost Is Born, the more I'm convinced that it's Wilco's most half-assed record. Not in the sense it's bad (looking your way, Sky Blue Sky), but in the sense that it never makes up its mind.

I mean, give every song screeching Neil Young guitar feedback like on "Spiders (Kidsmoke)" or make every song sound like some sort of not-as-good retread of Uncle Tupelo's "Sandusky" like on the Ghost song "Muzzle of Bees". But for the love of god, don't have them follow one another on the same record! Ruins the momentum, and just makes me hungry for more of one style that I do not get.

All that said, "I'm A Wheel" is the album's best middle ground between loud and rockin' and soft and pensive. Maybe it's the reason why it constantly gets stuck in my head.

CALVIN HARRIS -- "Acceptable in the 80s"
Found this song in Wes Peden's new juggling video. It's like the denouement of all things MGMT and Gorillaz.

SANTIGOLD -- "Shove It"
With an unabashed dislike for hipsters and R&B, and self-described love for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Pixies and M.I.A., I had to check out Santigold. After a few song listens I got the album and have been enjoying listening to her for the past week.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS -- "18 Wheels of Love"
I've been listening to Gangstabilly and Pizza Deliverance. Their personal, down-and-out narratives often call the Mountain Goats to mind, but with a twist of ironic, self-deprecating optimism. This song shows that pretty well.

QUEEN -- "Somebody to Love"
I don't care who you are, where you are, what you're doing, or who you're doing it to, "Somebody to Love" is a great song. It's that simple.
"Let's do it!"

MUMFORD & SONS -- "Sigh No More"
I've been listening to this album since [Chase] posted it last week.

WOLF PARADE -- "Killing Armies"
Exuberant, brilliant play on the phrase "If looks could kill". Plus, I love Spencer's scream in the middle section at the word "So?"

Julie paused her fast-paced, Charlottesville-cosmopolitan life to contribute this week. With a flare for sarcasm, good design and photography, Julie appreciates the little things in typography, driving and watching parasailing mishaps.

JOHN LEE HOOKER -- "Leave My Wife Alone"
I've liked this song for a while now. Every once in a while it pops up in my life, on an mix or compilation. This morning it popped up again when I woke up with it in my head, and it was the first song to play on my car radio this morning. John Lee Hooker is a legend with a great name. I hope you enjoy this song.


March 29, 2010

Review: Traffic: Why we drive the way we do

Driving is one exception to my general laxity toward rules, safety, and preaching.

I grouse about other drivers often: their failure to use cruise control and observe the conventions of the passing lane; inappropriate following distances; and most recently, driving while calling (which I recently swore off) and texting (which I never did from the get-go).

Among my friends, I feel at ease as a passenger with only two.

And despite Tom Vanderbilt's explanation that most of us aren't as good at driving as we think we are, I will really never be able to relinquish the pride that surrounds my A+ in driver's ed. My instructor Cliff made a point to announce to the class that my grade was the first of its kind in all his teaching years. Katie can back this up.

All this considered, my recent reading of Traffic: Why we drive the way we do, only heightened my sense of duty to spread better driving habits; to continue to preach; to continue to openly and vocally wince at what I considered dangerous habits. Facts and figures aside, the logic and insight and observations of the book impressed upon me the need for continued diligence in driving.

"Required reading for anyone applying for a driver's license," reads the New York Times book review tag line on the cover of Traffic. I agree. In addition to cartography or detective-work I now place traffic engineering and driver's education as candidates for any mid-life career change, should it come.

I found myself consuming the book in tiny chunks because of its ability to provoke thoughts.

And Vanderbilt often references Seinfeld.

From the book:
:: Think of language, perhaps the defining human characteristic. Being in a car renders us mostly mute ... the language of traffic is reduced ... to only the simplest of meanings.

:: Many studies have confirmed this: Eye contact greatly increases the chances of gaining cooperation in various experimental games.

:: Late Merge wa srolled out by traffic engineers in Pennsylvania in the 1990s in response to reports of aggressive driving at merge locations. In this system, engineers posted a succession of signs, beginning a mile and a half from the closure. First came USE BOTH LANES TO MERGE POINT, then a ROAD WORK AHEAD or two, and finally, at the lane drop: MERGE HERE TAKE YOUR TURN.

The beauty of the Late Merge system is that it removes the insecurity or anxiety drivers may feel in choosing lanes, as well as their annoyance with a passing "cheating" driver.

The most surprising thing about the Late Merge concept is that is showed a 15 percent improvement in traffic flow over the conventional merge.

:: A bias creeps into news reports, which are often quick to note, when reporting fatal crashes, that "no drugs or alcohol were involved," subtly absolving the driver from full responsibility.

:: Hans Monderman

:: Instead of speed bumps, which tell drivers to drive as fast as they can before they hit the next speed bump, Engwicht argues that intrigue and uncertainity -- the things that active cities are filled with -- are the best remedies for traffic problems. Put a child's bike on the side of th eroad instead of a speed bump; hang a weird sculpture instead of a speed-limit sign.

:: Monderman's signless squareabout: Since the conversion, the average time to cross the intersection has dropped by 40 percent, even as traffic has increased. More cyclists were using hand signals when moving in the roundabout. More drivers were using their signals, as well. The responsibility for getting through the intersection was now up to the users, and they responded by communicating among themselves. The result was that the system was safer, even though the majority of users, polled in local surveys, felt that the system was more dangerous!
Vanderbilt's conclusion: On the road, we make our judgments about what's risky and what's safe using our own imperfect human calculus. We think large trucks are dangerous, but then we drive unsafely around them ... We do not let children walk to school even though driving in a car presents a greater hazard ... We used hands-free cell phones to avoid risky dialing and then spend mroe time on risky calls (among other things) ... We drive at a minuscule following distance to the car ahead, exceeding our ability to avoid a crash, with a blind faith that the driver ahead will never have a reason to suddenly stop. We have gotten to the point where cars are safer than ever, yet traffic fatalities cling to stubbornly high levels. We know all this, and act as if we don't.

Next reading: The Routes of Man by Ted Conover.

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March 28, 2010

What we're reading #011

Each Friday we share our Web discoveries, mostly pulled from our RSS feeds and Twitter accounts. If there's something we should know about, please write to thesadbear [at] gmail [dot] com.

This is late again. Totally my fault. But some great reading and viewing follows:

A city united by tragedy, divided by its kindness (WSJ)
Judges don't slow 100 mph speeders (Trib)
Public triumph, private torment
Indestructible soccer ball
Tyson's pigeons (nod to Silliman)
Chase's pigeon (VPA award-winning)
Cortes de Nico audio slideshow
All the Sheikh's horses
Pictory: your best photo stories
Polaroid scarves
Wes Peden's "Plaid"

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March 27, 2010

Spoon :: 2010

Setlist (approx.)
1 Me and the Bean (acoustic)
2 The Mystery Zone (acoustic)
3 My Mathematical Mind
4 Written in Reverse
5 The Ghost of You Lingers
6 The Beast and Dragon, Adored
7 Got Nuffin
8 Someone Something
9 I Summon You
10 Love Song (The Damned cover)
11 Is Love Forever?
12 You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb
13 I Saw The Light
14 Don't You Evah
15 I Turn My Camera On
16 Don't Make Me A Target
17 Small Stakes
18 Out Go the Lights
19 Rhythm and Soul
20 Nobody Gets Me But You
21 Jonathon Fisk

Tony says:
Just a few songs into Spoon's set last week, someone behind me uttered an observant truth: "The guy's got presence."

That guy, of course, is Britt Daniel, lead man of the band. But it's not just Britt. The whole band has it. From their set structure, to the white panels that stood behind them to reflect colors, to the sparse candle-type lights that adorned their stage for low-light moments, the Spoon set was lovingly crafted.

They also rocked. Every transmittance from Daniels' guitar was a screechy-sick crunchy spasm. The organ and various samples hummed in my belly. And Jim Eno is delightful to watch on drums and reminiscent of Jon Dunn in his shoulders and by his choice of a tall drum stool and simple setup.

Overall, I left the show completely satisfied. I would have liked to hear "Trouble Comes Running," and could have done without "The Ghost of You Lingers" (the only Spoon mistake in their deep catalog).

But they nailed many of the little album details that I wondered about for a live show -- abrupt song ends, vocal effects, etc. Those little elements built magnificently on "Nobody Gets Me But You." I believe the song, which concludes "Transference," is the band's greatest work. They placed the song second to last in the set, another good choice, I'd say, as a sort of climax before wrapping up with the brisk "Jonathan Fisk" like a ribbon bow atop the package.

Chase says:
This was the second time I've seen Spoon, the first was at Detroit CityFest, and both times I walked away completely satisfied. We saw them at The National in Richmond, my first time at the venue. The show started with just Britt Daniel alone on stage playing acoustic versions of "Me and the Bean" and "Mystery Zone" (one of my favorites from their new album, Transference).

Then everyone came on stage and launched into what ended up being a great show.

I count Spoon as my favorite modern-day band. I listened the hell out of Kill the Moonlight a couple of years ago, and ever since then I've been eating them up. My opinion of them sky-rocketed even more when I read a recent New York Times article where they describe their pride being a beardless band. Bits of that article ran through my head as I watched them play the other night.

We talked a good bit about them on the car ride back to Waynesboro, coming to the conclusion that they're one of those bands who's albums come without many mistake songs. During the night they did play "The Ghost of You Lingers" (definitely a Spoon mistake on Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, but other than that, good times). They're also a band with no apparent pretension, and I think that's pretty obvious based on their music and stage presence.

It was put well during the return trip to Waynesboro: the band is one part sexy, one part rockin' and one part pop.

Britt Daniel on stage is mesmerizing...and I'm unabashedly a fanboy at this juncture (have been for a while now). The rigidity in his voice makes his music especially human to me, and when he goes crazy on the guitar it makes sense...those were some of the moments I was most into the music, too. The show didn't seem riddled and draped with technological getup, just a lot of honest instrumentation and rockin' fun.

My favorite moment of the show (not favorite song) was when they played "Small Stakes," the first track on Kill the Moonlight. But I think my favorite song of the night was probably "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb" or "I Summon You" or "My Mathematical Mind." Definitely enjoyed listening "Don't Make Me a Target."

I thought the live version of "Written in Reverse" was more enjoyable than the album version, for what it's worth.

Another thing I noticed there was the Richmond audience. Unsure yet if I should clap when the band yelled, "Hello Richmond!' I think this must be an uneasiness after a couple of bad audiences I witnessed in Arizona. Plus, I've only been here for a few months.

In the end, I felt great moving along with the people around me...and I think I can vouch for them enough to bring me to see The Flaming Lips in April and maybe Of Montreal (again) in June.



Favorite song: "I Summon You"
Favorite moment: Racecar-like guitar tone on "Rhythm and Soul"
Member to watch: Eric Harvey on keyboard
Observation: Daniels' huge nose shadow on the theater's ornate walls

Favorite song: "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb"
Favorite moment: The opening notes of "Small Stakes"
Member to watch: Britt Daniels
Observation: Greens and oranges on the backdrops; also dancing audience members

Econ (3/30/2010)
Favorite song:
Favorite moment:
Member to watch:

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March 25, 2010

All in your mind

Called the number, but no answer. I'm starting to suspect something. Think about it. Leave this business card available for anyone to pick up at any coffee shop. Most, like I, will do so intrigued. For the novelty. But the people that you WANT to pick it up can read between the lines. The spooks. Hidden in plain sight. Maybe you told them where to go and what to look for in on a shortwave numbers station. They know the rest. More ciphers on the card, somewhere. Brilliant. (I think I just wrote the intro to the next Bourne Identity movie.)

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March 24, 2010


A weekly sampler of what we're listening to (new and old), and what we think you might like, too.


DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS -- "Get Downtown"
I was unsure just what song I was going to use until I received all the submissions and it sealed it. This Drive-By song marriages the Springsteen "down and out" lyrical mentality with the Hold Steady's character sketches that may or may not be autobiographical. Throw in that Stones-ey Southern blues-rock groove and lyrics that put a face on the recession ("Get downtown, see what you can find/ Put your face in someone's that ain't mine/ Looks like the unemployment blues are wearing out your house shoes")— we've got a winner.

HANDSOME FURS -- "Radio's Hot Sun"
I specifically like this version of "Radio's Hot Sun."

MUMFORD & SONS -- "The Cave"
I listened to this teaser to their just-released first album a few months ago and forgot about them. But I flipped on the radio this week and heard their voices sing a different song. I had to sit for a moment, parked, to place them.

I'd like to listen to the rest of their album. Not sure how different they are from the Avett Brothers...but I liked them well enough this week.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN -- "Cadillac Ranch"
This one's for Glenn Beck, who was aghast to discover on closer examination of the lyrics that "Born in the U.S.A." isn't the jingoistic anthem he thought it was. I also have to admit that in the few times I'd listened to The River, I rarely paid close attention to the words—the lyricism is more opaque than that of Greetings from Asbury Park or Born to Run. Here, crowd favorites like "Hungry Heart" and "Cadillac Ranch" betray the heartland jam veneer. The latter evokes the image of a hearse, a metaphor made even more concrete by Daniel Johnston, who wrote "Funeral Home" after hearing "Cadillac Ranch" in 1985. But in any event, I don't think the realization makes the song any less fun to drive to.

No BS here, just rock n' roll.

I like Marc Ribot. He's a cool cat. It's sort of like fucked up avant-garde Cuban jazz rock.

THE VIOLENT FEMMES -- "Country Death Song" and "It's Gonna Rain"
I've been listening to Violent Femmes's album Hallowed Ground a lot recently. Maggie has been in town; we listened to this album three or four times on the way to the nearby gorge, which we hiked through one afternoon. I don't know if there's a weak song on the album, and these are two of my favorites.

Seth is a drummer who hails from Grand Blanc, Michigan. He is Chief Funk Evangelist at Hillsdale, where he is earning a music degree. He posts on Tumblr.

THE HOLD STEADY -- "Chips Ahoy"
On the first sunny day this year I put on Separation Sunday, and I knew it was getting to be the time of year when all I want to do is grill, drink, and listen to The Hold Steady. They're a really great mix of meaty, Led Zeppelin guitar and the playfulness of Elvis Costello, making for fun summertime music.

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March 21, 2010

Scooby Doin' #010

Each Friday (usually) we share our Web discoveries. If there's something we should know about, please write to thesadbear [at] gmail [dot] com.

Backboard-shattering dunk (and slideshow)
Reporters in Mexico on the retreat
13 years hunting for a predator
Femivore's dilemma
Reporter avoids jail
Purdy's busy week
New Black Keys
Fox and Conan
Peeps show

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March 16, 2010


A weekly sampler of what we're listening to (new and old), and what we think you might like, too.


LAWRENCE ARABIA -- "The Beautiful Young Crew"
A vote for Lawrence Arabia is a vote for New Zealand. And a vote for New Zealand is a vote for quality pop music everywhere. Also, for some slightly NSFW fun: "Apple Pie Bed" (lots of semi-nude men and women in sleeping leingerie jumping on beds and having pillow fights).

KING KAHN -- "Burnin' Inside"
Inspired by last week's Mix, I was listening to the Black Lips one morning while chatting with Econ about being Chase's boss. Then I hopped in the shower and BAM "Burnin' Inside" hit me. I spent the rest of the shower bopping out the drumbeat.

GORILLAZ -- "Rhinestone Eyes"
This was actually a last minute pick. I was originally planning to use "On Melancholy Hill", which I've been listening to for days while writing in the newsroom. Both songs are from the new Gorillaz album, Plastic Beach.

There was something about "Rhinestone Eyes" that caught me last minute. It's one of the only "vintage" Gorillaz songs on their new album...and I like it. In all, I have to say I'm a fan. While it took a few listens to feel comfortable with so much guest artist work, I think they did a good job of keeping a seamless flow into different emotions (a talent I think I can attribute to the Gorillaz).

Anyway, these are my two favorite songs on the new album. Both are fine for writing.

THE BOOKS -- "Getting the Done Job"
The Books mix found sound and strings in a way that opens and refreshes my mind on every listen. A few years ago, Tony and I bummed some tickets to a free show they did in the atrium of the University of Michigan Museum of Art, where they surprised us by projecting ephemeral film clips synchronized with their live performance. Their discography includes a compilation of songs recorded at the request of the French Ministry of Culture for use in an elevator, and their forthcoming album looks to self-help and hypnotherapy cassettes for samples and inspiration. But this clip is from their first album, Thought for Food.

This song has become a favorite of mine to listen to on breaks at work. This song makes me happy.

Because I couldn't find a decent performance of this song on YouTube, I opted to submit an interview with The Clash in Toronto, because they have also been a big part of my week (in fact, several weeks past). They, and Iggy Pop, and the Velvet Underground have gotten me through MANY visits from the awful, intolerable, square-cut, and wonky dreaded District Manager both at Starbucks and the bank. I just love the way Joe Strummer talks. Everything pisses him off. Everything. And that's what makes a role model...well, if you work at a bank.

* Just as a note, Kyle did submit only The Clash interview. For the sake of the playlist I found "Sweet Jane" and used it for his song. His original link is the one in his description.


March 14, 2010

Ruminations on Chatroulette

If you haven't yet been to Chatroulette, here's the premise: Anyone with a webcam goes to the site and clicks "play." The site finds a random person to chat with -- also with webcam. You never know what you'll find (although if you've tried it, you know the ratio is pretty much 30 men to each woman, and that you're as likely to see man junk as ... anything else). Either person chatting can quickly click "next" and find another random person with which to chat.

Generally, I think, the site is a) worthless and b) schizo. Chatters don't stick around long and there are many, many landmines.

However, I stuck it out for about an hour the other night with Riviera helping me quickly convey that I was interested in genuine (random) chatting. The screenshot above shows when we found another webcam that was focused on a fluffy dog. I started all my chats with the camera pointed at Riviera and tried to initiate genuine conversations.

Ultimately I made a penpal friend from Puerto Rico. I also met a college kid in Utah, a gritty fella from Lisbon, and at least three other dogs!

This is no endorsement, but I think chatroulette is at least a one-time adventure worth trying. You never know, you could run into Snoop Dog.

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March 13, 2010

Scooby doin' #009

New map books
Human subway map
Whales in a lower key
Blaming the basketball
Papyrus or Comic Sans
New White Stripes live album

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March 9, 2010


A weekly sampler of what we're listening to (new and old), and what we think you might like, too.


QUASI -- "Alice the Goon"
Bought my first Quasi album this weekend for $7 at CD Warehouse in Springfield (which might, shockingly, be the best music store in the city). As you all know, I love me some Janet Weiss, and her drumming here doesn't disappoint. Even more engaging is the band's use of acoustic piano (read: real, un-synthesized piano) on top of those sweet drumbeats and Superchunk-style guitars to contribute to their tuneful racket. (More Janet here, with sweet piano breakdown to boot).

GRANDDDY -- "Summer Here Kids"
I learned about Grandaddy two summers back from drummer/juggler friend Nick Laffey, but I didn't especially start listening until about a year later. I hesitated because my first impression was that the band was a fairly brash California pop punk outfit. Boy was I was wrong. They're more up the alley of, I'd say, The Flaming Lips + Weezer. They throw down a lot of moody distortion and soundscapes; some synth. A couple of their songs prove superb on the road.

ARCADE FIRE -- "Intervention"
I checked my iTunes and it says I've played this 14 times since Monday morning. 'Nuff said.

CHUCK MANHIONE -- "Feels So Good"
For a long time now -- maybe years -- I have heard this song every weekday morning at 10:30 a.m. sharp on the office radio, which is permanently tuned to WCSR. I think it serves as a theme for one of their morning programs. For months, the radio version (which might be cover, for all I know) was sufficient to satisfy my musical bemusement per diem as well as take me on a nostalgic daydream back to the Cadillac, Michigan, orthodontist's office where I had heard it countless times on the local "lite" FM mix. After months of casual query into the name of the song, I searched for "flugelhorn", found Chuck Mangione, and found this funky and listenable performance.

ARCADE FIRE -- "Rebellion (Lies)"

I love dark, minor waltzes - this is a really good one. Incredible atmosphere as well with a great transition into the dreamy middle section.

THE GUN CLUB -- "Jack On Fire"
When I first heard of the Bowerbirds I heard theirs was one of the best first full-length releases since The Gun Club. That was the first I'd heard of The Gun Club, but since John Darnielle thought theirs was a first full-length similar to the Bowerbirds', I bought the album.

I don't know if I agree with Darnielle's verdict, but it's a fucking awesome album, and this is one of my favorite songs.

(By way of explaining some other links: it's worth wondering what Jack White was up to when he futzed around with the lyrics here, and you might as well watch The Gun Club perform the song, because they are entertaining.)

Maggie is a SadBear associate who graduated from Hillsdale last year. She now lives in Chicago and works as a web page designer for Sears. She maintains one blog that may or not be dead and another with our friend Carly that has transcontinental photos. She likes squids. She plays (ice) hockey. And she listens to good music.

THE BLACK LIPS -- "I'll Be With You"
For some reason, I really like to listen to Black Lips at work. Everything becomes so fuzzy and focused, that I forget where I am until someone shakes me out of it. It's like having a magic music fairy that gets your work done and makes you forget that you are doing it at the same time.

I will admit that "I'll Be With You" is kind of slow, and the band has been said to sound "like a bunch of piss heads coming home from a late one." I guess I was in the mood for piss heads this week, because this song hit me hard.

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March 6, 2010

Shoebox Tour 2010

Coming to a city near you (maybe)!

Jay Gilligan and company go back on the road this year with Shoebox Tour 2010, destined for about a dozen cities.

The show this year features English juggler/magician Luke Wilson, NYC-based juggler Sean Blue, St. Louis-based juggler Tony Pezzo, and of course, Jay Gilligan (Sweden these days).

All tickets will be $10, general admission, available at the door. E-mail for any further information not found in the schedule below.

March 30- NYC, NY
March 31- Oddfellow Theater, Buckfield, ME, 7:30 pm
April 1- MIT, Boston, MA
April 3- 6122 Greene St. Philadelphia, PA, 8 pm
April 6- 112 W. Market St. Charlottesville, VA, 7 pm
April 11- The Art Institute, Pittsburgh, PA
April 12- Aloft Loft, Chicago, IL, 9 pm
April 15- Minneapolis, MN
April 17- St. Paul, MONDO Juggling Festival Public Show, 7 pm
April 23- Madison, WI
April 27- Findlay/Bowling Green, OH

Shoebox WEB SITE and BLOG.

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March 5, 2010

Scooby doin' #008

Each Friday we share our Web discoveries, mostly pulled from our RSS feeds and Twitter accounts. If there's something we should know about, please write to thesadbear [at] gmail [dot] com.

Desktop curling
Designer Jessica Hische one and two
Despite rehab, the yellow lab won't sniff for bombs

Eyelash lovers
Typical women apply about six strokes of mascara per eye. Volume seekers ramp that up to about 30 or 40, then sometimes employ toothpicks, paper clips, pins or the backs of their earrings to poke through the clumps, CoverGirl executives say. "When we asked them why they do this, they blamed their lashes, not their mascara," says Esi Eggleston Bracey, P&G's vice president of global cosmetics, shaking her head. "That's when we knew we had an opportunity."

Hipster puppies
Countless limbs lost
The Arrogance of Toby Keith
Google's public data
Jack says: Just found this today while working on that Chamber story. Is this new? I've been playing with it all day. I think we should try and do a post on it, where we basically just fuck around with data for our respective areas.

Slate wants maps
Bad baseball beat

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March 2, 2010


A weekly sampler of what we're listening to (new and old), and what we think you might like, too.


NO AGE -- "Eraser"
My jam this week (and it is a jam) is "Eraser" by No Age. There's something about this song, the anticipation of the slow build, build, build, then BAM! An explosion of dirty power chords and sloppy drums. Two heat-seeking missiles colliding in the sky. "WATCH HIM DIIIIEEEEE!"

THE FLAMING LIPS -- "Ego's Last Stand"
Amid a bizarre and barely accessible album, this song remains bizarre and barely accessible. I also hesitate to share this fan music video for the song. But given the right night, "Embryonic" has fit my fancies. In the car with Katie or friends, though, was ill-advised.

I'm going to use this group again. I just got their whole album tonight, and if I like the rest of their songs as much as I like "Emily Paints" I'll be happy.

SUPER FURRY ANIMALS -- "The International Language of Screaming"
La la la la! Ooo! Ooo! Ooo!

CAT POWER -- "Werewolf"
The song is "Werewolf" by Cat Power. I've been thinking a lot about werewolves lately.

Enjoy the enthusiastic fan video. Especially Protein Shake Wolf around 2:58.
And about The Smiths selection put in for me last week: Although I do appreciate me some mammary glands, my Smiths choice is "I Know It's Over," and that's all she wrote.

MONTY PYTHON -- "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life"
Yes, it is a scene. But it is also a song.

VIOLENT FEMMES -- "American Music"
This was the first Violent Femmes song I heard, and my favorite song of theirs that isn't from the first two albums. In the linked performance, I think Victor DeLorenzo is particularly fun to watch.

Drew once loved the band 311 so much that he was the ridicule of some a**hole seventh-grader punks. So he pretended to like ska, and eventually did. Then he liked better music, went to school in Boston, got on at a men's fashion boutique, began to dress like a "mod Scandinavian rocker," got featured in the Philadelphia City Paper for his bowtie and eventually "got over" listening to good music. Three parts comic book nerd, one part reckless big city bike rider; once tried to share his beloved Stella Artois with a Lowcountry crab. That's Drew. He shares things on a tumblr.

ELVIS COSTELLO -- "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace Love and Understanding"
WIth the recent acquisition of Vuze, I have been on a dowloading frenzy. Gathering full discographies of The Kinks, Rolling Stones, The Misfits, Common and others. In short, shit I should have had long ago. This has resulted in a constant blaze of rediscovery, and thus timing could not have been better for Chase to throw me a bid for this week's Mid-Week Mix.

While the short list included both Lola and Dedicated Follower of Fashion by The Kinks, Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) by Peter Sarstedt, Making Time by Creation and If You find Yourself Caught In Love by Belle & is Elvis Costello's (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace Love and Understanding that's got me rockin' and rollin' all week long.

There's been no part to the past three days that have found me unwelcoming Elvis Costello's Very Best of Collection. Of the 42 songs, this is the first, and as far as I can see it, the bestest of the very best. It's got all those little components that makes the daily walk to work feel like a mid-80's music video. And that poignant color blocking album cover chillin' in the bottom left of my iTunes is a welcome addition to my hodge-podge desktop.