Wednesday, March 30

Out In the Sticks

image: Brian Brown

Bottles of Jim Beam on the floor.
A black and white Epiphone guitar.
Cracked front porch.
Empty icebox.
Handrolled cigarettes.
Grass growing through the rusted Ford pickup in the front lawn.

  1. R.L. Burnside - Long Haired Doney (Acoustic Stories, 1997)
  2. The Black Keys - Everywhere I Go (Thickfreakness, 2003)
  3. Skip James - Crow Jane (Today! 1966)                                                                                         Skip James is the man.
  4. Jessie Mae Hemphill - Crawdad Hole (She-Wolf, 1981)                                                                         It's been awhile since I've heard the tambourine used for its original purpose instead of by  some whiny indie band.
  5. Mississippi John Hurt - Stack O Lee Blues (1928 Sessions, 1928)                                                              It sounds so lighthearted you might forget that it's about a man who avoided arrested for murdering a father of two small  children, because the man had stolen his hat.
  6. Steve Earle - I Feel Alright (I Feel Alright, 1996)
  7. Jessie Mae Hemphill - Standin' In My Doorway Cryin' (She-Wolf, 1981)
  8. Moby - Run On (Play, 1999)                                                                                                                 “Some people go to church just to signify tryin to make a date with the neighbor’s wife.  Brother, let me tell ya just as sure as your born.  You better leave that woman alone.”
  9. Amadou & Mariam - Mon Amour, Ma Cherie (Sou Ni Tile, 1999)                                                     Thanks to Hank.
  10. John Lee Hooker - Tupelo (The Folklore of John Lee Hooker, 1961)
  11. Wilco - Walken (Sky Blue Sky, 2007)                                                                                                      Love the second half of this song.  Might make me a Wilco convert.
  12. Jesse Winchester - Step by Step (Let the Rough Side Drag, 1995)                                                             Such a well produced song.  The bass and drums are in lock-step, catchy lyrics, harmonica and the horns are a nice touch.
  13. Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Lucky Millinder's Band - That's All (Live, 1941)   

Monday, March 28

Phish Japan Earthquake Relief

"In response to the recent earthquake and tsunami that the northeastern part of this country has endured, we are releasing a download at to benefit Peace Winds America. 100% of the funds they collect for disaster relief will go to support operations through their sister organization, Peace Winds Japan. Relief operations began March 15th and are currently underway in Miuyagi Prefecture, where Peace Winds is on the ground providing food, clothing, medicines and temporary shelter to survivors of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami." 

The release chosen for the benefit is 7.31.1999 which was Phish's first ever run in Japan.  In the spirit of the Land of Rising Sun I have included the song that has possibly my all-time favorite Trey lick.  The track in question is the quiet, tempered Twist from Fukuoka.  The jam eventually reaches a very gentle, ambient place that reminds me of mist on a cool, early morning. You have to listen to the whole song to get the full effect, but as Phish ebb and flow through a spiritual journey Trey gradually pulls them back to the outro.  At exactly 16:26 Trey places this little badass rock lick that just says "Yeah, we just did 10 minutes of ambient jamming and now we could go into Led Zeppelin if we wanted to."

At this point I'm usually gripping the steering wheel so hard I consider purchasing a pair of gloves.

Phish - Twist (June 14, 2000 - Fukuoka, Japan) [18 min.] I had to post the AUD, because the SBD is copyrighted.  Kind of sounds better actually since the room was so small.

Underground Hip Hop from 'The Wire'

"Let's see how he plays it."

The HBO Series 'The Wire' does everything right. The producers pay great attention to detail.  Most of the music in the series is diagetic (meaning the characters can hear it) which adds to its realist approach. Take for example, the scene where Stink-um is driving to a deal, blasting music from his SUV while the cops are staking him out.  The music pans from left to right when the car drives by and pauses when Herc snaps the surveillance photo.  They must have had mics all over the place, because the volume changes the further away the camera is from Stink-um's car.  
    The song from this scene is surprisingly intelligent too. Analyze is held tightly together by a crisp snare beat and a dead serious electric piano loop. The loop is simple so you can focus on the lyrics to pick up some insider tips on making your product last (i.e. lacing cocaine with baking soda).

  Blake Leyh, the Wire's music curator, sourced all the hip hop featured in the series from underground groups within Baltimore.   So it's not a jump to say that real inner city drug dealers could have actually been listening to this song while making a drug drop.  The show continues to blur the lines of reality even after it went off the air. Earlier this month everyone's favorite assassin, Snoop (aka Felicia Pearson), was arrested in an actual drug raid.

It's all in the game.

The Sharpshooter's Analyze

Monday, March 21

"What they like is they look outside and see the forest."

Bike racks at Colorado State University

The New York Times recently did a piece on how green infrastructure projects in three famous liberal havens are facing extinction due to their own disgruntled population.  For one reason or another these hipster havens feel infrastructure essential to a more sustainable community are meant to be stuck somewhere else.  Of course none of us are wired to accept change with open arms, but if the well-educated and wealthy middle class cannot agree on implementing a good thing (i.e. wind power) then we have a problem.

   How can we possibly expect booming developing nations like India to limit their resource consumption if those of us who know we should do the same.... don't?

Fat Freddy's providing the conscious roots.  Turn the bass up.

Friday, March 18

Bicycle Commuting Through Smog.

Imagine bicycle commuting in Los Angeles.  Warm weather.  Cracked asphalt.  Gliding passed gridlocked cars on two wheels for miles and miles.  The very act of pedaling might seem revolutionary. Highways were built for a reason.  Problem is, that reason is now unreasonable.
Matthew Leutwyler's Jovencitas provides a crisp backdrop that is patient, calm and persistent. It gives off the impression that this is the way things are and there is very little we can do about it.  Luckily, for us, it has an optimistic vibe as if to say 'Hey it's not all bad.'

Mathew Leutwyler - Jovencitas

image: Jeremy Ahay
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