skulls across america

music, this and that, etc.

Friday, March 31, 2006


photo credit: me

drive like jehu - super unison

yeah. drive like jehu- definitely one of my top 10 favorite bands, probably top five, as the main half of jehu is the main half of hot snakes, which sits at the top of the list. i lent my copy of jehu's first album to a band-mate... about four years ago... never to be heard from again! but i found it today, in my stereo's tape deck (my tape copy of the CD I lent out). good times were had by all. check out super unison. i'd give you an emusic link, but Swami Records seems to have vacated eMu, for whatever reason. Blast!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

destroyer + magnolia electric co

Absolutely incredible show last night at the Black Cat. Openers Birds of Avalon did nothing for me- made me feel like I was in a scene from Almost Famous, sure, but couldn't get into them.

Destroyer took the stage second, and were incredible. Man, did they play a tight set. My friends, who hadn't been completely sold on Dan Bejar's voice, were converted. They played a good five or six songs from Destroyer's Rubies, and they sounded great.

Magnolia Electric Co finished the night off, and they too were great. I admit, I can't really get into Trials and Errors- it seems so dry, so sparse, not what I imagine when I listen to their studio stuff. Well, I was not dissappointed, because sonically it sounded nothing like Trials and Errors- they had a great, full sound, were full of energy, joking about, and I would've been glad if they'd played for another hour.

previous posts (with mp3s):

magnolia electric co

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

daktaris- soul explosion

The Daktaris, an NYC afrobeat group, put out a sweet album in '98- but you'd never guess this album was made in the modern age. Rocket From The Crypt got me in to these guys- the RFTC guys were spinning records before their set and they played Daktari Walk, and I was hooked; I'd never heard afrobeat before, didn't know Fela Kuti from Femi Kuti, and heck, once I got home, I couldn't even buy the Daktaris album- it was OOP. I tracked it down for about 30 bucks on some website devoted to rarities, and the rest is history. Follow the image link above to the Daptones Records site- they're finally rereleasing the album.

Daktaris - Daktari Walk
Daktaris - Musicawa Silt

And for those so inclined, you can also hit it up on emusic.

Monday, March 27, 2006

this is the way it goes and goes

and goes and goes and goes and goes

i have a vague notion that the band might reverse course, despite the consensus sorta reached after two meetings, and try to continue despite the impending loss of a key member. we'll see how it plays out. while, over the past few years, I've come to grips with the fact that I'll never be in a full-time touring band, and I'm getting more used to the slow percolating type of band/project thing, I'm just not sure that I could be in a slow-percolating ska band- particularly without the slow jams of the soon-to-be dearly departed member.

Well, anyway, on the topic of glacial movements, under the heading "other music i play that has absolutely no bearing on my view of the future of the vicars", enjoy two new big nature songs:
- song four
- song six

Friday, March 24, 2006

my apologies, roscoe

My apologies to the telemarketer i just flipped out on. honestly, how does a company get off on calling me, letting me listen to silence for three seconds, then telling me that i had an incoming call, and then, of all things, putting me on HOLD for almost a minute!! I'm there thinking, "hmm, who is broke down and calling me collect?"

And then it turns out to be a telemarketer for a student loan consolidation company... let's just say I didn't turn in my most subtle telephone performance.

Anyway, in a huge rush this morning, hitting the road soon to take my brother-in-law on a road trip to see LeBron whap some dingers. If you haven't heard Midlake's new track, Roscoe, hit up gorilla vs bear for the mp3 and a link to a video storyboard (w/ audio) for another new song from their forthcoming album. That Roscoe- I like where his head's at.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

don't bring a knife to an emeter party

I just found this great read on Matador's site about our favorite pseudo-science-fiction-religion. I highly recommend it to one and all.

And I also recommend checking out the South Park episode at the heart of the current controversy: But act fast- there's no telling how long it'll be up on youtube. The only issue I have with the episode is that it doesn't mention Xenu stacking up the aliens' bodies in dormant volcanoes and blowing them up with hydrogen bombs; they just have him dumping them into active volcanoes instead.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

death to everyone

photo credit:

The question is, why do I ever let a review scare me off of a new
release by an artist I revere? Case in point, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Live in the Southeast. Ragged, they said. Raw, they said. Not worth your time, they said. Ah, what do they know? I've never minded a raucous take on a dark, somber dirge.

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy: death to everyone

Monday, March 20, 2006

springtime for bonzo

I believe it is now officially spring. If not, one of my coworkers is as mixed up, calendar-wise, as I am. I dug out the thrift-store golf clubs I'll be using this year, and realized I need to pick up a 3 wood, 5 wood, and 3 iron before charging forward. I'll try all the area thrift stores before buying any new golf equipment... heck, if it warms up in a couple weeks, it'll be yard sale central around here, I might even upgrade my thirty year old, stiff as leather, every-zipper's-broke, and has-no-legs golf bag.

On twenty dollars or less.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Whapping some dingers at 38 degrees.

Four go-rounds in the batting cages, at 35-40mph (twice), 30-35mph, and finally at 50-55mph? Check. Minimal improvement as I went along, with a couple decent hits in the last cage? Check.

Medium bucket of balls at the driving range, as the temperature continued dropping below 40? Check. Getting pretty darned accurate with the 7 iron? Check.

Pretending its spring when its really still winter? Pricele- :cough: :cough: - hmm... is this a cold I gave myself, or pneumonia?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

spring + j. tillman

Spring. Funny how it affects me some [most] years- the excitement that grows as the first set of warm days comes through, and visions of tennis, walks, jogs, golfing, biking, ultimate frisbee, and barbecues by the pool dance through my head.

Like so many other of my notions, though, come autumn's end in most years past, I could count on both hands the number of times I did anything on that list. Now's the time that I say, "not this year"... but what's the point, with a list that big! Paring it down, now that's a tough call... on first glance, walks, barbecues, golf, and tennis are my top four keepers. And heck, if you count the last five days, I've got a nice walk, a couple buckets of balls at the driving range, and a couple games of touch football racked up. Bring on spring! (and by spring, I mean, "Johnstown Spring", which means its warm enough to go outside without a knit cap on)

J. Tillman

This song made the rounds on the real mp3 blogs recently, and if you haven't heard it, I can't recommend it highly enough. This guy makes beautiful music; i'd say its in iron & wine territory, but with more authority in his vocals.

J. Tillman - Seven States Across

He's got four complete songs up on his myspace, and they're all great. If'n one had a myspace account, I reckon they could download those songs. My gmail can accept many megabytes of data- feel free to send 'em to me if you've got 'em. Last note- his first (and only) two full-lengths on Keep Recordings are both out of print, but they say they'll probably do another run in late '06/early '07.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The right script... gets Michael Keaton for $100 a day?

Game 6, produced for under a million bucks, paid all cast members $100 a day- including Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr. and Bebe Neuwirth. I don't know if it tops getting Cody Walat for three hours at no cost, but daggone, its close.

The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show

A radio ad, paraphrased:
(A woman, late twenties/early thirties, is talking to us in a friendly, conversational manner)

Now that the years are catching up to me, tennis just isn't as easy. I had to start taking a pain reliever for my sore knee.

(sound of infant gurgling) Then, after my first child was born, it was back to the office. (sound of phones ringing, office chatter in the background) I needed another pain reliever for my tension headaches.

(sound of small child, two or so, making noises) Then, carrying the little guy around got to my back, and I had to get another pain reliever for back pain!

But then I discovered Advil- the one pain reliever for all my pains!

Advil- or rather, advertising company devising radio ads for Advil- what are you thinking? I mean, really, what are you thinking? Where was this woman shopping, to be finding specialized pain relievers for these three different ailments- Captain Nemo's forgotten island, maybe?

Perhaps she purchases her pharmaceuticals from Doctor Walcott's Traveling Medicine Show- "And now, for your delight, a tincture of Doctor Walcott's No-Pain-Powder, celebrated the world over for its magical effects upon pains of the back and ribs; nevertheless, Doctor Walcott reminds you that his no-pain-powder is suspect in some areas of bodily pain, and provides no salvation from soreness of the knees or the headaches of tension."

The only way that Advil ad would work, is if the woman was clearly in her eighties or nineties, and had last bought pain relievers in the early seventies.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Letters to Malcolm

Today, a brief mention of Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, by C.S. Lewis. This book really opened my eyes to what Lewis has to offer; while I'd found some inspiration from earlier readings of The Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity, it was Letters to Malcolm, which I borrowed for an afternoon and finished by supper, that really inspired me, and spoke to me. I suppose its intellectual pride, and some thick headed-ness, that makes it so hard for me to get anything from standard daily devotionals and inspirational writings. Reading Lewis, thinking hard about the questions he asks and the points he makes, means much more to me.

Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of Letters to Malcolm, and I don't have any of my notes with me, so I can't comment on anything specifically from the text- it takes many a re-reading for me to actually quote anything.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Magnolia Electric Co

Today, one of my favorite bands, and one of their best songs:
Magnolia Electric Co - Farewell Transmission

Several years ago, I was listening to a lot of Neil Young, particularly Tonights The Night, On The Beach, and Time Fades Away, and I just couldn't figure out why there weren't any bands playing music like that anymore. Its not like the sound is obsolete, and its not like there aren't any more diamonds in that mine. When I got this album, I no longer had to wonder- somebody out there was reclaiming that territory. This is the first cut on Magnolia Electric Co, which is either the band's first, and self-titled, release; or its the last Songs: Ohia release; I think its officially the latter, which is all the more confusing due to the lack of the words "Songs: Ohia" anywhere on the darned thing.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

the raconteurs

I hated the White Stripes when I first heard them. White Blood Cells just didn't live up to the hype I was hearing, and to boot, I just wasn't in to such a raw sound at the time.

Then Seven Nation Army hit the airwaves and I was converted. Not so much a convert that I bought the Cold Mountain soundtrack, but nevertheless... Jack White's got a new band going, called The Raconteurs- they've got a very nice greenscreen website. This song has been making the rounds and its catchy as all get out:

  • the raconteurs - Steady As She Goes

  • I won't lie- its pretty cool that Jack White's in a band with a better drummer.

    Tuesday, March 07, 2006

    the harlots - little green pills

    So I used to be in a band called The Harlots. If I could find a picture of us, I'd put it up, but I can't. It was me and three guys who were much much younger than me, which was fun from a musical standpoint, but at times, from a "let's get serious about this band" pov, it could be tough. We recorded a six song ep at a small studio in Altoona, PA, and sort of had it put out on a local label.

    This song, little green pills, is my favorite of the six. I think its the catchiest, perhaps the darkest, and pardon my bias, but I always liked my "why did you go" backup vocal in the chorus.

    Monday, March 06, 2006

    at the movies / the matador

    It was a night for the movies, and I don't mean the Oscars, which I'm catching up on now thanks to Speaking of the Oscars, 2 notes: its great that Philip Seymour Hoffman won best Oscar, and how about Robert Altman revealing, on stage, that he had a heart transplant 11 years ago! But I digress: it was actually a weekend for watching movies:

    fri: The Matador (at the Westwood Plaza Theatre)
         Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai
    sat: Star Wars: A New Hope
    sun: The Empire Strikes Back

    And those Star Wars viewings were primo- widescreen, no CGI, Han shoots first primo viewings of the pre-first-cleanup laserdiscs. Sure, there are some off-colored halos around the spaceships during the space scenes, but that's the way I like it.


    The Matador

    I really enjoyed The Matador. Pierce Brosnan is incredible (and incredibly seedy)- its safe to say that I had severely underestimated him in the past. Being a big Greg Kinnear fan, its great to see him in a good film, which unfortunately are few and far between in his resume. What a stellar cast- hopefully they'll put a round-table commentary on the DVD.

    Friday, March 03, 2006

    cyhsy on letterman

    I knew youtube would come through sooner than later.

    elmore leonard: dutch treat


    A fantastic flea market pickup if you can find it, Elmore Leonard's Dutch Treat is a hardcover collection of three great novels: Swag, The Hunted, and Mr. Majestyk. I list them in order of preference, the collection starts with The Hunted, but Swag is the tour de force of the three. After reading that, I was hooked; hard-boiled stories about guys on the edges of the law, or in Swag's case, well on the other side, a good Elmore Leonard novel reads like the best 70s crime flick you've been waiting to see.

    If you write fiction, Leonard's Ten Rules of Writing won't hurt you one bit.

    Since I missed Clap Your Hands Say Yeah on Letterman last night, and can't find a video yet, I watched their Conan appearance instead. My favorite part of seeing a band on Conan is guessing just how much he'll dwarf them when he walks over after they play.

    Thursday, March 02, 2006

    blue collar

    Blue Collar. Today, a favorite film- and while related to stand-up comedy, totally unrelated to gittin' r done. Written and directed by Paul Schrader, this is classic grit starring Yaphet Kotto, Harvey Keitel, and Richard Pryor as three auto plant workers at odds with the bossese and their union. Pryor is great as the family man trying to dig his way out- while bits of his comic schtick are here, he brings real pathos to the role. The commentary track is excellent; it tells a bit about how all three actors were led to believe they were the "star", and once they got on set and realized the real situation, they were none too pleased. Schrader had to do long master takes of each scene, as that was sometimes all he could get before one of the actors would leave the set.

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    popmatters: the Academy NIT

    Popmatter's presents their Academy "Not Invited" Nominations

    If you need a list of "film's from last year to see," this is a good place to start. It reminds me to get the following to the top of my netflix queue: Match Point, The Matador - no lying here, I'm a big Greg Kinnear fan, despite some/most of his recent choices, The Squid and the Whale, Jarhead, and Syriana.



    * Destroyer: Painter In Your Pocket

    I admit, it took me way too long to get into Destroyer- but better late than never. The new album, Destroyer's Rubies, really fits into the same world as all the Dylan, Neil Young, and The Band I've been listening to lately. I listen to those bands and wonder why bands aren't making interesting music like that anymore, but they are, and Destroyer is proof of it. I'm stoked to see them at the end of March.