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REM — Accelerate

With ease, REM invokes gritty Georgian glory on “Accelerate,” fuzzing it up more like “Monster” than, say, my high school epiphany album (“Out of Time” — I’ll spare you the details). Though the album is not, I feel, 100% golden superbness, it does resonate with Stipe’s genuine artistry and the spirit that has kept REM going through so many years of good & bad albums (that was my obligatory statement, but it is true — one might pause to compare Stipe’s present pits and lines to the scruffyhaired boy-angel from the “Losing My Religion” video (and I know there are those out there (Ron) who are mocking me for not alluding to something earlier. But I’ll admit I don’t have the cred for it.)). The songs mix the trite and the true, ending up in arresting rephrases such as I am not your horse to water. I like that; it’s a stubborn declaration of freedom trapped in a cliché. (Less arresting, though perhaps more popular, might be phrases like everybody here comes from somewhere or living well’s the best revenge.)

What struck me most of all is when I was watching the Blogotheque take-away show and Vincent Moon filmed the band playing “Sing For the Submarine” inside a (says Vincent) “weird silo” on Stipe’s property. On the record it’s not one my favorite songs — it’s sort of rambly and I’m not sure what Stipe’s alluding to. But in the video, Stipe uses his whole body to augment the song; he whangs his elbow on the silo wall to create thunderous percussion — I knew (bang!) that you (bang!) could see (bang!) right through it. This music is still Stipe and Buck and Mills, still recognizably theirs within four bars by anyone with ears. It still comes out of the bottoms of Stipe’s feet and through his elbows and hands and heart and eyes. Sing sing sing, he says, shoulders ticking in time, sing sing sing.

REM — Sing For the Submarine


Time for another edition of I Love It, I Love It Not. You can make up your own mind! If you want to. If not, that’s cool — here, have some Trader Joe’s carmel popcorn. Delish.

I love it:

01. NEW BLACK KEYS ALBUM APRIL 1ST — This better not be an April fools joke, or I’ll cry my eyes out. Collaborating with Rod Stewart, though, can go ahead and be a joke.

02. Supernatural Superserious — although I haven’t been a hardcore REM fan since “Automatic For the People,” I’m looking forward to some new Stipe.

03. Nigerian Blues, 1970-76. Afrobeats for all! Coming to Itunes, I hope, soon.

I love it not:

01. The Moldy Peaches. Heard their stupid song again at the theater the other day. It’s indie at its worst — so precious it makes me want to barf.

02. Vampire Weekend. Last year sometime, everyone hated Vampire Weekend and officially declared them dead before they even got started. Then they got started & now they are everyones’ darlings. Good for them, I say, but I didn’t like it a year ago and I don’t like it now.

03. Eh, the carmel popcorn put me in too good of a mood to think of a third band to mock. Post any suggestions below.

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A Little Tooth
by Thomas Lux

Your baby grows a tooth, then two,
and four, and five, then she wants some meat
directly from the bone. It’s all

over: she’ll learn some words, she’ll fall
in love with cretins, dolts, a sweet
talker on his way to jail. And you,

your wife, get old, flyblown, and rue
nothing. You did, you loved, your feet
are sore. It’s dusk. Your daughter’s tall.


REM — Crush With Eyeliner

Lightnin’ Hopkins — You’re Too Fast

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Sugar Free Mix

This post is for friend and reader J.M., who I admire very much. Lately he has faced a few personal challenges, which I shall not enumerate even in this post-privacy age, and he has faced them with bravery and with fortitude. He has conquered a couple of fears that even I squirm in my chair to think of. I salute you, James! I salute you with a mix containing a hefty dose of Canadians :D Hope you enjoy it.

This is a mix, for reals, so it’s set up a certain way & meant to be played in order. However, I know that this here digital age has made mixes so passé; therefore I also include single links.

Sugar Free Mix
for J.M. [08.21.07]

[ed note – tracks removed. contact me for a copy of single tracks (max of 3 pls)]

01 Play Tough – The Apples In Stereo
02 Shaking Through – REM
03 Know How (ft Feist) – Kings Of Convenience
04 Ode To Serotonin – Nightmare Of You
05 Life Effect – Stars
06 If I Should Explode – Machines Of Loving Grace
07 Van Helsing Boom Box – Man Man
08 The Needle Has Landed – Neko Case
09 Doing the Unstuck (Live, London, 92) – The Cure
10 Ultimate – Gogol Bordello

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Decide For Yourself

So we come to the portion of the evening in which, in spite of my talking smack about Andy for his hateration in the last post, I mention some stuff that I can’t get into. Some of you may have gotten into this! Some of you may even like it a lot. Some of you may want to give it a try. As usual, you may make up your own mind; I present it to you in the hopes that you will. Discuss below if you’d like.

1. Icky Thump — No. Just no. I hate the White Stripes now, I hated the White Stripes then; in a few years, my hatred of the White Stripes will not have diminished. Yea verily.

2. Sky Blue Sky. I respect Jeff Tweedy so highly as a person, but Wilco makes my yawn reflex pop every 10 seconds. I just cannot like it, no matter how hard I try. (Indie license — REVOKED!!)

3. Bands from Sweden. Doesn’t that sound so snobby and dismissive? But compared to the fantastic stuff coming out of France lately, I’m just totally blah on Sweden. Here’s some recent Swedish music you might like: Pelle CarlbergMainlinersThirdimensionRonderlinLoney, Dear.

4. Creepy self-indulgent videos featuring Natalie Portman in gogo boots. SRSLY.

5. Bishop Allen’s prospective new album, The Broken String. It’s kind of like, you ate a whole bunch of candy and you liked it at first and then it kind of made you go, “oog,” and you just want the candy to go away for awhile, but people keep offering you more. Oog.

Five things I do like!

1. Bonde Do Rolê (at Mars Needs Guitars!)

2. “Here’s a truck stop instead of St. Peters” (at Muzzle of Bees).

3. DJ Jazzy Jeff’s new album, “The Magnificent.” (at Kwaya Na Kisser)

4. Did I mention music from France? (at Culture Bully).

5. Interview with Raymond Raposa, aka Castanets. (at Stereogum).

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Weekly Roundup

D-list celebrity quote of the week: “On the Hollywood list of people I pray for often, Tom Cruise is probably No. 1. All I have to say to Tom is, God bless ya, I hope you’re having fun. But I’d love through Radar magazine to throw a gauntlet down to Mr. Cruise. I’d love to break bread with him and pray with him, and I’d love for the Holy Spirit of God to reveal the truth to him. That would be an awesome thing.”

–Alec Baldwin, born-again Christian, in an interview with Radar Online. I guess Mr. Baldwin hasn’t gotten to the part in the bible about “he who is without sin, etc., etc.”

Avast, mateys, today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. So hoist the mizzenmast and uh … swing from the yardarm and drop anchor in the cove! (There’s a reason I’m not a sailor.)

New Contrast Podcast, with much handclapping. My contribution to that would have been much too pedestrian — “The First Single,” by the Format. Because clapping always makes me happy. Go listen!

Via Stereogum and a thousand other places, we are happy to report that Whitney Houston is kicking Bobby Brown to the curb. That’s been a long, long time coming. Now get it together and sing some music, girl!

Drowned in Sound interviews the Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club. Explanation of redundant band name given.

Via, if you’re heading to Reyjkavik anytime soon, you could catch the one and only Sugarcubes concert in 14 years. Those darn Icelandics get all the fun.

Via Rbally, Live REM, Oct 2, 1985, in Bochum, Germany.

Via Stereogum once again, video for Weird Al’s song ‘White and Nerdy’. My husband swears that it’s Donny Osmond doing the background dancing in this video, and I don’t know about that, but I’ll say it again: I love me some Weird Al. ROTFLOL (even though no one really says that anymore — I think the current term is “lollerskates.”)

And last but not least — remember the Beachles? I downloaded a song but didn’t like it all that much … but I did recommend you all to go see what you thought. Well, the guy was slapped with a $30 million C&D, and a demand by EMI records to release the IPs of everyone who dowloaded the songs. Rest easy — he says his ISP only keeps IP addresses for 3 days — but also, feel uncomfortable, as this sort of thing hits close to home. I’d love to say I’ll be boycotting EMI, but unfortunately those damn Decemberists signed to Capitol, so I’d be a huge hypocrite. However — I certainly will not be buying anything else. Today on International Pirate Day, I write the following letter to EMI records.

Dear EMI Records:

You just don’t get it, do you.


Someone who was going to buy the fuzzy-box of “Pet Sounds” for her dad for Christmas, but you know what, I’d rather burn a bunch of mash-ups for him than spend one red cent to help pay for your “legal” department.

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Weekly Roundup

Slow week this week. Ah well!

Celebrity related quote of the week: “‘The United States first destroyed our great country, the Soviet Union, then they destroyed our economy and now they are sending this horrible young woman to destroy our souls,’ said Myasoyedova, interviewed during a recent rally of about 100 demonstrators organized by the Orthodox Standard Bearers Union, a group combining religion and nationalism.” –David Holley, LA Times

What young woman is this candid Russian speaking of? Why, Madonna, of course. Even though Madonna hasn’t seen “young” since the other side of the 90s. Mr. Myasoyedova, it could be worse than Madonna. I promise. For instance, they could be sending Clay Aiken. At least Madonna does her own songs.

The Catbirdseat’s cheat sheet for the best new albums of 2006. Indie darlings all round! Looky there at Swan Lake, riding the wave of its hype like a demented surfer, probably one that’s wearing a polo shirt and pegged jeans and a fleece wristband.

Flagpole reviews the new REM retrospective disc/dvd. So what’re your favorite REM albums? My top five are 1) Document; 2) Automatic For the People; 3) Green; 4) Out of Time; and 5) Monster.

EW profiles their 50 best high school movies, but they totally left off my top two. My top five would have gone, 1) Better Off Dead; 2) Pump Up the Volume; 3) Heathers; 4) Sixteen Candles; and 5) 10 Things I Hate About You or Clueless. Why yes, I’m just a big old cynical softie, why do you ask?

Via BrianPalmer, How to make a Zach Braff movie in 10 steps. Ahaha. Poor Zach Braff. Make one indie-lovers movie and you’re worshipped, but make two, and you’re pilloried. Welcome to the fickle world of indiedom.

At I Am Fuel, some old, lost Bob Dylan recordings. I don’t know where Heather gets this stuff, but she just out-awesomes herself every week.

At Rewriteable Content, a back to school love song mix. Ew, school.

The Rawking Refuses To Stop! talks about the Ryan Adams / Neko Case / Willie Nelson show at the Hollywood Bowl. I sure would have loved to see Ryan & Neko, if the venue were smaller and I had the energy to fight traffic out to the Bowl.

Useful Thing of the Year: the HYMN project introduces MyFairTunes 6, which will unencode your iTunes-purchased music so that it can be converted to mp3. I can’t vouch for it completely, because when I gave it a try it worked for “Jaan Pehechaan Ho” but not for “Burn.” *shrug* Who knows.

Via Neil Gaiman and Billboard, I learn of a 43-song CD of sea chanties sung by contemporary artists. Yay! I love sea chanties, even though I can’t even go out in a boat without barfing over the side. Heh.

And last but not least, New Contrast Podcast – entrance music for a film.

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This one’s for my two history buff friends, A.S. and R.St.A. They’re songs that mention actual historical events. Let the geekery begin! I did use wikipedia for some of the articles, but just out of general laziness. I feel wrong and dirty, because wiki is so not reliable, but I don’t have time to find a university library, sadly.

Playing Pianos Filled With Flames: A Historical Mix

[These tracks have been removed. You can contact me if you’d like a copy.]

01. Bishop Allen – The Monitor

Besides being about an ironworks fire that the fellows in Bishop Allen actually witnessed, this song also mentions the encounter between the Monitor and the Merrimack, which was the first battle between two ironclad ships. The USS Merrimack was scuttled by the Union, but the Confederates salvaged it and renamed it the CSS Virginia. In March 1862, the Virginia and the Monitor engaged in a four-hour battle that resulted in a draw. Unfortunately, ironclad ships weren’t the easiest to fight with, and the Merrimack/Virginia eventually had to be destroyed by its own captain. The Monitor was sunk by bad weather and its wreck was rediscovered in 1973. (

02. The Decemberists – Shankill Butchers (live at the St. Louis zoo, Aug 10, 05)

The Shankill Butchers were a group of serial murderers who tortured and killed people, mostly Catholics (or people they thought were Catholics), during the 1970s in Dublin [ed. note — I stand corrected; the city is actually Belfast]. When the gang was eventually apprehended, the court handed down 42 life sentences to the men involved in the slayings. The gang was nominally reformed in 1983, when its leader was released from prison, but he was shot and killed subsequently, and the slayings ceased. However, in 1998, all the convicted men were freed under the Good Friday Act, and remain free to this day. (wiki)

03. Tori Amos – Josephine

Josephine Bonaparte was first mistress, then wife, to Napoleon. They married in 1796, but she was not faithful. She was such a political help to Napoleon, however, and he loved her so much that he did not divorce her. This song reads like one of Napoleon’s letters to her — in one letter, he writes, “To live for Josephine, that is the history of my life I long. I try to come near you. Fool! I don’t notice that I am going further away. How many countries separate us! How long before you will read these words, this feeble expression of a captive soul where you are queen?” (Probably nicer still in French.) (

04. Beyonce – Bonnie and Clyde 03

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow met in 1930, while Clyde was in prison and Bonnie was married to a prisoner there. Between 1933 and 1934, the FBI hunted the two of them for committing 13 murders and various other crimes (robbery and burglary). They were killed in a hail of bullets on May 23, 1934. They are seen as very romantic criminals — notes that “With police and government detectives constantly on their trails, sometimes literally by inches, they time and time again risked their own lives to protect the other.”

05. Chicago Motion Picture Soundtrack – Cell Block Tango

“Chicago” is based loosely on two murders that occured in 1924. Belva Gaertner, a cabaret singer, stood trial for shooting her lover and leaving his body in a car; and Beulah Annan, a laundress (washerwoman?), also stood trial for shooting and killing her lover in her house. Maurine Watkins, a former reporter, then combined the two crimes when she wrote the play “Chicago” in 1926. (

06. Me First & The Gimme Gimmes – Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina

The biography of Eva Peron is too much to review here; if you like, you can go to to check it out. This song is from the musical “Evita,” and of course it’s very romanticised, but it’s generally agreed that Eva Peron loved her country. No matter whether you agree with her social policies, I don’t think anyone can argue that she thought she was doing the right thing. She was asked to be the Vice President of Argentina, but had to decline, as she was ill. She died soon thereafter, in 1952.

07. Nirvana – Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle

Frances Farmer was an early screen star; she lived a wild Hollywood lifestyle and eventually became depressed and abused alchohol. In the 1940s she returned to her hometown of Seattle, where she was eventually committed to a mental institution by her mother. In the 1950s she left the hospital and tried to make a screen comeback, but was only marginally successful. Many sensationalized stories (including Cobain’s) allege that Farmer had a lobotomy performed on her during her time in the mental hospital, but that’s been refuted. (wiki)

08. Mississippi John Hurt – Stagolee

In 1895, a man apparently named Lee Sheldon shot another man who had taken his hat and refused to return it. The man died; Sheldon went to prison. Someone wrote a song about it, calling Lee Sheldon “Stagger Lee” on account of his being drunk at the time. It became a traditional blues tune, and Nick Cave wrote a version for “Murder Ballads,” but I don’t like it. I do like Mississippi John Hurt’s version; listen to that fantastic guitar picking. (wiki)

09. Mountain Goats – Raid On Entebbe

On June 27, 1976, terrorists from the PLO and Baader-Meinhof hijacked an Air France plane carrying 250 passengers and diverted it to Entebbe, Uganda. By July 1, many of the hostages had been released but all the Jewish/Israeli passengers — over 100 — and the flight crew were still being held. On July 4, an Israeli strike team went into Uganda as a rescue force and killed all the terrorists in a 35-minute battle. The strike team’s leader and three hostages were killed as a result of the firefight, but the rest of the hostages were freed. (BBC)

10. Jeffrey Foucault – Secretariat

Secretariat was the winningest horse ever. He set a world speed record for the Belmont Stakes; he won 21 races in 2 years. And, according to, he was the father of 653 baby horses. Way to go, man! Way to go. (The song also mentions Rodin (sculptor), Joe Frazier (boxer), and the burning of Atlanta.)

11. REM – Man on the Moon

“Man on the Moon” is about Andy Kaufman, a comedian of many personalities. Kaufman died in 1984 of lung cancer, but since he had told many people that he was going to fake his own death, the legend persists that he is still alive. (wiki)

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A million little ticky links to get out there:


At Mars Needs Guitars, U2 Live Madison Sq. Garden, Oct 25, 2001:

Part One

Part Two

At Rbally, REM at at the National Bowl July 30, 1995

Part One

Part Two

At Kwaya Na Kisser, The Arcade Fire live at Vegoose last year


vide for Band of Horses’ “The Funeral”

video for Mountain Goats’ “Woke Up New”


Via Best Week Ever, How the Nazis Gave Us Disco, a look at the role of the DJ during WWII.

Via, Top 50 Movie Endings. Spoilers, obviously :D

Via People magazine, we learn that Chris Robinson and Kate Hudson are breaking up. Gwyneth and Gwen better look out.

Vegoose 2006 has announced its lineup. Looks like good stuff.


On Myspace, you can preview tracks for the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack, which is oh so indier than you.

Via Goodhodgkins, a new album from Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. I have not heard this band personally, but they are indie darlings. And it’s good to know that someone still loves Boris Yeltsin.

Mountain Goats have some new fall tour dates.

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