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9/30/2004

I fancy myself a relatively health-conscious person, so when I catch a cold I feel foiled, defeated. I've got my holistic meds on the case, and I'm about to drink some horrible tea-like Dr. Weil concoction made from ginger, cayenne pepper, lemon, garlic and honey. What does not kill me makes me stronger.


In Amazing Grace: Jeff Buckley news, the festival screenings are selling like mad and we still have two weeks until they start. The Sunday screening at Woodstock is sold out so they added a Friday night screening, and Leeds just added a third screening due to the interest level they were getting. The CMJ screening will be on Saturday 10/16, right in the middle of the Woodstock festivities. It's going to be one busy weekend. For full ticket info, go to the AGJB website.



Kinda disappointed by "What You Waiting For?" from Gwen Stefani's forthcoming solo album. Click here to listen to a clip.


The Stypod has some flamenco mp3s up for your perusal. Now this is good use of bandwidth. It makes me wish my old Palm Pilot wasn't broken, because I had written in it a whole list of flamenco music recommended by Billy White. Rats. I guess I could email him about it.


Dear Finn Brothers,

It has come to my attention that Minnie Driver once saved one or both of you from a burning building, otherwise I cannot imagine why you chose to take her as the opening act on your upcoming UK/Dublin tour. Have you not listened to any songs off her record? Or read Thomas Bartlett's review of it on salon.com where he says "Her style falls somewhere between Norah Jones and Natalie Merchant, but somehow manages to be more boring than either of them (quite a feat)"? She even links to Bob Schneider on her webpage and calls him a "sublime musician"! Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and chalk this up to some backdoor industry dealmaking. Just please, please don't let this happen again.

your fan,
Krissy


9/28/2004


It was a busy weekend, with shows to see and friends in town. It was good to see Andy at Bimbo's on Thursday and judging by their set, I can't wait for the new Now It's Overhead record. If my constant mention of NIO hasn't prompted you to listen to them yet, please do so now: "The Decision Made Itself" mp3. The beautiful Orinda from Azure Ray was on bass and backup vocals in NIO and also played in Rilo Kiley's horn section. To quote Andy, "Yep, she's a badass."


Friday night was the Pixies show at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley with Josef, Joe and Emily. We managed to find a good spot down on the floor and the weather was awesome. Unfortunately I'm now a total brat when it comes to show watching experiences; I prefer small venues, or if it's a big venue it's so much nicer to watch from an isolated area. I know, shoot me. I proved how old and crochety I am when I got annoyed with the little guy behind me blowing pot smoke past my ears. I'm totally square.

On Saturday morning I got some beautiful heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo at the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market. There's no better way to spend a Saturday morning, I don't think. Saturday night Ashod came into town and we hung out with Mike, Mike and Leslie at the Latin American before splintering off to meet Josef and Melissa at Tom and Jen's house. Apparently Jen's a great designer who's been keeping her talents under wraps, so I took it upon myself to harangue her about being more confident in her work. I hope I managed to come off more inspiring than grating.

We finally ended up at a Swedish slow dance party. If this isn't already a new party genre, it needs to be. I didn't end up meeting any of my fellow Swedes but we did have a great time dancing in their living room.


I'm not a big fan of dishware, but I'm a fan of Sarah Cihat's designs.

9/27/2004

Read this article: Why Rilo Kiley left the Saddle Creek Records family by Tim McMahan

In this article from The Reader, Rilo Kiley drummer Jason Boesel is interviewed about the band's choice to leave Saddle Creek. I think Rilo Kiley is a good band, I caught some of their live show Thursday night and Bimbo's was packed. But their label-hopping strategy makes me want to get on my soapbox, so here goes.

If RK wanted to leave Saddle Creek like they left Barsuk, to hop to a major (Warner Bros.), it's their prerogative to do so. I just want them to admit that that's what they've done! Enough with this 'we started our own indie label' nonsense! "Brute/Beaute" is not an actual record label. It's just a ploy to try and retain some of their indie cred.

In the article, Boesel cites the "limitations inherent to indie record labels" as one of their reasons for leaving Saddle Creek, more specifically an indie's inability to get the band on commercial radio. But with the type of buzz Rilo Kiley was building (with the help of Barsuk and Saddle Creek), and considering the quality of the record, I bet that Saddle Creek could have gotten them onto commercial radio without having to play the major label throwing-hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars-to-radio game. According to the article, KROQ just added The Postal Service (Sub Pop), Death Cab For Cutie (Barsuk) and The Faint (Saddle Creek) to their playlist.

“[The people at Saddle Creek are] definitely crusaders with high morals and ethics, trying to do this thing for the greater good. For some that’s the right approach. For us it wasn’t. We’re trying to do something similar, but in a different way." [says Boesel]
This is why I'm such a supporter of Saddle Creek and the bands who remain on their roster. It's one thing to do something 'for the greater good' when no one's paying attention. But to stick to your ethical guns after all the money and offers come calling, that's the true test of integrity. And integrity is what we need more of in the music business, in business in general. I'm not saying RK doesn't have integrity -- they just have a different agenda.

RK signing to a major is not really that big of a deal. It happens all the time. I'm just disappointed that by leaving Saddle Creek, they're giving up the opportunity to be an agent of change in the music industry. They were in the position that very few bands reach: an indie label band poised to make it big enough to challenge commercial radio, concert venues, video outlets, etc. to work on indie terms, thus contributing to the slow breakdown of the old guard, of the wasteful, exclusionary practices that have been set up by the major label dinosaurs.

At least by taking Tilly and the Wall and Now It's Overhead out on tour, RK is showing its support to Saddle Creek and Team Love. And some new RK fans will discover Saddle Creek and Barsuk when they go searching for back catalog. It just seems outdated to me to use such strong indies as mere stepping stones in a larger plan. It was a strange enough move to jump from Barsuk to Saddle Creek, but that should have been warning that another jump was coming. As bigger bands choose to stay put on their indie labels, those labels can grow into being able to offer their bands everything they need or want, with the unique added security of artistic freedom and longevity.

(Stepping off soapbox). What do you think? Please leave comments if you have them.
###

Read this article too: "A Small New Future" by Alec Hanley Bemis in the LA Weekly.
“The record industry discovered some time ago that there aren’t that many people who actually like music. For a lot of people, music’s annoying, or at the very least they don’t need it. They discovered if they could sell music to a lot of those people, they could sell a lot more records.”

—T-Bone Burnett

9/22/2004



'Shame' will be the third single from PJ Harvey's brilliant album 'Uh Huh Her'. Watch a :30 preview of the video for 'Shame' here. (Windows Media file)



Speaking of PJ, after hearing about Mark Lanegan's new solo record Bubblegum a few times, I'm finally ready to check it out. PJ duets on two songs with him, "Come To Me" and "Hit The City". You might know Mark from Screaming Trees or Queens of the Stone Age.



I've been meaning to make a happy mix with songs that make me feel motivated and optimistic. The Finn Brothers song I posted earlier would be on it, as would this song by Rival Schools:

mp3: "Good Things" by Rival Schools

Rival Schools put out the album "United By Fate" in 2001. It quickly became one of my favorites, and then I never heard from them again. What ever happened to Rival Schools? If you like this song, you should buy the album, I promise you won't regret it.



I was going to post all of this yesterday, but Blogger was on the fritz. But today in my Tripwire email, thanks to Matt DuFour I found out what happened to the singer of Rival Schools!

Walter Schreifels (founder of Gorilla Biscuits, Quicksand, Rival Schools) has gone and founded a new band named Walking Concert.

mp3: "New Thing" by Walking Concert.

I can't wait to buy the album.



Tonight is the Tilly and the Wall / Now It's Overhead / Rilo Kiley show at Bimbo's.
I've been looking forward to this show for weeks. I've already seen NIO live and they're great, and I'm excited to see Tilly and the Wall. I love their record "Wild Like Children", which at first listen seems optimistic and a little schtick-y (they have a tap dancer) in a Polyphonic Spree type way, but upon further listens the quality songwriting and collective charm will hook you. Check it out on Team Love's website.


Team Love is the label run by Conor Oberst and my pal Nate. This is David Dondero.

9/21/2004

Clicking around on various mp3 blogs reminds me that there are sooooooo many bands in the world. It's a bit overwhelming. I caught myself unintentionally skimming for mp3s by bands I've already heard of -- which defeats the purpose of visiting these blogs to find out about new music.


This makes me think of a passage in The Tipping Point, an excellent book I read a few years ago by Malcolm Gladwell. In it, he talks about the number of "impressions" a person needs before deciding to investigate something new. If we use a new band as an example, "impressions" would include hearing a song somewhere, reading a record review, seeing an ad in a magazine, etc. As I recall it, Gladwell said the average person needs at least 7 impressions to get through to them before something hits their radar and they feel compelled to check it out. "Early adopters" might only need 1-3. Seven impressions seems like a lot to me, but I think it's true. Although we might like to claim otherwise, few of us make the effort to check something out the first time we hear of it.

Disclaimer: I'm probably misquoting the book since I don't own a copy of it to reference, but that just means you'll have to read it if you want to correct me. I highly recommend buying it if you're at all interested in how trends get adopted, why word-of-mouth works, and how change happens.

OK while we're on the subject of books, I'll make a potentially damning confession: last night I finished reading Ethan Hawke's second novel, "Ash Wednesday". Probably all of you are rolling your eyes right now, and I don't blame you. In my defense, I read plenty of highbrow literature, the book only cost me $3.99, and a writer friend of mine had told me that even reading bad writing can help you become a better writer yourself. But Ethan's not a bad writer at all, this novel is actually really good, and it should appeal to anyone who's struggling with identity, relationships, spirituality, etc. in a late-20's kind of way. (Surely this doesn't apply to me or any of my friends.) Anyhow, I respect Hawke for having the guts to venture off into other disciplines, knowing many people would write him off as a pretty-boy dilletante. At least he didn't start a band (I'm looking at you, Keanu).

Other books I'm reading:

9/20/2004


In my love-hate relationship with San Francisco, yesterday was a love day. I spent the morning rollerskating on the Embarcadero and listening to my Ipod. Who knew that Spoon was such a good rollerskating soundtrack? "The Way We Get By" and "All The Pretty Girls Go To The City" in particular. If you don't already own at least 3 Spoon albums, I'm going to have to ask you to leave. Now. Go.




After a trip to The Good Life (grocery) for some tofu dogs and buns, I picked Josef up and we headed to Steve's house in Mill Valley for his housewarming BBQ. Being a vegetarian, I'm not the biggest fan of BBQ's, but this one was excellent. Josef cooked up some mean veggie kabobs and corn on the cobs, and a selection of meats for the carnivores. All of Steve's guests were interesting and involved in the arts in one way or another. When the sun went down, we stood on one of the balconies and were reminded what starry nights are supposed to look like.



So, about Will Johnson and his band Centro-matic. Click on over to Misra Records' site and listen to some mp3s. Then buy stuff. Will is on tour now with SF's goodwill ambassador John Vanderslice. While you're at it, you can listen to eleventy hundred JV songs here.


9/18/2004


These are called laurels, and they belong to the documentary film "Amazing Grace: Jeff Buckley" (congratulations Nyla, Laurie & Peter!) Now I know where the cautionary phrase "don't rest on your laurels" comes from. No worries about that, this is just the start of more laurels to come.

People ask me why I don't want a cat as a pet. This is just one reason (Windows Media player needed). At least if a dog doesn't like you, you usually know it from the get-go.

Last night Josef, Melissa, Lindsey, Robin and I went to the 14th Annual Hank Williams Sr. Birthday Tribute & Karaoke Party at the Elbo Room. I think Josef, Melissa and I were partially drawn to it because we're all from Texas and were looking for excuses to don our cowboy boots & shirts and listen to some country music. I'll tell you, I never knew I had Texas pride until I moved away. Anyhow, it was an enjoyable evening, complete with warbling karaoke singers, bedazzled outfits and more than one costume change by more than one performer. The singers were backed up by The New Drifting Cowboys, a solid band with a great pedal steel player. My favorite singer was Jim, an older gray-haired gentleman in a dapper cowboy getup who was still getting up to sing as us younguns were calling it a night.




Melissa & I have the same camera phone, and thanks to her I found this whole menu of options I didn't know my phone had. Flash! White balance! Who knew? There's also an option called fun frames. Now when Josef calls me, this is what my phone shows me:

9/17/2004


I feel like everyone already knows about Ray Lamontagne, since bootleg copies of his Ethan Johns-produced debut CD "Trouble" were flying around way before the record label bidding war reached its fever pitch. RCA won, and the record's out this week. I kinda wish he'd signed with an indie, because his talent is stunning and I'd hate to see him get mangled in the machine. Go listen to "Jolene". I'm hoping to go see him at Cafe Du Nord on 9/22.



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Sugar Boutique, one of the fine stores that stocks Little Queen items, is featured in this month's Lucky Magazine. Makes me proud! Now I have to get off the computer and finish their order...

9/16/2004

I'm enthralled by this young lad's voice. Watch an archived performance by The Delays on KCRW's "Morning Becomes Eclectic". (Real Player needed)


Ashod's latest Live Journal entry cracks me up, so I'm going to reprint it here:
"quick! name a color you've never seen before... [Sep. 15th, 2004]
neon brown
off orange
strangleberry
sergio gravy
light black
inner instinct
shredded yellow
toppy
burnt travis
fabled grape
onion
aqua saltine
sparkletan
transparent paris
hurt
sky beige
hepititus pink"


Pink Spike makes good t-shirts.


A short article in Discover magazine reports that researchers are looking for a scientific explanation for emotions, as a secondary sensory response.
"Hugo Critchley of University College London looked for signs that emotional awareness is tied to heartbeat perception in the brain. If physical reactions trigger emotion, he reasoned, people who are highly attuned to bodily processes ['viscerally aware'] should also be unusually sensitive."
I love this. "I'm not oversensitive, I'm just viscerally aware" is the new "I'm not fat, I'm just big-boned."

9/15/2004

"To mp3, or not to mp3. That is the question."

My mp3 blog manifesto:


Now that I've figured out how to post mp3s on this site (thanks Steve!) the question remains of whether or not I should.

There are many mp3 blogs in existence, the reasoning behind sharing the songs is to expose blog readers to new or obscure artists. It's like inviting friends over to your apartment, commandeering the stereo and forcing them to "listen to this!" and "oh, and this one!" Except this is 2004 and the internet is our living room and you can come and go as you please without offending the host. (A moment of silence, please, for the lost art of human interaction. In my defense, I do own a portable record player.)


The standard etiquette of posting mp3s on most blogs includes only posting 1 or 2 songs per artist for a 7 day period and immediately removing any song if the artist or label (finds out and) objects. While most blogs are received by relatively small audiences, the mp3 blog concept has managed to appear on the industry's radar. In this week's Newsweek there's a short article on mp3 blogs in which RIAA's Greg Larsen is quoted as saying:
"Owners of the copyright should get to decide how they want to promote their music."
Well, none of us is objecting to that statement. However, I think most artists welcome fan-to-fan, word-of-mouth promotion. Apparently some record labels think mp3 blogs are a good idea; Warner Bros. tried to persuade many bloggers to promote a new Secret Machines song for them last month. (Word is that most bloggers declined.)

From my sordid past working with many artists and a few record labels, my current position is that mp3 blogs are mostly a positive force in promoting artists and record sales. Look, I know how much it costs to make records, and I'm the first person to argue that music must be paid for and artists must be compensated. But I also know that I'm buying new records based on what I've heard on some mp3 blogs. A little birdie told me my blog has already indirectly led to a purchase of the new Finn Brothers record, which makes all this nonsense worthwhile to me.

I do see the downside of mp3 blogs too. When you've only got 5 or 10 songs on a record, having multiple unauthorized downloadable mp3s floating around is damaging. There's a fine line between giving it away in the name of promotion, and just giving it away. I found out about Arcade Fire from an mp3 blog, and after a few minutes of hunting around other mp3 blogs linked from the initial one, I'd gathered up a total of at least 6 free mp3s. If each blogger wants to post their own song, it can add up to screwing the artist over, real fast.

For now I'm going to post the occasional mp3 here, for the purpose of promoting artists I love. In the meantime, I'm going to investigate ways I can stream songs rather than making them available for download, because I think that's the best solution. If you like what you hear, then put your money where your ears are -- buy CDs, concert tickets, tshirts, merch, and whenever you can, buy directly from the artist. In the event that I overstep my bounds, I'm pretty sure my artist friends who read this will keep me in line.

Now let's see if I can't help sell another Finn Brothers CD:

Today's mp3: Finn Brothers "Anything Can Happen" -- The most hopeful, happy song I've heard in years. [BUY IT]

9/14/2004

A Picture from my PCS Vision Camera
Trunk show photo: Janna and Nikki modeling Little Queen flower barrettes. You can't really see Janna's black flower, as she was sporting a Johnny Cash black-on-black look on Saturday.





Listen to "Things Against Stuff" by Br. Danielson off the "Brother is to Son" album.






Reminds me of Sifl & Olly, the best show ever to air on MTV.
Listen to a Sifl & Olly song. [BUY]

9/11/2004

I'm headed back to the 2nd day of our trunk show in a few minutes. My friend asked me if a trunk show was a show where we display our wares in a trunk, or where we sell whatever we can haul into the place in a trunk. I love these kinds of questions because they make me wonder about the origins of words and phrases. Trusty ol' dictionary.com defines trunk show thusly:
"A traveling collection of designer clothing or jewelry, displayed in various stores."
Maybe we should have called it a sample sale instead, because we're not traveling really. We're just sitting around at Janna's lovely studio in the Mission.

Paala dresses Posted by Hello


Anyhow, the other participating designers are all insanely talented and beautiful young women with sassy short haircuts. If you can't come visit us, check 'em out online:
Janna's clothing
Nikki's knitwear
Audree's handbags

*Housekeeping notes: I fixed the bad link to the Arcade Fire mp3 and also added links to some of my favorite poems (at least the ones I could find online) in the lower right margin, under the book selections.

Today's quote:
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."

-- Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anais Nin, volume 3, 1939-1944


9/09/2004


Dave Eggers is going to be on Conan O'Brien tonight, something I would love to watch if only I had CABLE. Oh yes, I have a TV, and a robust antenna, but no NBC. Can someone please explain to me why I can't get NBC in this city without having cable? Makes no sense.

There's a new Gary Benchley letter up at The Morning News. I stumbled across this "column" a few months ago, supposedly written by a 22 year old aspiring musician in New York City. The writing is fresh and amusing, with tons of great music references. You can read the archives. Here's an excerpt I like:

"Looking at the buildings and lights rising over the dark of the East River made me feel bigger than my problems. The skyline reminded me of the way music looks in a mixing program on a computer. In Pro Tools, songs are shown as waves. Loud parts of a song are high peaks; quiet parts are valleys. Manhattan looked like that, peaks and valleys, a song thirteen miles long.

I tried to hum the buildings, remembering the parts of the city I couldn’t see. The song opens very quietly, in the park at the Battery, but then gets Nirvana-huge with Wall Street’s distortion and noise. Then it fades quickly, but only to build up to the climax of midtown. There you come to the Empire State Building, huge and orchestrated: grand piano, drums, and acoustic bass. Still heading uptown, it gets a little quieter, with another loud moment for the Citibank building (that building is definitely a synthesizer solo). Once you pass midtown, the song begins to fade, all the way to Inwood."



Listen to The Arcade Fire, another great music recommendation I found via Stereogum. Pre-order Funeral now.

9/08/2004

The return of The Faint. Check out "Wet From Birth" here.

New Vanessa Carlton video. Apparently Lindsey Buckingham plays acoustic guitar on this song, which I personally can't hear for all the piano & strings. A waste of musical genius, if you ask me. When Lindsey guests on my record, it's going to be straight up finger-picking madness a la "Never Going Back Again".
-- "I would be honored to play on your record."

The other reason I mention VC is because I became fascinated by her relationship with the much older Stephan Jenkins when I heard he was producing her 2nd album. I pictured him brainwashing her and hijacking her album as another vehicle for his own egomaniacal expression. But this single sounds real Vanessa Carlton-y.

Listen to this boy's voice:

Shopping list:
The Delays

9/07/2004

A Picture from my PCS Vision Camera

Running RAG on Sunday was fun, I got to play my CDs, talk to random people, see what clothes each person liked, and make a few bucks. One lady complained about my Joanna Newsom CD (complete with an ear-splitting imitation), but The Constantines "Shine a Light" delighted a guy waiting while his girlfriend tried on dresses. Marlena from "Days of Our Lives" stopped in to buy a t-shirt for her son, which was mildly exciting since I used to watch that show in high school.


I saw the entirely too long Vanity Fair yesterday. Reese's accent was passable, the usually-toothsome Jonathan Rhys Meyers came across as the poor man's Joaquin Phoenix, and James Purefoy wore his knee-high leather boots very well. I almost walked out towards the end out of sheer boredom, but the phenomenal costumes and hairstyles kept me in my seat. Save your shillings and wait for this one to come out on DVD.

Get highbrow: Read a Don Paterson poem.

9/05/2004

Chupa the chihuahua came to my house for a sleepover last night because his ma Blakely is off on a camping trip for the weekend. We went for a walk, charmed some passersby, and played lots of headless-alligator, as you can see here:

A Picture from my PCS Vision Camera


We also rented one of the 'Sex and the City' DVDs. I didn't realize Baryshnikov was so captivating even when not dancing! Swoon.

Today I'm working at RAG for Blakely was well. Wish me luck, I haven't worked retail in years.

9/03/2004

This morning I met my friend Steve for breakfast at the Dipsea Cafe, then went to check out his new house in Marin. It's sick. Let's not feel sorry for Steve.

I'm in dire need of an adventure, and I'm not sure I can wait til October for the next film festival. I should have taken that ticket to the ACL Festival that Richud offered...

Speaking of music, where has Aloha been all my life? Listen to this mp3 of "All the Wars" (via stereogum).

An article on Nancy Wilson!!

Just got an email from Fil -- he's in the studio with Poe, Duncan and Matty, cooking up something real good judging by what I heard at the Kerry benefit Poe organized back in July. Let's take a peek at the proceedings:

Fil, Poe & Matt Posted by Hello


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Maybe now Chris will send me a photo from the studio where he's recording the new Electric Six record.

Holy Finn Brothers! "Everyone Is Here" is good!


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