Tuesday, December 29, 2009

SO bad about updating my blog

Facebook is a bastard. Admit it. Since joining I guess about a year ago, then having everyone I know well, kind of know, have gotten to know better, barely known but glad I have, don't really want to know but somehow know more than I ever wanted, it has been really hard to keep this going. I know it just takes the drive to write, but there again, lazy bastard.

But hey, I've been busy! In between the teenager learning to drive, trying to sell the house AND buy a house, it makes for needing to gel in front of the tv or book or....Facebastard.

So, more will come I am sure, eventually, just down to the wire on the house thing.

*cross fingers*
*wishes luck*

Listening: trying to nail down my top music for 2009 for the radio show (97.3 wrir.org 6-8am Friday Breakfast Blend). The Molice, Mahala Rai Banda, & more more more, hard to say what is number one, they are all so good!

Reading: doing some homework for a trip to Williamsburg to visit my folks who are in town there soon, but on deck is the second half of Edmund Morris Teddy Roosevelt biography. Plus also, got the complete Don Martin MAD 2 Vol. set. Quite fun!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Author M.T. Anderson to visit Richmond

I work in a library under the guise of a Teen Librarian and while I don't really have a degree, and the teens I do serve have not much interest in M.T. Anderson, this guy will be worth every bit of visit. He is arriving Tuesday, and speaking at Hermitage High School Wednesday at 7pm. It's free.

M.T. Anderson is probably the best author of Teen books out there. He is diverse, writing a book called Feed, about a consumer culture in the future run amok and with obscured invented language similar to A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, as well a two volume set of a wonderful and poignant story called Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation, set in America during the Revolution and the story of a slave boy educated by a torturous experimental school. His writing is important and deliberate and literate. His work often addresses the issues of today, and maybe a little overkill, but maybe not so much that as with contempt that these issues are around. For anyone who would argue that his books are too much or above teens, he would argue that teens are smart and we shouldn't give them the ride on the short bus home. Anyway, he's coming this Wednesday to speak and I highly recommend you go see him talk damnit.

Here's a sample:


Reading: books by M.T. Anderson: The two mentioned above, plus Thirsty (creepy yet funny teen vampire story), Whales on Stilts (hilarious pun induced world takeover adults are crazy story), Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware (continued story of Whales), Burger Wuss....and many more!

Listening: Great new find of a Japanese Indie Pop band called The Molice. Also, new Polysics on the way!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mekong & the 14th Anniversary party

Without a doubt Mekong is widely considered the best Vietnamese restaurant in town. It is also widely considered to be the best place for beer! Last night was the beer event of the year.

I had arranged for L. to pick me up from Mekong, so I could drink and not have to worry about driving home. Of course that meant finding a way to get there. Everyone I thought that would go (and perhaps give me a ride) had canceled; that meant I was flying solo. That's okay, I would "cover" it like a reporter for a magazine would, going back to the days when I used to do that for Throttle and other zines for music. But it also meant Public Transportation. The thing about P.T. in a medium size town is that you are ALWAYS waiting, and often this is your view:

The bus is rarely on time and though a competent system, it is just never when nor where you need it to be.

Anyway, between two buses and mostly standing at the stops, it takes about an hour to get there . As I approached the restaurant just after 6, I could see the cars pulling in and the bodies arriving. I knew this was the beer drinking crowd. Sure there were a few people coming just for a proper dinner, but little did they know that they were about to be outnumbered. For the only room that wasn't dedicated to the party was the front. The rest was ours.

After handing in my ticket I was was funneled to the left where I received my pint glass and tee shirt. The buffet lay in wait just across the room. Mmmm, rocket shrimp, tofu curry, spring rolls, fried rice, dumplings. So much to choose from.

Speaking of choices, I had my hands full; camera bag, camera, umbrella, Me Kong t-shirt and an empty pint glass. I was beer thirsty and ready but had to unload and decide whether to hit the buffet first or fill my beautiful sky blue lettered glass with beverage. Food first, because you know the beer will never run dry if An is running the show. I dropped my umbrella off behind the bar while waiting in the food line, plated up, then head to the banquet room to make the first beer decision of the night; KWAK.

An was back there, talking, shaking hands and all smiles. Here's an aficionado clearly in his element. "Phil," he said, "You haven't put your shirt on yet!" He's referring to shirt that everyone was donning "Mekong is *heart* for beer lovers". "Getting to it!" was my reply, taking a big Kwaky sip.


As the sea of shirts continued to multiply, there was also more friendliness amongst the beer drinkers. That's the thing about avid appreciators of beer. They are all friendly with a bit of jaded humor to give them the edge you need. I first got chummy with a nice knowledgeable couple over a pint of An's homemade brew simply called "The Crazy", which looked like a mad scientist experiment with the beer being filtered through the hops.


Still had yet to see familiar faces, although I was starting to make new friends fast, talking beer and just having a good time. I needed a break from the crowd, so I stole off to the empty corner table near the stage to write some thoughts down, playing reporter role still. While writing an elderly couple came up to me and asked if they could use the table. I said sure, I'm just here writing, feel free to sit down. The husband seemed kind and apologetic for interrupting me, but the wife was on a mission. She was converting their two scotch on the rocks to their new pint glasses. As she dumped the liquor into them she spilled a bit on the tabletop and back end of a chair. Immediately and with quick action she wiped the chair off, right onto my leg. No apology from her and she was off, her husband left to thank me for the table use and once again say sorry. What a bitch was my first thought, but then any hostile emotions melted away with a swig of beer and a "ha ha beer events are funny" attitude.

Grabbing another plate of food, I next went back to the Kwak, finding a place to sit. Two younger alternative looking gals were camping out between two cooler taps and there was a chair open. I reached across the table and plopped down my plate, then worked my way around to sit. The dark haired girl's boobs were about to pop out and the blond was dubious of me from the start. Trying not to seem like creepy guy, I made small talk and we eventually had some nice smattering of conversation, although I feel they probably still felt I was a little weird. Here they are, and doesn't it look like An is dancing?


Back again, this time to the bar where some Chimay was on tap and would be the beer I would roll with most of the night. I took a temporary seat and lo and behold who shows up but the WW2 veteran who spoke of his experiences in the War at the last Mekong Beer Fest called World War Beer. He started talking me and another girl about flying 32 missions over Europe and how after entering the armed forces he had a choice to either fight in Europe or the Pacific. He chose Europe, because "the food was better, the cots were better, the whiskey was better and the women were better!" Cheers to you sir!


After he went back to his table, the girl told me how she loved hearing all those stories from older folks. We got to talking and shared what we were reading, me a Teddy Roosevelt biography, she a biography on Stalin. Then I started getting chummy with her friends and hung out there a while. One of the fellas was covering the event for RVA Magazine, I'd remembered him from the previous Mekong event, and we all toasted glasses several times. Suddenly the Flay Slayer shows up!


Just as quickly, the action was getting faster by this point, a guy from some beer magazine stood on a chair and yells for everyone who is wearing the Mekong shirt to come to the stage for a group photo. Yeah, you know it was bound to happen. The biography girl made a joke that she was going to grab her crotch like a baseball player for the photo and we all chuckled and egged her on. People gathered, laughter and whoops, and this other woman got candid and I took an impromptu snap:


Notice biography girl in the background and her baseball player pose. Hilarious! As people continued to get ready for the photo, all the photographers, amateur or otherwise, clicked and snapped. I yell, "Okay, everyone on the count of three, yell beer!" One, two, three:


BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!!!!!!!!!!


Time for a bit of Terrapin while chatting with Lian, the first of the 5 brothers, and his wife.

He told me how before Mekong moved in to the building, the place was an electrical store or something. I told him they needed the whole strip mall, knock down some walls and line the place with beer. He laughed and said no, this is good, we're all like family; like everyone here at the party. It was kind of like a big fine beer drinking family! My glass was empty again, Lian led me to the banquet room, where he poured me a fine glass of delicious two year old Brasserie Dupont.


Next on deck was the band Fear no Beer, better known as Modern Groove Syndicate. Funky, jazzy and perfect for the crowd.


As the evening progressed I spent some time with Julia and David of River City Cellars fame. Great people and fun to hang with!


While in the midst of continually good inebriated conversation, I'd missed my phone call. L. was on her way and would be there in 20 minutes. Time for cake silliness, last photos and goodbyes.

Cake fun!


Posing silly.


An entirely sweaty me and An.

If there is something to said about that evening, it is that Mekong is a great place for good beer, good food and a good party. Happy Anniversary and I look forward to many more!

CHEERS and Good Times!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

King of Dead ...how much?

So Michael Jackson is dead, right? Okay, well established. I go to ebay for laughs to see all the overpriced auctions on stuff. Go there and do a search on Michael Jackson. I think the most absurd is the various domain names for like 18 Grand.

Beer of Summer picture:


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Vacation photos

L. has posted some vacation photos of our to Southwest Virginia and the state parks in that area. It was a lot of mountainous fun! More photos:


Wilderness Road State Park



Natural Tunnel State Park



Big Stone Gap, VA (Where there is the SW VA History Museum State Park)




Breaks Interstate Park


Reading: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Listening: The Essential Radio Birdman (1974-1978)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

River City Limits

Ceci & I have a great deal of fun doing River City Limits for Richmond Indie Radio on second Saturdays:



Here we are in our 3-D Glasses...COMIN' AT YA!


Listening: The Cosmopolitans, we had member Jamie K. Sims on for the show, they are having a reunion gig in NC on August 1st.
Reading: Wyatt Earp Speaks ---yeah in a western history phase, even watching Deadwood again.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Port-O-Let Memorial Weekend fun

A great Splork show last Friday at The Triple for the River City Roller Girls.
Here are a couple of pics:




Then the next day, L & I go to D.C. . We visit my aunt, see Prairie Home Companion, and catch a Nationals game at the new stadium -- they won. A great weekend!

An amusing thing we started to do while traveling through the crazy that is NoVa traffic, is have some fun with the portable toilets that line the endless construction by the highways. The vast army of blue and gray plastic privies are known as Don's Johns and YES, they have a website. In fact, they have NBC coverage from the Obama Inauguration on there too. So my original post was to try and come up with funny slogans for advertisement for this sanitation company, but the obvious winner already speaks for itself: something to the effect of when the government needs to go, they call the best, they call Don's Johns. So anyway, here are the other slogans we came up with after see them at road construction site after road construction site, feel free to join in:

- We won't port-o-let you down.
- Moving your movement, one port-o-let at a time.
- Keeping construction on the go.
- It's everywhere they want to go.
- Slow construction ahead...doesn't mean their behind.
- Because no one like them sitting down on the job.


Reading: A Terrible Glory : Custer and the Little Bighorn by James Donovan
and an amusing urban teen book called The Exorsistah by Claudia Mair Burney.

Watching: Antiques Roadshow.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Plaza Bowl & Triple

Okay, so we played a fun show at the Plaza Bowl a couple of weeks ago. It was great! Here's a clip:



Next on the Splork-deck, The Triple as part of the River City Roller Girls benefit!

Here's the handbill:
Should be fun I know! We totally get to play with Hot Lava and some other cool bands!

Listening: Juana Molina, some of her back catalog stuff...real good. And some kick ass band called The Beautiful Mothers.

Reading: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith.
Book Club anyone? ha!

Watching: Original Twilight Zone episodes from the Volume III collection. Love when Rod Serling zips in on each episode with clever language smoking a cigarette. Very chock full of awesome-ness.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Robot nerd that I am

Being a robot collector, as well as a big Ghost in the Shell fan, I could not resist buying this Dennou Chogokin Tachikoma Ver.1.2 from Japan; a great site called Hobby Link Japan. Yes, it is cool. Here is a vid:


video


I know I know, dorky right? But you have to admit it is pretty kick ass and it looks swell in the display case:




Reading: Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott. Makes me angry and sad.

Listening: 97.3 WRIR Richmond Independent Radio fund raising time...DONATE!!!!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

To see it

You know, it would really be great if the Westhampton or wherever in town would show this:




And speaking of theaters, I am looking forward to going to see Hitchcock's The Birds at the Byrd on April 24th, two showings of the film at a cost of 10 bucks, which includes Wurlitzer fun and some free popcorn. Then I notice that Bow-Tie cinema is also show the Birds for their little movie and mimosa thing. Hmmm...I bet Bow-Tie is trying some sly marketing ploy, taking ideas from our local beautiful theater as well as taking money from the Foundation by offer the same old film at the same time or better yet a week earlier, hardly a coincidence dontcha think? Maybe Bow-Tie is pretty shitty after all... Kind of like Starbucks opening two locations near a local coffee shop to steal the business.... hmmmm.

Reading : Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell.

Listening: lots, but a great German (?) spazzcore band called Chung.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tripe movie of the past

So last night, I make everyone in the house watch 1996's space invader movie, Independence Day, thinking it would be a good space action movie that the teen would like and maybe L. would enjoy since it has Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, and others. I remember going to the theater to see this with a friend of mine when it first came out and thought it was a two hour wad of spittoon catchings. People cheered when the character playing the president said Nuke 'Em. WTF??!! Oh, but then the same ding dongs that cheered that suggestion also cheered when the President FIRED the slimy character that suggested it to begin with. WTF?!?! Anyway, it was a lot of cheesed out patriotic-ish tripe, though the effects were good for the time. I remember at the time that I had enjoyed Tim Burton's Mars Attacks much better, particularly for the hilarious inclusion of Tom Jones in the final shot of the movie (you know when he is with the animals like Dr. Doolittle?).



Burton's movie took the same 1950s martian invader genre nod and went in a more endearing and lasting direction.

Seeing ID last night, it felt long (I can't believe I watched the whole thing!), pompous, showboaty, and the effects are dated. I mean sure, I guess it is an OK action movie, but it has no way near the lasting great movie element it may have banner waved at the time of its release. Not including the whole "twin towers" foreshadowed reference or whatever you want to bring into it. So the question is: why did I want to watch it and why did I want to make my family watch it? I mean, I didn't really like it at the time it came out. I might have even been vehement about it. So what inspired me to see it again? Maybe it totally feels like a Sunday afternoon lounging around the house type of movie...I am sure it wasn't some kind of attempt at capturing my youth or whatever. Maybe big budget Hollywood flicks like that, even though most suck, create some kind of false pattern of recognition where you picked up on the popularity of it through some kind of consumer collective consciousness. Weird, I know, but marketing does strange things to peoples psyche, any psychologist will tell you that. Or maybe it is as simple as just recalling some of the more impressionable scenes of the movie being interesting and you just blocked out the crappy parts. Anyway, I think I might have seen it for the last time last night --at least as a rental.

So onto some weird video okay?

IMOTO vs Komodo dragon

What would YOU do if being chased by a Komodo Dragon? Damn I love Japanese television!


Reading: Manhunt: the twelve day chase for Lincoln's killer by James L. Swanson

Listening: Feed by M.T. Anderson, read the book already, reviewing for family book club, great audio! Oh, also, ordered some new music from CD Baby!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Shoes.

I know this is 2 years old, but still funny...you betch.



What I want to read right now: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith & Jane Austin. You heard me!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fun PSA from the Ad Council

Cat Magnet!



Reading: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves by M.T. Anderson.

Listening: The BPA "I think we're gonna need a bigger boat", XXTeens "Welcome to Good Island", Bis "Social Dancing".

Monday, March 02, 2009

Anti-snow blog

Since everyone on facebook, here, and various other social networks keeps chatting and posting about the snow here in town, which I love and also am excited to see, I am going to post a picture of our cat in a box to counterbalance all the snow fervor:


Meow.



Reading: Finishing up The Lost City of Z by David Grann, getting ready for The Kingdom on the Waves: Octavian Nothing, Vol. 2 by M.T. Anderson.

Watched: The Thing from Another World.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Gyral Umbrella

Clock Work baby. I saw this crazy ass toy at World of Mirth right before the holidays. Obviously a choking hazard to most anyone and I think on the consumer shit list in some countries, yet selling for 45 bucks on ebay in Argentina.


Everything about it stuns me. The crazy name, the weird graphics, the way it works and the funky psycho sound it makes. Here's a vid of it at work, notice how LONG it performs, and that was just from a few cranks!

video


I KNOW, right, so weird.... anyway, another greatly humorous thing about this toy made in China, is the warning label that it has:



1) Children is misspelled and 2) that sentence ALMOST makes no sense! You gotta think about it a little, ya know? It's almost like the box is PART of the fun! Anyway, I bought the last two (or only) on the shelf, they were like 6 bucks, thinking that I definitely had to have one at the office and I had to share one with someone. Funny how I haven't found the right person yet to give this to!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Let's party!



I feel like crap today, but am to be the emcee for this great WRIR 97.3 radio party. Four years! Four great bands, Horsehead, RPG, Bio Ritmo and Hot Lava and 2 DJ rooms with some slam poetry thrown in. Yeah!

Hey, listen to Friday's show I posted:
Podcast Here

Listening: The Cramps, Lux Interior R.I.P. I remember seeing them at the Flood Zone I guess about 12 years ago (?) My older punk friend got socked in the mouth by a 20 year girl who didn't appreciate him slam dancing at a punk show (!) near her. I was hypnotized by Poison Ivy, swearing she was staring me down the whole time while playing the guitar, Lux was all over the fucking place; on the speaker, writhing on the stage, on the crowd. It was fantastic....

Reading: Infoquake by David Louis Edelman

Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Carytown New Year pictures...

These are photos from the day after, around 11:30am. I live near enough there to call it my neighborhood, and frankly I don't want you dickweeds around trashing my community for the sake of the New Year:


I'm not sure who brought the walking machine to the Street party, but they tore that box open and left it.



This was a huge sheet of glass that we thought fell from a window, we couldn't locate the origin, guessed maybe someone's car window got smashed.



Since there are no cows in the big city for country bumpkin drunk boys to tip over, portable toilets are the next best thing?



This was the remains of a bloody torn shirt on the sidewalk which furthers my thought that there are a lot of drunk dudes at this "celebration" looking for fights.




This is the best shot I could get of the inside of Can-Can, which was very trashy with confetti and stuff that the staff probably said, "This crap can wait till tomorrow." Still, all those suburbanites coming in to the fashionable restaurant would call 12 on your side in a heartbeat if they found a streamer in their soup!




Horse nuggets left by your friendly neighborhood policemen and their trusty steeds that I heard trotted through the crowd minutes after the New Year to clear people out. Guess they forgot the shovel?





Speaking of horse flop, those that couldn't squeeze into Can-Can, had to settle for Asian food on flower boxes. I suppose finishing the rice was too much effort to achieve, kind of like throwing away the plate. I kind of have this image of a group of 22 year old drunk fashionable girls sharing these plates of food, with one totally blowing chunks after eating, while her friend sets the plates down right here to help her friend puke by moving her long $200 haircut out of the flow of barf.




Celebrate the New Year in Carytown, rent an apartment!


I think these photos are reason enough to charge people in the counties taxes for Richmond. You come to the city and trash it! Not saying a lot of the locals do it too but...Or at least if they are going to do this Carytown thing next year, they should charge 20 bucks, so they can afford a quick clean up after wards, and not just the one street, the neighborhoods too. A lot of the surrounding the areas had litter everywhere as a result.

Carytown New Year's is LAME. We went one year and that was enough. The idea of a ball dropping (or raising) needs more of a Square type setting. How about Brown's Island or Shockoe Bottom. Because I suspect that a lot of people that troll the Bottom were probably at this thing. Anyway.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Robot Nerd

So I collect robots, it was a conscious effort I made a couple of years ago, because I thought it would be kind of unique and well, they are neat. We went to Ikea today, in between radio shows and taking the cat to the vet, where we picked up some new bookshelves for the living room and, magically enough, an awesome display case for some robots!!!
Terribly blurry pic, I know, but look:


Reading: Museum of Terror manga series by Junji Ito.

Preparing to watch: lotta of talk on Wild Zero again. Great movie that stars the kick-ass band Guitar Wolf!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Big Guys like D.O.A.

Here is a pic of me with Joe Shithead Keithley and the rest of the new crew of D.O.A. about ten years ago, I'm the fatty hairy guy in the back!


It was a great few days being able to hang out with D.O.A. while they stayed at my friend Michele's apt on Grace Street. They were between shows (with Zeke, who were constantly trying to score coke out of their motel, I think), the drummer hurt his back and they needed to recoup. I got to drive Joey to Pleasants hardware to buy some glue for his guitar which he broke at the show here. Plus interview them for Throttle Magazine in a restaurant/band review/interview at Stella's (after it moved to Main Street). Good times!

Reading: Awesome book called "The Terror" by Dan Simmons, fictionalized account (with monster) on the lost Franklin Expedition in the 1840s.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2008 Pick of the Litter Music

So this Friday, my show will be the Best of 2008! Here it is:

Best of 2008 -- Phil D.
(Friday Breakfast Blend 6-8AM, River City Limits 2nd Saturdays)


Podcast here: http://radio4all.net/index.php/program/30952

Triclops “Out of Africa” (Alternative Tentacles)
Different. Proof that punk is art and just well, damn good! Members of Victims Family, Lower 48 and the vocalist from Fleshies have done a discordantly defiant record in the vein of a Yes album, but way harder, creepier and chock full of fists solidly raised in the air. Musically, it’s a math romp, or noise romp or hardcore romp, it dances along the heavier side of music without the schizophrenia. Vocals are a real gem of oddness here, using studio trickery to squeeze out tones like a baby or add echo to madness ranting. Take the song “Freedom Tickler”, my favorite track, starting as a creeper then going to the straight forward noodle with poignant lyrics written in the form of a comic in the liner notes. “Secret 93” is a dark tale of city in darkness, combining elements of acoustic and throwing it up in the air with some intense sonic angles. Triclops “Out of Africa” is the kind of thematic cd that is bigger than any one song, and is worth repeated listening.

Gogol Bordello live at Toad’s Place.
Plain & simple just read my review HERE.
Best in show in town of the year.

Flight of the Conchords - tv show and Cd (Sub Pop).
Take two comedic guys with panache for dry humor and good musicianship who have been doing the club circuit for a few years, created a fan base, then given an HBO series. Funny. It’s when the show came out, where a lot of the visualizations of their songs were put in focus that people started to flock to the Flight. What could be next but to do a CD with all that comedic Aussie – er uh New Zealand goodness and make it not only the best comedic album of the year, but one of the best musical comedy albums ever. There are at least 5 songs that fans will quote lines to you if you let them. My sad fear is that this is it for them. They’ve peaked and will probably still put out hilarious material, but our gobble and spit out attitude will have “all ready been there, done that”. That’s okay, this is their time, and a great one at that.

Beck “Modern Guilt” (DGC Records).

To me, Beck has never been one to care much about being in the Top 10 of anything with his albums and I personally haven’t gone much beyond the highly regarded Odelay. But when I first heard Modern Guilt, I just had to pick it up. He’s always an obscure, hip poet with colorful songwriting and this album brings that out nicely with balanced grooving tunes co-produced by Danger Mouse. “Orphans” and “Youthless” play like Beatles “Rubber Soul” on funky pills and the lyrics mean SOMETHING, I’m not entirely sure what, but I can identify. Songs like “Gamma Ray” are more obvious in what feels like a take on what modern people are going to do with our pollution and way of living and the environmental concern. Modern Guilt is just a great solid album with some great vibes throughout.

The B-52s “Funplex” (Astralwerks).

Kate Pierson is 60! 60!!!! No member is under 50 in the band now and they are rocking it out better than some boy bands that reformed for the sake of dry humping the cash cow. *AHEM* New Kids on the Block *AHEM* This CD got me through the Jersey Turnpike on a 10 hour trip to South Hadley, Massachusetts, and that my friends, is saying something! The songs are more than their expected party dance stuff, sure there is plenty of that, but they have grown a sharper tongue on the pop culture lifestyle. Take the mall living jab with the title track “Funplex” –a great rip. And although you never really think of the B-52s as being social commentarians on their records, they have plenty to say here, albeit tongue in cheeky. Here is “Keep this party going.” “Comeback” is hardly a word to use here, but works well, just like the B-52s!

Hot Lava “Lavalogy” (Bar/None).
The pop senses tingle with catchiness and the air of lo-fi love just hits you great on this record. Such an album to come out of RVA! Destined for greatness, I say. It reminds me, slightly, of the great moments in The Breeders, but the lava flavor is more satisfying. There is a a subtle 60s pop beach party vibe throughout and the lyrics are wonderful; clever, smart and smart aleck –a great combination that Allison exudes in her distinct vocals. Hot Lava is a band that you will hear on the air and go, “that’s Hot Lava”. This is a distinctive sound that you’re always happy to hear. Local of the year. I heart Hot Lava!


The Ting Tings “We Started Nothing” (Phantom Sound & Vision)
The Kills “Midnight Boom” (Red Meat Heart).

Okay, so here is my theory, The Ting Tings and The Kills are basically the same kind of band, just for different styles of people and a different vibe. Elvis person or Beatles person. Blonde or Brunette. White meat or Dark meat. Old Trek or new Trek. Same thing here. Me? I like em both. Ting Tings definitely offer the best danceable pop around with songs like “That’s not my name” and “Fruit Machine”, sure winners on the circuit. The disco elements of “Shut up and let me go” are perfect for your pop dance floor flavor. At the same time, The Kills offer more for the wallflowers in the dark corner, bobbing heads together in unison, maybe even swaying together. Songs like “Getting down” is unbeatable as a dirty dark dance song. Playing the Ting Tings is like putting Pop Rocks in your mouth, you will move. The Kills are like adding lo-fi cola to the Pop Rocks – providing the element of danger and rawness. Here is my example : both bands (basically each have 2 members; a guy and a gal) have a “fruit” song. Ting Tings is called “Fruit Machine”. Now take the same vibe from that and Kill it and you have “Sour Cherry”. Enough said. Both are great bands and cds so they basically tie for me, depending on the mood.



Polysics LIVE in DC and best vinyl (Karate House/I ate the Machine dbl lp SIGNED!) (Myspace records).

So my pal and fellow BB DJ Anna (Tuesday mornings) head our families up to The Black Cat in Washington D.C. to see the greatest band on the planet Polysics! Here is a crappy video I tried to take with my camera:

Anyway, being the obvious fanboy that I am, I bought the limited edition double album vinyl of Karate House and I ate the Machine, two cds I already own (and the more expensive foreign releases at that), before they even went on stage. Polysics is a band that is huge in Japan, filling the seats and in videos you can see hundred of kids pogo in unison, a sight to behold. Here at the Black Cat in D.C. they play the BACK room full to about 120 people, but 120 dedicated fans that know what the hell they are about and how great they are. Polysics played it out, Hiro, the guitarist/singer started all pressed and nice in his orange uniform jumpsuit but by the end of the show was drenched in sweat. High energy, aggressive without all the jock attitude -- they gave me exactly what I wanted, pure musical HELL YEAH!! Afterwards , I hung around with a few other nerds, gripping my record closely, waiting to see if they would come out and sign it. THEY DID! Every one of them and they were so appreciative of my raining compliments upon them, even though they may not have know much of what I was saying. The music on these records speaks for itself (I play them all the time), amped up new wave, but harder, like Devo times a thousand. Live? Unbeatable! Thank you Polysics, for coming near enough for me to see you live! Come to Richmond!!!

Juana Molina “Un Dia” (Domino recording Co.).
“Un Dia” is such an earthly CD, even though the music is layers and layers of vocals, samples and studio “Magic”. It is a fantastic CD and should be in the collection of anyone who likes the explorative side of music. It’s repetitiveness builds and ebbs and flows like the wind against the trees, touching here and there on loops and and lines that work and well. I know, it sounds kind silly, but it will carry you to other places, spiritually or emotionally. Molina is the ultimate in singer-songwriter ambience. Inspiring songs, like the title track, will carry you through the day with a serene pace that is upbeat and energetic. This is just beautiful music, textured and playful without feeling like the cheese of Enya. It is music for the senses. One of the most talented people out there as far as I am concerned, Juana Molina captures the nature of music to make one of the satisfying albums of 2008.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!” (Mute Records Limited).

Nick Cave and done the world a great literary service with this album. He has given us something to be talked about in hip coffee shops for decades to come. He has a flair for the beat poets, a 60s guru vibe, some punk panache and a dash of T.S. Eliot all rolled into one hell of a fine CD. Themes of religion (Lazarus raised to live in New York City) he has always dealt with, and here he is at his most delightfully twisted, forming new theology in the modern world. Minimalism type songs sprinkled with off kilter noise and rumbles and solos all while coaxing complex sentiment in the lyrics with hip phraseology and deeper references; it’s nearly musical literature. Despite a mostly cynical vibe, there always seems to be a ray of hope, whether it be the chorus in “Albert goes West” or the carnal pleasure that is expressed in reveling in the life of the city; but hey Lazarus never ASKED to be raised from the dead. “We call upon the author to explain” is a perfect representation of this record. Socially conscious, holding the architects of the way of the world on trial, damning them, then gripping them up and dusting them off. Where “Author” tears it all down, others pick you up again, like “Hold onto yourself”, with some hope in the darkness, even if you have to embrace a sick world a little to do it. Nick Cave is always a blues man at the root, take the final track “More new from Nowhere” for instance, but he also embraces the jive and the weird and noisy and has rolled into some genius of a record here. This is the album of the year.


Okay, Local picks of the Year
Hot Lava DJ Williams Trio Gull
I-Las Way of the Sun Lee Harris & Country Sunshine
Amoeba Men Dead Goats Splork!
so many more!