My president wasn't inaugurated yesterday

I'm rather pleased with myself today. I managed to get nearly all the way through yesterday with hardly a passing thought to the fact that it was inauguration day. This may not seem like such a fantastic achievement to you, but for me, it's huge. In the weeks leading up to Black Tuesday in November, I allowed myself to become rather obsessed with reading about, talking about, thinking about and worrying about the election, to the detriment of my job responsibilities and my writing schedule (which was going pretty smooth at the time). I stayed up all night long after most of the results came in, while the country was still teetering on the fence between hope and despair. And then when the great state of Ohio tapped us on the shoulder and we fell headlong into that dark chasm, I allowed myself to wallow for a few more weeks in self-pity, confusion and disgust.

Now, however, it seems that I'm back to my old apathetic self. But I learned a valuable lesson...

Caring is for losers.

51% of the country thought that a man who couldn't find oil in Texas is a good choice to lead the most powerful country in the world? Who cares.

US soldiers are being forced to serve multiple tours of duty in a war that is completely unfounded? What's on HBO tonight?

220,000 killed in a South Asia natural disaster? Sounds like the beginning of a pretty funny joke.

It's nice being stupid and American.

mp3: David Bowie - Candidate (demo)

I hope this doesn't turn out to be sadly ironic

Just in case I should happen to die in the middle of the night due to what could possibly be faulty wiring that may or may not be the reason that my roommate suddenly does not have power in her bedroom and could very well ignite a fire in the walls while we're asleep so that I wake up in the amber glow of my hardwood floor smoldering beneath my bed, I thought it was important to write this post now.

Blogger's been kinda slow for me lately, so it's unlikely that I'll be able to get this off before my lungs fill with scalding fumes and I pass out from asphyxiation.

I just want you all to know that in the event of that situation, this is the song I want played at my funeral...

mp3: The Moldy Peaches - Downloading Porn with Davo

(Update: Well, it appears that I did not die last night, so instead, I'd like that song played at my wedding.)

A Pleasant Surprise (or My old CEO has eight fingers and eats babies)

Just before the stock market crashed and all the dot-coms imploded and smoldering embers rained down from the heavens upon the pathetic masses of post-collegiates, Xlibris was a pretty decent place to work. It was a print-on-demand publishing company, and it appeared to have a okay business model with an admirable philosophy (making publishing affordable for average people). For some reason, the CEO was missing two-fingers on his right hand. Some say he was born that way, others say it was a science experiment gone awry.

At the time, it seemed that if you were young and/or cool and/or attractive and/or talented, you probably worked for Xlibris (or you knew someone who did). I also worked there. It felt more like summer camp than a place of employment. There was a lot of drinking and a lot of hooking up and a lot of foosball going on. But then the bottom dropped out, day turned to night, our CEO started feasting on the flesh of newborn babies, and everyone quit or got fired. (They've recently located most of their business to the Philippines, where they can practice slave labor and cannibalism with impunity.)

One of the people I ran across during my tenure was Mike Kiley, an actor/singer/songwriter, who went to front a local band called Cordalene. Mike and I were always friendly, but we were never friendly-friendly. (We never hooked up or anything.) When we see each other in a bar or on the street, we'll usually stop and catch up. One day, a few years ago, I was doing my serious-writer-struggling-with-brilliant-ideas-in-a-coffee-shop thing (probably writing something about pirates or robots, really), when Mike walked in. He told me that his band had recently released an EP of new songs. I said, "That's cool," and nodded my head in that non-committed "I'm probably not gonna buy it" way. And then he reached into his bag and just gave me a copy. "Cool," I said and nodded my head in that non-committed "I'm probably not gonna listen to this" way. Then he left, and I went back to being brilliant.

When I got home, I don't know why, but I listened to the EP. And it was really fucking good. I don't mean I-don't-have-to-lie-when-I-say-that-I-don't-hate-it good. I mean I'd-actually-go-out-and-spend-money-on-this good.

Now, when I see Mike at a bar or on the street, we'll stop and catch up, but I'll usually spend way too much time talking about how much I like his music, and he'll usually look uncomfortable about my creepiness and try to slip away without hurting my feelings.

mp3: Cordalene - Ghost

(Update: If you live in New York, you can check out Cordalene any Wednesday night at Pianos through February 17th. If you live in Philly and you're reading this, it probably means you're me, so you should get off your lazy ass and finally see them live any Thursday through the 24th at the Khyber.)

Bad Name, Good Song

If you've been over at Scenestars recently (and really, if you haven't, I'd like to know why; Scenestars could kick Dostoevsky's ass any day of the week), you've probably noticed that they've got supposed links to these Harlan T. Bobo songs plastered all over the place. The problem is: the links don't work. (I was just going to link to their page, call it a day and start injesting my Tylenol 3 early today.)

I downloaded a song called "Too Much Love" from there back in the summer, and I loved it so much that I almost finally got around to buying the whole album. (Except that the Shangri-La Records website is tacking $6.40 onto the $11.99 CD price for shipping and handling. What the fuck? It doesn't cost me $6.40 to send one CD across state lines. How are they sending it? By vampire bat? Gypsy caravan? I don't mind paying for music that I want, but I don't so much enjoy getting bent over and raped. I do however need to get the CD; I just haven't figured out my strategy yet.)

So, anyway, in case you missed it the first time around, here's the song, garbled lyrics and all. (Is he saying, "And it's all that niggah-high cocaine!"? And, if so, what the hell does that mean?) And I do think that Mr. Bobo has a point: there is far far too much love in this world. Someone should do something about that.

mp3: Harlan T. Bobo - Too Much Love

Update: As you may find in the comments below, there is some small controversy about whether or not the Scenestars link to Mr. Bobo's mp3s work or not. It turns out, they do, so feel free to go there and download his other song, "Stop." (It's my suspicion that Scenestar Rachel fixed the broken links just to make me look foolish.)

Excuse me, but I have to sweep up the shattered remnants of my ego.

For My Very Special Lady

This post is officially dedicated to Matthew Tobey, and if you're reading this, you probably know why. It's highly likely you arrived here via Mr. T____'s flying hyperlink.

You may have noticed that he calls me "brilliant," which is absolutely true, provided you take the word at it's original etymological meaning: "borderline autistic in regards to hoarding certain fringe genres of music." (From OED.)

You may have also noticed that he totally puts me in my place for being such a suck-ass blogger, and he's completely right. My very first attempt at blogging was called "I am the Stallion," an ill-conceived mixing of diary entries with Ween obsessiveness. (It was worthwhile mainly for the mp3 links, and even then, only if you're a Ween fan.) The page went through long periods of neglect followed by short bursts of activity, with new names and themes such as "I am Jean Luc Godard" and "I am Trapped in an Elevator." (I'm certain you can imagine the infinite possibilities available to those two ideas.)

Anyway, I don't have the best track record for keeping blogs up and running.

But I've got a good feeling about this one...


So, being for the benefit of Mr. Tobey, here's some extra-fine, super-rare Ween. It's the demo version of an outtake from their exquisite 12 Golden Country Greats. (How's that for obscure?)

mp3: Ween - I Got No Darkside

All the demos tracks for 12 Golden Country Greats are available on the excellent What's really fun about these demos is that, if you know the album (which was atypically well-produced with Nashville session players) you can see how a "Ween song" can turn into an "almost normal song" with just a little spit and polish. (Note: I almost didn't post this link. Because now, really, what good am I?)

The Magic Carboard Box

In the employee lounge of the Borders at which I used to work, there was a cardboard box into which the managers would dump all the promotional books and CDs (that they hadn't already set aside for themselves). The scene that would immediately follow one of these dumping rituals was violent and distasteful and I'd rather not go into it in detail right now. Let it suffice to say that I'm not such a great scrapper, so I rarely pulled out anything of immediately recognizable value. But my attitude was "Fuck them if they think I'm not gonna bring something home with me," and so I was able to stock myself full of spare jewel cases.

However, because I was forced to forrage, I ended up finding some really good bands that I would never have listened to otherwise. I would scan the CD case, looking for anything that might give a hint toward what could be expected inside. My general rule at the time was that I saw reference to an accordian, Wurlitzer or buzzsaw, the CD would get stashed away in my locker. (I was definitely slouching toward some kind of musical interest that I couldn't quite define at the time, and is perhaps still a little hazy.)

It was in that way that I discovered The V-Roys. (I think the CD case said somebody played a slide guitar or something. Close enough.) I think they had a strong following in Knoxville, but they only released two studio albums and burnt out before they ever got the chance to acquire much of a national following. They weren't straight country, but had more honky-tonk in their indie-rockishness than I was familiar with at the time, so the CD really intrigued me. It's not a CD that still reach for often, but I view it as a stepping stone toward some of my favorite albums, and one track, "Mary," has made it onto a multitude of mix tapes since then. (I'm particularly fond of the lyric "Blah blah something for cigarettes and I've got the cancer in my lungs." [ed note: gibberish mine.] )

mp3: The V-Roys - Mary

Please Don't Do That

It was kinda cool back in college when I absently left Nevermind playing and after eight-or-so minutes of silence, during which I'd thought the CD has spun to a stop, "discovered" its hidden noise track. As far as I knew, I was the only person in the world smart enough to accidentally leave the CD playing. I was filled with an sense of excitement and achievement, which I can only describe as being akin to how Ponce de Leon must have felt when he landed his ship on the coast of Florida. It wasn't the greatest Nivana song ever, but it was secret and it was mine. But, you know, that was fourteen years ago.

Much like the zoom lens of '70s cinema, the hanging ending of so much post-Carver short fiction, and Paris Hilton, hidden tracks were interesting little novelties that had their place, got boring and then got totally overused to the point of being obnoxious. They're not cool anymore. They don't fool anybody. They're just annoying.

a. I don't enjoy fast-forwarding through increasingly numerous minutes of silence just to hear a three-minute song.
b. It really messes up the flow if you're listening to several CDs or many songs in a random playlist.
c. I hate having to manually edit a song's wav file, just so I can stick it on my iPod.
d. Please stop.

Now, for some reason, Will Oldham (whose music is very close to my heart) seems to be one of the biggest breachers of etiquette in this concern. Just off the top of my head, I can tell you that on the last track of Bonnie "Prince" Billy Sings Greatest Palace Music, the last track has about ten minutes of silence leading to nothing, followed by a three-second track of also nothing. On Guarapero: Lost Blues 2, an alternative version of "Apocalypse, No!" is (rather ingeniously) hidden in the negative time of the first song, so you have to put the CD on and rewind to find the song. (I couldn't find it for the longest time, and it drove me insane.) And on Amalgamated Sons of Rest, an EP he released with Jason Molina and Alasdair Roberts, the very best song on the album won't be found until approximately twenty or so minutes past the last official track. There's almost as much silence as there is album.

I don't suspect for a moment that Oldham is doing this because he thinks it's cool. I think he's doing it because he knows it's annoying. I suspect that, like changing his stage name eight or nine times, he's attempting to alienate his audience. Why? I can't say. Probably to stave off celebrity. But I won't be alienated.

For the general well-being of the rest of the world, I offer to you the hidden from Amalgamated Sons of Rest. Whereas the rest of the album is Oldham, Molina and Roberts fill in harmonies and instrumentation for each other's tracks, "I Will Be Good" seems to be a real collaboration, with each singer taking a verse and then all coming together for the harmonies. It's really worth listening to so long as you can just push "play."

mp3: Amalgamated Sons of Rest - I Will Be Good

Being a repository for unpopular opinons, self-deprecation, some mp3s and very little about Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoevsky.


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Matthew Tobey
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