Sunday, September 27, 2009

Klosterman vs. Twitter

Author and journalist Chuck Klosterman appears on Air America Media to take on Twitter and Facebook, and offers some insight on their social impact. I'm a dedicated user of both mediums, but I often ask myself, "Why, why do we do this? What's it all for?"



"Every man has his own destiny. The only imperative is to follow it, to accept it, no matter where it leads him."

-- Henry Miller

[Photo: Van Vechten]

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The History of John Peel

The late John Peel introduced countless bands to the masses during his 37 years as deejay at the BBC's Radio 1. Via "The Peel Sessions" show, Peel embraced what he loved the various genres of alternative rock, pop, British hip-hope, dance, and even death metal. Some of my favorite acts such as Joy Division, The Smiths, The Cure, and Siouxsie and the Banshees appeared on his show.

Fans can fondly remember or discover for the very first time the brilliance behind the man with the smashing collection, Kats Karavan: The History of John Peel on the Radio. The four-disc box set, out October 26th, spans his entire career, while including one-hit wonders, major chart toppers and other rarities. The Jam, The Slits, Mercury Rev, and Bloc Party are just a few of the many artists who appear of this fantastic retrospective.

John Peel passed away October 25, 2004.

[Thanks to The Line of Best Fit]

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Psychedelic Furs to Perform 'Talk Talk Talk'

NME announced today that The Psychedelic Furs are slated to perform the second LP, the incredibly excellent Talk Talk Talk, in its entirety during a quick UK tour this fall.

Shows are scheduled for London, Manchester and Glasgow this November. I absolutely adore the Furs and Talk Talk Talk is my favorite album. To be there would be quite fantastic. I suppose I'll just have to settle for the Furs' show -- the Happy Mondays are also on the bill -- at NYC's Roseland Ballroom on Friday, October 9th.

**UPDATE** (Sept. 25): According to the Furs fan site, Burned Down Days, the dates in London, Manchester and Glasgow have been postponed for the time being, and there is no further information on when they'll be rescheduled. BOO!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fifth Graders Sing With The Cure

Many many thanks to my friend Rob for passing this along. Here, the PS22 Chorus in New York City does a pretty amazing rendition of The Cure's "Picture of You." The group is comprised of 70 fifth graders, and the following clip is quite an emotional one, for this was last day of school for the 2009 class. The PS22 Chorus has also covered songs by Coldplay, Fleetwood Mac, Tori Amos, Crowded House and more. Absolutely lovely!

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Bruuuuuce Turns 60

Happy 60th Birthday to the Boss! Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band are currently touring the U.S. in support of Working On a Dream. On October 29, Bruce & Co. will join Simon & Garfunkel, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Friends, and Stevie Wonder at Madison Square Garden to take part in night one of the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Benefit Concerts. A week later, he and the E Street Band will return to the Garden for a pair of shows on November 7th & 8th.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cheers to Nick Cave

I know I just praised the man for his entertaining book reading at Barnes & Noble, but I must wish Nicholas Edward Cave a very happy 52nd birthday.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Printing the Internet

There has to be someone in this effed up world that would actually try to complete this insanely ridiculous move, right? Someone out there would certainly want to *try,* I'm sure.

Anyhow, did you know that the task of printing out the entire Internet would take 57,000 years, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? And you'd would have had to started printing in 1800BC. The folks at Creative Cloud offer a bunch of other clever and interesting infographics about the world, and what not. Pretty fun stuff.

[Thanks Neatorama]


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nick Cave Takes On NYC

Yesterday (Sept. 14), the always brilliant Nick Cave descended upon New York City's Union Square to take part in Barnes & Noble's Upstairs at the Square event. Cave just issued his long-awaited book, The Death of Bunny Munro, and this was his only U.S. stop in support of the novel.

Dressed in a gray suit with a boy-blue dress shirt, the lanky Bad Seeds frontman, sans mustache, seemed thrilled to be there. The fourth floor setting was absolutely packed. I got there at 4:30 (and the reading was scheduled for 7pm) and people were already pouring in, aiming to get a seat up close. Luckily, I landed in the sixth row.

The Q&A session, lead by author and journalist Katherine Lanpher -- aka the co-host of the Air America Radio program, "The Al Franken Show," in 2004 and 2005 -- was quite enjoyable. Nick was incredibly funny and charming. He'd tell me later at the book signing that it was "quite nerveracking" to be up there, on stage, doing such a thing.

During the near hour-long discussion, he and Lanpher chatted about the new book (Nick said that writing this book was "a joy to write" and "easy" versus the three years it took to complete his first novel, And the Ass Saw the Angel), how fatherhood has affected him, and how Warren Ellis first came into his life, and more. There was a lot of laughing from both Nick and the crowd. He also read a bit from the new book.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

RIP Jim Carroll

Jim Carroll, New York City poet, author and punk rock musician, passed away Friday, September 11th from a heart attack. He was 60. [New York Times]

It was 1996, during my freshman year at Michigan State University, when I really got to understand the brilliant work of Jim Carroll. My American Thought and Language professor, Cassie Carter, (she is also the founder of, had us read The Basketball Diaries and I was hooked. From there, I immersed myself in its sequel, Forced Entries: The Downtown Diaries: 1971-1973, and eventually devoured Book of Nods, Living at the Movies, and Fear of Dreaming.

But also, I remember hearing his best known punk song, "People Who Died," during my teenage years. My best friend and rock'n'roll partner in crime, Alyssa, and I thought Carroll possessed something different than all of the other punk legends we discovered during these impressionable years. As a singer, his swagger and his slinky vocal drawl was like no one else. As a writer, I appreciated his brutal, yet beautiful kind of honesty.

During the late '90s, I saw some of Jim's spoken-word performances; February 1998 at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and again at the Blind Pig in January 1999. It was at the '98 gig that he tested out the then unpublished "8 Fragments for Kurt Cobain" (found in Void of Course). It was there that I also had the distinct pleasure of spending an hour or so hanging with Carroll (thank you Cassie). He was incredibly kind, outgoing, and gracious enough to briefly speak with an excited, geeky fan as seen in the photo below.

I am so sad today. What a terrible loss. Bless you Jim Carroll.

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On the Cover of a Magazine

I heart Magazine Art, for they truly indulge my magazine-junkie collecting ways. The San Jose, California-based website's painstaking efforts in archiving, thus showcasing magazine covers of yesteryear is incredibly impressive. These rare covers date as far back as 1850. Here are some of my favorites:

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Go With the Flow

Lifehacker is pretty brilliant, but they're even more fantastic for posting this Tech Support Cheat Sheet.

We've all been there before, right?


Thursday, September 10, 2009


"I am an excitable person, who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn't impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls."

-- Anaïs Nin

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Star Witness

Cheers to Neko Case, who turns 39 today. The Virginia native is currently touring the UK in support of her latest album stunner, Middle Cyclone. She'll return to the U.S. in November ... who's going to the Beacon Theatre show on Monday, November 16th?

[Photo by Jason Creps]

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Morrissey's 'Swords'

Morrissey's forthcoming rarities collection, the 18-track Swords, will finally see the light of day in the UK October 26. The collection features b-sides from his most recent albums, including this year's Years of Refusal, as well as a bonus disc entitled, Live From Warsaw 2009.

Swords tracklisting:

1. Good Looking Man About Town
2. Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice
3. If You Don't Like Me, Don't Look At Me
4. Ganglord
5. My Dearest Love
6. The Never-Played Symphonies
7. Sweetie-Pie
8. Christian Dior
9. Shame Is the Name
10. Munich Air Disaster 1958
11. I Knew I Was Next
12. It's Hard to Walk Tall When You're Small
13. Teenage Dad On His Estate
14. Children In Pieces
15. Friday Mourning
16. "My Life Is a Succession of People Saying Goodbye
17. Drive-In Saturday
18. Because Of My Poor Education

Live From Warsaw 2009:
1. Black Cloud
2. I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
3. I Just Want To See The Boy Happy
4. Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself
5. One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell
6. You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby
7. Life Is a Pigsty
8. I'm OK By Myself

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Spider Named for David Bowie

I absolutely detest spiders. I think they're creepy, but I suppose one named for David Bowie isn't that bad. Or is it? Check out the little bugger here. GROSS!

The Guardian recently reported that a yellow Malaysian spider has been named in honor for the former Thin White Duke: Heteropoda davidbowie.

German spider specialist Peter Jäger, who has identified 200 new species over the last decade, created the name. He likes naming endangered spiders after celebrities in order to bring attention to the dangers of these creepy, crawly creatures.

Seems appropriate considering Bowie's 1972 album was entitled, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

Last year, East Carolina University biologist Jason Bond rechristened the trapdoor spider, Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi, after Canadian rocker Neil Young.

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Monday, September 07, 2009

She's Special, So Special

Happy Birthday to Chrissie Hynde, who is 58 years young today. The Pretenders frontwoman remains the coolest rock'n'roll female on the planet, ever.

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Do It Clean?

Some might find the following story hilarious, but I am quite intrigued by it. Would New York City ever consider such a thing?

The New York Daily News says that if you're going to Hawaii, you best have some Arrid or Degree on or you'll get a fine! Should individuals really be held accountable to smell pretty in public?

The Honolulu City Council apparently thinks so. They're currently considering a bill that would assign a $500 fine and possibly up to six months in jail for public transit patrons who are convicted of smelling foul. The stinky odors can come from clothes, other personal belongings or animals.

The bill "would make it illegal to have 'odors that unreasonably disturb others or interfere with their use of the transit system.'" Councilmen Rod Tam and Nestor Garcia co-sponsored the anti-odor bill.

"As we become more inundated with people from all over the world, their way of taking care of their health is different. Some people, quite frankly, do not take a bath every day and therefore they may be offensive in terms of their odor," Tam told the Honolulu Register.

Do you think this could happen in NYC? Would you want this to happen?

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Public Image Ltd. Returns

I suppose it was only a matter of time John Lydon put PiL back together, right? I mean, he just never stops.

Lydon aka Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten has revived Public Image Limited, the post-punk outfit he formed in 1978 upon the Pistols' demise. The group, who haven't played live since 1992, are playing out to commemorate the band's 1978 epic sophomore effort, Metal Box.

According to NME, Lydon will be joined by Damned guitarist Lu Edmonds, former Slits drummer Bruce Smith, and bassist Scott Firth four five UK dates this December.

Wish I could see one of these shows. I spent much of my high school and college years listening to Second Edition and the like. It'd be fab to finally see Lydon live.

Also in John Lydon news, he's a bit broken up over the recent Oasis split. Awww, I always knew he had a heart.

[Photo courtesy of Dave Lauridsen]

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Switch Up Your SIGG

I'm sure many of you were as disappointed as I was to learn that SIGG water bottles weren't so eco-friendly after all.

The Swiss-made, non-leaching, stainless steel water bottles made before August 2008 apparently aren't BPA-free. I was really bummed to learn this, for I spent something like twenty-some dollars on a WATER BOTTLE in early 2007. This was after I'd been using a Nalgene water bottle years prior, only to be told that those were bad for your health, too.

There's a bright side to all of this: The BIGG Bottle Swap! The Soft Landing, one of the country's top website for healthy, non-toxic eating gear and a leader in fighting chemical Bisphenol A (BPA), has partnered with Cool Mom Picks for a super cool project that allows the public to trade in their SIGG water bottles.

So here's the deal: Now through September 14th, send in your old SIGG aluminum bottles in exchange for a special 30% discount on your choice of smart stainless steel alternatives, including Kid Basix's Safe Sporter, Klean Kanteen, CamelBak, Thermos, and more. And if you don't have a SIGG water bottle to trade in, you can still get 20% off a new bottle. How COOL!

[Thanks Ladies Lotto]

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Friday, September 04, 2009

Um, What?

I love cucumbers. I have them on my salad quite often, and the Sultan and I use them when prepping many of our dinners. But what on earth is THIS?

Apparently an agriculture co-op made of nine women in the Japanese suburb of Chiba created what we now know as the cucumber mold. The group attaches the plastic mold to the stem of the cucumber plant, thus creating heart-shaped or star-shaped cucumbers. Um, what?

Click here for images featuring how this awesome absurdity actually comes together.

They're only $80. Heh.

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Echo and the Bunnymen Keyboardist Dies

Sadly, tragedy strikes Echo & the Bunnymen again. Longtime Echo & the Bunnymen keyboard player Jake Brockman was killed in a motorbike crash on the Isle of Man in the UK on Tuesday, September 1st. He was 53.

According to BBC News, the motorcycle he was riding collided with with a converted ambulance near Kirk Michael. He later passed away from injuries sustained by the accident at Noble Hospital.

Brockman, also called 'the fifth Bunnyman' by fans, joined the group in 1989, and also appears on the Bunnymen's forthcoming LP, The Fountain, out October 12th. The band shared their condolences via

"Our thoughts are with his wife, family & friends.

Ian, Will, Les, Peasy, Pete, Peter & all his fans"

In 1989, original drummer Pete De Freitas was killed in a motorcycle accident
at the age of 27 while traveling to Liverpool from London.

Along with Echo & the Bunnymen, Brockman also played with Spiritualized's Damon Reece in the dance outfit, BOM. The duo issued one album, Bom Bom Shevaya -- featuring Bunnymen guitarist Will Sergeant on keyboards and additional vocals by Pete's sister Lucy De Freitas -- in 1996.

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Penguin Classic Art

This is for all the book hounds out there (myself included). A former Penguin Books designer recently posted some collections of vintage Penguin images. The Penguin symbol designs are from 1963, while each cover layout was drafted by Jan Tschichold and Erik Ellegaard Frederiksen, circa 1948. Quite lovely, don't ya think?

[Thanks Boing Boing]

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Noise Addict Brings the Noise Again

In 1993, I was just a little high school sophomore who was obsessed with U2 and Morrissey. MY BFF Alyssa and I were also loyal to watching MTV's alternative rock video show, 120 Minutes, on Sunday nights. It was there that we first discovered the Aussie pop/punk band Noise Addict. Alyssa and I both thought singer/songwriter Ben Lee was pretty cute and cool, and and it was Lee's song about Evan Dando entitled "I Wish I Was Him" that had both of us at hello. (Alyssa was a massive Lemonheads and Evan Dando fan during this time). Don't laugh. You've been there before, too.

Anyhow, Noise Addict put out a couple of American releases via the Beastie Boys' label, Grand Royal, and only issued one album, Meet the Real You, before calling it quits in 1996.

So my inner fan girl was thrilled to hear today (Sept. 1) that Ben Lee -- who issued his seventh solo LP, the incredible The Rebirth of Venus earlier this spring -- has put Noise Addict back together with Lou Barlow of Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh and Lara Meyerratken of El May. The new album, It Was Never About the Audience, is available for a free download!

In a press release, Ben Lee says, "I've wanted to make another Noise Addict record for awhile now. Noise Addict is a place more than a band. But it's a band too. This record was inspired by out of tune guitars, Jonathan Richman, and lasagne…not the actual pasta - just the word."

He adds, "The new lineup on this recording is me, Lou Barlow and Lara Meyerratken. That's a new lineup for the band, but the principle remains the same: everything recorded quickly, in my bedroom, with lots of stupid rules like no mic-stands. The songs were all written by me except 'Lasagne,' which I co-wrote with my step-daughter Kate."

It Was Never About the Audience tracklisting:
1. That's How It Goes
2. Do I Know You
3. Get Well
4. Chris Martin's Frown
5. Big Ups
6. Drop That Ghost
7. Hey Baby
8. Lasagne
9. Faster Side of Normal
10. Let Your Heart Decide It
11. Cloudchasing
12. Not Afraid
13. Gravity
14. I Heart Your Band
15. Let's Do Our Thing

You can download the full album at and it's FREE! Everyone loves FREE!

*Side note: Lee actually toured with Sebadoh in 1995 prior to breaking up Noise Addict.

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