Perfect Songs – “Carry Me Ohio” by Sun Kil Moon

Over the years I’ve noticed that I have a pool of songs that I always want people to hear when I make a mix disc. This continuing series will highlight these songs, provide me an excuse to write about music, and hopefully do what I love most: turn people on to new music.

This is the saddest song ever written. Not because of what has been done to the singer, but because of what the singer has done.

Sorry that
I could never love you back
I could never care enough
in these last days

I’ve spent an unfortunate portion of my life not dating people for fear of causing them pain. Certainly I’ve been dumped and it sucks, however it never sucks as much as breaking up with someone you like but with whom you know you are not in love. You feel like a monster. It is the worst emotion. The only thing that has made me feel worse is the time I shut a car door on an old lady’s arm at the grocery store where I worked in high school. This song captures hurt from the point of view of the inflicter – the pain, the sad resignation, the lingering affection…everything but the regret.

Sun Kil Moon is, of course, just Mark Kozelek. Whether he calls his group Red House Painters or Sun Kil Moon, he remains the master of melancholy. He makes Morrissey look like Norman Vincent Peale. Unlike Morrissey or Robert Smith, there’s no elaborate mask for him to hide behind. He’s just a regular guy, strong but quiet, not crotchety like Neil Young nor self-destructive like Kurt Cobain. Nor does he suffer from any of the requisite machismo of nearly every other rock musician. He’s actually kind of a blank canvas onto which those of us listeners who don’t identify with whiny English gits, emo screamers, whiskey-drunk balladeers or melodramatic dramaturgists can project ourselves. He vaunteth not himself, he is not puffed up.

>> Download the song Carry Me Ohio or the album Ghosts Of The Great Highway at

Perfect Songs – “I’m a Changed Man” by Otis Redding

Over the years I’ve noticed that I have a pool of songs that I always want people to hear when I make a mix disc. This continuing series will highlight these songs, provide me an excuse to write about music, and hopefully do what I love most: turn people on to new music.

Otis Redding cannot be kept down. This is known. The man who Jon Cryer in Pretty in Pink introduced to the 80’s generation as That Guy Who Sings “Try a Little Tenderness” will not be restrained. And this song is Otis at his most unhinged. The man who made “got ta” an interjection can be found on this cut attacking the microphone with the kind of relentless joyous fervor usually reserved for Viking berserkers or lumberjack competitions. If you’re wearing headphones you can actually hear him moving his head back and forth from the mic. You can hear the spit.

At the 1:00 mark comes the trademark Otis scat. From the “dom dom” of Otis’s “Happy Song” to the “fa fa” of “Sad Song,” Otis loved to go off book. “Changed Man” gives us a series of “ya ya’s” to which Otis is so thoroughly committed you wonder if he’s speaking in tongues or transmitting a code.

>> Buy I’m A Changed Man from

Perfect Songs – “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” by Django Reinhardt

Over the years I’ve noticed that I have a pool of songs that I always want people to hear when I make a mix disc. This continuing series will highlight these songs, provide me an excuse to write about music, and hopefully do what I love most: turn people on to new music.

Let’s get this out of the way: Django Reinhardt was the greatest guitarist of the 20th century. Done.

I’ll admit that as a young firebreathing guitar monkey I was not impressed by 1.) jazz and 2.) old recordings. So my slow immersion into the hot tub de France that is Django took a few years. I could hear the guitar gymnastics, but the rhythms were always so…polite. There’s not even a drummer! Just that same boring quarter note rhythm. Ugh.

Then I heard this song. For those not impressed by guitar histrionics, wait out the intro guitar solo. Skip ahead to 1:05 when vocalist Freddy Taylor comes in. His sweet, possibly drunken voice glides over everything, smoothing out the sharp edges of the martial guitar beat. When he starts scatting, either for fun or because he doesn’t know the words, the landing gear goes up. Shades of Ella Fitzgerald making up the words are all the more distinct for Taylor’s very feminine voice. For years I thought he was a she.

Having listened to this song hundreds of times, I still never tire of it, and it helps me approach the rest of Django’s catalog from a better point of reference. It’s not one of his better-known tunes, but I have heard it pop up in a couple of movies, so at least I know my tastes in gypsy jazz align with those of Hollywood sound editors.

>> Buy “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” on Amazon.

Perfect Songs – “Wherever You Are” by David Mead

Over the years I’ve noticed that I have a pool of songs that I always want people to hear when I make a mix disc. This continuing series will highlight these songs, provide me an excuse to write about music, and hopefully do what I love most: turn people on to new music.

I’ll admit it. I’m not generally a fan of singer-songwriters. A friend of mine once complained that a boyfriend of hers once entirely dismissed Aimee Mann as “just a singer-songwriter,” as though writing and singing songs is never quite enough. Honestly, for most guys into hard-rocking music, there are some limitations of timbre when it comes to singer-songwriters compared to full bands. As band leaders, singer-songwriters are less inclined to let their employees in the band contribute creatively with a wicked drum fill or guitar part.

Furthermore, far too many singer-songwriters take words that aren’t quite poetry and marry them to generic chord progressions, the combination of which often makes for an okay song. A kind melody forgives a poor lyric. Despite my degree in English, I listen to words last. My primary interest is music that is compositionally intelligent, melodic, and rhythmically interesting. This formula doesn’t leave much room for the Bob Dylans of the world[1].

So when I tell you that David Mead is my favorite singer-songwriter, I hope you understand what that means.

I’m not even sure what it is exactly. It’s some mystical combination of a great voice – sweet but tired, terrific chords, timbres, melodies and yes, lyrics. The inaugural song of this feature is his “Wherever You Are” from his 2005 album of the same name. My favorite line leads into the chorus: “fairy princess / feathers and dried up tar / come back, wherever you are / accidents will happen.”

Take away the lyrics and you’ve still got a beautiful composition that stands on its own as an instrumental. That’s all I ask of a song.

>> Download the song Wherever You Are or the album Wherever You Are at

1.) Of course I like Bob. How can you not? But I think of him more as a great writer who plays harmonica.

Perfect Bands: The Mike Keneally Band

In The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension, Buckaroo’s guitarist Perfect Tommy asks why he must give his coat to a lady, to which Buckaroo responds, “Because you’re perfect.”

The Mike Keneally Band is perfect like that. I dream of a world where musicians simply play the music that’s in their hearts, unaffected by the compromises and limitations of imitation, commerce, ego, and idolatry – a place where no one is trying to be anyone else and everyone is attempting only to be the best at being themselves. So far, to the best of my awareness[1], the sole citizens of such a place are the Mike Keneally Band.

They’re too irreverent for jazz, too smart for rock, and too silly for fusion. Everyone else has to compromise somehow, consciously or unconsciously, either by adhering to the dictates of genre or the needs of a given audience. As a natural consequence, the Mike Keneally Band are understandably obscure, but thanks to the Internet they’ve connected to enough like-minded listeners to sustain themselves.

As one of those people, having followed Mike’s career since the early 90’s, I have to say that what he does excites me to play music but not in an imitative way because Mike’s music is so idiosyncratic that it wouldn’t seem right to take his statements as my own. Most of my heroes play music generic enough to be consumed and absorbed by society at large, and their ideas are just original enough to give them a unique voice within the confines of a particular genre, but Mike exists only in Mike Land. He only makes me want to be original.

While it’s certainly true that the songs flow from the mind of Mike, several words need to be said about Bryan Beller, Joe Travers, Rick Musallum and newcomer Griff Peters. These guys are obviously Special Forces-grade musicians but they are dedicated to Mike’s cause and not to their own aggrandizement. They’re not mercenaries because Lord knows there’s no money in originality or virtuosity. Beyond that, they have achieved a level of unit cohesion that allows them to operate as a single entity. Every band wants to be what they are.

For their steadfast and more than a little Quixotic dedication to originality and creativity, for their mind-boggling musical skills, and for their refusal to be egotistical or bitter about the industry that doesn’t care about them, the Mike Keneally Band deserves to be called Perfect.

1.) Frank Zappa comes close, but Frank was forced to make his compromises with commerce and audience, so he was continually playing an artistic game of Twister — one foot in rock, one foot in classical, one foot in Frank Land.

Ode to a Guitar Shop

Recently I was informed that an old acquaintance of mine had died. Fred was a salesguy at the now-defunct Sigler Music Center in Little Rock who made me a great deal on my trusty Fender Eric Johnson strat. I bought it at their going-out-of-business sale, which reminded me of all the great guitar shops in Central Arkansas that are no more: Boyd Pro Sound, Atomic Guitars, Stonehenge (I & II), Starr’s Guitars, Music City, Maumelle Music. I thought it might be good if I wrote down a little about each of them while the memories are still relatively fresh.

Boyd Pro Sound. The oldest, the best. This was Little Rock’s hometown music store for decades. In addition to guitars and band instruments it was the main repair shop and PA store. My history with the store is limited; I don’t think I ever bought any guitars there, but I know that it was the hub for all the gigging musicians, church groups, and audio production people. I fondly recall impressing Mr. Boyd once with my guitar rendition of Aaron Copland’s “Hoe Down.” He was a traditional pianist of some renown and I got the feeling he had an uneasy relationship with the young guitar monkeys in his store.

The circumstances of the store’s demise still seem strange to me – Mr. Boyd closed up shop to sell the space to a nearby church, then opened up a branch of Sigler Music Center a year or so later. Alas, the store opened at nearly the precise moment Guitar Center arrived, so it only lasted a few years.

Stonehenge. The place your metalhead cousin learned to shred. Or play “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” There were two Stonehenges, one in North Little Rock and one in Little Rock down on Geyer Springs Road. Finding the latter location was initially a process of trial and error for me – I could never remember how to get there. But this was the store with the Ibanez and Jackson guitars. This was the Guitar Monkey Store. This was where I bought my first seven-string, a white Ibanez Universe that languished in the store apparently for years. I bought it around 1995 I think, and it was a 1990 model. Nobody knew what to do with a seven-string back then; Korn hadn’t hit it big yet. A year later their rise to prominence unleashed a tidal wave of seven- and now eight-string guitars onto the market.

Atomic Guitars. My neighborhood shop. I can’t tell you the many joys of a sunny day’s walk of a few blocks from my apartment to Atomic Guitars. Johnny Adams always had the coolest retro/vintage gear, and not just the expensive stuff – he had weird cheap gear as well. I bought a red 70s Kay strat from him for something like $80 once. Good guitar. I gave it to a friend a few years later. I think I also got my Fender Deluxe amp there. Atomic was really the only store that had a funky vibe to it, and that’s a tribute to Johnny’s style and interests – it was his store. It took a few years before I realized how rare that is in this world. Here are some pics from my old photoblog from way back when. Atomic lives on virtually, so visit the website.

Starr’s Guitars. The Money Store. David Starr moved his operation up to Colorado after a few years in Little Rock’s River Market. It was the place to go if you wanted high-end, off-the-beaten path guitars like Godin, Brian Moore, or PRS. If you wanted a limited edition Turner Lindsay Buckingham model, he had one. Starr’s was new when I moved to town around 1999, and David ran ads on KARN Newsradio, where I had my first “real” job, post-college. I remember some mornings the late great Bob Harrison would be on the air with his Hofner Beatle bass in hand, reading ad copy for Starr’s during the morning show. Starr’s also hosted guitar repair legend Tim Quatermous (I’m probably spelling that wrong), who probably worked on every one of my guitars at some point. After Starr’s left, Tim moved over to Romco Drums before he passed away. And for awhile David ran a small music venue next door to the shop – I remember seeing some great shows there by folks like Ed Nicholson’s Outside the Lines and Chapman Stick player Greg Howard.

Music Makers. The suburbs store. They had some good guitars but I don’t have any real strong memories from here. I remember they had a cool Robin guitar for years that was always in the store but always beyond my price range or anyone else’s interest.

Music City. The Pawn Shop. There was a Music City back behind the Brandon House building on 12th at University and I think it eventually became the Music City out in Sherwood, which was really just a pawn shop with a lot of guitars. A lot of awesome guitars; in fact this was probably my favorite store to venture out to because all their inventory was used gear, and used gear is just consistently more interesting to me than new gear. Lots of great 80s relics – I remember almost buying a Steve Stevens Washburn there once. I did buy a $300 Epiphone Joe Pass from them. They’re in a new building in Sherwood by the freeway but every time I go by there, they’re never open. I wonder what the deal is.

Maumelle Music & More. My store. I taught guitar here for a few years between 2000 & 2004. When I moved to Little Rock in 1999, I’d heard a music store had opened up in the bedroom suburb of Maumelle. I went to check it out – it had a big selection of CDs, some t-shirts and they were a dealer for Ibanez, Alvarez and Crate. After picking around on a guitar for a bit, I was asked by the manager, Mike, if I’d be interested in teaching lessons. It worked out really well for me, because my radio gig was part-time. I’d work at KARN from 9 to noon, then teach from 4 to 7. When I left radio, I was part time at Epoch Online before I eventually moved up to fulltime. I still keep up with some of those kids.

Romco Drums. The drum shop with some acoustic guitars. The fact that this store is able to stay open dealing mainly in percussion is impressive. I took jazz guitar lessons there briefly with Perry Israel.

Saied Music. The high school band store. Some decent guitars, but mainly this is the store for the brass and woodwinds.

There was a store up in Sherwood in the early 2000s run by Randy Boyd – anybody remember the name? I used to go up there every so often.

I suppose I should say a few words about what killed these shops. It would be easy to just say “Guitar Center,” but the Internet and eBay are major factors as well. When any kid can try out a guitar at a store and then go buy it online for a lower price, that really hurts a store. It’s not digital-music-killing-record-stores damage, but it’s the 1 of a 1-2 punch. Punch 2 is Guitar Center, the Walmart of music stores. Any exclusive dealership contract a mom and pop store might have is effectively negated by Guitar Center’s special arrangements with every company. Their corporate pyramid also contains the website/catalog behemoth Musician’s Friend and several instrument companies like Fender (at the top of the pyramid? Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital), so financially it’s the Death Star of retail musical instrument stores. Only the small-town stores will survive (which is why I haven’t mentioned Jacksonville Guitar, still going strong), at least until Guitar Center decides to go everywhere that Walmart goes, or Walmart decides to carry a wider array of musical instruments. Or Walmart eats Guitar Center.

It should be said, though, that music stores are only as good as the people who run them. It’s really about people. A lot of sales guys in Little Rock had no place else to go but Guitar Center, so if I have a buddy at a Guitar Center, I’ll still buy from him if he’s got what I’m looking for (of course, given the choice, I will first order from GuitarSmiths in Harrison, not that I buy much gear brand new). I remember Little Rock’s Guitar Center being fun in the early days – I’ll never forget that time some kid was wailing on “Eruption” and Cody Short picked up the intercom and said “hey kid, can you play ’Eruption’”? Classic.

I’ll miss the Saturdays I used to spend in Little Rock going from guitar store to guitar store, talking to guys like Fred, seeing what’s new and what’s on sale. It’s something our culture will never get back, like retail record stores or cathedrals made by stonemasons. We gain convenience and low, low prices, but for everything we gain, we always lose something.

Top Tunes of 2011

I decided to do this year’s list by album rather than by song. I had a surprisingly good year for albums in 2011.

Junip – Fields
By far my favorite album of the year. Junip is a new band from Sweden featuring José González, previously known for his several solo CDs of chilled-out semi-bossa-nova songsmithing. Transferred to a full band, González’s songs feel like they’ve moved from black & white to color. The colors are still muted browns and greens, but that’s as it should be. His songs have a sense of suspension to them, so the whole record makes for an immersive experience, great for long drives in the country or long walks in the city. I’ve found it to be one of those rare discs that even my mom likes, so I bought copies for the whole family for Christmas.

Buy Fields at

Those Dancing Days – Daydreams and Nightmares
The hits keep coming from Sweden. I was sent the video for “Fuckarias” (terrible title given that the song contains no swearing), and as soon as the drums started, I was in love. The drummer is phenomenal. This is the first time an all-girl bland completely floored me. They have two full-length albums, and the songs have a good variety of style – 80s synth pop, post-punk/new-wave, R&B, heavy rock. One minute they’re the Go-Go’s, the next they’re Sleater-Kinney, then OK Go. Yes, I have a crush on them. Shut up.

Buy Daydreams and Nightmares at

Dennis Olivieri – Come to the Party
This is a discovery from 1968 I made via DJ Shadow and the good people at (his song “I Cry in the Morning” is the backing track for Shadow’s “Six Days”). Dennis sits somewhere between Harry Nilsson and Tom Waits at the table of half-crazy songwriters (a table I imagine full of wine goblets, loose women, fine cheese and dead mice) and vocally he sounds like the younger brother of Blood Sweat & Tears’ David Clayton-Thomas. His songs have moments of brilliance but they resist being tied down into one convenient song. Just when you think he’s got a great pop tune, he takes some discursive left turn and you’re in the weeds of weirdness. He’s probably too sane for Captain Beefheart fans and too rambling to be enjoyed by pop fans. I need to find more of his stuff.

Buy Come to the Party on iTunes.

MAMA – Get Later
What can I say about Lenny Bryan? The Ho-Hum frontman still lives in a musical world of his own creation, and it’s not a world I entirely understand – I can’t trace the roots, I don’t know where the borders are, or which direction is up. But when on “We Became Untouchable” he sings “I just realized I’m never gonna be a star,” I’m plugged in, because every musician in their 30s needs to realize this at some point, so that’s not only familiar ground but Important Stuff. This is music that can’t be made by famous people; it’s a perspective that cannot be represented by the music industry as we used to know it. And it is a message that is Necessary to so many. It might even beg for a sequel song that tells ambitious twentysomething rockers “99.9% of you will fail to become rock stars.” And so the chorus of “You’re a friend of mine / And you’re the best kind / You’re a drink of wine / You’re a Valentine” serves as a nice tonic to that sad realization. Maybe it’s a consolation prize to all the would-be rock stars to know that, despite their failure to become famous, they still have a lot of friends.

Buy Get Later at

Keith Horn – Rock Scissors
I met Keith at Dweezilla camp last year, and had no idea at the time that he was a Mad Scientist Genius. He knows all the Steely Dan chords. Combine that with all the Frank Zappa rhythm changes and tortured melodies, and you’ve got a unique hybrid that satisfies the needs of a wide variety of music nerds. He’s also a monster guitarist, not that I recall him revealing that to anyone at camp. So the guy is humble, too. Bastard.

Buy Rock Scissors at

David Mead – Dudes
The title track makes a nice companion piece to Lenny’s “We Became Untouchable.” The opening line is “You’ve got bills and bouncing checks / Nothing’s right and nothing’s left to lose / But you got Dudes.” It’s a lesson from a guy who had two major-label albums and is still struggling to make a living with music, but who finds himself with the consolation of having a lot of friends. It should be noted that this album was financed by a Kickstarter campaign to which I was a hefty contributor (I got to visit the studio!), so it’s good to have Dudes.

Buy Dudes at

Parov Stelar – The Paris Swing Box EP
Finally someone is doing for old swing records what Moby did for old blues tunes. This is the first of two albums on this list that I found via a television commercial (Cosmopolitan Hotel of Las Vegas – by the way, why is one hotel in one city running national ads? Is that a first? How many guests can one hotel really take with nationwide exposure?), which I guess is the new MTV. Parov is really an Austrian DJ named Marcus Füreder, and not all of his stuff is as great as “Booty Swing” so kudos to the Madison Avenue wizard who put that tune in the commercial.

Buy The Paris Swing Box EP on iTunes.

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – The Golden Age
Here’s our other TV commercial song (for Heineken – thanks, Shazam app!) that harkens back to an earlier time and genre. A product of Denmark, TAGT may have one of the more unwieldy and confusing band names I’ve ever heard – how do they name their tours, The Asteroids Galaxy Tour American Tour? Great tunes, though.

Buy The Golden Age at

T-Ride – Unreleased
This summer I came across several tunes from T-Ride’s unreleased second album, via their guitarist Geoff Tyson. T-Ride was a Bay Area trio with devastating musical skills – three-part vocal harmonies and instrumental technique beyond belief. Geoff’s guitar playing on “Serial Killer” is as close as I’ve heard metal come to jazz and still be a song without any real soloing. Like much T-Ride’s material, the virtuosity came not in the form of guitar solos, just maddeningly difficult riffs and fills. How they sang and played that stuff I have no idea. Drop me a line if you want to hear the other tunes.

Tori Amos – Night of Hunters
Finally a curveball from Tori, who hasn’t really thrown the world a curveball since 1998’s From the Choirgirl Hotel. This album not only features a more classical/chamber music sound, but also an instrumental (see below)! Her daughter sings with her on several cuts, which would count as nepotistic self-indulgence from anyone but the citizen-queen of Planet Tori.

Buy Night of Hunters at

Tedeschi Trucks Band – Revelator
Does anybody make greasy soul blues rock from the South anymore? I’m just glad this band exists.

Buy Revelator at

Animals as Leaders – Weightless
Math rock, prog, jazz fusion and metal have finally converged. This trio led by guitarist Tosin Abasi is one of the only groups out there still pushing the boundaries of genre and technique. They are making the impossible possible with music that is as heavy as it is brainy. It would be easy to dismiss them as shred nerds if their rhythms weren’t so relentlessly brutal and their compositions so statistically dense.

Buy Weightless at

Honorable mentions:

Megadeth – Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? 25th Anniversary
I don’t think any band in the genre of metal has ever combined ferocious intensity with such precision and madness as is exhibited on the live album that accompanies this special edition of Megadeth’s classic. Guitarist Chris Poland and drummer Gar Samuelson were hopeless heroin addicts and Daves Mustaine and Ellefson were their usual messed up selves, but the band manages to be tight and loose at the same time. This is as close as the raw energy of punk ever made it to its magnetic opposite of rock guitar wizardry. Metallica might have been faster, Slayer might have been scarier, but Megadeth were the craziest. They were the mad ones.

Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn of Events
They’re back with a new drummer and an increased willingness to just go batshit crazy on guitar/keyboard unison lines. Welcome back, guys.

DJ Shadow – The Less You Know, The Better
I haven’t yet warmed up to all of Shadow’s new disc, but “Stay the Course” featuring Posdnuos and Talib Kweli is definitely the standout, along with “I Gotta Rokk” featuring a few samples from none other than Yngwie Malmsteen. Finally a convergence of hip-hop and metal I can get excited about.

This year I also discovered this really nice little George Harrison demo, a bonus cut from “Gone Troppo”.

On a sad note, one of my all-time favorite bands pretty much called it quits this year, The Softlightes. Please go buy everything they ever did as The Softlightes and as The Incredible Moses Leroy.

See also: Best of 2010 and 2009.

Top Tunes of 2010

OK since 2010 pretty much sucked on all fronts, I was left bereft of a serious collection of musical discoveries for the year. So I polled the Facebook, plumbed the depths of Pitchfork and went on a walkabout through iTunes. I had a $25 iTunes gift card to spend, so in lieu of an actual “Best Of” list, here is what I ended up purchasing based on my research. In no particular order:

The Nervous Wreckords – Everything Stops for Tea

James Blake – I Only Know (What I Know Now)

Kanye West – Power

Sade – Soldier of Love

Trombone Shorty – Backatown

Florence + The Machine – Girl With One Eye

Fitz & The Tantrums – MoneyGrabber

The Avett Brothers – I and Love and You

Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man

Griffin House – The Guy that Says Goodbye to You is Out of His Mind

The Morning Benders – Pleasure Sighs

Beach House – 10 Mile Stereo

Tired Pony – Get On the Road

Local Natives – Wide Eyes

Gayngs – The Beatdown

Lyrics Born – Oh, Baby!

Tennis – Things to Do When You Are Sad (no link, sorry)

I actually ran out of ideas at that point and used the remaining $3 to buy part of Keith Horn’s “Rock Scissors” album. Check out Keith if you like your music weird.

Were I to compile a list of favorite songs prior to this little adventure, it would go something like this:

The Weepies – Please Speak Well Of Me

Sun Kil Moon – Half Moon Bay

James Murphy – Please Don’t Follow Me

Esperanza Spalding – Really Very Small

Daft Punk – Derezzed

Crowded House – Twice If You’re Lucky

The Bird & The Bee – I Can’t Go For That

The Books – I Didn’t Know That

Jaga Jazzist – One-Armed Bandit

Eric Johnson – Fatdaddy

Black Country Communion – Black Country

Let’s Make a Video

I bought a copy of Adobe Premiere Elements (just $80 with rebate) because I had an idea for a video to Spiraling’s “The Future” (Please buy the album now). The song is about all the things we were promised about the future that still have yet to be delivered. Initially I thought I was going to have to cut amongst several old sci-fi serials on file at the Prelinger Archives[1], but I found one video that had everything I need. Fittingly, it was from New York’s 1964 World’s Fair, perhaps the single saddest and least accurate depiction of the future man has yet devised. Here’s my video.

On a related note, as we approach 2010, we will once again pass through a threshold of science fiction movie disappointment (we haven’t even made it to Jupiter!) much the way we did when we passed 2001. The next scheduled Disappointment Threshold for me will be when we reach 2015, the year of Back to the Future II, and we won’t even have hoverboards to show for it.

1.) I have previously plumbed the depths of the Prelinger to make a video for Jeff Buckley’s “Be Your Husband.”


Attention Music Lovers: My favorite band in the world is now selling its albums for $5 each, just in time for the holidays. If you don’t already own Transmitter or Time Travel Made Easy, then either I haven’t pestered you enough about Spiraling, or you’ve been reluctant to spend money. Now there’s no excuse. 5 dollars.

If I could buy one album from the last 10 years for everyone I know, that album would be Transmitter by Spiraling. I can’t say enough great things about this band. I have a hard time describing their sound: keyboard-led power pop with great songs, lyrics, arrangements, vocal harmonies, drum parts. Just look at my page. They are the band I listen to most. The next runner-up is more than halfway down the scale.

Maybe it’s just because the band speaks to me as a musician and music nerd; maybe you won’t enjoy them as much as I do. They’re an independent rock band with great pop hooks but they aren’t anyone’s “buzz” band. Pitchfork probably wouldn’t like them. Prog fans may find them too poppy while pop fans may find them too proggy. But those are the bands I tend to like most.

I remember the first time I heard them. Jamie made me a CD-R of Transmitter and shortly afterward I bought a real copy. I pestered Chris King at Sticky Fingerz to give them gigs, and I got their CD to the Riverfest booking people, who gave them a choice slot opening for Live back in 2006. They’re actually a big reason I moved to New York – they were some of the first friends I had up here, and I’ve been delighted to have seen just about every show they’ve played up here in the last two years.

Buy a CD. If you don’t like it, I’ll buy it from you next time I see you.