Thursday, May 31, 2012

River City Extension Is Streaming

Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger

Toms River's River City Extension are streaming their latest album, Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger, over at Paste.

I really enjoyed the band's 2009 effort, Nautical Sabbatical.  This album retains a good deal of that album's folk-rock, Americana performed by an eight-piece band sound, while -- for better or worse, depending on your perspective -- adding a bit of polish and softening some of the edges.

Check it out.  You'll be able to purchase Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger June 5th.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Celebration Rock

Japandroids Streaming at NPR

While I was away, NPR started streaming what may end up being the album of the year for me.  Single "The House That Heaven Built" has already been one of my favorites this year.  At 8 songs, 35 minutes, the full album takes me back to some of the best of the Replacements.

Japandroids' Celebration Rock gets an official release on June 5th, just in time to blast from your car windows or to annoy your neighbors during your backyard barbecues.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunday B and B Blogging

From Capitol Hill, Seattle

We've kept pretty busy on our trip to Seattle. On our second night, after a day of hiking, shopping, and reminiscing, I dragged CoolMom to a show right around the corner from where we're staying. With the Sasquatch! Festival going on relatively close by, the pickings in Seattle are pretty slim for music this weekend, but we were able to catch local musician Erik Blood and neo-shoegazers Mahogany at the Comet Tavern.

Opener Erik Blood, a charismatic frontman, did a great set of distortion-heavy pop.  Mahogany headlined and didn't go on until about 12:30. I'm sorry to report that CoolMom just wasn't up to staying for the entire set, but what we saw was very good and about as noisy as I could have hoped.  It was mighty big of CoolMom to stick it out for me as long as she did.




I think the highlight of the trip for me so far has been the Experience Music Project Museum near the Seattle Center. Founded by Paul Allen, the museum focuses on popular music and science fiction. Today, I saw a fragment of the guitar that Jimi Hendrix burned on stage at the Monterey Pop Festival, several of Kurt Cobain's guitars, letters to friends and fans from Nirvana's early days, and some drawings Cobain did when he must have been about sixteen or seventeen years old. I saw a 19th century Gibson acoustic guitar and the guitar that J Mascis used on Dinosaur Jr.'s late-80's albums. An AC/DC exhibit had examples of Angus Young's SG and schoolboy outfit. The exhibit on horror movies contained Buffy's "Mr. Pointy" stake, an original script for Night of the Living Dead, and the alien "mother" from the Alien films.

Many of the exhibits were interactive. There were three or four "jam rooms" where several people could jam together for ten-minute stretches. A scream booth snapped a picture of you screaming for posting on the wall of the horror exhibit.

CoolMom loved the museum (and, surprisingly, yesterday's Mariners game) as much as I did. We still have a lot in common, but our night at the Comet showed me how different we've grown from each other over the years. It's nice to know, on our anniversary weekend, that even though we're two totally different people than when we met, we still make it work so well.

P.S., The 11th Avenue Inn is a great B and B on Capitol Hill, very close to downtown. The proprietor, David, knows the area well and is just a nice guy.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Down With Joffrey Edition

Friday Night Mobile Blogging

Rock on...


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Seattle

Memorial Day / Anniversary Long Weekend

CoolMom and I are headed back to Seattle tomorrow for the first time in about twelve years to celebrate the arrival of summer along with our anniversary.  We had some good times there back in the grad school days, and I'll be interested to see how it's changed.

We were there during the height of the corporate alt rock era and listened to KNDD-"The End" through the awful radio in our red Tercel.  Then, one day, I discovered KCMU (now KEXP), and the world got a little brighter.

Lots of great bands from the area.  One from our grad school days...


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Beach House Is Growing On Me

Beach House Does Later...

I've always been kind of bored by Beach House.  This performance, though, is great.  Not sure if it's the media blitz, but Bloom is really starting to get to me.  I think I'm gonna have to buy it.  Maybe it's just the hypnotic effect that Victoria Legrand's voice has on all humans...

 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Switch Complete

I've Joined the Android Army

On Friday night, my new Galaxy Nexus arrived.  I popped the microSIM from my iPhone 4 into a regular-sized SIM adapter.  Popped that into the Nexus, and I was up and running.  Everything worked, but in the morning, I made a call to AT&T just to make sure I'd be getting the correct data speeds.

Switching from iOS to Android has been more painless than I ever could have imagined.  I've come across only a few apps that don't have Android versions, notables being Cooks Illustrated and NPR Music.  I love both of those, but I honestly used them only rarely.  Also, CoolMom will be inheriting the iPhone 4, so they won't be far away.

The iPhone has a well-deserved reputation as an excellent music player, but I'm loving the Nexus so far. Yesterday, I decided moments before my run that I was going to try out Memoryhouse's The Slideshow Effect.  I purchased it through the AmazonMP3 Android app, which isn't available on iOS, and had the album streaming to my bluetooth headphones in seconds.  There wasn't any downloading to iTunes and then waiting for an entire sync before leaving.  As a matter of fact, there wasn't any downloading at all.  I streamed the entire album during my run.  Amazon is also running discounts on certain albums purchased via the app, so it gave me an incentive to grab albums by Kurt Vile, EMA, and Lambchop that I'd always meant to buy.

The screen is so big and beautiful it could almost replace my Kindle.  Surfing the web with the mobile version of Chrome is a pleasure, and voice actions -- the Android version of Siri without the backtalk -- are a blast.  Best of all, I didn't have to re-up for another two years to get it.

I'm comparing things to an iPhone 4.  That means no Siri, a less capable camera, slower hardware, and slower mobile data than an iPhone 4s, and it's still pretty close.  The build quality of iPhones is just fantastic, and the Galaxy Nexus does seem a little flimsy by comparison.  The speaker on the iPhone 4 was a big improvement over the one on the 3g from which I upgraded.  The Nexus speaker brings me back to those awful days with the iPhone 3g.  No more iMessaging all my iPhone-toting friends.  And, strangely, the Nexus reports no bars in some parts of the house, while the iPhone 4 always reported a strong signal.  Haven't missed or dropped a call yet, though.

It's all been a little anticlimactic.  I thought I'd either be blown away by the thing or that I'd absolutely hate it.  What I've found is that the latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, stacks up really well with iOS.  I won't have any trouble listening to music or staying up-to-date with bands, venues, and other blogs via Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.  I can still buy tickets straight from my phone.  So, my advice:  whenever you're ready for a new phone, try both flavors and get what you like.  I really wanted this to be controversial.  Oh well.

Memoryhouse, The Slideshow Effect, 2012

Sunday Run Album Review

I had a bit of a dilemma this week.  I've been under the weather; and, with the exception of this weekly activity, my running hasn't been as consistent as I'd like.  So this wasn't a week for me to review one of the hour-plus albums I've had on my list for a while.  Those will require a little more training.  Or, maybe, I'll have to do a Saturday/Sunday Run Album Review or something.

In trying to figure out what to review, I remembered something I'd seen on A.V. Undercover a few weeks back.  It was Canadian duo Memoryhouse doing The Police's "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic."  I enjoyed that, so I fired up the AmazonMP3 app on my new Android phone and purchased The Slideshow Effect to stream during today's run.

I guess Memoryhouse falls into the dream pop category along with Beach House; but to me, at least, Memoryhouse is a bit more direct and a bit less overdone on this album than Beach House.  The band grew out of an art project of sorts that attempted to combine the creative interests of its members.  Photographer/vocalist Denise Nouvion has a voice that, like the rest of the record, begins to sound more interesting the longer you listen.  I hate words like this, but the adjective I kept thinking of to describe Nouvion's voice here is "present."  Classical-turned-pop composer Evan Abeele has created sounds ranging from AM radio pop to the synth pop of The Postal Service to the alt-country of Clem Snide, much of the time all in the same song.

Standout examples of the band's style include early album tracks "The Kids Were Wrong" and "All Our Wonder," the not-quite-country "Bonfire," and dream poppy album closer "Old Haunts."

Beach House has been getting all of the attention this week with the release of Bloom, but don't overlook this full-length debut from Memoryhouse.  It's accessible enough to catch your attention, and there's enough going on beneath the surface for that attention to be rewarded.

Here's "Bonfire:"



Friday, May 18, 2012

Bamboozle!

The Bamboozle Hits AP This Weekend

Yesterday, as I drove CoolDaughter #1 to the pool, I heard "Somebody That I Used To Know" for the first time ever.  I don't even really remember the chorus.  That reminded me that there's a whole world of hugely popular music out there of which I know nothing.

With the exceptions of the super-huge bands like Foo Fighters and Bon Jovi or the borderline indie bands like The Gaslight Anthem, that's pretty much where I'm at with the acts at Bamboozle.  I'm not making a criticism here.  I've just never heard a single thing that Skrillex has ever done, and he was just named as one of the world's 100 richest celebrities by Forbes magazine.  Kind of puts into perspective the impact that all of the mindie music I'm so into has on the industry.  It also highlights the way that the Internet allows us all to live in our own little worlds, where our opinions on music or politics seem so important, while the truth is... different.

I've already got a full weekend pass to the I'll Be Your Mirror event happening in Asbury in the fall.  All the blogs I read will be ablaze with news and photos from those shows, and I'll probably have plenty to post about myself.

For now, though, it's Friday night.

Rock on...



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Contemplating the Big Switch

iOS to Android

You know that feeling you get when someone has political views that are the total opposite of your own? You think that they must have something wrong with them to be so wrong about something so obvious.  Well, that's a feeling I get anyway.  I also get that feeling when people say, -- and I've heard several people say this -- "I don't keep any music on my iPhone."

I'm sorry.  What?

My iPhone's role as a music player is easily more important to me than its role as a phone.  I listen to music on it when I run.  I listen to music on it as I nod off on airplanes.  It's how I listen to music in the car when I'm not listening to satellite radio.  But getting music onto the iPhone is supremely aggravating to me. I have always hated having to use iTunes to "sync" music between my computer and my phone.  Why, oh why can't I just mount the phone as a drive and drag and drop albums from the computer to the phone?  Don't get me wrong.  For large libraries, music management software is essential.  I just don't think it should be necessary for getting files of any type onto your phone.

While Android has always appealed to my technical side, because of the iPod I've been an iTunes user since way back.  Also, all of the carrier non-removable bloatware apps and branding have turned me off of most of the Android phones being offered.  So I stuck with Apple.  But, now, Google is selling an unlocked, unskinned, no bloatware, contract-free version of the Galaxy Nexus directly via its Google Play site, and I think I may be ready to switch.

The Galaxy Nexus will work on the ATT network, so I can just take the SIM card from my iPhone, and stick it in the Nexus using an adapter.  I may have to make a call to ATT customer service to make sure I get the full network speed on the new phone, but then I should be good to go.

I'll post my impressions here as I go through the switch.  On some level, it's sure to be traumatic.  Mostly because I like making things like this much more complicated than they need to be.

First example:  For years, unless someone has given me an iTunes gift card, I have bought almost all of my digital music from Amazon.  Amazon's Cloud Player allows you to store music online (this happens automatically for music purchased from Amazon) and to stream it to your device.  It works through Mobile Safari, but there is no native iOS app.  In anticipation of there being "an app for that" on Android, I decided to take advantage of that service's unlimited music storage and to augment my past purchases already stored there by uploading my local music library.  Long story short:  I started that process about twelve hours ago and the uploader tells me that I have seven hours to go.

Slow uploads to Amazon's Cloud Drive are, obviously, not an Android problem, but I'll still be keeping the old iPhone close by, just in case.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Amy Klein Has a New Band

Leda Premieres Two Tracks

Former Titus Andronicus guitarist and New Jersey native, Amy Klein, has a new band called Leda.  Described by Klein on her tumblr as a "five-piece rock and roll orchestra," the band released two, new tracks today.

I've been a little sad about never getting a chance to see the Amy Klein version of Titus Andronicus live, but she's obviously kept busy.  I'll be interested to hear more from Leda.

Take a listen, and then head over to Leda's bandcamp page to get your copies.



Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ty Segall / White Fence, Hair, 2012

Sunday Run Album Review


Last year, I took CoolDaughter #1 to a Miranda Cosgrove concert in Montclair, NJ.  After we got home, I poured myself a glass of bourbon and put on The Velvet Underground and Nico.  As I listened to that album, I couldn’t help  thinking about what people in 1966 or 1967 must have thought of the music.  The sound and the subject matter really were out  there for the time.

Today, after CoolMom peeled off from our run to take CoolDaughter #2 to the park, I pressed play on Hair, the collaboration between Californians Ty Segall and White Fence (Tim Presley).  I couldn’t help thinking about what all those girls and their parents at that Miranda Cosgrove show would have thought of this.  Compared to what's popular today, Hair is pretty out there.

Hair is a psych-rock throwback to the same era that produced The Velvet Underground and Nico.  The sound is heavily rooted in late era Beatles / early solo John Lennon with a bit more noise and distortion.  The album is a short burst of psychedelia at a running time of about thirty minutes.

Single “I Am Not a Game” starts off with a keyboard riff that runs through the whole track.  The lead vocals and the backing ooohs and aaaahs, along with the production give the song a “Lucy in the Sky” feeling.  “Crybaby” is  two-minutes of psych-punk rockabilly featuring some nicely distorted vocals and guitars and a piano break.  Album-closer “Tongues” is another dreamy, Lennon-inspired jam and does a good job summing up the feel of the whole album.

Hair, in typical garage rock fashion, draws on an earlier time and updates that sound while paying homage to it.  This album isn’t for everyone.  If you’re someone like me who loves to alternate between playing “spot the influence” and just getting lost in the fuzz and reverb, then this will be a half-hour well-spent.  But if you’re easily bored by the stoner jams of the late 60's, or if you’re a fan of Miranda Cosgrove, this album could seem a lot longer.

Head over to Pitchfork to listen to / download "I Am Not a Game."

Friday, May 11, 2012

Meet in the Morning Edition

Friday Night

Good luck, girl.

Rock on...



Ultimate Cooldad Music Video?

Explosions in the Sky, "Postcard from 1952"

Texas instrumental group Explosions in the Sky have done something really great with this video for "Postcard from 1952."  Co-directed by Peter Simonite and Annie Gunn, the video shows the life that's behind every family photograph.  Seems engineered to have a profound effect on coolparents everywhere.



Thursday, May 10, 2012

Diary

Music Diary 2012

So, I've been kind of participating in this #musicdiary2012 thing.  The idea is that you simply log the music that you listen to from May 7th to May 13th and post it online somewhere.  I've been going with the real-time Twitter posting rather than the weeklong spreadsheet keeping.  I haven't been that religious about posting everything I hear on TV or in the car or everything I click on the web.  My approach has been to post when whatever I'm listening to makes me remember to do it.  There's no cheating, no listening just to have something to post.  It's all organic.

While waiting for CD #1 to get out of school today, just about my favorite song of all time, LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends," came on the radio.  I've always thought of it as a stream of consciousness meditation on aging, and I've always loved the line, "You spend the first five years trying to get with the plan / and the next five years trying to be with your friends again."  The Plan could be so many things there:  a job, adulthood, parenthood, a twelve-step program.  It just sums up the whole song.

And the stupid, official video for the song cuts out that line along with most of the intro.  Here's a live version from the 2010 Pitchfork Music Festival.



Kitty Pryde Blows Up

"Okay Cupid"

These media companies are getting pretty good at the faux DIY, viral marketing.  Their latest success story is Kitty Pryde and her video for "Okay Cupid."  The teen-aged Florida rapper released her video yesterday and it instantly became an Internet sensation.

Let's see, this is Thursday and she's Queen of the Internets.  The backlash and viciousness should set in by the weekend.  I wouldn't be surprised to see her as SNL's musical guest for the fall premiere.

It's just a silly, little song.  See what you think.



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

First Listens


Bloom by Beach House, Passage by Exitmusic

NPR.org is piling it on this week, making "First Listens" of albums by two dream pop duos available.  Both Beach House's Bloom and Exitmusic's Passage figure to place highly on many year-end lists this year.


I've finally listened to both of them, and I think I prefer the darker, more downbeat entry from Exitmusic.  Though, check them both out for yourself.  They figure to be available for streaming until the albums' official releases.  Don't expect to be dancing in your bedroom.

Update:  Forgot to mention that Best Coast's The Only Place is also streaming this week.  Go check that out, too.  Either via NPR or maybe you can just hear it being piped over the sound system at Urban Outfitters.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New Magnetic Fields Video

"Quick!"

The second excellent single from The Magnetic Fields' Love at the Bottom of the Sea gets the video treatment.  Love blossoms between... grouches?

I still haven't heard the whole record, but I love Stephin Merritt as a songwriter.  I'd better get on it.



Options

Growin' Up

When I was in grad school, I also had a job.  At that most ridiculous of all rituals, The Annual Review, my boss and I discussed the possibility that I would make the leap and become a full-time employee.  He described growing up to me then as a conscious decision to reduce your options.  “I choose to attend NYU.”  “I choose to major in economics.” “I choose to work instead of pursuing a Ph.D.” “I choose marriage, kids, mortgage, …”

He wasn’t saying that reducing your options is a bad thing.  I think he was saying the opposite.  Choosing your path – making a commitment – is better than floating around aimlessly.  I made a choice on that day and took one of many steps toward becoming a grown-up.

I’ve thought of this a lot over the last few days upon hearing the news of Mariano Rivera’s career-threatening injury (He says he’s coming back, but I’ll believe it when I see it.) and the deaths of Adam “MCA” Yauch and Maurice Sendak.  You can choose to grow up by reducing your options, or it can just happen to you as the book gets closed on parts of your life, whether you want it to or not.

I was awestruck by Mariano Rivera’s performance in Game 2 of the 1995 American League Division Series against the Mariners when I was living in Seattle.  Since then, he has been a fixture of every summer and almost every fall for me.  That’s likely over now.  Adam Yauch and the Beastie Boys showed up when I was 15 or 16 years old.  My brother was ahead of me as a big fan, while I started to take real notice with the release of Ill Communication.  Still, they’ve been part of the background music of my life for all of that time.  Now, they’re finished as an act.  In 1977, I sat in the school library while Mrs. Flannery paged through Where The Wild Things Are for my first grade class.  For the last nine or so years, I’ve sat with CoolDaughters 1 & 2 through every television episode of Little Bear in all of its calming and soothing glory.  And, now, Maurice Sendak is gone, too.

It’s made me kind of sad lately to see the chapters of “Young Adult,” “Teen,” “Child” end as their component parts start to fade away, both through my own choices and just because that’s what happens.  Not to diminish the chapters of “Adult,” “Husband,” “Father” that are still in progress, but I think I chose to start “CoolDad” – buying music made by kids, going to so many shows, maintaining this blog, playing the guitar – in response to what’s been happening to some of those earlier parts.  Mid-life crisis?  I don’t know, maybe.

I do know that there are a lot of bands out there that interest me now.  I don’t have to wait for a reunion tour or album and wonder who’s going to fill in for the missing members.  Because of where I live, sometimes multiple bands I love are playing on the same night at different venues.  On those nights, I have lots of options.




Sunday, May 6, 2012

Reptar, Body Faucet, 2012

Sunday Run Album Review

Contrary to what HBO would have you believe, summer is coming.  Every summer needs a soundtrack.  You need music for runs on the boardwalk, days by the pool, backyard barbecues, evenings sipping tequila on the deck -- blanco, couple of ice cubes and a squeeze of lime.  I auditioned Reptar for the boardwalk run slot late this afternoon.

The debut full-length from Athens band Reptar, Body Faucet, is the kind of record I think of when I think of summer music.  The band takes their name from a Rugrats character, and that same sense of fun runs through much of the record.  Lead singer Graham Ulicny's singing is high-pitched with an almost accent.  The music is African beats and jangly, reverby guitars with a good deal of analog keyboards.  Is this starting to sound familiar?

Listen to the excellent opener "Sebastian" and you'll know what I'm talking about.  The first three songs on the album fall into the same young band playing African-influenced pop with intelligent lyrics vein.  Then things change, and the keyboards become more prominent on "Office Origami" and "Houseboat Babies."  Here, Ulicny's high register, the backing vocals, and the synths call to mind Passion Pit more than Vampire Weekend.  "Office Origami," as a matter of fact, is a track that I could see launching this band to a wider audience.  "Natural Bridge" brings the guitars back, and is another standout.  The last third of the album, ending with "Water Runs," does an excellent job closing things out with a complexity that reveals that Reptar is about more than just mindie pastiche.

On Body Faucet, Reptar have fused some of the most popular sounds in mindie from the last five years to come up with something new that deserves a place in your summer rotation.  I've got this strange feeling that this band is going to achieve a degree of popularity that will make it less cool to like them a few months from now, so get in on the ground floor.

Stream Body Faucet over at Reptar's website.

On The Boardwalk

Rainy Day in Asbury Park with a Jersey Girl

It eventually turned into real "huddled on the beach in the mist" weather, but CoolDaughter #2 and I had a great day walking the boards in Asbury Park yesterday.  I'd brought her there, while CoolMom and CoolDaughter #1 were on their Girl Scout camping trip, to take her to the Silverball Museum for some pinball, Skee-Ball, Centipede, and Ms. Pac-Man.  We had to wait for a private party to end, though, so we had to figure out a way to kill about two hours.

We wandered through the Grand Arcade and looked at Tillie T-shirts, Springsteen posters, clocks and bowls made from old, vinyl records, and photos of the old resort town that Asbury Park used to be.  We got our pictures taken in a photo booth, took in the smells of freshly roasted coffee, and bought a bag of triple cheddar popcorn.  Then we started walking to the other end of the boardwalk.  She excitedly pointed Tillie out to me as we passed the Wonder Bar.  I told her about the Stone Pony while she begged me for ice cream, italian ice, and crepes.  We both commented on how cool the skeleton of the Casino looked through the fog, and then we grabbed lunch at Langosta Lounge so we could get out of the mist.

We finally got our chance to go into the Silverball Museum.  While I absolutely loved the place, I think it was a bit of a letdown for her.  The machines were all too tall for her, and she got bored watching me try to get the high score on Centipede.  She showed an aptitude for Ms. Pac-Man that impressed me, though, and she did love playing Skee-Ball.

Unlike CoolMom and me, CoolDaughters 1 & 2 are native New Jerseyans.  I hope they realize just how cool that makes them.  I also hope they get how cool of a place Asbury Park can be.  I won't lie.  Finding two hours of stuff worth doing in the rain, on the boardwalk, with a five-year-old isn't easy there.  They need to know that the place is important, though.  Not only because of what came from there, but also because of what it can continue to be.  Bamboozle (meh) and All Tomorrow's Parties (for the second year in a row) have chosen it for their big music festivals, and it's the closest thing we have around here to an urban center, with all of the creativity (and, yes, problems) that brings.

CD #2 had fun there yesterday.  She has that ridiculous strip of pictures up in her room, and she got to play pinball on a machine made in 1955.  Soon the place will be full of summer crowds "boppin' down the beach with the radio" and spending money.  As Asbury makes its slow climb up to whatever it's going to be when my kids are old enough to really appreciate it, I hope the powers that be follow the advice I saw posted on a wall as we walked on the boardwalk.  Retain the city's distinctly New Jersey character and "Keep Asbury weird!"

Friday, May 4, 2012

Can't, Won't, Don't Stop Edition

Friday Night

Have a drink for Adam "MCA" Yauch tonight, and

Rock on...



Mariano Rivera

This Is a Huge Loss 

I know this is silly.  I, myself, have wished plenty of times that I could go off into a comfortable retirement at 42 years old.  But the potential end to the career of Yankee closer Mariano Rivera because of a torn A.C.L.  really hit me hard today.  It's not because of what it means to the Yankees, which, apologies to David Robertson, is BAD NEWS.  It's not really because of what it means for Rivera.  The injury is, of course, painful; and I'm sure he didn't want to go out this way.  But he will be able to live a normal, comfortable life in his native Panama, or wherever he chooses to settle, once he recovers.

It hit me so hard, I think, because -- and I know this is corny -- he is such a great example of how to live your life.  The key to his success was that nothing that happened on the field ever knocked him off of his feet.

Along with Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, Berra, DiMaggio, and Jeter, Mariano Rivera is a Yankee demi-god.  He's Major League Baseball's all-time career saves leader and the best pure closer ever to have played the game.  But he also blew a save in Game 4 of the 1997 ALDS that ended up costing the Yankees that series.  He blew a save in what would have been the series-winning Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS that led to the Red Sox unprecedented -- and humiliating -- comeback from a 3 games to 0 deficit to win that series.  Perhaps most devastating, though, was his blown save against the Diamondbacks in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series.  He cost the Yankees the game and the Series with a throwing error on a bunt and by giving up the game-winning bloop single to Luis Gonzalez.  He took each of these failures in stride, though -- part of the deal.  During post-game interviews he'd always talk about how sometimes you get them, and sometimes they get you.  And he meant it.  And, especially after that Bill Buckner moment that was 2001, he kept being great.

We should all live like that.  It's just baseball.  It's just a game.  It's just one test.  It's just work.  Tomorrow is another day.  I try to do it, and much of the time I can't.  This guy did it on one of the world's biggest stages every day.  I know Mariano Rivera is a very religious guy, and maybe that's what allows him to approach his work, his life this way.  I'm not religious, but I think the key is finding something to grab onto that's bigger than you.  Your family, maybe.  Your writing or your music, if that's what you're into.

So the end of the Mariano Rivera era isn't just a sad day for the Yankees or for baseball.  It's a sad day for everybody who could use a role model that says, "I've failed.  I've failed in front of millions, and my name is on the list of the biggest failures in sports history, right next to Bill Buckner.  Forget that, though.  I came back the next day and the next day and the next day, and I just kept doing what I do the way I do it.  And I kicked all their asses."

Here's wishing Mo a speedy recovery and a wonderful retirement.  Can't wait for that Cooperstown speech.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

DIIV (née Dive)

"Doused"

So Dive have changed their name to DIIV.  Not quite sure if it's still pronounced "dive" or if it's supposed to be something like "Five-Hundred-Two-Five."  No matter.  They've released another great single called "Doused" that's got a bit of an early Interpol thing going on, at least instrumentally.

Their album Oshin will be out June 26th.




Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Bloody Valentine

Loveless 

My Bloody Valentine's 1991 album Loveless is one of the reasons I bought this:









despite having nowhere near the chops necessary to make it do what I'd like.

The album surrounds you with the noise and distortion that would go on to influence the sound of the entire decade and beyond.

In preparation for the re-issue of the shoegaze classic, along with the rest of the small MBV catalog, Guardian Music is streaming two different re-mastered versions of Loveless.  They've also posted a 1992 interview the band did for Vox magazine.

So head over there and envelop yourself in the sea of noise that is Loveless.