Friday, February 16, 2007

Lifetime- Call it a comeback?

A new Lifetime record? I was skeptical. A new Lifetime record that has something to do with Fall Out Boy? I was even more skeptical. (Sidenote, why do these bands that pimp the undergound to the mainstream always try and "give back" and "be down"? pointless) Lifetime started out bad, Background???? Real bad. Come on big pants, flowers, big necklaces and post moshcore was not a good look or sound. But out of nowhere they drop 2 classic albums. Short blasts of early 20s angst. Super Road trip anthems. Records you would put on when you were alone or walking around listening to your walkman(or cd player, or Ipod or whatever) Who would have guessed. And then they were gone. Perfect no long slow decline. No "new direction" or overproduced attempt to go "big" or "breakout". Post lifetime bands ran the gamut from OK to terrible, but all failed to exceed what had come before them. None of them had that spark and urgency. Ari had a way with words that made you think he could read your mind.
So that's not too bad. Most bands don't put out a good single let alone go 2 for 3 on great LPs. Most people would be happy to retire on that and that was why I was skeptical. Why come back? Didn't look so good for Jordan, Jay-Z, etc.
So I played hard to get ,and I didn't pick it up right away, and on first listen I thought it was good but not the 1st Lifetime record I would grab if I wanted to listen to something while working on my bike or making dinner or whatever. But I tried again, threw it on first thing in the morning at work when no one was there and the old magic was still there. "Airport Monday Morning" stands out. After repeated listens, it is holding up.
I've got a couple long drives this weekend and you can bet I will put this on and think about the past and look out towards the future. The funny thing about getting old is instead of picturing myself as the guy in the songs, my kids are old enought that I think about them being the dudes in the song.

Giant Haystacks

Giant Haystacks are a band from Oakland California that sound like they should be from San Pedro. Blunt Instrument is the name of their 12 song 19 minute new album. Blatant minutemen worship with a heavy nod to the anglo-funk that influenced them. If a thousand bands can imitate negative approach, why can't a few more bands imitate the minutemen? and this is by no means a bad thing. They have a CD and couple 7"s available (a live tape too) all available at their website.
The singer really sounds like D.Boon at times.
Short songs, good hooks. I would much rather listen to this than wait to hear Watt's bass solo on the new Kelly Clarkson.
Keeping the flame alive in 2007.

American Hardcore DVD

Inspired by the book?, a documentary all about hardcore. DC, Cali, Boston, NYC, midwest.
Jack Rabid's interviews are highly entertaining. Especially when juxtaposed against some of the more intellectual interpretations.
"Document what" asks Jimmy Gestapo,"me getting dusted?" Jimmy was the highlight of the NYHC shit for me, not so hot on the Harley's world view on life.
The So-Cal and Boston parts were my favorites. The footage of Negative FX opening for Mission of Burma captures a real culture clash here in beantown.
Gregg Ginn looks to be channeling a 50 year old Napolean Dynamite during his interviews.
HR seems suprisingly together.
Gang Green interviews were awesome.
Definetely tracks down some interesting figures some well known some not. Some of these people have stood the test of time and others look like the glory days have receded around 85 or so.
All this things are based of a screening I saw over the summer, and I will be refresing my memory with the DVD that comes out next week.

Heavy Hitters present at Tour of California

Discovery and CSC look like they're going all in with their TOC line ups.
Discovery's lineup looks like a preview of a possible TDF line up. CSC going with Cancellara, DZ, O'Grady, Voigt and Julich aren't sending the B Team.
Other big guns include Bettini, Hushovd, Rasmussen, Mike Rogers, Jakob Pil, Poalini, Pellozitti. Never mind all the domestic talent.
This should make for a real race. If they can keep this race going at this level it would really make for a nice escape from freezing NE in the next couple years.
I wonder if they will be able to get any big names later in the year for the Montreal to Boston stage race.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bas Rutten Lethal self defense

No matter how bad a day I have, there is always this to pick me up.
Thanks Bas!


An Old Quote from Velonews....
Asked whether his remarkable feat in Stage 17 of the Vuelta was due to strength or strategy, new race leader Alexandre Vinokourov said it was a bit of both: "Thanks to the strategy of the whole team, we have obtained this result, but when I saw that Valverde was approaching [on the descent into Granada], I decided to attack alone and there it was a question of force."
I wish I could ride a bike like him and talk in his terminator vocab style.
Isn't is all just a question of force??? Riding for telekom looking so pissed in pink. And then he rolls over to what color blue is that? turquoise? Khazah Blue? Either way, you had better be a monster if you are rocking this ensemble. The beast in blue.
There aren't that many riders that can animate a race like him. He is capable of some amazing feats of tactics and awesome demonstrations of power. And he does most of this on his own with little or no support from his teams.
Vino dominated last year's Vuelta which is turning out to be the most entertaining of last year's grand tours which overall were kind of disappointing.

I hope Vino can bring that aggression and excitement to this years TDF.

Soul Gospel Overload

Thanks to the Numero Group and Soul Jazz labels, there is now another section of the record bins I need to keep an eye on. Only in a genre as small as funky/soulful gospel would 2 comps coming out be a deluge, but there you go. Both comps have good to great liner notes (winner Numero Group by a nose)
Soul Gospel 2 from the soul jazz label throws down 20 tracks of soulful and funky gospel. "since I've been born again" by Martha Bass was a personal favorite. Upbeat stomper. Pastor TL Barrett takes on Stevie Wonder and covers "have a talk with god". For some reason, I think this is much better than Vol 1 of Soul Gospel which seemed to lean heavier on expected artists like Odetta and the Staples.
Up next is the "Good God" gospel funk hymnal on Numero Group. 18 tracks of off kilter funky odes to the lord. Numero Group digs deep (as usual) and digs up some real nuggets. Everyone of their comps has been a home run and this is no difference. Just keep buying them and just keep telling yourself you will track down the original 45s....... sure you will. But someday, someday I will get that Trevor Dandy record.... someday

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Respect due for Wax Poetics Magazine.

Wax Poetics is a kick ass magazine that deserves massive respect. With the depth of information that they bring to the subjects they cover, it is a challenge to digest it all before the next issue is in your hands. When it was quarterly, I would be anxioulsy awaiting the next issue but coming out every 2 months means you better start reading. When it started to come out more often, I expected that the depth of the research and articles would suffer, but that has not been the case. They dig for the facts, photos, and artifiacts with all the skill and dedication of the best record junkie. And even after a few years they keep it interesting.
This mag is straight record nerd porn as well. Page after page of covers. People remisncinng on influential records, etc. But, they dig under the records and bring to life a lot of stories. They always do the musicians and producers right-giving them acknowldegement and respect that they don't get anywhere else. They are like the This Old House of hip hop -breaking down all the foundational knowlege and tools you need to build something. Even if you are not a producer or dj, it is an amazing read everytime. You are going to have to put in more work than reading the Source or Downbeat , but the rewards are so much greater.
Check them online as well the reDiscovered section will provide you with more records to search for.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Is Tom Danielson a tool?

Showing up for a local timetrial with full TDF tech level? WTF? This seems like such a pissy rich kid move. If you are on a pro tour team, you should be showing up to the local time trial on a rusty mountain bike and kicking everyone's ass.
Maybe he is trying to throw the gauntlet down for the tour of california or do some last minute testing of his race equipment. but it seems like a punk move to me.
Tommy D seems like another Hincapie in the making.

thrift shop score

Right off the bat, thanks go out to the person that gave me the tip about this. A bunch of punk records in the bins at the Saugus Salvation Army. Something to do on a Friday night. Jump in the car and race home to walk the dog. Then the dog and I head for RT1. Not disappointed. Big Boys Lullabies and Wreck Collection. Dr. Know and Raw Power (later cross over records by both)Then some odd stuff on Kranky who knew that Labradford came on colored wax or that "limited" colored wax Sonora Pine lps would end up in an SA. I guess the "limited" refered to the demand more than the supply! Definitely has the feel of someones parents dropping of a box they shouldn't have. Too bad. Keep digging and grab a few other things. There is a Gatefold LP called Construction from a band called Ten Wheel Drive on Polydor. Could be country rock, could be psych could be anything, but I am feeling lucky so I grab it. James Brown had just died and I read in an obituary that his favorite hymn was "his eye is on the Sparrow". See a gospel LP with that title by Ethel Waters. Thanks to Wax Poetics I snatch up a couple Salsoul and Cuban records that I would have passed on a few months ago. Not bad. Then the excitement. A test pressing. Looks like a 12" or an lp of 4 long songs. No speed. Just a catalog number that starts with "RR" which because of the crossover hardcore makes me think. RoadRunner. Excitement. What could it be? A Sepultura testpress? Obituary?? 13 records 13 bucks and I'm out the door.
Fast ride home to start to checking it all out. Unmarked test press goes on 1st. The 12" was a 12" unidentified hip hop. The mystery continues-didn't recognize it right off the bat so it is sitting in a box awaiting further research. The Ten Wheel Drive is passable boogie rock with female vocals. The kind of band that could splinter into 12 different sounds (psych, fusion ,etc)
Now of course some of this got sold on Ebay(mainly to fund my Krishna Psych Music research project-which will be up for discussion next week) but it had been a long time since my last memorable thrift store find and this definitely rekindled the fires. Thanks Patty-who walked away with an autographed copy of Blast Its in my Blood!! What? in a Salvation Army in Saugus? Now that is a score worth bragging about!

Monday, February 12, 2007

cost of goods

I want to buy some duffle bags for my kids. Nothing fancy, just big bags to pack for vacation. Because I am a cycling geek and gear connoisseurs, I am of course aware that BailyBag Works in Portsmouth NH, makes duffle bags. So I check the site and do a double take at the price a $100 bucks? I'd pay that for a backpack or messenger bag for me, but for some rarely used items that my kids will probably lose, a $100 is beyond my price range.
I can get a similar appearing bag at target or walmart for $20.
How much better can one bag be than the other? How much do you really want to support independent business? The whole "vote with your dollar" debate is now encapsulated in front of you with one purchase.
Buying a Bailey Bag you support a local small business. You also shoulder a larger chunk of the true cost of the goods purchased. The bag from the giant retailer, comes from oversees where corporations get gov'ts to bear huge chunks of operating costs, where employees wages and opportunities are ??(I can't pretend to know but I can guess a lot worse than here) The bag gets sold in a store where any operating cost (health insurance, retirement benefits, etc) are being driven down or passed onto the state gov't to handle.
But this also highlights a huge issues with economics in America. Only the wealthy can make a choice not based on the bottom line. If you have a family and a normal paycheck you are struggling to cover all the costs of everyday life, never mind save for college, new car, vacation, etc. So cost is always the overriding factor. Quality 2nd. Ethics or Style distant stragglers for 3 or 4th. But it appears that small business is forced to shoulder a larger share of the cost of goods that the large mega-retailers. In many cases a mega-retailer is selling products for the price small business has to pay wholesale. This is not so much economies of scale as it is the economics of monopoly. Check this story from a while back in Fast Company to see what I meanThese choices also have the Darwinian effect of limiting your future choices. You are short on cash and go to Walmart. Money goes out of your community-away from small business. Small businesses close, and you have no choice but to go to the last man standing.
There used to be 2 small grocery stores within walking distance of the house I grew up in plus 2 other stores that had a more limited supply of groceries. 30 years later one is left and it sells mainly booze. You are getting in your car to food shop. Same formula for a lot of retailers.
Think about furniture? It went from something made by craftsmen meant to last a lifetime or more to disposable particle board shit that barely outlasts a 2 year lease? Run down a list of main street retailers from book stores to hardware stores and they are no replaced by strip mall box retailers. Main Street is history.
Why is there a penalty for trying to support local business? and how long can the average person pay it?
Think about non-essential goods like bikes or skateboards. It would be great to buy your kids Independent Fabrication or A.N.T. bikes, but who can afford that? Even if 4 bikes from Walmart get thrown in the trash in a year you are still $1000 ahead of buying one indy-crafted bike or even reputable bikes from an indy bike shop.
It was supposed to be the invisible hand, but it seems more like the invisible subsidy that helps these mega-retailers succeed. You cannot have fair competition in when goods of similar value compete with such an uneven playing field.
The economic divide in this country which seems to encourage small boutique business that survives on the super rich and the rest of us who get what we can afford at target or walmart, is only growing and appears to undermine the essential concepts of independence and opportunity that made this country.
And to summarize. Bailey Bags are not too expensive. Their cost represents the true cost of producing goods in America in a small business. Bailey is good. Do not get it confused. My point is it is fucked that companies that are fucking up life for working people get endless local, national, and international subsidies and handouts. My second point is it pisses me off to be put in situations where for financial reasons, I support companies that I would prefer not to.
Another perspective on this was coined "conflicted consumers" by Harvard Business Review last month.

Action Speaks Louder than Words -SSS records

action speaks louder than words comp sss records
Vampi-Soul drops another classic comp. 24 tracks focused on the muisical emprie of Shelby S Singleton. Under a variety of labels he dropped southern soul and funk classics, unitil he hit gold with the song "Harper Valley PTA". He used the cash he got from that to buy the Sun Records catalog. At the point he seemed to stop putting out records and started collecting checks. Independent business man. Nice.Sam Dees and Gloria Taylor have the stand out tracks, but all in all its got some stand out shouter, instramentals, funk, soul, etc. Vampi-Soul has been stringing together a solid run of comps and reissues. All well done with good liner notes (especially that new Andre Williams collection. Worth the money alone for his stories about hating on Stevie Wonder at Motown. Come on? Hating on Stevie?)

Tommy Guerrero - Future Primitive - 1985

This part stands the test of time as the best ofthe early street skating parts (lance in BB video show is a runner up or maybe the Gonz and Rocco in Skate-Rock). Watching this will bring a smile to my face no matter what is going on. Even with the white gloves Tommy G sets the standard for skate fashion.
Can't think of many other 80s "street" parts that give it a run for its money-maybe Danforth in NHS Oceanside?
I walked past that red curb he boardslides on my second trip to SF and was bugging out when I realized why it was so familiar looking.

Footnote: TG recreated parts of this for a new(er?) Krooked video which I have not seen yet, but am going to track down.

Satyricon - Mother North

2nd of my current favorite videos. What else do you need fire, axes, sacrifices.


1 of my 2 current favorite videos. This has got the audio and visual feel of the geto boys on lock