Saturday, April 19, 2008

Amstel Predicitions

Amstel is a twitchy race on tight roads with a lot of short climbs. Gerolsteiner have 2 candidates in Schumacher and Rebellin, but I think we may see some young guns come to the fore. Shleck, Ricco, Visconti, Terpesta, or T.Dekker for example.
Will Cunego show some pre-Giro form? Very Italian to have success here in the hillier classics.
You can't count out Rabo with the Spanish armada of Flecha and Friere-they can win it from a break or in a sprint.
Astana have to win every race they can get into and they have a chance with Gusev who is always in the hunt, but most of their team will be focused on the TOG.
I like Ricco, Gilbert, and Freire for the podium. Rounding out the top five with Visconti and a Schelck. I think I might regret not throwing Chavenel in the mix.
Hopefully we will see who is ready for La Fleche and LBL!
Not to mention TOG, Sea Otter, Giro de Trentino, and one of my favorites the Tro-Bro Leon on 04/20.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Boonen's Revenge

Cavendish may have made Boonen feel like a fool, but it was only a quick trip up the podium for him to exact his revenge.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Crushed Butler

Sometimes reading about records can be more exciting than hearing them-especially if the scribes at Aquarius or Johan Kugelberg(via Ugly Things) is involved. They can make the most luke warm record sound like molten lava you have to possess.
After getting totally hyped up on JK's pre-punk/pub rock run down in the last UT, I went off in search of a few of these gems. Wasn't too hard to grab reissues of Crushed Butler. Just for the name alone, I wanted to hear these guys (never mind the Hammersmith Gorillas-but that is a story for another day)
Crushed Butler is some seriously ham handed over th top rawk. Billed as some proto-punk, coming out a the same year as Led Zep One and a year before Black Sabbath, it is growing in the same garden, but no where near as accomplished. Lyrical bent is all about being and avoiding being a down and out loser trapped in the factory life. Love Fighter gives some nods to Cream, but the execution is more blundering than bombastic. The drummer seems to be struggling to come up with drum fills after a few minutes. You get elements of glam, some 70s bombast, even a little Bo Diddley beat. Factory Grime and High School Dropout are my fav tracks. It didn't blow me away on 1st listen, and there was no one track so good it should have been on White Lace and Strange, but it has grown on me. I guess looking back and already loving the bands and sounds band like these influenced, it's hard to always see how mind blowing they were at the time. Not unlike Simply Saucer who get hyped as a "proto punk" "pre punk" whatever, you are stoked to get the record, but it just doens't live up to the hype. The same can be said for pre-punk overlords like the Stooges, MC5, or Neu. Good bands, but a tenious link at best to the punk or core you grew up listening to. Despite not being love at first listen, this and the Dr.Feelgood "Down by the Jetty" cds have been getting a lot of play in my car

Here are more opinions and reviews of Crushed Butler than you may care to read


So I went 2/5 on my predictions. Not too suprising since the big guns were on fire.
Hincapie got 9th, Flecha 12th ,and Gilbert didn't start so I am an idiot for picking him. Can't believe I skipped Ballan.
Weather as usual was the opposite of what was predicted, so a lot of cycloross influenced bikes go back in the Service Course garaage.
Boonen's sprint was no joke-at least from the photos he opened up several bike lengths. Total Power Total Cool, just like Swiz used to say.
In the unfortuante dept - Slipstreams choice of wheels couldn't survive the Backstedt/Arenenberg combo. Luckily the were strong enough for young gun Masskant. 12th in Flanders, 4th in the Monte Paschi Eroica. Is it a coming of age or a flash in the pan? Either way there will be serious expectations on him next year.
Otehr, Flanders young guns didn't fair so well- Terpesta finished 103 17 minutes down and Rabo powerhouse Sebastian Langeveld went from the right break into a ditch dashing his hopes.

Tech Update.
Hose clamps and doubled seat binders were all over
Boonen ran FMBs Style king Pozzatto had leg warmers on his bidons-very nice.

That's it until the pictures of Maggies demo'd Zipps leak to the internet.

Rollins Band Lifetime

The year was probably 88 though maybe 87. Rollins Band opening for Agent Orange at the Living Room. (Neutral Nation was probably opening, but I don't remember). Lifetime had just come out and it was clear Rollins was at the peak of his game-all the Black Flag angst and ego, but no Ginn baggage or sad last line up metal wanna be stuff (sorry Cel). He had a lot to prove. Livingroom was not that packed. Rollins Band hits the stage. Agent Orange are pulling typical headliner shit and have a Vision Street Wear Banner and all their gear set up leaving little room for RB to set it off. Bang, they start it it is just fist in the face power. This is back when the Rollins shirt had the quote on the back about "will to power". It took a few years before Nietchze gave way to "Get Some". Totally tight,tense rock. "What am I doing Here?" Destroyed it. Pretty much played Lifetime front to back with a few songs from Hot Animal Machine.
Agent Orange are up next. Talk about bringing a knife to a gun fight,and I was stoked to see them. I loved Living in Darkness, loved Skate Visions, my first board was a Vision Agent Orange, but they got blown off the stage. They looked like some pre-alterna rock dog and pony show jumping around in Vision Street Wear gear and acting like rock stars. Totally lame by comparision,in fact they looked more like stumbling hippies in the reflection of my minds eye.
This record kills it front to back and I can't believe I didn't have it on repeat for winter trainer sessions cause it would be a perfect soundtrack to interval sessions. It is amazing the Rollins has stayed on message for 20+ years since this came out, but when the message is "Do It", I guess it is easy.
Take you pick you've got it all here from "Wreck-age" to the harmonized guitar solos on "If your alive" that totally hint at the Thin Lizzy worship that would emerge a few decades later(ahhh hindsight)
That is my favorite memory of Lifetime which just got reissued today. If you don't got it -get it. It stands the test of time and has 4 live tracks. There was a BMG re-release that had 3 bonus tracks from the DO IT LP if you are a completist. If you missed the other times it has been reissued get stoked. I can't believe this record has gone out of print 3 times, but thankfully it is available again cause 20 years later it is harder than half the shit that followed it.

Another walk down memory lane....
I remember in 91 or so going to see Rollins Band in a outdoor park in NJ opening for Ween(don't know why, but everyone seeemed to love that band). Best memory are Rollins and the drummer doing curls by their van after they played. Full on dumbells coming out of the van. Classic and almost something you would expect from Sick of it All, not Rollins Band. Why isn't their video footage of that on youtube?