Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

It started snowing today in Minneapolis. It's very pretty, although dangerous for you New Years partiers out on the roads, so safety first, people!! I've been increasingly ill over the past three days, so Leo and I are spending the night in with the bunnies and Dick Clark.

I took this pic of the snow from our front window:

Friday, December 29, 2006

Beatles' LOVE on double LP

MusicDirect is the first site I've found to be taking pre-orders for LOVE on vinyl. If it's true that LOVE is getting a vinyl release this is very good news, as it's a great album IMO.

1981

With the close of 2006 I somehow feel sentimental about 1981 (25 years ago). Yesterday I bought a brand new copy of Billy Squire's awesome "Don't Say No", and today I found a half-speed mastered copy of ELO's time, both from '81.

My memories of 1981 are not particularly fond, at least not the first nine months. John Lennon had just been killed, for starters. As a scrawny freshman in a big high school I frequently feared for my survival. Life was scary. Still, the music was great that year, and by the start of 1982 I had a fine new group of friends and life was fun again.

1981 was probably the last year that Apache Plaza received a significant chunk of my record money. By this time I was navigating the great record shops in downtown Minneapolis, and few stores could compete with the selection offered by stores like Music City and Hot Licks.

Upon quick glance through my collection I found the following LPs from 1981:

ELO - Time
Billy Squire - Don't Say No
The Rolling Stones - Tattoo You
Olivia Newton-John - Physical
Hall & Oates - Private Eyes
Foreigner- 4
Prince - Controversy
The Knack - Round Trip
KISS - Music from "The Elder"
Journey - Escape
Yoko Ono - Season of Glass
Pat Benatar - Precious Time
Go-Go's - Beauty and the Beat
Buggles - Adventures in Modern Recording
Ringo Starr - Stop and Smell the Roses
George Harrison - Somewhere in England
Various - Concerts For the People of Kampuchea

Saddam & GWB

I realize this is over-simplifying things, but riddle me this...

I don't doubt for a second that Saddam Hussein is a horrible man. According to CNN he is being hanged for "crimes against humanity in connection with the killings of 148 people in Dujail."

Our delightful dumbass president Bush is responsible, in my opinion, for the killing of some 3,000 Americans (and counting) as a result of the Iraq war. When do we get to convict Bush for his connection to the killings of thousands of his own people???

Thursday, December 28, 2006

On my turntable: New York Dolls - One Day It Will Please Us...

Here we have my last new LP of 2006. I bought this based on some of the samples I'd heard online, and the fact that it's limited edition PINK vinyl. It's very lovely. The LP also features a bonus track, "Seventeen".

I had heard that this was supposed to be a decent album, and it really is. The only other NYD's LP I've heard is the first one, which I like. This new one is far more polished (and thus less raw and punk) than the debut. Still, there aren't many bands that have managed such a strong comeback album after an almost 30 year absence.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Friday, December 22, 2006

Two beef burritos, no sour cream

Last night Leo & I were xmas shopping and headed to the Columbia Heights Taco Bell for a little nosh break. The high school kid behind the register was a trainee. Nice kid, just a little on the hearing impaired side. Not deaf, just having a hard time understanding pretty much everything. It was my standard Taco Bell order: two bean burritos, no cheese.

So I tell the young man my order. After some length of silence, someone comes over to help him figure things out. Apparently there are a billion different buttons on these high-tech Taco Bell cash registers. "You want two burritos, no sour cream, right?" No, I said no CHEESE. More silence. Then he says "You said two BEEF burritos?" Ya, no. Bean. Two bean burritos, no cheese. "Bean burritos don't come with sour cream." Well that's dandy, because I don't want any sour cream. Nor have I mentioned sour cream at any point during this transaction. You see, CHEESE is what I want to avoid this evening. And I want a small soda. Again, more silence. Minutes later all is good and I got my burritos, but no soda.

I overheard the kid saying that he's planning to attend Augsburg next year. I say good for him. I understand Augsburg is a good school. He might just want to get that hearing checked though. Just sayin'.

Feliz Navidad!

4.0

Grades are in and I earned a 4.0 GPA for my first semester as a Ph.D. student. Granted, I only took two classes this term, and one of them was pass/fail. Still, it's a good feeling. Feels like I am doing the right thing.

Life can change pretty fast sometimes. A year ago I had not yet decided to apply to this program, and now I'm a full semester in. I'm feeling very grateful this morning. Thanks to Leo and to all my friends for the support you've given me. It really does mean a lot.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Virgil not-so-Goode

So I'm reading at the StarTribune that Virginia Republican Rep. Virgil Goode recently made an insane statement about our new representative Keith Ellison. I quote:

"The Muslim representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran."

Um, is he kidding with this? WTF? To quote the immortal Mr. T, I pity the fools who voted for Goode. What an ass.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Infusion Day

Every seven weeks I get hooked up to an i.v. to get infused with Remicade for treatment of Crohns Disease. Remicade is the first drug that has really made a difference for people like myself with fistulizing Crohn's, which can be particularly painful and gross to live with. When the nurse sets me up with the i.v. I am reminded of how fortunate I am to have health insurance (one Remicade infusion costs around $3,000), and how lucky I am to be one of the patients who respond well to this drug. There are other crohnies that aren't so lucky. I took this pic from my infusion chair.

Hate crime in Oklahoma

Have you heard this story? On December 4 an Oklahoma woman was attacked outside of her home by two men. One of the men pinned her down while the other carved the word "Lesbian" into her arm. Since there is currently no hate-crime legislation protecting gays & lesbians in Oklahoma, the woman believes that police are not acting on this crime. This is what happens when we teach our children to hate, folks.

full story here

Saturday, December 09, 2006

On my turntable: Hymns - Brother/Sister

This past Tuesday I went to see the Lemonheads perform at the 400 Bar. It was a school night, so I wasn't too pleased to see that there were two opening bands, since that meant I was going to be up really really late. Well, this band called Hymns took the stage around 9:00, and by their second song they were my new favorite band. I actually liked them just a little bit more than the Lemonheads (I'd already seen Lemonheads live). While the Hymns were playing I was thinking "I'd so totally buy their album if it were on vinyl." So, after the set I go to the merchandise table, and there's the lead singer selling stuff, and sure enough there's a limited edition vinyl version of Brother/Sister by Hymns. I asked where the band was from (Brooklyn), and if they had plenty of copies of the vinyl (they did). Then the singer, whose name is Brian, told me that the album sounded much better on vinyl, adding "but you probably know that already." I did know, since everything sounds better on vinyl! I complemented him on the band's great set, and he asked me my name (Jeff). We then shook hands, thus cementing the Hymns' status as my fave new band of the year.

Brother/Sister is a terrific album, filled with some power-pop, some Neil Young-style rock, and some very Kinks-like sounds. The vinyl LP is limited to 1000 copies according to the band's website, and features cool artwork that is completely different from the CD. It also sounds fantastic, but you probably know that already.

Buy Brother/Sister by Hymns HERE.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

NEW BANGLES

The Bangles have a *brand new* holiday song that will be available on iTunes starting on 12/9! Click on the banner for more info...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Another indie bites the dust

I suppose it was inevitable, but it's still very sad to see Know Name records in Dinkytown closing. The location has been a record store in some form or another since the 80's. It's a sad reminder of the changing music business, how people don't really shop at record stores anymore, and when they do buy music it's some Faith Hill CD that they saw at the Target checkout. Pisses me off. Support your indie record stores!

Know Name Records to Close

Monday, December 04, 2006

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Christmas at Apache Plaza

I miss me my Apache Plaza.


www.apacheplaza.com

On my turntable: Monkees - The Birds, The Bees, & The Monkees

The Birds, The Bees, & The Monkees (1968) was the last million-selling album to be released by The Monkees in the 1960's. It was also the first to feature the words "Produced by The Monkees" printed boldly on the back cover. The album is a grab bag of different styles representing the band's varied tastes. Some say the results are mixed, but I think it makes for a very interesting record.

In 1996 this album, along with the first four Monkees records, were re-issued with bonus tracks on the Sundazed label. Each record was pressed on a different colored vinyl, with Birds & Bees on yellow (pictured at right). Each record has since been re-issued again on 180-gram vinyl.

Best of 2006

After a quick little brainstorming I present to you...

Jeff's Fancy Best of 2006:

Best album: Scissor Sisters – Ta-Dah!
Best single: The Vines - “Don’t Listen To The Radio”
Best debut album: The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
Best re-issue LP: George Harrison - Living In The Material World
Best record store (new LPs): Cheapo Uptown
Best record store (new singles): Tree House Records
Best record store (used LPs): Roadrunner Records
Best online record store: InSound.com
Best new TV show: 30 Rock
Best work time waster: CuteOverload.com
Best Guzman: Leo
Best live music venue: First Avenue
Best Movie Theater: Riverview
Best online radio station: popbang.com
Best college radio station: Radio K
Best sodie pop: Vault Zero
Best sorbet: Ben & Jerry’s Jamaican Me Crazy
Best bagel: Brueggers salt
Best coffee shop: Bordertown
Best cheap lunch: Chili Lentil Soup at Espresso 22, Dinkytown
Best free Sunday lunch: Fernie & Jimbo’s house
Best MN State Fair Food: The Preferred Pickle
Best breakfast: Al’s Breakfast, Dinkytown
Best N.E. Minneapolis bar: Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge
Best pizza: Campus Pizza, Stadium Village
Best Vietnamese restaurant: Kihn Do, Uptown
Best veggie sandwich slices: Tofurky Deli Slices
Best reality show: Celebrity Fit Club
Best TV comeback: Rosie O’Donnell on The View
Best Wacky Package sticker: Brokeback Mountain Duo
Best shower gel: Kiss My Face Peaceful Patchouli
Best retro cardigan: Izod