Sunday, May 31, 2009

*New* Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band

Yoko Ono has recorded a brand new album with a newly assembled Plastic Ono Band. Between My Head and the Sky, scheduled for a September 2009 release (CD and 2LP) , is produced by Sean Lennon, and features contributions from musicians Cornelius and Yuka Honda (Cibo Matto).

On June 9 a 22 minute "mini-album", Don't Stop Me, which features tracks from Head and the Sky, will be released via iTunes.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

9:45 PM

Happy Pentecost.

8:50 AM

In the spring of '87 this poster could be found
plastered up around Minneapolis.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tee of the day

I got this shirt yesterday in an end-of-the-year gift bag from
my peeps in the Graduate & Professional Student Assembly.
It is officially my new favorite t-shirt.

8:37 AM

We have a lot of Jesus & Mary statues throughout our house.
I like the shadows that the morning sun has created on this one.

On my turntable: Ramones - Mondo Bizarro

Way back in February, 2007 I did a post about my "vinyl wishlist", where I listed the albums that are, as I wrote, "either a bitch to find (or) beyond what I'm willing to pay."

So this afternoon I'm at one of my stores looking through the new arrivals, and I see Subterranean Jungle by The Ramones. Flipping further I see Rocket to Russia, and I think to myself, "Wouldn't it be cool if Adios Amigos or Mondo Bizarro were here too?" Then it came true. I was holding an absolutely near mint domestic copy of Mondo Bizarro (1992), priced at $8.99. I couldn't believe it. I still don't.

As the first Ramones LP following the departure of founding bassist Dee Dee Ramone, Mondo Bizarro featured three new Dee Dee compositions. Among the new songs, "Strength to Endure", stands as one of Dee Dee's very best tunes, with great vocals by new guy C.J.. Along with Pleasant Dreams (1981), and the Phil Spector produced End of the Century (1980), Mondo Bizarro ranks among my very favorite Ramones albums.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

"The Defenders"

Produced by fancy blog friend Doug Prinzivalli, The Defenders (2009) is a short film that asks the essential question "How would you feel if someone put your marriage to a vote?". It's definitely worth 4:18 of your life to watch:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rob Thomas tells it like it is

Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas, speaking out on yesterday's Prop 8 announcement:
"I believe the fact that an atheist, who doesn't believe in God at all, is allowed to enter into the holy land of marriage while a gay Christian is not, shows that this law is arbitrary. Are we to believe that anyone who doesn't live their life according to the King James Bible isn't protected by the same laws that protect those who do? Using the same argument that I've seen on the 700 Club, that would mean that Jewish, Hindu, or Muslim weddings are also null and void."

(borrowed with gratitude from

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Lemonheads LP!

Varshons by The Lemonheads
LP release date: Aug. 4, 2009
CD: June 23, 2009

I like the Spirograph artwork!

Monday, May 25, 2009

8:44 AM

I *love* putting shiny new plastic sleeves on my records. Recently I've upgraded to 4 ml sleeves, which are thicker and have a snugger fit. As a record geek and collector, replacing the old sleeves gives me a chance to sit down for some quality time with each record. It's a special relationship :).

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

On my turntable: Lenny Kravitz - Are You Gonna Go My Way

I'm not sure why I passed on this album when I first saw it at the record store several years ago. Whatever the reason, I didn't expect that I'd ever come face to face with it again, so when I saw it today at the store I said "oh yeah, this one's mine".

This limited U.S. vinyl pressing of Are You Gonna Go My Way (1993) is actually cooler than I remembered. The artwork is completely different from the standard CD version, and comes with a colorful full-sized lyric book, plus a special CD containing 8 bonus tracks . The record itself is clear vinyl (see pic, right). And the album rocks in pure analog.

On my turntable: Pufnstuf soundtrack

Pufnstuf (1970) is the soundtrack to one of the best films I've never seen. A DVD of the movie was released this week, although the local Targets & Best Buys I've checked so far either have it on backorder or their not yet stocking it. So I wait, and in the meantime I get my groove on to this far-out soundtrack album and watch these outasite YouTube clips:
Mama Cass - "Different"
(from Pufnstuf, 1970)

Billie Hayes, Martha Raye & Cast-
"Zap the World" (from Pufnstuf, 1970)

Friday, May 22, 2009

21st Century 45's: The Sunshine Underground

"Put You In Your Place" (2006) by The Sunshine Underground.
One of my fave singles of the past decade.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Marie Osmond: "I love my daughter...So what if she's gay?"

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight:
"I love my daughter! She's my baby girl, come on. So what if she's gay? She's my daughter and she's an amazing woman and a good kid. I raised her, she better be good. I think it's sad when we have to separate something from society. Whether it's, 'Oh you're Jewish,' and then it was 'Oh you're a Mormon,' or 'Oh you're gay.' I love real people. A lot of women out there have gay children. Who cares? I want love. I'm a Christian and Christ loved everybody."
I want to have Marie's baby. Seriously - I'm feeling a lot of Marie love right about now.

(hat tip to Joe.My.God)

On my turntable: Bob Marley and The Wailers - Legend

Years ago when I worked at the record store I asked one of the managers, whose opinion I respected, "If you could only own one reggae album what would it be?". Without hesitation he said "Legend". It took me a few years, but last weekend I finally heeded his advice and bought a nice used copy of this great album. It's been unseasonably warm in Minnesota this week with record temps in the 90's, and Legend (1984) has felt like a neighborly companion to the heat.

We're Jammin'.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Beach Boys CD released today

I experience mixed feelings each time I hear about another new Beach Boys compilation. Released today, Summer Love Songs (2009) initially received my obligatory roll of the eyes, but like other recent BBs compilations, it does include a couple of potentially awesome gems.
  • For starters, I fully approve of the cover art. Unlike the generic cover photos used on Sounds of Summer (2003) and The Warmth of the Sun (2007), Summer Love Songs looks more reminiscent of the original art on the landmark Endless Summer (1974).
  • Continuing in the tradition that started with 1998's engaging Endless Harmony CD, Summer Love Songs includes *six new stereo remixes*. Based on the glories of past remixes, these new tracks promise to be an exciting experience: "Don't Worry Baby", "Why Do Fools Fall in Love", "Hushabye" "I'm So Young", "Time To Get Alone", and "Good To My Baby". My only personal gripe is that "Fools" and "Hushabye" are two of my least fave Beach Boys songs, but perhaps these new mixes will help to change my mind.
  • The disc also includes a new mix of a rare Sunflower-era Dennis Wilson song, "Fallin' in Love", which has been known by collectors as "Lady". The track, a collaboration with Daryl Dragon (Captain & Tennille), was previously available only as an import single b-side by "Dennis Wilson & Rumbo" (1970).
As a 20-track collection, it's not unrealistic for Capitol to consider a double vinyl release of Summer Love Songs, although it's probably unrealistic for fans to hope for one. Regardless, I look forward to driving around the lakes this summer with this new collection blaring from the speakers. :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

21st Century 45's: Weezer!

"Keep Fishin'" (2002) was my first Weezer vinyl. It was also the first time I felt compelled to buy any Weezer since 1994's Weezer (Blue Album). In more recent years it's been hard for me to stay away -- Weezer is just one of those bands that remains true to itself, which means that even the occasional track that maybe isn't so brilliant is still pretty awesome. Plus it's hard to say no to such cool looking vinyl singles.
In addition to having some of the greatest singles, Weezer's music videos are indisputably among the greatest of all time. There is no greater video than "Keep Fishin'" (above), in which The Muppets get top-billing.

45's Pictured (from top): "Keep Fishin" (2002), "Beverly Hills" (2005), "Pork and Beans" (2008). (For a better look go ahead and click on any of the 45's)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

On my turntable: The Beach Boys - Sunflower

I got home about 15 minutes ago with this gently worn original copy (probably graded 'Good ++' condition) of Sunflower (1970), which I picked up this afternoon for 5 bucks. Aside from my long-abandoned CD copy, my only previous version of this album was an import non-gatefold budget-line Caribou Records re-issue from the early 80's, which I bought at the mall when I was a college freshman in Duluth (and which I still have). As I'm listening to side 1 of this vintage copy, a couple of things strike me as interesting:
  1. While it's possible that both pressings were made from the same masters, this Reprise copy sounds better than I remember the Caribou copy sounding. This makes me wonder if maybe Caribou used 2nd or 3rd generation tapes for its budget reissue, or if perhaps my copy just naturally lost some of its fidelity over the years due to so many plays.
  2. I'm reminded again of the tragedy of digital music for dynamic albums such as this. With all of the compression used in re-mastering old records for CD, much of the original essence of the recording is lost. Sunflower is so full of highs and lows and artistic use of "space" (something which Brian Wilson almost used as a studio instrument in itself), and it makes me a little sad to think younger listeners might never gravitate away from an mp3 of some of this stuff.
  3. For those few record buyers who were paying attention to new Beach Boys releases in 1970, Sunflower must have sounded every bit as mind-blowing as Pet Sounds did in '66. The years have definitely been kind to this album. I've often said that if Pet Sounds is Brian's masterpiece, Sunflower is The Beach Boys' crowning audio achievement as a cohesive 6-piece songwriting and production unit.
Unless Capitol changes its mind, we can expect to see an official 180 gram re-issue of Sunflower on June 16, as part of the "Capitol Vaults" series.

International Day Against Homophobia (today!)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

21st Century 45's: "California" - Lenny Kravitz

In the years since LPs first went into hibernation, the import 45 has been the saving grace for vinyl lovers. Case in point: As far as I know, Lenny Kravitz's Baptism (2004) never made it onto LP, but there were some vinyl 7"ers, including "California", which is possibly my favorite Lenny song. It's definitely in my top 40 of the past ten years, and this orange single is so tasty I want to eat it.

3:38 AM

Song of the Week: Nancy Nova - "Made In Japan"

Last week I bought this UK compilation LP (at right) from the early 80's which includes a bunch of cool new wave bands of the era: Duran Duran, A Flock of Seagulls, Bow Wow Wow, etc.. Buried towards the end of side 2 is this magical little number that I'd never heard before, which is now my fave song of the week.
(Warning: Play video with caution; the tune is extremely infectious!)

Friday, May 15, 2009

21st Century 45's: "It's A Hit" - We Are Scientists

When I saw this at the store back in '06 I bought it based on my good friend Jim's recommendation. That and the fact that it was on groovy blue vinyl and came with a poster, like all records should.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Look through my window

*slight pause whilst I do a dance to spring*

21st Century 45's: "The Middle" - Jimmy Eat World

One of my first tasks to help me wind down after the end of this stressful semester was to spend some quality time with my records. I spent part of tonight organizing my 45's, and realized there were some true beauties from the past 9 years...

"The Middle" (2001) is one of those perfect pop songs that just grabs you where it matters. One of the highlights of the vinyl revival has been the resurgence of the 7" single as a viable format. Labels sometimes use them as a relatively low-cost promotional item, and fans love buying them because they often have non-LP tracks or because they're pressed on super cool colors, like this handsome one here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

12:51 pm

The view from my office chair. I learned last week that after 77 years
in the same building, our department is moving to another
location across campus. I am going to miss this space.

Monday, May 11, 2009

So long, Spring 2009!

At 4:30 this afternoon I officially submitted my final paper of the semester. Life feels damn good in this immediate moment.

On to the next round...

Friday, May 08, 2009

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

6 Days

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and
look around once in a while, you could miss it.

~ Ferris Bueller, 1986
This has become my mantra for the week. As a general rule, I try to remember to enjoy the journey, and to not focus so much on the destination, and it works for me sometimes. Other times I get so wrapped up in everything that's happening that I forget how awesome my circumstances are.

So there are six days remaining in my Spring semester, after which I turn that final paper in that says "see you in the Fall, suckas!" I'm doing something I never saw myself doing, which is studying Political Psychology at the doctoral level. I'm learning a lot very quickly, and at times it's a bit intense because of my strong feelings about inequality. It's getting better though, and I'm sincerely working on finding ways to check my emotions without extinguishing the fire that's fueling the whole process.

Marie Osmond steps up to the plate

I've made no apologies for growing up an Osmond fan. The brothers were a pretty amazing rock band who were unfortunately upstaged by little brother Donny's Tiger Beat status.

Regular readers may remember the email I sent to Donny last December after he made his bigoted comments about why he thinks gay people should not have full membership in the marriage club. Well earlier today I learned that sister Marie has publicly expressed her full support of her daughter Jessica, who was recently outed by the tabloids. Way to go, Marie.

(Click below to listen to Marie's call to KOST 103.5 Los Angeles)

If it's true that 1 in 10 people is gay (and that's a conservative estimate), then you know there are at least a good half dozen other gay Osmonds out there. I only hope that Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay, Jimmy, and Donny pay close attention to the example Marie is setting. Considering the size of the Mormon machine, this is a very brave step she has taken.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

1:08 pm

I'm busting butt on a paper this afternoon so I need to have my fave snack next to me. Lately I've been digesting a couple boxes of these Triscuits a week.

Tonight I'm going to see Flight of the Conchords with the hubby and my buddy Kristi. I'm pretty stoked about it!.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Congrats to Brett Hudson!

Youngest Hudson brother Brett Hudson has announced via his blog that he is officially cancer free.

Hopefully this means the Hudson Brothers reunion is back on track and full steam ahead! :)
Hudson: "I'm done! No cancer and no tumor"

Friday, May 01, 2009

The thrill of the vintage & sealed

In the two days since returning from my trip I've scored big at a couple of my record stores. Among the prizes: the following five vintage SEALED LPs, for which I paid a measly total of $7:
Kim Carnes - Voyeur (1982)
Linda Ronstadt - Get Closer (1982)
Pat Benatar - Precious Time (1981)
Culture Club - Colour By Numbers (1983)
Musical Youth - The Youth of Today (1982)

2:46 pm

In my office for the afternoon, grading tests & papers.