Shot Of Rhythm

[ Friday, November 07, 2003 ]


Tonight's Tell Us The Truth event at the Orpheum Theatre was simply unbelievable. The tour is its own entity, but here it was part of the National Conference On Media Reform, an amazing to-do in Madison this weekend. Steve Earle hasn't joined the fold yet, so that's too bad, but everything else about it was great. Billy Bragg backed Lester Chambers up on some old blues tunes, Tom Morello did an odd yet strangely powerful set of acoustic songs (kind of like a folk-metal mishmash, somewhere between Leonard Cohen and Dave Alvin), Boots Riley - immensely talented rapper from radical hip-hop group The Coup - did a set that had the joint jumpin' (he was helped out by Lester Chambers and Michael Holden, who played bass for everybody), and then Billy Bragg did his Billy Bragg thing, which is always great. Then the whole confab got back on stage and did a somewhat bizarre medley. You haven't lived until you've heard Billy Bragg, Tom Morello with his signature driving guitar sound, one of The Chambers Brothers and the voice of The Coup jamming on "People Get Ready" into (I kid you not) "Tupelo Honey" into (again, I kid you not) "Girl From The North Country" into (still not kidding) "Let's Get It On," all with the occasional rap interlude from Boots. Then they finished off with a pounding "Time Has Come Today." That, interpersed with uniformly well-done speeches from luminaries like AFL-CIO president John Sweeney, FCC commissioner - and man responsible for halting the attempts at further deregulation - Michael Copps, and Naomi Klein, author of the great book NO LOGO. Added up, a great night for lefties and rockers everywhere. (This is all not to mention the fact that I got to speak with both Bragg and Morello, and thank them for all they've meant to me and others.)

The conference continues tomorrow, with another performance by the Truth squad tomorrow night. I'll tell more if need be. In the meantime, fight the power.

On the box right now: Townes Van Zandt, ANTHOLOGY. The man from whom every songwriter can learn just about everything they need to know...


Dove With Claws [11:09 PM]


Will anybody care about this?

The big lie about the war in Iraq is starting to crack, and maybe stories like this, so caught up with a story people love (the brave Pvt. Lynch), will cause it to really start to fissure. Or maybe not.

On the box right now: Sounds of Blackness, SOUL SYMPHONY


Dove With Claws [8:28 AM]

[ Wednesday, November 05, 2003 ]


Continuing with the learning theme:

Three Things I've Learned in Weather and Climate This Week:
1)Weather patterns occur because of the pressure gradient in the atmosphere.
2)Coriolis force causes objects to move to the right on their way from the Equator to the North Pole.
3)The "Funny Kid" claims to have given cunnilingus 6 times.

Why I know the last one, I have no clue. Don't ask me, 'cause I don't know.

So I got the new Ryan Adams records, and I have to admit I really like both of them. I say "have to admit" because, while I've always been a fan of Ryan, I've always felt guilty about it. Why? Because he's an asshole. Big-time. An asshole who treats his audience likes shit, throws hissy fits whenever somebody challenges his authentic rocker status, and who has been known to shove his tongue down the throat of women who he's interested in (I know somebody who claims to have seen this). That being said, he's also always dancing on the edge of complete bombast and pretense. His records are grandiose affairs, with grandiose titles and grandiose ambitions. The latest - "ROCK N ROLL" - is no exception. Thankfully, like the others, the goods are delivered. This is the best 80s rock record ever made, with a mix of influences and songs that glean the best elements of the past quarter century of loud music without much of the other crap. "This Is It" is classing Replacments, "Luminol" is like a great New Wave track, "Note To Self: Don't Die" is a little bit Nirvana and a little bit Minutemen etc. Ironically, and pleasantly, the song "Rock N Roll" is the only quiet moment on the record, a short and affecting ballad. The E.P "LOVE IS HELL PT. 1" is also surprisingly good, with the best moment on it being - I kid you not - a cover of Oasis' "Wonderwall." I've always liked Oasis, but I've never liked that song. Too cloying, too ubiquitous, too Brian Goetz. (Inside joke, ask me sometime.) Both are worthy purchases, and - thanks to UMG's price drops - you can get the two of them combined for under $20. Raise your fist and yell...

On the box right now: OutKast, SPEAKERBOXXX/THE LOVE BELOW. Sorry Warren, but this is the year's best album.


Dove With Claws [8:55 PM]

[ Monday, November 03, 2003 ]


One of my aunts told me tonight that when I was a little kid, my grandfather used to make me laugh by shaking his fist at me and saying "Bullshit! Bullshit!" Finally some insight as to why I am the way I am...

Bodies continue to pile up in Iraq, and George W. Bush's spot in Hell gets increasingly reserved...

Madison once again went nuts on Halloween, smashing up State Street businesses and clashing with the cops. If only the seemingly mindless aggression so often on display among members of my generation (people try to put us down...never mind) could be constructively used for some greater good. Even the wild, rebellious energy that results in rioting. Nope. Those morons are content to hurt local people and literally smash their community to pieces, all for a momentary thrill and the chance to go "WHOO!!!" in the company of other imbeciles. I know I sound like a prude, and I'm sorry if I do, because I really don't consider myself prudish. People have the right to do whatever stupid shit they want to do to themselves, but it's when they fuck with the rest of us that I get pissed. Besides which, there's very little else besides sheer hedonism and drunken meatheaded-ness that goes into the Halloween carnage anyway, so fuck them.

On the box right now: Alvin Youngblood Hart, START WITH THE SOUL.


Dove With Claws [8:11 PM]

[ Sunday, November 02, 2003 ]


Ten Things I Learned This Weekend
1. You haven't lived until you've danced with drag queens.
2. Don't ever put a shitty painting in a classy frame, unless you intend to look terminally ridiculous.
3. UW-Green Bay is a nice campus, but it's a little too much like a sarchophagus for my taste.
4. I hate Nashville music historian Robert Oermann, who's a terminal kiss-ass and not one-fourth the mind and soul of Bill C. Malone, my friend and the dean of country music historians.
5. I smell funny.
6. If they only had better taste in music, gay nightclubs would be the most fun place on earth, no matter what your orientation. As it is, even with the brain-numbing electronica all night long, it's close.
7. People in Madison can be savages, with no sense of respect or responsibility. My apartment building, and the rest of downtown, looks like a hurricane hit it.
8. A professor who likes to have a good time and is not afraid to do so is a treasure worth celebrating. Luckily, Green Bay and Madison both have their share.
9. The title "co-judge of Halloween costume contest at Green Bay's premier gay night club" will look mighty fine on my resume.
10. Robbie Fulks is simply one of the best live musicians in the world.

On the box right now: Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers, THE COMPLETE SPECIALTY RECORDINGS


Dove With Claws [1:50 PM]