Shot Of Rhythm

[ Saturday, July 31, 2004 ]


P. Diddy justifies his existence

He can make whatever wack remakes he wants least for another couple years. I think "Vote Or Die!" might be my new battle cry.

Here's the website for his organization:

On the box right now: Wilco, LIVE IN DEKALB, ILLINOIS 5/20/04. High-quality bootleg of a recent Wilco show. The new line-up cooks, and the new songs sound better live...


Dove With Claws [7:48 AM]

[ Wednesday, July 28, 2004 ]


If I ran the Democratic National Convention...
The following people would've been allowed to speak.  Some of them have, others haven't, and some - importantly - have been able to speak, but not in prime time or before a national television audience.  Despite this, they (in my humble, amateur opinion) are the ones most responsible for recharging the batteries of the Democratic Party, and - thus - deserve to be part of the festivities right there with Carter, Kennedy, Gore and the Clintons.

-Howard Dean - No one is as responsible for the re-energizing of the Democratic Party, at least in terms of presidential politics.  Without this guy, I argue, no dead-heat race...maybe no race at all.  Kerry's mojo contains a helluva lotta Dean run-off, and no one can deny this.  Much like Nader did in 2000 (and most likely, thankfully, won't this time around), Dean created a coalition made up of a lot of people who felt disengaged and alienated from major political systems and campaigns.  Many had never voted before, more had never actively participated in a campaign, and the Dean Machine helped to galvanize the power of this nascent community into a surge of almost-got-to-the-finish-line capability.  (Honorable mention to Joe Trippi, who helped create the innovative internet campaign, which will mark for him and Dean a footnote in American history, no matter what happens this November.)  Of course, this had something to do with the fact that, unlike Kerry or Edwards, Dean had the cojones to say the war was a bad idea, not unlike the two candidates mentioned below.

-Dennis Kucinich - Nader could've siphoned off a lot of far Left voters without this man's presence in the primaries, because - even with other protest candidates in the race - only Kucinich spoke directly to a kind of Leftie that Nader had so effectively spoken to in 2000.  True, he got kinda crazy by the end, but he acted as a nicely contradictory force in the debates, and got a bunch of people interested who otherwise likely would've turned off.

-Rev. Al Sharpton - The rhetorical kingpin of America's Left, simply the best speaker we have right now, whose one-liners and piercing rifle-blasts of truth, spoken with humor and a righteous indignation so rarely seen from the stuffy Dems these days, created in many (including me) an even greater sense of purpose and direction.  He spoke tonight at the Convention, and he proved once again that nobody, nobody, can work a room like he can.

-Eli Parisier - The founder of  This needs no explanation; just click on the link at the left.

-Cynthia McKinney - Once and future Democratic congresswoman from Georgia, who had the cojones to tell the truth about Bush and his plans long before the majority of Dems (or Americans in general) were even willing to accept such talk.  They called her a traitor, now they call her prescient, and soon they'll once again be calling her "Congresswoman."

-Michael Moore - Again, needs no explanation.  Go see FAHRENHEIT 9/11 and you'll understand.

-Dick Cheney - Okay, a weird one, I know, but even more than Dubya, this is the man we all hate, and the face most of us see when we speak of the creeping evil that has inhabited the White House.  We all need to thank him, for no heroes can arise without the presence of a villain.

-The black voters of Florida - Disenfranchised, uncounted, unanswered to, justice left undone.  Fight for them, fight for their ancestors whose blood soaks this struggle, and don't let anybody - Republican, Democrat, Green or otherwise - tell you that Florida doesn't matter.  It only matters if democracy still matters, and goddamnit maybe I'm naive, but deep in my heart I do believe that we shall overcome someday.

On the box right now: The Roots, THINGS FALL APART finishing up, to be followed by Eric Ambel, KNUCKLEHEAD.


Dove With Claws [6:07 PM]

[ Monday, July 26, 2004 ]


Praise the Lord and pass me that Telecaster
Rock and roll is here to stay, it will never die.  How do I know this?  Because Eric "Roscoe" Ambel has renewed my faith.  As much as I've loved recent rock records (from everybody from The Proclaimers to Patti Smith to The Hives), nothing has recharged my motor than the complete works (three albums' worth) of Eric Ambel, also known as a great guitar player, a former or current member of several of the coolest bands in the land (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, the Del-Lords, the Yayhoos, Steve Earle and the Dukes), and producer who has graced the work of the Bottle Rockets, Nils Lofgren, Dan Baird and many others.  Ambel's albums - two of which are reissued gems (ROSCOE'S GANG and LOUD AND LONESOME) and one of which is a new collection of rarities (KNUCKLEHEAD) are pure blasts of rock and roll power, with heavy doses of the Stones, garage rock and country twang.  Apart from great originals, the covers range from Bob Dylan to Swamp Dogg, Tom Waits to Buck Owens, plus two Neil Young tracks, both from ON THE BEACH (!).  Huge guitars, Keith Richards rhythm and the soaring howl of Roscoe's fallen-angel tenor.  Classic stuff, records which have renewed my faith.

Get them from the man himself at  40 dollars for all three; it's worth, they make great gifts.

On the box right now: Eric Ambel, ROSCOE'S GANG.  The best version of "If You Gotta Go, Go Now" I've ever heard kicks off this party.


Dove With Claws [6:54 PM]

[ Sunday, July 25, 2004 ]


My favorite waste of time

Last February, I came into possession of a Boss digital recording system, with eight tracks and nearly limitless possibilities.  Since then, it's become my favorite piece of machinery, as I've spent plenty of hours demoing my stuff and engaging in other projects, recording covers and such tomfoolery.  There've been times when I've spent full days playing around with it, and other times when I wish I could've been.

Anyway, the other day I decided to record a bunch of Stephin Merritt songs.  Now, for those of you who don't know, Merritt is the genius behind the Magnetic Fields (among other projects), and - for my money - one of the best songwriters currently working.  These days, when it's ever rarer to find pop songs of poignancy and substance that also possess killer hooks, melodies and the like, this guy writes them by the boatloads.  The fact that the pop charts are bereft of his compositions speaks only to lack of awareness; in fact, some of his best songs would be guaranteed country hits if the right artist cut versions of them.  Suffice to say, his records are great, and his songs make me want to practice harder.  (The fact that he's an openly gay man whose love songs are often directed towards same-sex subjects makes it all the better.)

By the way, for those who are aware of Merritt's work, here's what I recorded: 
    From CHARM OF THE HIGHWAY STRIP: "Lonely Highway," "Born On A Train," "Fear Of Trains" and "Sunset City" 
    From 69 LOVE SONGS: "I Don't Believe In The Sun," "All My Little Words," "I Don't Want To Get Over You," "I Think I Need A New Heart," "The Book Of Love," "The One You Really Love," "Nothing Matters When We're Dancing," "Grand Canyon," "When My Boy Walks Down The Street," "(Crazy For You But) Not That Crazy," "Papa Was A Rodeo," "Asleep and Dreaming," "I'm Sorry That I Love You" and "Acoustic Guitar"
    From I: "I Don't Love You Anymore," "I Looked All Over Town," "I Thought You Were My Boyfriend" and "It's Only Time"

On the box right now: Well, technically, my recordings of Stephin Merritt songs are on right now, but I can't stop spinning that Todd Snider record, EAST NASHVILLE SKYLINE


Dove With Claws [2:22 PM]