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(THIS Fri Aug 13th, 2pm): First, a follow-up to the health/CFS post I made recently... The link to the CFIDS ASSOC. has been corrected, and more info about CFS has been added. Also, a great newsletter which everyone should get is THE CANARY TIMES. It is the result of the merger or an environmental health newsletter in Montana, with a Chicago's CFS (Fibro, etc.) group's newsletter. This issue, Spring/Summer, is very good. It notes a study where rats fed with genetically modified grain did indeed incur significant organ damage. Also: flame retardants on new furniture; a retrovirus associated with CFS; Fish-oil manufacturers sued for PCB contamination; info on environmental chemicals; anti-oxidants; safest foods; and a list of healthiest counties (at http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/). Get the newsletter at: http://www.cfccc.net POB 277, Wilmette, IL 60091.

(Sat Aug 14th, 1:pm): Unfortunately, my attempt to "celebrate" last night was sheer torture, cuz of severe headache, which only worsened. Continues today. Darn it. However, the pizza was very good, for once. So, anyway, a few more notes for you... Unfortunately, I have no memory right now. Richard Greene recently had a woman on ("Hollywood Clout") who spoke very well on body energy, the pineal, etc. She lives in Bali. (Seek out as a follow up to my health/CFS post): http://www.thetemplate.com And I have another note for "Matan"? at http://www.galactichardware.com. And Bill McKibbon offers great insights on morality of living green (mp3) at http://www.speakingoffaith.org and has his very influential website at http://www.350.org. Some good sites/peeps re: oil/BP: http://www.petermaas.com; Greg Hunter; Last thursday's http://www.coasttocoastam.com! I think my head hurts too much. And there is a health guy named Doctor Wong who is often very good, but also some kind of racist or something: http://www.drwongradio.com or http://www.doctorwongradio.com, and http://www.erwong.us or http://www.er.wong.us


(LAST Friday?): I got a bunch of CDs from libraries. (Number at end of each represents suggested play-order).

Broken Social Scene - "Broken Social Scene" (2005) - I'm listening to it now, and they like to be loud, don't they? And quiet. It grows on you. They start off with some nice quiet dissonance, and build on cool-paced, Indie-Punk-Grunge songs. They take indie basics, overmodulate it with Sonic Youth, and the great tradition of bongo bongo drummin NYC bands like Talking Heads and Animal Collective, with sometimes screamy voices, and connect the songs using Wilco-like radio and studio noises. They're a great band, but I think they paint over their quality with way too much noisy paint. But at least they don't include rap beats, and such. BSS is a good band, with a few good songs, and sometimes you'll be in a mood for their other noise, but so many other bands make noise too. On the other hand, they make use of the Phil Specter "Wall of Sound" philosophy, and this is good. Burn it. Still has that Western edge, which I apparently love. No pop singles. I really like it, but would prolly like it more if I had a better system. {5}

CVB (Camper Van Beethoven) - "Camper Vantiquities" (2004) - A collection of outakes and unreleased from this 80s Santa Cruz band. CVB was a Western quirky-poppy mix of Ska, Cal-Mex, melodic punk, and some Russian violin and folk. A very good album, rolls like an album. Like Morrissey's collection did. I recommend it - but it doesn't include some amazing CVB essentials like, "Take The Skinheads Bowling", or, "Everything is Fine." There are four songs I know, (#10-#13) from their main album, plus, "Photograph". "All Her Favorite Fruit", is better than the produced cut. I love ska. And let me tell you. There prolly never would have been a No Doubt or a Sublime, if it weren't for Camper Van Beethoven. (Example: #14 "Silent Monster" is totally Sublime, although Sublime had not yet existed). I absolutely love this band. I like how they throw in tributes to Alex Chilton, Thomas Pynchon, George Harrison/Star, and others. (Example: #9 "AC Cover" is a beautiful little 1986 Mexican-Ukrainian, skiffly instrumental "attributed to" Alex Chilton. Another very cute instrumental ditty is the Spanish country-cantata, "We Eat Your Children"). I think the singer, David Lowery, sold out and had a top-10 rock hit several years ago, which became a classic rock standard. But this was a wondrous and influential laboratory for later American ska, etc. Natalie McMasters could blow this band out of the water any day, but I don't want to listen to her, I want to listen to them. Burn it or buy it. Pop singles in an alternate universe. CVB ballads, instrumentals, etc., are all really good for mixes. {3}

Belle and Sebastian - La la la. "The Life Pursuit." (2006) - Everybody gotta love this Indie derivative of Velvet Underground and T-Rex - and rainy-day British Invasion bands. No one has been more influential in the Indie world. You can feel the retrograde in this CD, which has now overtaken so much of today's Indie, like She & Him, etc. Herb Albert type trumpet. But there's also some punchy stuff. But, I dunno, it feels like they've lost the creative Indie lead - and I hate it when crappy bands like the xx come in and take away the limelight. Songs are so short - you wonder if they are trying for top 40 radio play - or what - they can't sell these - but some of them are good pop songs, nonetheless. The best include "We Are The Sleepy Heads" and "Funny Little Frog", the latter which has had some air play. Sometimes sounds like the 5th Dimension doing a funky 70's TV theme, or Mamas and Papas, or such. Overproduced. It gets better as it goes along. Last song feels like Lucinda Williams. Great fun rainy-day music. Buy it. No pop singles, unless you count, "Dress Up In You," or, "Another Sunny Day," which is a fab, poppy song, forshadowing She & Him's latest album... Good for mixes, blends well with Yo La Tengo. {4}

The Breeders. "Mountain Battles". Yay! My first new dapple into the whole Belly/Muses/Pixies thing in a long while. I've heard a little of the Breeders before, mostly via WORT FM, Madison - but this is the first real listen I've had... I like it. Retains the stark feel of Muses, but more like modern Indie - similar to Broken Social Scene, quieter, more melodic, pop, simplistic vocals, sometimes mellow Tom Tom Clubby. A very watered-down version of "The Good, Bad and the Funky" (2000) ... Somehow, I think those Islamic women with their crazy undulating tongues could harmonise well her, ha ha. I'm starting to feel like this is my fav of the lot... Wait! Are they throwing in an Aussie hint? What could be better? omg! It's like hearing CVB doing the Harrison/Star song! OK - I'm in love, nuff said. However, I'd still prefer Muses "Limbo", which I used to hate, over this. Includes nice but cumbersome Spanish-language song. Song 10 is a tribute to their strange fundamentalist bible-belt influences, while the next song is totally dissonant. #12, "It's The Love", is the most interesting. (Dissonant indie-pop, but actually sounds a little like CVB "All Her Favorite Fruit" - and fits well next to B&S "Perfect Day"). Minimalist subtlety is what they are going for here, despite hints of post-punk, Roaches, etc., resulting in a VERY relaxing album. Burn it. Maybe trash it. I, personally, would buy it. No pop singles. {6}

Flaming Lips. "At War With The Mystics" (2006) - This is totally a 70s concept album, with extra bells and whistles. Reminiscent of transitional Pink Floyd, The Association, Blind Faith, Caravan, The Who, with folksy, oldies-sounding, sometimes Neil Young / Michael Stipe-ish vocals. Band is better than the vocals, and the production is very Todd Rundgren. If you like a lot of cool sounds, this will do it - but the moods are far more chopped up than any actual 70s concept album. Some harmonies and sythstramentals are very relaxing and atmospheric, but not when they bring in the steel guitar or nutsy sound effects - which are, of course, Wilcoesque. But other later influences seem to include Dandy Warhols, Prince, Charlotans UK, R.E.M., Dukes of Stratosphere, Death Cab, Weezer. The thing I don't like about most attempt at super-produced psychedelic rock is that what should be the core of the songs, i.e., the lyrics or the virtuosity, are strained, watered down, forced into artificiality by cumbersome or gaudy attempts to recreate the genre. This album varies so widely from loud, to hoppin, to quiet - it's something you'd only listen to when in a mood for it, as when high, or falling from a very tall building. No hip-hop beats. No pop singles. Burn it for you Flaming Lips collection, and keep it near your bong. {7}

Shell Silverstein. "The Incredible Bendible Man" (2009?) - Actually, I don't have this CD - I only heard about it from NPR, with several samples. A great idea: A collection of this colourful wizard's songs, including "The Unicorn," "A Boy Named Sue," "The Giving Tree", and the title track, (excellently done by Doctor Dogg), all performed by various folksy artists: Lucinda Williams, Chris Kristopherson, The Baer brothers, etc. Now, this guy was incredible. Listen, I once pondered that "The Unicorn," originally sung by the Clancy Brothers - or Irish Rovers?!?! - was one of those early 60s songs that probably helped shape the late 60s flower-power scene. There was a folk explosion then, although it doesn't sound like folk to us now - but it gave birth to Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, The Fuggs, etc. Well, in addition to Aldous Huxley, Roger Baldwin, Allen Ginsburgh, Andy Warhol, The Beatles, Dr. Spock, Dr Seuss, etc., maybe Shell Silverstein also helped create the hippie movement. I had no idea he had written "The Unicorn", or was really tight with Hugh Heffner, another 60s liberator. Well, these songs are all well done, unique and interesting, but basically country. A CD you might consider buying as a novelty, or as a gift. Well-crafted, some pop singles done by new artists. Burn it? {1}

Talking Heads. "True Stories." Re-made soundtrack from the John Goodwin movie. When I recently posted about that longhorn dufus with a cowboy hat pokin at me at the Taco Bell - he was straight out of True Stories. This, and the movie, lovingly satirises the same thing that "King of the Hill" satirises: White trash - specifically, Texas white trash. That was about 25 years ago, before Jerry Springer, George W. Bush and TeaBaggers. Today, most all white is trash. And so, it feels relevant. Although not the original soundtrack and artists, this is a very good, fun, corny, but brief, pop album dabbling in a variety of standard genres. Fittingly, it starts off with a straight-edge, hard-driving C-minor, C-major classic rock song, "Love for Sale," which is great. "I can love you like a color TV!" Next, it's a rousing, soulful gospel call song. Next, "Hey Now," is the dorkiest song, based on a Kinks-like Calipso rhythm w/ a little Zaidaco. Then, it's "Papa Legba," another slower song based on Gabriel-like African/Haitian sounds - prolly better on the original soundtrack. #5 is the classic pop hit, "Wild, Wild Life", which is repeated as an excellent extended mix at the end of the album. #6, "Radio Head," is my favourite, a simple upbeat rock song, with Afro-pop and Zaidico. #7, "Dream Operator," a beautiful, slow, Eno-inspired thingie which sounds like atmospheric Cranberries/Sixpence/Mann, etc. - maybe the best for mixes. "People Like Us", watered-down country, expresses the them, "People like us, who will answer the telephone... People like us, growin' big as a house..." The next-to-last song (#9) is the sad, inspirational conclusion, another one of my favs, "City of Dreams". Pop singles. Good for goofy or specific-theme mixes. Since the (good) quality is already digital-from-analogue, buy it rather than burn it. Unless Byrne's voice annoys you. (I'd prolly rearrange the order, and add the original soundtrack, when I burn it). {2}

Moby. "Hotel." This is a forgettable, but not-terrible album. It has synth-pop, New Order, Byrnes/Eno influences. This lyrics are negligible, if not plain crap. Moby's vocals are drab, uninteresting, too treble, kind of like Gary Newman, "Cars". Laura Dawn's vocals are better. When the vocals are good, the music is poor, and vice versa. A good song is the disco-ish dance "Very" - but it's not good enough for clubs, kind of silly - you can get better vocals from Donna Summer, and better rhythms and synth from "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts". But it, like a few others, (with Dido), seem prescient in introducing the whole Jem sound, which is now everywhere. I can see Moby fans loving this album when it was released. But not now. ("Play" was FAR better - a definite buy). I think Moby successfully drowned in sanatised hotel rooms, and put out a weak product. Not to say that the production and instrumentals aren't excellent - they are - except recorded too treble/tinnie. If you want to expand on the influences I mentioned, you might be interested in this. But better stuff can be found in Enya, Celtic Trance, New Order, "Music for Airports", New Age and todays dance club hits. Trash it - I only recommend the last song, #14, New Age, "Homeward Angel" - (and the moody, Enya-ish, Airports-ish hidden track, #15, which reminds me of a Longwave song). No real hip-hop beats. No pop singles. {9}

Phil Specter. "A Christmas Gift for You" (1963). I picked this up in July, so I had Christmas in July. It contains Christmas standards sung by rockin black girl groups of the era, including the Ronnettes, including possibly the best Christmas recording ever, "Sleighride." I burnt it and had plenty of room to include many other songs on my CD mix. Unfortunately, the person it was intended for still hasn't received it. But, I have until Christmas. Phil Specter, now behind bars, was famous for his "wall of sound" productions, which included Motown groups and Harrison's "All Things Must Pass." If you want this Christmas album, I suggest buying it, since the recording quality of 1963 was pretty bad. (10}

Motion City Soundtrack. "My Dinosaur Life" (2009). (See below, I guess!)... {8}

(Sun Aug 15th noonish): Speaking of old electric beating out Moby, the gorillaz' "That's Electric" ("Rhinestone Eyes") sounds great, and so does the new Swedish band, "Driven", two steps beyond the Cardigans, who put forth an even-keeled chaos. A band featured on "World Cafe" - "A...... Fire" - sounds good. A few similar hiphop songs are out, not too bad, 50 Cent; "Airplane/Wish Right Now", and others. Nothing too fantastic on recent dance. I was scanning the FM dial last week and I heard a Top-40 countdown show, but it said a song by THE MONKEYS, ("That Was Then, This Is Now"), was number 17 or whatever. Now, that is very confusing. I don't know what that was.

As far as oldies go, though, SATURDAY NIGHT rocks. Besides the syndicated 70s and 80's shows on FM, there is the best oldies show ever on WORT FM 89.9, starting around 6:pm, with Rockin' John McDonald, who is a Madison institution! He plays obscure 50s and 60s rock, be-bop, surf music, etc. A similar show is on at the same time on WBCQ shortwave 7415, called Radio Chemtron, or Kentron, or something, and oldies continue mostly all night. WBCQ also has a good show for ham/radio peeps, a "UFO" show, the economist Bob Chapman, and rare oldies from the 20s and 30s, but it also has a lot of far-right polit/religious shows. (On SW, there are many good shows to be discovered, hidden in the far-right stations). Both WORT and WBCQ can be streamed. Yesterday, I heard at least 6 Beatles songs for some reason - "Oh, Yoko"; "Band on the Run"; "Do You Want to Know a Secret?"; "Maybe I'm Amazed"; "Sergeant Pepper/ A Little Help"; "Love Is All You Need". WORT also has awesome reggae and Caribbean/Salsa on Saturday mornings/afternoons; an excellent electronica show on Monday eves/nights; and many other rock and folk, etc., shows.

A book which many of you will love is: "The Importance of Music to Girls" by L. Goodlaw or Greenlaw - From an interview on WPR's http://www.ttbook.org. Wisconsin Public Radio has other good music (and talk) shows, like, "Simply Folk" and "Higher Ground". Nothing beats NPR's or PRI's "American Roots"; "World Cafe"; "Sound Opinions"; "Afro-pop Worldwide"; "Thistle and Shamrock", and so on.

And I am reposting the following:

I got 3 CDs at library: Wild Life (Talking Heads); Hotel (Moby); and My Dinosaur Life (Motion City Soundtrack). Wild Life is fun - it's a soundtrack of a satirical movie. It's so tongue-in-cheek it just comes out sounding CORNY. There are songs on there that remind me of other songs I can't put my finger on. I hate that. And Motion City Soundtrack is pretty good... Sunny-Day_real-Estate; Flaming Lips; Blink-132/Good-Charlotte: mellowed-down Killers; Death-Cab/Phoenix, and #7 shows Liz Phair influence. You'd think they were just a boy band but they've got an edge - good melodies, good phrasing - wouldn't be surprise if one of these songs hit(s) Top 40. From Wikipedia: "Motion City Soundtrack released a fourth album entitled My Dinosaur Life in January 2010, which debuted at number 15 on the Billboard 100" Opened for Weezer. http://www.myspace.com/motioncitysoundtrack

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