Tuesday, September 30, 2008

TV on the Radio, on TV!

LNWDL* hosted TVOTR** as part of HDLS*** a concept LTME**** is digging*****. The performance is pretty damn awesome and the album is stellar to say the least. Best part, Dave is just as confused with the title as the rest of us, in that regard, it works so well.

Dancin' Choose - TV on the Radio

*Late Night with David Letterman
**TV on the Radio
***Hello Deli Live Series
****Listen to My Eyes
*****A sentence with far too many *'s involved

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Battle Begins, who will be King?

This is our concern dude,

Well the votes appear to be in and there is an obvious winner...or is there? The numbers show MJ to be the clear-cut favorite, but that has always been the case. Does being the most popular and selling more make him the better artist? It comes down to the interpretation of King and Pop Music.
The debate begins.
Here is a collection of a few insights provided by LTME readers (thanks to all who visited and voted, not like this is for anything other than my own personal satisfaction, so thanks for making me feel more satisfied).
MJ. The average person can name more MJ songs than Prince songs. Pop = Popular. I think at his peak, MJ's global appeal far exceeded Prince's. -AD

there is no question... MJ - JW

Both are Queens! - WQ (my favorite response)

MJ no question. When Prince comes out on stage (which he still does) people freak out. But when MJ comes out on stage... - reader Phil T

I voted. McCain/Biden. - Schant

and the discussion that will lead to my retort...

This is a serious question, and I regret that I will not be able tofully commit myself to answering it, but to give a quick opinion onthe matter I would have to say that Michael Jackson is the real Kingof Pop. My primary reason for this is that there is a great deal ofPrince's music that does not constitute "pop." That is, if you take"pop" for its literal meaning, which is "popular," as in popularculture, or more generally, what is popular at the moment, I wouldhave to say that a lot of Prince's work does not fall into thiscategory. His work was much more experimental than Jackson's, whichin my opinion, ultimately makes the quality of his work better, or atleast more influential or inspiring, but I do not think that thispermits him to hold the title King of Pop. Michael Jackson is theKing of Pop solely for the fact that at the time of its release, andto this day, his music has always been universally popular. This is my opinion. I look forward to reading your semi-drunken ramblings about this subject.
Also, I spent more time and energy in drafting this email than I haveon all the emails I have written to my parents combined since I havebeen in Iraq. Take care.
- reader Pickle

Thanks again for taking part in this historic exercise. Stop back for my take soon.

Monday, September 22, 2008

So So Handsome, Somewhat Shaky

New Tunes from Handsome Furs:

Legal Tender and They Will Be Done

Sounds more hard driven, focused more on guitar, less storytelling in the singing and void of the filler sounds...this all of course pre-production of a studio album however...of course.

--The Shaky Hands are also back and the new album has won me over, great evolution for this band. More to come on that.

--The votes and comments have been coming in strong and the clear fan favorite is MJ, I'll explain and provide a rebuttal this week.

--GO DAWGS!!! AJ GREEN is a beast! Pumped for the blackout vs. BAMA!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Albums that let these ears see; Chp. 6

The Live Album, a look at the two that set the stage

Hampton Comes Alive - Phish

In all accurate measures, my first truly experienced live album is Hot August Night by none other than Neil Diamond, and there are countless others that I have heard bits and pieces from over the years and I owned and listened to many great ones all the same. There are two that changed the way that I listened to live albums however.

One comes from the legendary jam band with a penchant for breathtaking live shows that infused the jazz improve and funky rhythms that allows every rendition to vary as well as allows the listener to never grow tired during the set for the anticipation of what may unfold. This comes by way of Hampton Comes Alive, Phish. I’d say roughly 80% of the Phish I have listened to has come via live recordings and there as endless collections of bootlegs as well as official releases, but this was a packaged Live recording and marketed as such. It’s difficult to define the ‘best’ when it comes to live music as everyone has a different opinion and often a connection to a certain show or period of a band. This marks the band at my personal favorite.

I almost wrote that I have “moved on from Phish,” but that would negate my entire reason for entry in this study. It’s true that I indulged in a strong study of this band in college. I was intrigued by their endless energy, the ceaseless renditions of their standards, the rarities, the classic moments captured deep within a jam that only those willing to give themselves would ever discover. I become more a fan of the way this band forced me to listen to their music than I ever did a fan of the actual band.

That says a lot. To spend so much devoted energy with a band with the sole purpose of seeing just how intricately involved I could become now shows me that they are among the strongest of influences in my musical world, and I really don’t think they are all that great.

But what does stand out to me was that I could listen to a bootleg from some show in New Hampshire in ’89 and catch a early version of a song played mostly on piano, that would sound robust and guitar driven on ’93 recordings and then would receive the full brass support on the ’95 tour and then be stripped down to a crisp, tight cut by ’97.

I respect the shit out of this band and I thank them for being so overtly cliché amongst the college crowd as it forced me to tune my ears to something unexpected. Oddly enough, had it not been for Phish I likely would have never liked The Velvet underground, Bowie, MMJ, Spoon etc. the way I do now. It’s a gateway drug.


Stop Making Sense - Talking Heads

To be as steeped in the essential post-punk new wave of my generation as I was it never truly hit me just how much of a fan of Talking Heads I was until I heard this album.

I grew up on the sounds of post punk and pop radio and I never really knew that what I loved about them was contained in one band. I have always loved the talking Heads songs that play on the radio; they are irresistible, as far I as I am concerned the Heads are in the league of Elvis and Bob Marley, everyone knows it and everyone agrees that it just sounds good. But a chance encounter with the album Stop Making Sense my senior year of HS and then a reaffirmation my sophomore year of college set Talking Heads atop my list of bands I want to see live (luckily I would have the good fortune of catching David Byrne at the Georgia Theatre before graduating, it remains a highlight of my Athens nights and one of the finest lives shows I have ever been a part of).

SMS is almost too good of an album. It was recorded as part of Director Jonathan Hemme’s film on the band over a three night stand on the Speaking in Tongues tour of ’83. What unfolds is well documented and has been viewed multiple times by any serious music fan as well as numerous fans of having a good time, dancing and great tunes.

It’s the evolution of the show/album that allows it to stand apart from all other live albums. Bare and essential from the opening with only Byrne, acoustic guitar and a backing beat track the show and the sounds grows until they are bulging at the seams by the time the curtain drops.

The entire Heads back soon takes the stage and is joined piece by piece by female backing vocals, more percussion and Bernie Worrell on keys. It’s an unreal stage performance by all involved. The way in which the show develops and grows serves as a metaphor not only for the evolution of the band but for performing arts as a whole as well as modern culture and expression…this is Byrne we are dealing with so the metaphors are always heavy.

I have no idea how many times I have heard the Heads standards, nor can I count the number of spins this album has taken for me (I’ve owned three DVD’s, purchased the album twice and currently have one burnt copy in my house and one in my car, so yeah I am obsessed). I don’t listen to it like I once did, that happens with everything, but when I do myself that favor every now and then I am always reminded of what the perfect live album is and how most every other live album cowers in its presence, save maybe Kicking Television.

The perfect collection of songs, the performance of a lifetime and the encapsulating aura of one of rock-pop music’s most acclaimed and important artists; it doesn’t get much better than that.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

There's an Underdog in us All

In my adolescence it defined a rivalry unlike any other known in the south. Whence the pillows were strewed across the room and the comforter piled in a heap by the door, the field was ready for battle. The titans who took this field did so in the name of honor, pride and dignity. Two storied programs with everything to gain and everything to lose. It was a place of reckoning. A majestic 76 x 80 inches of grit and grovel, where only men entered and legends departed. There were endless disputed calls, issues of home field advantage, bloody noses and the occasional feud that rendered the game incapable of completion, leaving the legions of fans to wonder; what if?

For all intensive purposes, it’s really nothing more than a king size bed. But the battles that unfolded atop the box springs are deeply rooted in the Pue brother lore. It was that which defined us. It was Bed Football, the most sacred of all games.

There are two topics which are but whispered by outsiders when it comes to the brotherhood of the Pue’s. The first is the widely known saga of Tecmo Super Bowl, a game that swallowed days of our lives and dictated a coming of age. Years of abuse and ridicule eventually gave way to a rising of a new power as Roger Craig, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Brent Jones and Tom Rathman paved a way for a new Pue to hold the crown, ending the war once and for all. It should be noted that after 3 consecutive losses and a thumping of my cousin, the Pue males have never played the game against or in the presence of one another; it is to this day barely even spoken of. It of course being the way I devastated the fragile worlds they knew with my two favorite words “TOUCHDOWN” and “SACK.”

The other topic, far less known is Bed Football, a time honored tradition unlike any other. There were countless games, but the Annual Christmas Bed Football game was something that was marked on the calendars weeks ahead of schedule. The training and preparation were rigorous but so very necessary. Every year the lights would dim low, the doors would be locked and the reputation of the “Greatest Bed Football Player in the World” went on the line.
It was here that I learned the might of one of the singular most important notions of the game of life, sport and otherwise: The Underdog truly does have a shot at winning, and often does just that.

Insurmountable odds? Perhaps the single greatest piece of motivation ever uttered. The very backbone of this great nation rests upon this notion.

This past weekend two teams dear to my heart did all they could to defend their honor, pride and dignity. This past weekend two teams laid it all on the line, one the underdog the other the reason for the underdog.

Tecmo Super Bowl 8; University of Georgia vs. Univeristy of South Carolina in Columbia.

The dogs were shaky at best, but as Richt put it we still received the grade of “W” on this effort and for now, that’s enough.

There is just something about the Gamecocks that the Dawgs just can’t seem to handle. Every year this game grows with intensity, I’d dare say it has become one of the premiere rivalries in the SEC, and there lies the problem. UGA is proud to admit this. This pride blinds us and allows for the role of underdog to be slapped on the Cocks every year, something that serves far more to motivate than hinder.

There is the unthinkable reality that UGA must face every season, what if we lose to USC? The SEC conference play opener for the dawgs serves to be the first stumbling block every year. Win or lose, we are never the same team afterwards. This year proved once again that you can never underestimate the runt of the East, they’ll hang around to the end and do all within their might to take hold of that age old adage; Every (under)dog has his day.

The Dawgs advance and move on to a shaken Arizona St. team that fell to the bite of the underdog via the Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV. We’ll have to wait and see what unfolds, as neither team is the same. I’d like to think the Dawgs open up and finally become the cohesive unit we’ll need to be for the stretch through the SEC.

Bed Football, It’s Christmas in September.

I don’t even know what to say about my Panthers, just plain awesome. Sure they have flaws aplenty and they will have certain ups and downs as the season moves on (we’ll still lose at least one game to the Dirty Birds), but damn, what a way to start the season!

Maybe Fox knew something I didn’t when he agreed to bench our star player against two of the biggest baddest teams in the NFC, not likely, but it’s still great to take part in the swelling of expectations that surround the Panthers.

Just when all seemed gloomed and doomed we had what we missed all of last season, we had a spark, a spark from a familiar yet somewhat forgotten catalyst. When Jake get pissed he gets fired up and when he gets fired up we win big games.

You wanna knock Delhomme’s helmet off? Be my guest, we’ll catch you at the post game wrap up show with that dumbfounded look upon your face.

The Cats roll to Minn to face the 0-2 Vikings, which proves to be a major test for this team on the rise. This is the NFL, rarely do teams drop 3 games in a row. Vikings are looking for answers and they hope to find it at home. Panthers love playing and winning on the road. We’ve got the advantage of our ‘star player’ returning, but the difficulty of living up to the hype of the expectant winner.I’m not convinced that the Panthers aren’t still the underdogs, but I do know this one will be a fight to the finish. Here’s to hoping the Panthers produce those two very special phrases early and often; “TOUCHDOWN” and “SACK.”

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Birdmonster is back, here's proof

New single from Birdmonster's second album From the Mountain to the Sea


I haven't actually heard the album yet, just thought this single was worthy of a post.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Making Poor Decisions

I am what many may consider a bit of an ‘overthinker’ at times. For as long as I can recall I have always held firm to my beliefs, my thoughts, my way. I can’t say this has always been the best option, but I can say that it is a rare occasion that I jeopardize who I am to myself and to my friends. Instinct and action without recourse or doing without accountability are on opposite shoulders of my head. Fighting an urge to do what I know to be better has dictated much of my life. Again, I can’t say it’s always been for the best. Often I wonder what my life would be like if I let things rip a little more. Most of my adolescent years and into the majority of my college experience I entered into leadership roles. I can’t begin to explain how much these experiences have taught me about myself, they are among the most defining elements of my life. More so than just testing my mettle, I gained amazing insight towards working with others and learning about one another’s word, trust, morals and friendship. Needing so count on others and having them count on you speaks volumes of one’s character.

That being said I do have an angle that I take in life to cut the tension. I try to maintain a positive outlook, an aggressive action mentality and regardless of the situation, I aim to keep a sense of humor.

The obvious flaw in this is of course, my sense of humor.

It’s dry, low-high brow, curt, self reflective, complicated, heavy on references and often massively misunderstood. There are those that get my sense of humor. These are the people that truly know me the best. Essentially these are the handful of people to even bother to read this here blog.

My oft repeated offensive is to thrust my sense of humor on others or perhaps a better way to put it, force others into a situation that is construed from self inflicted awkwardness. In other words, I screw up often and have a hard time explaining it to others. Good thing that doesn’t apply to anything else.

I’m Ok with that. I’m more than OK with that. It’s what make me, for better or worse, me. I forgive and forget easily in these terms.
Where I draw a line.

I have minimal tolerance for blatant malicious acts. Lying, stealing, harming or threatening the well being of others mentally or physically. I do as much as I can to avoid this. Which is why I take it so deeply and seriously when I encounter it and even more so when it is inflicted on me.
What I have come to discuss is a matter that directly and indirectly effects my well being; mentally and physically.

The Punch and the Penalty.

The preseason sucker punch Steve Smith laid has repercussions reaching further than Ken Lucas’ jaw line. They test the structural integrity of sport and the league.
For starters, for a leader and well respected athlete and role model like Smith to punch anyone is inexcusable. To punch a teammate, unreal. We all know the stigma that revolves around professional athletes, no need to harp on any of that other than to say, for what he does and what he gets, he knows better.

Here is where things get tricky.

The NFL did not sanction Smith, the Carolina Panthers did. Sounds like the right thing to do doesn’t it. Professional athlete blatantly violates team rules, brings shame to his namesake and that of the team and the league. He must pay a price.

At the same time, he works in an industry of raw aggression that spills over to entertainment. He’s a hothead, but he’s also one of the better athletes in the league and an essential ingredient to the success of the Panthers.

So who’s really being punished by the two game suspension?

Smith? Sure he misses being on the field, misses the money he would be earning and misses out on the pure sport of competitive professional football. But is this making him a better person? Is the suspension going to make him a better athlete?

The Panthers surprised most everyone by starting the season in San Diego against the highly touted Chargers. They showed their mettle and found a way to overcome adversity to win the game. This Sunday they take the field at home against Conference foe the Chicago Bears, again without Smith. This stands to be a massive game in terms of the Conference picture and may hold major bearing come playoff time. Does it make sense to take the field without Smith? Isn’t the objective of professional sports to win and entertain? Are we, as fan not being robbed of this? Are Smith’s teammates not being further subjected to punishment for the foolish act of one player? Why Smith couldn’t be forced to speak in schools, do massive amounts of community service and give large donations to charities is a mystery to me. That would help so many.

Having Smith on the sidelines helps no one, and hurts many. No lesson is learned. No battle has been won.

Smith let his teammates, his fans, his family and the league down when he acted out.
Now the Panthers are letting their players and most importantly the fans down by not putting themselves in the best possible position to win this game.

Where does that line get drawn?What are your thoughts?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Here's Looking at you

MY MORNING JACKET - HOB, Myrtle Beach, SC; Aug. 31, 2008

Evil eyes hid ominously in the shadows as Jacket marched on stage and strummed their way into the opening of a massive set full of the zealous and wild sounds of Evil Urges. The album has garnered mixed reviews, deservedly so. It’s a frustrating album from a band thought be putting out the finest material of their career, not toss away songs. But regardless LTME’s opinion of Evil, Jacket still melts the stage live.
Jim James is a rock icon.
He embodies the true essence of a lead man. Flamboyant, confident, bold, weird, brilliant and talented as hell. The difference in a lead man like Jim James and say Bono is that the rest of jacket are just as essential to the live show as is their front man, often times more crucial than he.
My Morning Jacket is a perfect unit of sound.
They are about the tightest band in the world. They play rockin’ songs without overshadowing the sound with loudness or unneeded solos. They appreciate the importance of the layered sound and stay in time perfectly to execute their songs to a degree that always makes them sound better live than on the album.
Obstinately, My Morning Jacket is the premiere rock outfit in the US, southern or otherwise.
Theoretically, My Morning Jacket is among the most important bands in the modern era of rock n’ roll.
Technically, My Morning Jacket is the most engaging live act in the US.
Obviously, My Morning Jacket kicks ass.
This is the second go round I have had with the band, and it met and possibly surpassed expectations. I am openly obsessed with this band (that little picture on the far right of my header, that’s Jacket playing live). Seeing them at the height of the Z tour ranks among the greatest shows I have ever witnessed. This was a pretty amazing show as well; there were just some different circumstances that played a role in this one.
Rolling into Myrtle about 35 minutes before the door opens and having dinner as the groups top priority was not the best way to start the night. But I had just travelled from Athens, GA, so we needed to sit for a minute, catch our breath, grab a bite and drink a cold beer. It’s just a shame that 500 other people got settled in the venue while I ate a shitty Philly cheese steak.
Once inside, my brother and lady friend were content hanging out in the balcony, not in a vantage point of the actual band, rather catching some glimpses of the act on a fuzzy monitor that hung off the side of the wall. I go into a mild panic attack.
This is not an event to be heard, it is to be felt and lived.
I had to find a better spot.
Missing the first few tracks, I scrambled my way around the balcony and lower levels peering in and around the masses, eyes desperately scouring for a void in the sea. I found a temporary focal point, no panorama, but a sneak peek all the same. I hurriedly grab the others and bring them to rest their eyes on what I was seeing. They were not seeing things as I was. Another move was in order and my eyes chased the floor as a dehydrated dog laps at an empty bowl on a hot day.
We found a spot where we could all see, at least well enough.
Sharing turns at the front of our triangle of vantage and rotating around on the stairs and making runs to the bar, we took in as much Jacket as we were able to set our eyes on. I think I made two believers in the process. One, a fan for a while via me finally saw the might of the act he previously felt would be mellow and folksy live. The other realized, well at least took a major stride towards realizing, that I don’t go to shows with noodling hippies. She’s still not sold, but we are making progress.
The energy, the showmanship, the insane lighting!!! The set list was stellar. Heavy on Evil, as it should be in support of the album, they still touched on It Still Moves, TN Fire and the cream of the crop from Z. In the finale these eyes soaked up the one two punch of Evil’s closer then into a smashing Run Thru with a somewhat unexpected Holiday closer. This was a rock show by all accounts. I am a redeemed believer in the Jacket again.
Jacket may have had their evil eyes perched to loom over the crowd, but all eyes were on them as we heard and lived a special show.
Long live Jacket and long live the craft of a true rock show.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Dawgs roll, Jacket rocks

Well the dawgs put up some big numbers, played a lot of new names and delivered on not falling to the No. 1 hype. Athens was damn hot and the 12:30pm kickoff was not a picture perfect way to start the season, but we've got plenty of good ones coming up. The SEC had an interesting weekend all around. USC surprised many folks with a solid second half while UT surprised everyone with their second half collapse. But the talk of the weekend was BAMA and the way they handled a highly tauted Clemson squad. Looking forward to seeing the dogs on the tele with some ac and replays this weekend and then we'll get a crack at USC with the SEC opener, game will say a lot.

MMJ show on Sunday was phenominal! Back on the wagon with MMJ, they are insane live, such a awe encompassing perforamce and production.

2008-08-31 House Of Blues - Myrtle Beach, SC
1. Anytime
2. Aluminum Park
3. Off The Record
4. Evil Urges
5. Touch Me I'm Going To Scream Pt.1
6. Two Halves
7. Golden
8. Thank You Too!
9. I'm Amazed
10. Evelyn Is Not Real
11. Sec Walkin
12. War Begun
13. Phone Went West
14. Cobra
15. Librarian
16. Dondante
17. Gideon
18. Lay Low
19. Mahgeetah
20. Wordless Chorus
21. Highly Suspicious
22. Smokin From Shootin
23. Touch Me I'm Going To Scream Pt.2
24. Run Thru
25. One Big Holiday

Review to come.