Tuesday, January 31, 2006

TV/POLITICS: All Hail The Daily Show

The Daily Show is not only the funniest show on television, it is now arguably the most important. This video clip, courtesy of Crooks And Liars, is another of the endless examples why. Scroll down to the heading, TDS: Oprah vs News.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

POLITICS: Filibuster, Damn It!

John Digby has a great post on his blog on why Democrats in the Senate should filibuster the Alito nomination here, (scroll down to the heading Conviction Politics).

Money quote from the post (actually a paraphrase of a Bob Beckel quote):
"Now you know that in this enviroment if a Democratic president nominated a pro-choice, pro-affirmative action, pro-government secrecy judge to the high court that many Republicans would want to filibuster. Sometimes politicans do things out of conviction and many Democrats are supporting a filibuster because they really believe that he should not be on the Supreme Court."

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

POLITICS: Doing Missouri Proud

Daddy Blunt, you're a naughty boy...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

MUSIC: What's On In The Car, Vol. 1

I've decided to introduce a new feature that I'll drop on here from time to time called, What's On In The Car. It's pretty simple. Whenever the fancy hits me, I'll send along a few words about whatever six cds are currently sitting in the six cd changer in my car. Maybe you'll be inspired to check some of these tunes out, maybe not...

So here's the first installment of What's On In The Car (label the record is on in parentheses):

1. Steve Wynn & The Miracle 3---...tick...tick...tick (Down There)
Another total ass-kicker from my man Steve and his wonderful band The Miracle 3. More of what he does, but this time there's a spooky sort of night time desert feel to the proceedings, as they cut this record in Tucson. Great basic two guitars, bass & drums rock, with Steve's typically dark cinematic lyrics on top. He and fellow guitarist Jason Victor are probably the best Television influenced guitar team around these days. www.stevewynn.net

2. The Sir Douglas Quintet---The Collection (Castle Communications)
Picked up a used copy at work of this nice little greatest hits collection cause I didn't have their cover of the 13th Floor Elevators "You're Gonna Miss Me" on anything. Doug & the boys do a more, uh, canabis flavored version compared to whatever the Elevators were on, but it's still pretty rockin' nonetheless. Don't know any other way to say it, so I'll just say it: I can't stand that Doug Sahm is not alive and still making music. http://www.dougsahm.com/

3. Doug Gillard---Salamander (Pink Frost/Big Takeover)
Great solo effort from the former lead guitarist of Guided By Voices, Gem, Cobra Verde & Death Of Samantha. The songs vear to the dark side of the Beatles' White Album street and share the spotlight with Gillard's formidable guitar. Not the greatest of singers, but that's ok. Gillard's voice is still listenable enough to carry the show here, a nice little pop album. www.douggillard.com

4. David Axelrod---The Edge: David Axelrod At Capitol Records 1966-1970 (Capitol Jazz)
If you dig adventurous ‘60's orchestrations, then this compilation of the famed producer’s work for Capitol Records is for you. Known for producing Lou Rawls, Cannonball Adderley, and The Electric Prunes, Axelrod solo records have long been a favorite source of samples for hip-hop & electronica DJs. Some of that work for Rawls and Adderley is represented here, but the bulk of this compilation comes from three of Axelrod’s most innovative and far out solo records, Songs Of Innocence, Songs Of Experience, and Earth Rot. Fans of legendary bassist Carol Kaye should also check this out, as it features some the greatest playing of her extraordinary career. The David Axelrod Information Society

5. The Move---Message From The Country (Reissue) (Capitol)
Ah yes, the mother lode. The 1971 classic, their finest moment, beautifully remastered and repackaged. It’s incredibly hard to convey what this particular music has meant to my existence. I played this record and its companion record Split Ends, just about every day when I was in high school, and on through the years the importance of this music only increases as it continues to influence my musical life. This is Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne---two of the world’s greatest songwriters at the height of their powers as a team, let loose in a studio to do whatever they wanted, resulting in some of the greatest rock music ever recorded. This cd also includes the five monumental singles the band made after the album’s release, all completely essential, plus two album outtakes and a Peel session version of "Do Ya". Already the reissue of the year. www.themoveonline.com

6. Robert Pollard—From A Compound Eye (Merge)
Pollard’s first post-Guided By Voices "big" release is a deeply rich psychedelic masterpiece. As the cd booklet clearly points out, this is an old-fashioned ‘70’s double album with four distinct sides of music. The classic Pollard trademarks are all here: the brilliant melodies, riffs, singing, lyrics, and song craft; but longtime listeners will quickly be able to distinguish that this is definitely not a GBV record. Though not the sound of a rock band playing (Pollard and collaborator Todd Tobias played 99.9% of the instruments), it’s nonetheless one of the "largest" rock records Pollard has ever made. The whole thing plays like 70 minutes of random late night programming from some FM rock station somewhere in 1972---that special period in rock history when established late ‘60's rock sensibilities were merging with the burgeoning new musical sensibilities of the new decade, and any style of music that the term "rock music" could be applied to was all getting played on what was definitely still "free form" radio. Believe it or not, the one thing a majority of these songs remind me of is Peter Gabriel era Genesis, especially in Pollard’s singing---a good thing in my book, but something that may horrify the indie-rock kids, so keep that a secret. Heck, songs from this album like "I’m A Strong Lion" and "Kingdom Without" could have easily fallen off of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. But hey, it’s Pollard, so there is still a lot of rocking out, though this time the Who-flavored power pop is more The Who Sell Out than Who’s Next. I’ve already listened to this record in its entirety about a dozen times, and I continue to hear a hundred or so different things in it with each new spin. What more can you ask for from a rock record? All that’s left to say is the fucker’s done it again. The Pollard legend marches on . . .

POLITICS: Same Pig, Same Trough

The great E.J. Dionne on Karl Rove's 2006 campaign strategy.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

POLITICS: Go Molly!!!

HERE IT IS FOLKS! LEARN IT, LIVE IT, AND TAKE IT TO THE STREETS! From the pen of Her Majesty Molly Ivins.

ST. LOUIS: Utz In The Funny Papers

A nice piece in today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch on my Vintage Vinyl homey Jim Utz's unique appreciation of the Rolling Stones. In St. Louis, Jim is king of rock, there is none higher. And he certainly helps make my work environment a much better and fun place to toil in.

POLITICS: You Go Girl!

At last---someone from the left with the stones to finally out closeted RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman on national television. Perhaps it only fitting the always great Rachel Maddow was the one to do it.

POLITICS: I'll Be You Mirror

Tattoo this on your forehead, courtesy of Daily Kos.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

MUSIC: Wilson Pickett, RIP

He was the greatest. And yes, he definitely knew how to pony...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

POLITICS: Rudie Can't Fail

Another ass-kicking money quote from my main man The Rude Pundit:

Democrats need to think of themselves as an organized resistance, an insurgency against a dictatorial government, an uprising with popular support among the citizens of the United States. A resistance doesn't succeed unless it actually, you know, resists. And if not on Alito, then what? Dianne Feinstein-leaning Democrats need to take a page from the anti-abortion movement: if you believe it's about life and death, then act like you wanna save lives.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

TV: Golden Globes

1. No one cheered louder than I did when Mary-Louise Parker won last night. Great to see her and Weeds get the recognition they so deserve. Too bad co-star Elizabeth Perkins didn't win in her category, as she was most deserving. But hey, it'll be more than fine with me if the Weeds writers take Parker up on her acceptance speech "proposition", and take their characters into, uh, "new territories" next season. It was also nice to see her pay tribute to the late John Spencer in her acceptance speech. Pretty classy...

2. I haven't seen Brokeback Mountain yet, so I really don't know if Heath Ledger was more deserving of the win, but Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance in Capote was downright staggering.

3. I've got it bad for Felicity Huffman, no matter how awful her dress was last night. William H. Macy, you're a very lucky man indeed.

4. Clooney's Abramoff joke was a good one, but are there really any bad Abramoff jokes at this point?

POLITICS: In case you missed it....

...and because it was just so damn good and needed, here's Al Gore's speech on NSA spying, sans his charismatic delivery, but still pretty powerful nonetheless.

Friday, January 13, 2006

POLITICS: "the Babe Ruth of evasion..."

E.J. Dionne neatly wraps up all the ScAlito bullshit, here.

Monday, January 09, 2006

POLITICS: Ok, I'm Finally Convinced

After watching Bush's bizarre and totally out to lunch presentation of Sam Alito very early this morning, I now believe W. is indeed back on the sauce. I was a bit skeptical of all the rumors & examples offered as evidence over the past few months, but not anymore. He seriously looked drunk this morning...

Saturday, January 07, 2006

POLITICS: The Good McCarthy

A great piece here on Eugene McCarthy from the great Tom Oliphant of The Boston Globe.

Money quote:
In today's Iraq war climate, McCarthy's life teaches the lesson of taking a stand. Of all today's politicians, Senator Hillary Clinton is the one who should think about the limits of quiet positioning as opposed to speaking up when the country is clamoring for clarity.


The next time someone is telling you how much they "support the troops" in Iraq, shove this down their throat.

Friday, January 06, 2006

ST. LOUIS: Shock! Horror! Super Smokers Closes!

Great St. Louis bbq chain Super Smokers went out of business last night! Very, very sad news indeed---they did good work. I will be making a mad dash to the nearest supermarket to load up on remaining bottles of their excellent sauces. I suspect some folks will probably be selling them on eBay in the near future....

Monday, January 02, 2006

MUSIC: Kiss Looked For...FOUND!

In the early '70's, famed rock photographer Bob Gruen bought one of the first portable video cameras. He then spent three years hanging with and capturing on tape his good buddies the New York Dolls being The New York Fucking Dolls! Thirty years later these tapes have finally surfaced as the dvd All Dolled Up, arguably the most important documentary of previously unseen historic rock footage to emerge since MC5: A True Testimonial.

I must say it's quite astonishing thirty years after the fact to see fly-on-the-wall video documention of early Dolls' exploits I voraciously read about as a teenager in the pages of CREEM and Phonograph Record Magazine. And boy does All Dolled Up take you there! Gruen and his camera went everywhere with the Dolls, both onstage and off, and one thing that quickly becomes apparent in All Dolled Up is that the New York Dolls were never really offstage.

What makes All Dolled Up so historically important is that you are right there as the band is having it's specific big bang. Here are the Dolls in all their pre-drug deterioration, pre-mainstream rejection glory. They are very young & very hungry. They want the world and they want it now, and they actually think they're going to get it. And from the great live footage full of their legendary chutzpah, who's to say they were wrong to think so? What a rare privilege it is then to see their legend unfold right before your eyes---the great songs and performances, the great pre-crisis personalities of the guys in the band, the circus they brought with them everywhere they went and the freaks that were attracted to it.

I can't recommend this dvd enough---there's so many amazing things in it. Like a trip to Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco complete with David Johansen and teen groupies preening on it's dancefloor, or behind the scenes at the tv show appearance that resulted in the cover of their second album, a very funny video introduction of the band/pep talk for the sales staff at Mercury Records given by Johansen that of course is now full of ironic hindsight, and clip after clip of the Dolls shopping for clothes and getting dressed and doing their hair and make-up before shows---perhaps the most revealing side of their story of all.

But the thing I liked best about All Dolled Up is the much-needed balance it provides to the legend of Johnny Thunders. Generations of people who only know him as one of rock's most legendary wasteoids can finally see that for a brief glimmering moment he really was the shit. Sure he's fucked up, they're all fucked up, but he's lean, mean, young and in control. At this specific period of time Thunders is one of the baddest rock n' roll motherfuckers ever. Johansen certainly was the intellectual core of the band, both onstage and off, but Thunders was it's heart and soul. It's clear from the live footage that when they were onstage they all knew who was boss calling the shots---it was his band. There are plenty of videos & dvds out there of Johnny during his zombie years, so it's nice to see him at a time when he was still together and totally kicking ass. He seemed like a real fun guy to be around then too.

The "extras" included on the dvd are also nice. Handsome Dick Manitoba interviews Gruen, and there's a gallery track of his photos with comments. And Johansen and Syl Sylvain, the only living members of the band, also provide commentary tracks that are both cynically humorous and sweetly touching. So big thanks all around to Bob Gruen for sharing his little home movies with the rest of the world...