Thursday, December 22, 2005


All I want for X-mas... some bandwidth Another month, another premature end to the file-sharin' love here at PWI (and here I was thinking that my good friends at took care of these problems LAST month). I'm hoping the site redesign that I'm working on over the holidays will mean a January without a case of the crashies. Merry Christmas, everyone. May 2005 be a happy, healthy and creative one for you and all whom you love. I'll be back in touch in about a week.

Monday, December 19, 2005


Gimmie Gimmie DBTs

Do I really have to wait until April to hear the new Drive- By Truckers' record A Blessing and a Curse? Ever since reading the Q&A with New West Records honcho (and former Replacements label-meister) Peter Jesperson in Pulse of the Twin Cities this week (thanks, once again, to LHB for the hookup) I've been jonesin' for new Southern Rock 21st century style. If you have too, I have some methadone for you! It's not new, but rather a tracking of the acoustic set the DBTs did for Sirius satellite radio earlier this year. Some gems in here: 1) Putting People on the Moon 2) Carl Perkins' Cadillac 3) Goddamn Lonely Love 4) The Day John Henry Died 5) Tornadoes It's available through the fabulous New West Podcast which also features a great set from the late, great Slobberbone. Pregnant Pause If you haven't seen this amazing video yet you just don't like cupcakes...or google maps...or the funny. (Thanks for the updated link MF)

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Reports of my death...

OK, so usually I should do this sort of fact checking BEFORE I record the show, but a couple of disclaimers before you listen to Podcast Number 11, available for download right now. 1) It was not Guitar Wolf's lead guitarist but rather the bass player Hideaki (Billy) Sekiguchi who died of a heart attack this April; 2) Not only did I pick the wrong guy to be dead, I also indicated that the death killed the band...wrong! Guitar Wolf are still alive, well, and making eardrums bleed all over the Pacific Rim. Check out their tour schedule (presumably with a new bass player) here. As always, people who take pity on my bandwidth and subscribe to the podcast by plugging: into their iTunes or iPodder are even MORE handsome/smart/friendly.

Friday, December 16, 2005


Seriously, I not Chewbacca. Dude.

Quick Pregnant Pause From yesterday's Mirror: It may be true “if Bigfoot give stuff away like Santa I be everybody hero.” It does not, however, entirely follow that “Santa is fat, pandering bastard.” Also this cringe-worthy forward from Mike proves that, no matter what the language, high-talkin' is funny.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Top X Part II

Bright Eyes: I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning Funny to see how critics shoved Conor Oberst from "the next Bob Dylan" status to "not on my top ten list, dude" this year. It's not his fault that the songs are only very good rather than downright classic, is it? Yes, some of the prose can be a little purple but when a young song writer has the good sense (and balls) to invite Emmylou Harris to do background vocals you have to give him some credit. And when he backs the invitation up with the singing, arranging and song writing chops to make her seem this perfectly placed you can't help but wonder if critics may have been better off wasting ink comparing Oberst to Gram Parsons. I'm Wide Awake it's morning is 45 minutes of solid, evocative song writing which suggests that Bright Eyes' best is yet to come. Kings of Leon: Aha Shake Heartbreak Prettyboys? Yes. Pretty frickin' great record? Also yes. Magnolia Electric Company: What Comes After the Blues Neil Young is a GOD and if he were alive today this is absolutely the kind of record he would make: fabulous country-inspired rock and roll full of swingblade country rock guitar peals and falsetto heartbreak. Wait, Neil Young is still alive? OK, nevermind. eels: Blinking Lights and Other Revelations The brain is a Pandora's box. There's too much in it, creativity, grief, confusion, knowledge; all spilling, sloshing and fighting for position. Blinking Lights and Other Revelations is the sound of an artist opening up the box and giving all the contents a good shake. Given that approach, not everything that falls out is going to be perfect (some of the instrumental tracks seem unnecessary) or tidy (a Tom Waits sample doesn't save Going Fetal) but the overall effect of being hit by 32 tracks of effusive, unbridled - and somewhat disorganized - creative power is hard to deny. It's also hard to deny that Blinking Lights is another one of those sad records I've seemed to surround myself with this year. Unlike the songs on The Mountain Goats' The Sunset Tree, eels tunes like Things the Children Should Know, Son of A Bitch and The Other Shoe bring a palpable, vivid type of world-weariness that may not be for the faint of heart (or the happy). This is the sound of real, fresh wounds celebrated and gently dressed with lush instrumentation and soaring vocals. Who knew bandages could sound so catchy? Fiona Apple: Extraordinary Machine Confession: I would never have heard this record if it weren't for all of the record company brouhaha surrounding its delay/release. Confession #2: The record company who wanted it remixed were probably dead right. This record is a mainstream career killer of the highest order, full of near-burlesque strings and horns, swirling piano roils, falsetto vocal trills and darkly comic musings on the price of fame and artistic credibility. Confession #3: I don't think killing a mainstream career is as horrible a thing as the people at the record company seem to.

Whoops, we did it again...

Condi Rice as a possessed devil dog, Broken Social Scene as an example of the power of Montreal's music scene and contaminated beef panties (uh, that's patties)...there's definitely some questionable journalistic gold in Regret the Error's 2005 Crunk Awards. (Thanks, Mike)

Shine on, you crazy Diamond

Having a blog doesn't only mean you can write your own laws, it sometimes means you can post stuff that you find funny that other people might not. This may be one of those times. My buddy's last name is Salley (that's not the real spelling, nor do you need to know his first name). Among his nicknames is the inevitable "Mustang." On one fair evening this spring, The Mustang lived up to his name in several minutes of "too drunk to stand but too sober not to dance solo in front of all the people at the wedding reception" glory. What's a guy to do when they're playin' his song? I humbly present you the video evidence. Rest of the top ten later today.

Monday, December 12, 2005


PWI Radio X

I didn't realize until last night when I was putting the finishing touches on PWI Radio Episode X how much sad music I was listening to this year. My top ten records of the year (which, conveniently, occur right here in Episode 10) include only three or four real rockers and ass shakers. The rest (perhaps in reflection of the kind of year I've had, perhaps simply in reflection of the musical year that was) are more contemplative and slow moving if not downright sad. The records were (just in case you're keeping score at home...and in no particular order this year) Banditas: s/t This does not count as one of 2005's sad records. No, as I said back in May, Liz McDermott R-O-C-K-S. This record is a quickly delivered reminder that passionate indie music that packs an emotional wallop is often better off focusing on factory floor guitars and gruffly barked lyric gripes than wry urban storytelling, dance-able grooves or lush instrumentation. Banditas is like an emotional argument with a confidante; loud, close to the bone and over in a flash. Spoon: Gimmie Fiction Because sometimes wry urban storytelling and danceable grooves are a good thing. In fact, sometimes they're a very VERY good thing. To, in a roundabout way, quote the band, Gimme Fiction is the audio equivalent of St. Vitus' Dance. The Mountain Goats: The Sunset Tree If you've spent even a little bit of time in PWI land, you know by now that I have a borderline-irrational love for the art of John Darnielle. Many writers have focused on the emotional intensity of The Sunset Tree, often by falsely labeling it as an exercise in songwriting "catharthis" (a description Darnielle has repudiated in numerous interviews). Using the language of personal healing to describe this album doesn't only ignore Darnielle's distance from the events that he recounts in songs like Dance Music, This Year and Pale Green Things, but it also pays short shrift to the universal emotional currency and indeed, the beauty, of the songs themselves. No, it's not comfortable to empathise with Darnielle when he recounts drowning out a violent argument between his parents by "Lean(ing) in close to (his) little record player on the floor" but empathise we do if only because, as music lovers, we've all experienced the ability of a song to take us almost physically away from where we're stuck to a place where perspectives change. By sharing his long-sterile terrors in the Sunset Tree, Darnielle has, once again, created art that transforms and transports. Black Mountain: s/t Black Mountain could be the next Zeppelin. Except they'd be a "Canadian 21st Century Indie-rock collective" Zeppelin instead of the old-school "20th-century raping groupies with fish" Zeppelin. Yes, that is a good thing. Iron & Wine: Woman King EP While watching Iron & Wine Thursday night at the Spectrum I came up with a new case of Rock and Roll Math for Sam Beam. Check this out. Sam Beam = The Mountain Goats. The Mountain Goats = <------ The soothing, "everything's gonna be alright" nature of this guy. <--------------- Plus songwriting brilliance <-----Plus beard Nope, not enough beard. More beard! <------- Now thaaaats what I'm talkin' about Some find the records sleepy, though I can understand where that impression comes from, I've felt every Iron and Wine recording to date in the deepest part of my bones. The Woman King EP is no different. Six altogether too brief trips into true musical terroir. I can't wait for the next full length. I'll write about the other five tomorrow. Remember, as always, you can subscribe to the podcast by plunking this address: into your iTunes or iPodder.

Friday, December 09, 2005


Jeff Tweedy on File Sharing

From today's AP Wire Interviewer: So the record industry's approach is driven by fear?

Tweedy: Do you remember home taping as killing music? It's the same thing. The sky is falling. Ultimately, I think it's an excuse for incompetence.

(via LHB)

On a completely unrelated issue, does anyone have an extra ticket to the Stars show at La Tulipe? I waited too long and now they're sold out...

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Still wheezin'...

...but I wanted to point you in the direction of this cool documentary about copyright and sampling. (Via LHB) I will be leaving bed to check out the - extremely cool! - Calexico and Iron and Wine show tonight at The Spectrum. Keep an eye on this space for a review and photos in the next few days. Until then, check out NPRs outstanding live recording of the same lineup's show at the 9:30 Club in D.C.

Monday, December 05, 2005


Kaff Kaff Kaff....

Yup, it's that time of year again, the change of the seasons means that sick week is upon me PWI HQ is waist deep in tissues and Tylenol! Good times. That didn't stop the production of another Podcast Without Intercourse for your listenin' pleasure. Episode 9 is up and ready to tickle your earholes. It features an overview of some of the best records I heard this year that didn't make the Top Ten. Hope you enjoy! As always, please Right click, "Save As" or, even better, subscribe by slamming: into your copy of iTunes or iPodder. Pregnant Pause Some fun stuff here including a review of some of the web's best recommendation engines and some tips on how to make a Hipster Top Ten Records of the year list. (both via LHB FWIW, the PWI top ten list only adheres to about half of Bob's criteria) From Mike, here's a good example of why the democratizing power of the internet isn't always a good thing. One star reviews of Time magazine's 100 greatest books of all time, including this summary of The Grapes of Wrath: "“While the story did have a great moral to go along with it, it was about dirt! Dirt and migrating. Dirt and migrating and more dirt." Riiiight! Five very scary, and very funny words: Cory Haim Video Diary Review.

Friday, December 02, 2005



The Onion has an inside scoop on the next step in the RIAA's war against downloading.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Wolf Parade Video

Four heads are better than one and Commodore Amigas are still tha shit, yo!

Oh, and I forgot this

What is it about Finns and air guitar? Every year the city of Oulun holds the World Air Guitar Championship and now a bunch of Finnish geeks have come up with a fully interactive Air Guitar Program... (Link from Stereogum) Also, the Wall Street Journal is asking some interesting questions about the upcoming Napsterization of network television.

Aaaaaaand we're back...

Sorry about that little bandwidth hiccup there folks, nothing the good folks at Racknine shouldn't have settled by now (and here's to hopin' I won't have to cancel that brand new upgraded subscription any time soon...yah-hear me server dudes!?!) Had the pleasure last night of checking out Ottawa's fun and friendly post pop'ers The Acorn at The Green Room last night. Keiko from People for Audio guested on keys and the results (though they claimed to have no rehearsal time) were very coherent for the most part. No pics (sorry!) but suffice it to say that the Acorn's recorded output (which is in a word "gentle") fails to impress upon the listener the emotional power and pure rock-outedness these four guys can bring forward when they get into a rhythmic groove. Not to say that the recorded output isn't good, on the contrary The Blankets EP (the Acorn's latest release on Ottawa's Kelp Records) is nothing short of wonderful. Rolf Klausener's mellifluous, almost whispered vocals and the band's densely organic instrumental underbrush (including Jeff Malecki's stand out drum patterns) subtly camouflage some intensely personal expressions of bitterness and frustration: "Wrestle with your confidence and hold it down with all my strength," Klausener murmurs on Sent (Awake the Kraken) "I never thought these promises would make it so hard to breathe." The silence breaks for a minute or so during the title track, but the lyrical content stays bleak: "The fruits of all your labour are slowly going rotten" Klausener sighs just as the guitars begin to crash and peal all around him. Blankets is a big, soft, puffy pop snowball with a sharp-edged emotional rock buried inside. It might be one of my top ten records of the year. Podcast Episode #8 The latest podcast is up. As always, you can get ahold of 'er by subscribin'. To do that, you go into yee olde iTunes or iPodder and plunking this address: into the subscribe to podcast field. For those of you who just want a test drive, you can hear the latest episode here. (Right click, save as! Please!) Pregnant Pause Jane Siberry is COOL! Her online store is now offering "pay what you wish" pricing on the MP3s in her online store. Check out Jane's explanation of things. Go buy a copy of Hockey, Mimi on the Beach or Calling All Angels just to encourage Jane for her forward-thinking approach. Way to cut out the middle man, Ms. Siberry! (Thanks for the tip, Cammy) Steve Page of BNL is also in on the act. (Thanks for the head's up Russell)

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