{palmermix } spacer
powered by blogger


Tonight is going to be a slow time for posting, as I just got into a car accident at 2:35 AM today. I'm fine, a bit shaken up, my Toyota's entire left door is screwed up, and who knew that if you've parked your car and you open up your door and someone hits you, it's your fault? Good times. I'll try to post a new addition to the 50 States tonight, but right now my major priority seems to be to drink a lot of Harp lager.

posted by Anon. 6:07 PM
"I'm human and I need to be loved... just like everybody else does."

The Smiths, "How Soon is Now?"

posted by Anon. 10:15 AM
His royal highness

Prince is one of a handful of my favorite artists whom I have never had the pleasure of seeing live. This review in yesterday's NY Times of Prince's show at Avery Fisher Hall makes me even more eager to remedy that situation. 32 songs!

posted by Anon. 10:09 AM


50 States of Rock and Roll

50 states, 50 songs, 50 artists: can Palmermix do it? While some websites talk on and on about patriotism, Palmermix delivers!

Well, after doing a few states that had few major songs saluting the virtues of the state and its cities (really, some down-on-his-luck troubadour should take some time and write a great song celebrating Utah), let's go to one that has its fair share of musical tributes. I'm speaking of the Gilded Palace of Sin itself, Nevada. Where the state motto could be, if it's not legal here, it probably is pretty damn bad. Nevada. Where Michael Corleone had to teach Moe Green a lesson. Where Robert Goulet still packs 'em in.

Where to begin? Well, in terms of the state itself: off the top of my head, there's...

"Nevada, California," The Jayhawks
"Ooh Las Vegas," Gram Parsons, later covered by Cowboy Junkies
"Leaving Las Vegas," Sheryl Crow
"Reno, Nevada," Richard and Mimi Farina

And apparently both 70s art-punk legend band Pere Ubu, led by the died-too-young Peter Laughner, and 70s folk singer who died-too-young Kate Wolf, also had Nevada songs. There is indeed a song by the Magnetic Fields called "Reno Dakota" -- but it's named after, I think, an indie filmmaker.

But let's be frank: the choice is obvious. "Viva Las Vegas" is probably one of the best ten songs Elvis ever recorded. It's certainly -- with the possible exception of "You're So Square" -- the
best song from any of Elvis' movies. This Pomus/Shuman number is a can't lose. ZZ Top recorded it. Shawn Colvin recorded it, for a Pomus tribute album. And, perhaps best of all, Bruce Springsteen did a recording of it for a benefit album that New Musical Express produced in the late 80s (the rest of the two disc set was lousy).

But we gotta pay our respects to the original. And that means pay our respects to the King.

The States So Far...

Alaska: "Anchorage," Michelle Shocked
Indiana: "Going Back to Indiana," The Jackson Five
Massachusetts: "Dirty Water," The Standalls
Nevada: "Viva Las Vegas," Elvis Presley
North Dakota: "North Dakota," Lyle Lovett
Utah: "The Promised Land," Bruce Springsteen

posted by Anon. 11:07 PM
The wonder of you

In my email box today, I received this goodie from Jason Lemons:

Contrary to popular opinion, Stevie has released some good stuff in the last 20 years. I can't listen to "Ribbon in the Sky" without tearing up... I think it's my all time favorite of his (that or Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing). He also did a fantastic version of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song"
on the Get on the Bus soundtrack. But you're right... for the most part, his later work has been disappointing. In Stevie's defense, I wonder if he's a victim of his absolute genius in the 70s. After songs like "Superstition", any songwriter would struggle to come up with something that doesn't completely pale in comparison.

Kind of like the Pittsburgh Steelers... Kordell Stewart and Jerome Bettis, despite their success last year, have a long way to go before people forget about Terry Bradshaw and Mean Joe Greene.

Jason makes good points, and I always like it when Pittsburgh athletic legends are weaved into music discussion. (See the FAQ on the About Palmermix page for proof.) "Ribbon in the Sky," though, is on Original Musiquarium, which places it firmly in the pre-"Just Called to Say I Love You" era, of 1982 and earlier. I'd love to hear that version of Stevie Wonder doing "Redemption Song"; I feel like that's a song that is pretty hard to screw up, and I think Wonder would probably do a lovely job.

I think that the Pittsburgh sports reference though that might be most appropriate for Stevie would be Ralph Kiner. Amazing consistency for the first chunk of his career, and then it just fell off. I also think that Stevie is not along among funk and soul artists who have had much difficulty in trying to appropriate and inherit hip-hop influences in their later work. Whenever Prince has a rap in one of his songs, it just sounds bush league, like he's trying too hard; the same with Michael Jackson.

Perhaps Stevie is the same -- not really knowing how to correctly appropriate the new styles into their music, but also having the (correct) impulse to evolve and not just do the same record again and again. It's a dilemma. The other problem with Stevie's later work I think is that sometimes in this day and age his lyrics are too sentimental. Yes, this is the man who recorded "You Are the Sunshine of My Life," but that song was on the same album as the anger of "Big Brother" and "Superstition." Maybe his public persona as an abundantly good natured, if terminally unpunctual, mensch is so well known, that now when he tries to get angry in his music, it has little credibility? Kind of like how when you see a video where Michael Jackson is trying to look like a gangster, you can't help but laugh.

posted by Anon. 9:02 PM
It's been a bad week...

For L.A. police chief Bernard Parks. First a city commission, with the city council's endorsement, votes to not renew his contract, and now he and the LAPD are being sued by the family of the late Chris Wallace... alias the Notorious B.I.G.

posted by Anon. 5:49 PM
Sense of Wonder

Been playing around a little bit, trying to set up an Amazon Associates account, so that if you buy CDs that we talk about here from Amazon, a little 5% of your purchase can go to help improve this site. And buy me ice cream. Mmm, ice cream.

You ever go on kicks where suddenly you're just listening to a ton of albums by one artist, ones you haven't turned to in a while? I'm doing that right now with Stevie Wonder. I mean, that song he did for the Woman in Red -- fantastic! No, in all seriousness, I've been listening to a few of his albums from his amazing run of success in the 70s -- a run where he kept piling on Grammys, such that in the year that Paul Simon won for Still Crazy After All These Years in 1975, a year Stevie finally didn't release a new record, Simon's first thank you was, "I'd like to thank Steve Wonder for not releasing a record this year."

When you look and listen to those records, it's pretty overwhelming just how good and how consistent he was. My favorite from the period, and the one that I think is the best to start with, is Talking Book, which features "You are the Sunshine of My Life," the searing "Big Brother," and the gorgeous "I Believe When I Fall In Love," which was used wonderfully at the close of High Fidelity.

If you love that, then you might be ready for the ambitions of Songs in the Key of Life, his double-disc set from 1976. This features some of Wonder's best known songs -- the exhillirating "Sir Duke," the charming "Isn't She Lovely," and "Love's In Need of Love Today," which Wonder so movingly performed in the America: A Tribute for Heroes telethon. There's also the harder funk of "I Wish," which even Will Smith wasn't able to completely mutilate, and, my favorite on the record, the sing-a-long joy of "Ebony Eyes." There's some filler here -- there's always filler on double albums, whether you're talking about Exile on Main Street, the White Album, London Calling, whatever -- especially on a few numbers where Stevie seems to be a little too enmeshed in cosmic mumbo jumbo. But overall, another great one.

Less ambitious, but equally rich, is Fulfillingness First Finale, which features one of the sexier hits Wonder ever had, "Boogie On reggae Woman," as well as "You Haven't Done Nothing" -- this one from 1974 is definitely one of his funkier efforts. The other record from this period that everyone loves is Innervisions, but I don't know that one as well. I do know though the alternative route for picking up Stevie, his Original Musiquarium 1, a collection of his greatest 70s hits. (You won't find "Signed Sealed and Delivered" or "Uptight" there, though -- those you'll have to get either on his box set or on the single disc Motown Greatest Hits Volume 1 and 2. Good purchases, especially because "I Was Made to Love Her" is just one of the greats, in my opinion.)

Wonder's work in the 70s is among the most consistently rewarding runs any musician has had. The question, of course, is, what happened? How did he get from there to "Part-Time Lover" and "I Just Called to Say I Love You"?

Not that there haven't still been bright spots -- "These Three Words" on the Jungle Fever soundtrack was lovely. But Wonder was as significant, challenging, and interesting an album-oriented artist of the 70s as Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and Van Morrison. Those three artists have had their low-points, too, but have still released impressive albums in the last decade. It's a shame that, to the best of my knowledge, Stevie has not.

posted by Anon. 4:37 PM
Indiana, continued

Bill Altreuter reminded me of another John Hiatt Indiana song -- "Real Fine Love," also from Stolen Moments, which begins:

I never went to college, babe; I did not have the luck
Stole out of Indiana in the back of a pickup truck
With no education higher than the streets of my hometown
I went looking for a fire just to burn it all down

Yes, Hiatt grew up in Indianapolis, though he now makes his home in the Nashville area. Any Mellencamp fans out there know if I'm missing some Indiana song of his? Ah, it's just as well: I might be forced to use his "Key West Intermezzo" for Florida... anything to avoid Buffet. Jimmy that is, not Warren.

posted by Anon. 9:21 AM
Feedback appreciated, wanted, demanded

This week marks the start of our third month of Palmermix. I'm happy with the progress so far, I'm thrilled with the email responses regular readers have sent me, and I'm fairly content with the size of traffic on the site. We seem to average somewhere between 60 and 80 unique visitors a day, less on weekends, and more, much more, when Instapundit or similar culprit links to us.

But now I'd like your feedback.

1) Linkbox. We're designing one, and I hope to have one that includes a series of music links -- to regular resources on the web, links to regular columnists and publications, and so on -- as well as some non-music links, to friends' blogs or other sites that I like. If you have suggestions for music-related sites that you frequent -- or publications where you feel the music coverage is particularly strong -- email me at palmermix@earthlink.net.

2) Amazon Associates/Paypal/Tip Jar. I'd love to eventually be able to boost this site up to Blogger Pro, and to have its own domain name. http://www.palmermix.com is certainly easier to remember and type. I also don't want to sink much money into this -- I sink enough in time. I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on the Amazon Associates or Paypal services; my basic attitude for now is to hold off on asking for hand-outs until two things happen:

- I establish a rhythm and consistency in posting so you get your money's worth.
- We boost our everyday visitor totals from 60-80 to 600-800.

One thing I would like to do is, since I'm linking to Amazon on a regular basis anyway so that you can buy the CDs I talk about, set up an Associates page or something at Amazon where all the CDs I tout can be easily looked through there. It'd also be a nice way for yours truly to make a few extra nickels to pay for this site. Ideas? Thoughts?

3) What else? I've been very impressed with the quality of the emails I've received -- by the taste of the writers, by the ideas that they offer, even when (or especially when) they're taking issue with something I've posted. I'd thus love to hear your ideas as to something music-related that I can add to this site. (Besides free music samples. I don't have the skills -- or the licensing agreements -- for that.) Is there a particular genre I'm ignoring that you want more mention of? (I know, for example, that hip-hop is horribly underrepresented here, and that comes from my just not having much authority or knowledge to write about it.) The box at the top of this page has an email address for feedback and ideas. Use it!

From the beginning, this site has been about giving me a simple little outlet to share my love and enthusiasm and frustration about an art form that has absolutely nothing to do with my day job, where my activity is completely avocational. I've loved music since the days my mom put Sam Cooke and the Everly Brothers on in our carpool, and something I've been hoping to convey here is not just the cynicism and critical slamming that most criticism suffers from (and that no doubt, my posts here often convey), but also to share the joy and discovery and love that we sometimes stumble upon when we put on the headphones, close the CD drawer, and press play.

I'm excited to see what we come up with in the next two months. I hope you stick along for the ride -- and please, if you like what you see here, share the site with friends. I know that at least in my life, music fans tend to stick together,

Thanks very much for reading,


posted by Anon. 12:32 AM


50 States of Rock and Roll

Indiana, you say? Well, surely then, he's gonna go with Mellencamp. Right?

Not so fast. There's a few Indiana songs to choose from. Yes, John Mellencamp, formerly Johnny Cougar, former John Cougar, formerly John Cougar Mellencamp, has written a few songs about his home state (and hometown of Bloomington). There's "Small Town," after all. Or "Cherry Bomb." But are these necessarily Indiana songs? I don't think so. Not really.

John Hiatt has a lovely song called "Seven Little Indians," from Stolen Moments. It's actually a song that makes much mention of Alaska, too -- forgot about that! -- but it has this lyric:

Blazing like the sheets of light dancing up in the sky
Up above Anchorage
Blazing like a star shot down to the ground
Back home again in Indiana

Good song. So that's a possibility.

The Colorado jam band the Samples have song called "Indiana" from their Outpost major-label debut. (Also their major label swansong if I remember correctly.) It's okay. But not good enough for Palmermix. No, sir.

But wait: what's that in the distance? Could it be? The sound of -- Motown children singing?

Yes, the Jackson 5's "Goin' Back to Indiana." If you're ever at a party and no one is dancing, the solution is simple. Jackson 5. I don't care if it's a wake or a memorial service. If you put "ABC," "I Want You Back," or this one, talking about going back to Gary, get ready to see people dance or at least shimmy a little left-to-right. And if you've ever driven through Gary, then you know this must be some woman they're singing about to go back to Gary for her.

The 50 States So Far....

Alaska: "Anchorage," Michelle Shocked
Indiana: "Going Back to Indiana," The Jackson Five
Massachusetts: "Dirty Water," The Standalls
North Dakota: "North Dakota," Lyle Lovett
Utah: "The Promised Land," Bruce Springsteen

posted by Anon. 11:42 PM
Political jukebox

Of the Democratic flock, Dick Gephardt is probably the potential '04 candidate I am most leaning to support. Like all the other Democratic would-bes, he's bad on the death penalty (meaning, he's for it), but he's great on labor, gay rights, and other issues I care about. Sure, he takes money from the Trial Lawyers. But does anyone out there think that the Trial Lawyers are anywhere near as bad a lobby as, oh, I don't know, the insurance industry or the pharmaceutical industry? Of course not.

Anyway, very sad news today courtesy of Lloyd Grove's Washington Post column: Gephardt is a Manilow fan. Say it ain't so, Dick!

And Gephardt comes from St. Louis, a city with a rich R&B heritage! This is just another addition to the long line of revelations that white Democratic office-holders have lousy taste in music. Bill Clinton named his daughter after a Joni Mitchell song, true -- but after loving Judy Collins' version of it! Which Democrat office-holder will be brave enough to come out as having good taste? My money is on Pat Leahy -- yes, he's a Deadhead, which is bad news, but surely over the years he has gone back to get into the great Dylan and R&B classics that the Dead savaged in concert for years...

Actually, there are far too many Dead fans in politics. Gore, Leahy, former Ohio cute Republican John Kasich... will the Hill of 2028 be chock full of Phish fans? I shudder at the prospect.

(I know for a fact that Russ Feingold's wife is a big Springsteen fan, but I don't know if her taste has translated over to her husband's. Then again, Feingold is anti-death penalty -- so perhaps it has!)

posted by Anon. 11:42 AM
Divine Providence

I'm as shocked as anyone that I'm linking to an article in my alma mater's alumni magazine. But this is a very, very good piece. If you're a music fan from New England, chances are you know about Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel -- a great standing-room only club in downtown Providence, which usually catches acts on their way from Boston to New York. I'm always pleased when I see a show here in Los Angeles and a band-member is wearing a Lupo's T-shirt. During my Providence days, downtown was a ghosttown, and the only reasons you walked down into it were to see shows at Lupo's, The Living Room, or Club Babyhead. Now Providence has gentrified, thanks to a new downtown mall and the summer waterfire festival, where little guys go up and down the Narragansett river in gondalas and light these big fires in the middle of the river. It's cooler than it sounds.

But because of the gentrification, greedy landlords, with the backing of the Providence Journal, are pushing Lupo's out. Lupo's -- whose floor is designed to look like a giant scrabble board -- is a great club and deserves a place and a role in Providence's downtown. And Rich Lupo, as you'll read in this piece, is nothing short of what my mother would call a real character.

posted by Anon. 10:52 AM
Moments in weirdness

I didn't get to see it, I'm only reading about it, but apparently last night on Letterman, John Ashcroft refused to sing, but did pound out some of "Can't Buy Me Love" on the piano. There's a joke to be made here about "Mean Mr. Mustard," but I'll leave that up to you.

posted by Anon. 10:19 AM
Jam and jazz

There's a great piece by Will Hermes in the Village Voice about jam-band/jazz crossover. John Scofield had been a fine jazz guitarist in the Pat Metheny vein for years. Then jam-band favorites Medeski Martin and Wood championed him, and he had what passes for a hit in jam band circles with A Go Go. Now there seems to be a bunch of genre-mixing going on, between jazz, jam music, and hip-hop. Hermes writes:

"Genre-bound critics on all sides have hated on these efforts. But flawed as they may be at points, young heads are having their worldviews expanded by them. This is how innovation happens, and it isn't always easy."

I find most of the jam music too soulless for my taste -- expertise at instruments doesn't equal fantastic music, or else we would be mentioning Rush in the same breath as the Stones and the Beatles -- but Hermes can write: just the image of his wishing for Sun Ra to return with a Titanium G4 is worth the price of admission.

posted by Anon. 10:10 AM
Van ride

A new Greil Marcus Real Life Top Ten is up on Salon. Thank you, Salon, for not placing Greil in the ivory tower of your Salon Premium fee-based section.

In this week's column, Marcus talks about the Neil Young album (he doesn't like it), a must-have for fans of O Brother, and, the best part, his driving along in Berkeley and hearing three Van Morrison songs in a row on the radio. Marcus wondered "whether or not Morrison had, in fact, just died -- why else does anyone get three songs played in a row these days?" Van didn't die, there just might actually still be free-form radio (or something close to it) in Berkeley. First Barbara Lee, and now this!

posted by Anon. 10:00 AM
Catching up...

... on the last few days of the New York Times. Joan Baez now finds herself singing again in a time of war -- but during a war which now, most Americans (seem to) support (for now). Neil Young's new album gets a cautiously positive review from Jon Pareles.

And, best of all, this piece on cult 70s rocker Gary Wilson -- a Husker Du favorite, and recipient from a Beck shout-out in "Where It's At" -- who had disappeared without a trace for years. Until a couple fans managed to track him down, where he was living in San Diego and playing in a lounge band. I love stories like this; last year's great one was the great 60s soul singer Howard Tate, who had been missing for thirty years and then turned up as a preacher in suburban New Jersey.

posted by Anon. 9:34 AM


Daily record

Purple Rain may be Prince's best known album -- but its notoriety might cripple its ability to stay fresh when you listen to it. So much of that album sounds dated -- very much a product of the Eighties, especially its most prominent single, "When Doves Cry," with its unsubtle synthesizers. Dirty Mind ages better, not assimilar from how Michael Jackson's Off the Wall has aged much better than his larger hits Thriller and Bad.

But the album of Prince's that I think stands out as his masterwork is his 1987 two-disc set,
Sign O' The Times. There are some songs that sound dated in their use of drum machines and voice gimmicks: "Housequake" and "Hot Thing." The title track sounds dated not in its music so much as its subject matter -- Prince's political statement comes across as blunt and lacking nuance. (His later "Money Don't Matter Tonight" was better, I think.) And "If I Was Your Girlfriend," 15 years later, no longer sounds as provocative or controversial as it once did, given how far we've come (or how low we've gone) in subject matter these days. (Some of Prince's other songs still have the power to shock, like the one where he has sex with the girl in her wedding dress and, um, makes a mess of the dress, and she has to go to her wedding, to some other guy, and... ah, Prince.)

But the rest of this album? You have the irresistable melodies of "Play In the Sunshine," and the cool mellow rhythms of "The Ballad of Dorothy Parker." You have the long, P-Funk like jam of "It's Gonna Be a Beautiful Night." You have the terrific guitars -- let's remember that Prince is a great guitarist, the best African-American guitarist since the age of Hendrix and Mayfield, and I will whisper that in Vernon Reid's ear -- of "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man," which may be one of Prince's three or four best singles ever.

Best of all, though, may be "Starfish and Coffee." It's a great example of Prince at his best: a heaping dose of hallucinatory imagery -- "Butterscotch clouds, tangerine, a side order of ham" -- combining it with some choice innuendo -- "sometimes I wondered if the meat was in her lunchbox" -- and tying it all together with a tick-tock rhythm, a sing-a-long chorus, and driving piano. 15 years later, this Sign still sounds timely.

posted by Anon. 11:48 PM
50 States of Rock and Roll
North Dakota

Can Palmermix come up with a song for each state of the Union? Join us and see!

Now, in this little project of 50 States of Rock and Roll, I should say that I'm using the term rock and roll rather loosely. Country, blues, folk, gospel, rap -- we're letting all that in. Why? Because I need to cut myself some slack if I'm ever going to be able to complete this thing. For example: North Dakota. Have you thought about North Dakota lately? If you're sitting there, on a coast, and you start thinking about "things in North Dakota," I got news for you: you're probably actually thinking about South Dakota. The Badlands. Mt. Rushmore. The Black Hills. All in South Dakota. North Dakota has Fargo. And, uh, Bismarck. Not a lot else.

I'm sure come tomorrow I'm going to think of eightteen songs that reference Fargo. But as for now, I can only think of one song about this fine Plains state. And that's "North Dakota," by Lyle Lovett, from probably his most consistent album of original material, Joshua Judges Ruth.

I have almost every album he's done, but I think every one of them, I bought used. (That's pretty telling, given that normally if you really like someone, you'll get their CD brand-new as soon as it arrives in the store.) And none of them have more than four songs I really like. The album of his that I like the most is Step Inside This House, his album of covers, and I don't think that's a coincidence. His own material can be quite spotty -- he has a tendency to write goofy numbers, that leave you as soon as you leave them.

Sometimes they can be okay -- "If I Had a Boat" is nice, so is "Fiona." But too often it sounds like country music written for people who don't like country very much. His most effective and affecting numbers to me are the sad ones: "If I Were the Man You Wanted." "She's Already Made Up Her Mind." And "North Dakota," with its sad chorus: "If you love me say you love me, if you love me say you do," and Rickie Lee Jones singing back-up. A pretty song. Nothing too pizazzy. Nothing exhilirating about it. But then again, that's probably appropriate. There's not a lot exhilirating about North Dakota, either.

50 States So Far:

Alaska: "Anchorage," Michelle Shocked
Massachussetts: "Dirty Water," The Standalls
North Dakota: "North Dakota," Lyle Lovett
Utah: "The Promised Land," Bruce Springsteen

posted by Anon. 11:13 PM
Chris vs. Curtis

Brian Padian of Los Angeles writes:

why the harshness against chris reeve? what about 'somewhere in time', 'the bostonians', 'deathtrap' 'remains of the day'? give the kid a break, he's having a tough go of things...also, I think it's fallacious to make a comparison to the two men on the sheer basis of paralysis. If a tree falls in the woods....

Well, Brian Padian of Los Angeles, first of all, Somewhere in Time was awful. Second of all, Remains of the Day certainly wasn't Chris Reeve's success. But yes, you're right, perhaps I was a bit harsh towards Christopher Reeve. The guy has had to endure an unbearable tragedy. But I do think we can compare our culture and media's reaction to Mayfield and Reeve's paralyses -- not for what it says about Mayfield and Reeve as people, but what it says about our culture. Did Mayfield receive standing ovations at the Academy Awards, countless profiles in magazines, tributes, book deals, etc? No. And Mayfield is, I'd suggest, one of the two dozen or so most significant and influential musicians in American popular music in the last 30 years. So yes, I do think it's fair to note the discrepency in coverage.

posted by Anon. 6:34 PM
Fiddling around with a few different templates, attempting a new look. Your patience is appreciated.

posted by Anon. 3:19 PM
Keep on pushing

While trying to work today, I've been taking much-needed joy in a familiar source: Curtis Mayfield. Specifically, the 3 disc Rhino box set from 1996. While the funk from his solo years is great, I'm listening right now to the first disc, which features about 13 songs from Curtis' years with one of my favorite Northern soul groups of the 60s, the Impressions. Songs like "This Is My Country," "People Get Ready," "Choice of Colors," and, my favorite, "We're a Winner" brought politics to soul years before Stevie sang about Livin' for the City and Marvin asked What's Going On.

Everytime I see Christopher Reeve on television or in an interview, I wonder again and again how come Curtis Mayfield -- who before his paralyzing accident contributed much more to his art form than Reeve, at best a B-level actor with one starmaking role, ever contributed to his -- never received the same attention or public sympathy for his situation while he was still alive. I wonder, and I keep coming up with the same answer.

posted by Anon. 3:00 PM
I walked with a Zombie

Confusing AP story that CNN.com is carrying, reporting that Chris Cornell, who had signed on last May to replace Zack de la Rocha in leftist alternametal band Rage Against the Machine last year, has now left the band. The piece makes it unclear whether Rob Zombie is replacing Cornell in Rage, or whether he is going to replace Rage as a slot within this year's Ozzfest tour. I'd say I'd post updates if I hear anything, but I don't like metal.

posted by Anon. 11:23 AM
Mac users get screwed, Film at eleven

A few days ago, I linked to the news that Celine Dion's copy-protected CD was causing people's computers to crash when people attempted to merely play the CD on their computer's CD-ROM drive. Well, now BMG has announced that they've developed a new technology for copy-protection where:

- The discs will be playable on virtually all CD players and in the CD-ROm drives of most Windows-based computers.

- Users will be able to upload the tracks onto any portable player that supports the technology. (Which means, I assume, that the portable player manufacturers will have to pay to play, paying BMG for the license to the technology so their users can use BMG copy-protected CDs.)

- But here's the real kicker: "Use on Macintosh computers will be much more limited, with CDs playing intermittently on Apple's OS X operating system, and not at all on older formats."

First of all, "intermittently?" So sometimes your OS X will be able to play the albums, and sometimes it won't? Second of all: in the words of George H.W. Bush, this will not stand! With BMG basing its copy-protection scheme on the Windows Media file format -- I guess Bill Gates had to get his grubby little fingers involved in the file-sharing/copy-protection business at some point, right?

As a dedicated -- if forlorn -- Mac user, I hold out hope that another company will protect their CDs in a way that favors Mac users. Actually, as a Mac user, I just hold out hope that this CD protection business will fail miserably. We shall overcome.

posted by Anon. 11:04 AM


Demand and supply

Okay, now this is a good link. The Smoking Gun has the backstage demand lists of 134 different acts. From J-Lo to Lucinda Williams to Janet Jackson to the Stones to ... Styx. Get ready to waste a half hour of your life.

UPDATE: Dave Marsh wrote this column a year ago condemning the Smoking Gun and pointing out that these backstage food spreads are for all of the crew, and not just the artists. That's something good to remember, I agree, when considering some of these lists -- but some demands I still think are over-the-top.

posted by Anon. 7:36 PM
Concerted effort

My crackerjack site publisher, C.W. Lockers, has been hard at work designing the new Palmermix linkbox. We hope to premiere it within this month, once we've ironed out all the gremlins.

In the meantime, in addition to linking to news, I'll continue to link to regular sites on the web that are worth your visits. For example, the Pollstar site is a great resource: find out concert info -- by artist and venue and date. Want to know where in the world Jose Feliciano is playing tonight? Well, that's just strange. But, anyway, check it out.

posted by Anon. 7:28 PM
I like to read, too

This is not music-related, but with apologies to Lesley Gore, it's my blog and I will post what I want to. The Pulitzers have been announced. I'm going to refrain from dissing the awarding of the Pulitzer for Biography to David McCullough's John Adams, and instead focus on the positive: I voice great satisfaction in the Pulitzer for fiction being awarded to Richard Russo's Empire Falls. If you want an enjoyable, warm, smart novel, check out Russo's Straight Man. We now return to our music content.

posted by Anon. 6:57 PM
Massachusetts, we love thee

The submissions keep coming in for Massachusetts songs! Rob Rogers, of Minneapolis, offers these:

"I got nothing for you on Utah (and I'm not going to try to top The Promised Land anyway), but for Massachusetts I humbly submit the following:
Tanya Donelly - Moon Over Boston (side note: just caught her show this weekend, awesome!)
Juliana Hatfield - Feelin' Massachusetts
Dropkick Murphys - For Boston (I believe is a cover of the BC or BU fight song)."

Thanks, Rob. I plan on surveying those Donnelly-Hatfield-Kristin Hersh songbooks for when I have to come up with Connecticut and Rhode Island songs. But hey, there's time for that. We still have 47 states to go.

posted by Anon. 6:53 PM
50 States of Rock and Roll

So first we went to Massachusetts. Then Utah. Now, to show you that there's absolutely no chronological, nor geographical, logic to our progress, let's go to Alaska. The 49th State.

Home to fishing canneries. Birthplace of America's best-selling poet, Jewel Kilcher. And also home of the greatest hope for our oil cartel-controlled presidential administration's attempt to dissuade development of alternative sources for fuel.

But not home to inspiration for too many troubadours. It may be one big-ass state -- of all our nation's states, it's ass is the biggest, actually -- but all that ice hasn't translated into all that many rocking tunes.

But I know of at least one good one.

I've never been a big fan of Michelle Shocked; her voice is pretty, but the songwriting has never been there for me. That said, the three songs of hers I've liked have all dealt with geography. "Come a Long Way," her song about driving 500 miles and never leaving Los Angeles, is a good one. "Memories of East Texas" is pretty. And then, there's her Alaska song.

"Anchorage," her relating of a letter she received from an old friend -- "I mailed my letter off to Dallas, but her reply came from Anchorage, Alaska" -- is one of the best songs I've heard about friends losing touch. The letter remembers the old, wild days -- "the all night rock and rolling, hey, Chelle, we were wild then" -- as the author now realizes that she's somehow fallen into domesticity: "I sound like a housewife -- Hey, Chelle, I think I'm a housewife." And the chorus perhaps says it all:

Hey, Chelle, you know, it's kinda funny
Texas always seemed so big
But you know you're in the largest state in the union
When you're anchored down in Anchorage, Alaska

The album this came from, Short Sharp Shocked, is evidentally out of print, but you can find "Anchorage" on the Import anthology of her Mercury work, Mercury Poise.

The 50 States of Rock and Roll so far...
Alaska: "Anchorage," Michelle Shocked
Massachusetts: "Dirty Water," The Standalls
Utah: "The Promised Land," Bruce Springsteen

posted by Anon. 6:48 PM
Alarming developments

Chatting with my mother on Instant Messenger this morning. An excerpt from the transcript follows:

Mom: do you think positive music, like ABBA, makes one cheery
Me: sure
Me: though abba sucks
Mom: i am amazed at how sophisicated the lyrics are, even tho they sould bubble gum... i love, Knowing Me Knowing you...somehwere in the crowd
Me: that's nice
Mom: Souper Trouper, too
Me: i have to throw myself out a window now

posted by Anon. 10:03 AM


Stuff that holds up

Just got home after seeing The Rookie with my father. It's probably the best male weepie since October Sky, so if you liked that and you like baseball, you'll probably like this. It's a bit slow in patches and it doesn't exactly restrain itself from sentiment, but Quaid does an excellent job playing a ballplayer, and it's pretty well-written. And it has a swell soundtrack. There's a new Steve Earle song, "Some Dreams," which is decent, and there are also fine older numbers by Willie Nelson, John Hiatt, and others.

But I was most pleased to hear Guy Clark's "Stuff That Works" played during a lovely scene where the Quaid character chooses an unusual means of measuring the speed of his pitches. Coming off of the Texas singer-songwriter's excellent Dublin Blues, the song features some wonderful lyrics:

I got a woman who's crazy, paints like God
She's got a playground sense of justice, she won't take odds
I got a tattoo of her name right through my soul
I think everything she touches turns to gold

posted by Anon. 8:32 PM