Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I Need That Record!

Last night, after I put my son to bed, I watched a good documentary titled 'I Need That Record!' (The Death or Possible Survival of the Independent Record Store). It's a documentary that explains why thousands of indie record stores are closing nationwide. It discusses greedy record labels, digital music, big box stores, average artists that are pushed by big money, and how corporate radio pretty much decides what the public is exposed to.

This film hit home to me because growing up, I was one of those kids that just loved the indie stores (still do) and spent a lot of time hanging out there and searching for the next great band that I haven't heard yet. I knew at a young age that corporate radio would only expose me to a certain amount of music, and that in order to find anything new, I would have to discover it on my my own. It's something that has stuck with me. I still never play the radio and honestly couldn't tell you what Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga sounds like, even if they were playing right in front of me. Honestly.

That feeling of opening the package of new record or CD and popping in the player while you flip through the artwork and read the lyrics is something that is lost in the digital download world. Which is why I usually still by the actual physical disc. Only now, with the lack of indie stores around, my purchases are bought on where I can get it used at a very good price, or directly through the record label on-line. It's tough to beat. Don't get me wrong either, I love having the option of having an album on my computer at the click of a button too. It just isn't the same though as buying it at an indie store with like minded people working that you can talk about it with while some strange band that you've never heard plays on the radio in the background.

The independent record store is pretty much extinct now with all the Wal-Marts, Best Buy's, Borders, and Targets popping up on every corner these days. It's a shame, and I'm gonna miss them. If you're lucky enough to have one in your town, support it.

With appearances from Ian Mackaye, Thurston Moore, Mike Watt, Glenn Branca, and Noam Chomsky.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky

I just completed my purchase for a ticket to see a band called Swans in San Francisco on March 1st. I've been tossing the idea around on whether or not to go because it's 4 hours away on a Tuesday night, but an opportunity to see this band play live hasn't come since they broke up in 1997.

They recently reformed, and released an album in 2010 titled, 'My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky'. I purchased it about a week ago and it has not left my player. It's incredible. Gira and the gang are returning strong as ever. My first encounter with Swans was back in 1999 when I picked up the monumental 'Great Annihilator'. I never heard such a fucked up record in my life, and I absolutely loved it. The new album picks up right where they left off with the mind blowing 9 min opening track 'No Words/No Thoughts'. Honestly, to me there's not a bad track on this disc, but my favorite is 'Eden Prison'. Check these guys out.

Monday, January 24, 2011

People Just Don't Do That Anymore

I came across this CD after doing a little research on my family's friend Bob Martin. My mother recently sent me his live CD 'Live at the Bull Run' which is absolutely incredible. My collection of Bob's records only date back to 1997's 'Next to Nothing'. I wasn't aware of this beautiful collection of songs released back in 1972. Probably because it has been out of print since the mid-70's. It has recently, however, been re-released on CD. The music and lyrics are, in my opinion, right up there with the big boys. (Dylan, Cohen).

The best part about listening to Bob's music is that he's from Lowell and a friend of the family. Do yourself a favor, pick up this CD or check it out on YouTube. You'll love it. Thank me later....

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lake Tahoe Zen Meditation Group

When I moved from Carson to Tahoe in June, I was still making the trek back down the mountain on Thursday nights to host the weekly Zen sitting group that I had been hosting since I moved there in 2008.

With the winter weather and my current work schedule, it wasn't working out to continue hosting the group in Carson City.

I have however, started a new group in Lake Tahoe. We are currently looking for space to practice at but I have a feeling something will come up soon. If you or anyone you know can help finding a spot, please contact me.

You can also help show support for our group by joining on or liking us on Facebook. Thanks for your support!

Lake Tahoe Zen on Facebook ------- Lake Tahoe Zen on Meetup

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Times Of Grace/Grace

The most played album this week is Neurosis' 6th studio album, 'Times of Grace'. Still riding off the energy of the show on Saturday night, I've been playing a steady rotation of Neurosis albums in my line up. I would have to say that 'Times of Grace' has hit the hardest this week. Produced by Steve Albini (Pixies,Nirvana,Cheap Trick, PJ Harvey, Shellac) 'Times of Grace' is a masterpiece. Neurosis went on to form a side project called 'Tribes of Neurot' which is mostly instrumental, tribal sounding music. 'Tribes' recorded an album titled 'Grace' which is meant to played simultaneously with 'Times of Grace'. I had my first listen of the 2 records side by side last night and it is surely mind blowing. This is the first time (that I know of: the 'Wizard of Oz' and 'Dark Side of the Moon' doesn't quite make the cut) that a band has released an album, to be played alongside another album. It proves the pure genius of this group. Here are the 2 albums playing simultaneously:

1. "Suspended in Light" – 1:59
2. "The Doorway" – 7:35
3. "Under the Surface" – 8:37
4. "The Last You'll Know" – 9:14
5. "Belief" – 5:56
6. "Exist" – 1:41
7. "End of the Harvest" – 7:29
8. "Descent" – 2:57
9. "Away" – 9:35
10. "Times of Grace" – 7:22
11. "The Road to Sovereignty" – 3:39

End of the Harvest-

like the walls of your stare, you will fall (within you)
succumb to the new and give way
old fields will fail (memory)
yielding crops of rock and dust

a book lies open, its pages crumble at your touch
words breed lies (writhe)
wind feeds fire unseen

have you ever tasted the soil (destiny)
and felt your own death in your veins
shield your eyes from the moon (found them all)
as it mocks your wretched self

with fire in your heart the truth lies clear
words breed lies (writhe)
wind feeds fire unseen

bend your thoughts, unveil your soul
now drink, revive, reach, scrape and bind

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Man Within

Here's a new film being released about the famous Beat writer William S. Burroughs. It looks really interesting. There are quite a few movies about the Beats and writers alike coming out these days. Kerouac's 'On The Road' is in the making, Ginsberg's HOWL was great, H.S. Thompson's 'The Rum Diary' is in the works, Bukowski's 'Factotum' and now this film on Burroughs. I like how this genre of writing is starting to surface again and expose itself to the next generation.

"William S. Burroughs: A Man Within is a feature-length independent documentary by Chicago Director Yony Leyser, in collaboration with BulletProof Film, Inc.

The film features never before seen footage of William S. Burroughs, as well as exclusive interviews with his closest friends and colleagues including John Waters, Genesis P-Orridge, Laurie Anderson, Peter Weller, David Cronenberg, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Gus Van Sant, Sonic Youth, Anne Waldman, Hal Willner, James Grauerholz, Amiri Baraka, Jello Biafra, V. Vale, Diane DiPrima, with narration by actor Peter Weller and soundtrack by Patti Smith and Sonic Youth.

The film investigates the life of legendary beat author and American icon, William S. Burroughs. Born the heir of the Burroughs’ adding machine estate, he struggled throughout his life with addiction, control systems and self. He was forced to deal with the tragedy of killing his wife and the repercussions of neglecting his son. His novel, Naked Lunch, was one of the last books to be banned by the U.S. government. Allen Ginsberg and Norman Mailer testified on behalf of the book. The courts eventually overturned their decision in 1966, ruling that the book had important socialvalue. It remains one of the most recognized literary works of the 20th century.

William Burroughs was one of the first to cross the dangerous boundaries of queer and drug culture in the 1950s, and write about his experiences. Eventually he was hailed the godfather of the beat generation and influenced artists for generations to come. However, his friends were left wondering, did William ever find happiness? This extremely personal documentary breaks the surface of the troubled and brilliant world of one of the greatest authors of all time."

01/07/2011 Detroit, MI Burton
01/07/2011 Montpelier, VT Savoy
01/08/2011 Metuchen, NJ Forum Theatre
01/08/2011 Metuchen, NJ Raconteur
01/14/2011 Duluth, MN Zinema
01/14/2011 Nashville, TN Belcourt Theatre
01/14/2011 Tucson, AZ Loft
01/21/2011 Chicago, IL Music Box
01/21/2011 Santa Fe, NM CCA
02/02/2011 Boulder, CO International Film Series
02/04/2011 Boston, MA Brattle
02/19/2011 Missoula, MT Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
03/04/2011 Cleveland, OH Cleveland Museum of Art

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Last night at the Great American Music Hall in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, I was fortunate to be a part of the audience watching the legendary post-punk/sludge metal band Neurosis perform. I've been trying to see these guys play live for years now, but they hardly ever tour. Even this tour is only about 6 shows and 2 of them are overseas. So needless to say, it's a rare opportunity to see theses guys.

The show was amazing, probably one of the best I've been to. When I walked in, I couldn't believe how small the venue was. I knew they were going to blow the doors off the place, which they did. The opening bands, YOB and US Christmas were both really good. The bands played a sort of stoner/sludge type of metal which catered to the crowd. Neurosis opened up with 'Through Silver in Blood', one of their most powerful songs released back in 1996. The rest of the set list was diverse with 2 new songs and a mix of material from older albums and their most recent 'Given to the Rising.' The highlights were 'The Doorway' and 'Locust Star', 2 of my personal favorites I was hoping they'd play. The screen set up behind the band playing different psychedelic/random images was mind blowing and a great compliment to the songs being played.At times, it was like watching a modern day Pink Floyd or Sabbath only 10 times heavier. The energy of the show stayed consistent from start to finish. The band played their asses off for an hour and a half and walked off stage with no encore. At the end of the night, everyone in the crowd knew they just witnessed a rare performance that they might never get to see again. I walked out smiling,grateful to be able to see these guys play, hailed a cab, and met up with the rest my friends in North Beach at around 1am.

Set List:
Through Silver in Blood
At the End Of the Road
The Doorway
3 Wise Chords (new)
Given to the Rising
Killing Elk (new)
Locust Star
Water is Not Enough
Stones From the Sky