Thursday, February 16, 2012


There was a radio DJ on KISU at Idaho State University that had a surprisingly good taste in music for Pocatello.  It was the only place on the dial where a college kid could hear Death Cab For Cutie, Wilco, and Whiskeytown.  He also managed to siphon some money from the university to get a handful of decent bands to come play.  Early in the spring of 2002, he brought in Pedro The Lion.  There might have been 20 people at the show, which started about 3 hours later than scheduled for unknown reasons*.  Opening for Pedro The Lion was TW Walsh followed by Damien Jurado.  Jurado was playing with Gathered In Song at the time and he, along with anyone else who could play an instrument, became the backing band for David Bazan that night.  Aside from the extremely off-putting attitude from Bazan**, the one thing I distincly remember was how good Damien Jurado was. 

It was 4 years until I would see Jurado play again.  This time it was with another group of Seattle post-grunge folk rockers; Rocky Votolato and J Tillman.  Tillman opened with what I thought was a very depressing set and I was seriously worried he was going to take his life behind the venue before the night was over.  Then it was Jurado's turn and I couldn't wait to hear where his songs had gone since the first time I saw him.  The set was great and somewhere towards the end they played a song called "Gillian Was A Horse."  There have been a few moments in my life where I was completely overwhelmed by the power of a song.  This song was one of those moments.  The entire room seemed to stop.  Along the side of the stage all the musicians playing that night and the tour crew were standing next to each other singing along. 

It would be 2 more years before a recording of that song made it on a Jurado record, but I would have a chance to hear it again live.  This time it had been reinvented as a more upbeat tune.  It was during a tour when he opened for Okkervil River in the summer of 2007.  Once again he was the opener for a band getting much more attention than he did, and probably more attention than they deserved.  But that didn't matter to him as he proceded to destroy the audience that was thin do to a late-arriving crowd.  I'm pretty sure nobody in the audience noticed the lack of a full house, as we were all drawn into his songs.  He quietly finished, packed up, and disappeared out of the venue. 

Two fantastic albums and one fantastic forthcoming album later, he seems to be getting the due he deserves.  The Seattle Times has put together a series of covers by other prominent northwestern musicians and it is simply fantastic.  The forthcoming album, Maraqopa, is garnering buzz and praise like no Jurado album before.  There hasn't been a Top Ten Damien Jurado Moments list as a lead story in Rolling Stone, nor has Damien-sanity topped the Twitter Trending Charts.  But after years of putting in the work and going largely unnoticed, Damien Jurado seems to be getting his just due.

*Bazan claimed that they had gotten lost.  I'm guessing they wanted to blow off the show and were halfway to Salt Lake City before Damien Jurado made them turn around and honor the commitment.

**I was probably a little oversensitive at the time.  But Bazan did say they were only stopping in Pocatello for the show because it was guaranteed money.  I respect his honesty now, but at the time it made me hate all things Bazan and I sold my Pedro albums the next day to some used CD store.  Okay, I was very oversensitive.  It took me nearly 10 years, and two great solo albums, to come back around on Bazan.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Madonna Super Bowl Setlist Picks

Charlie T.'s Picks*

Gimme All Your Luvin (with MIA and Nicki Minaj)
Spike and I agree on this inclusion.  It's the only single she has to push right now and her handlers probably think that because it's a ZZ Top cover, all the meatheads watching will love it.  It's going first to set up Madonna's entrance.  Minaj and MIA will be on stage first and Madonna will come rising up out of the stage wearing a furry guitar.

Going backwards in time here.  I wanted to say 4 Minutes would be the next song but there is no way they are letting Justin timberlake anywhere near a Super Bowl halftime again.  Even though they should.  Also, I can see Minaj continuing on stage to collaborate on this song.

Material Girl
She has to play something from the 80's.  Like A Prayer is a little popular of a pick right now and Like A Virgin isn't going to make primetime airwaves, so this is the next logical choice.

Don't Tell Me
Because it was written by the venerable Joe Henry. 

Ray Of Light
This is going to be the closer.  It shuoldn't be, but I think they are going to want to close on a more contemporary note.

*Missed Opportunities:
This Used To Be My Playground
with a stage full of dancers wearing Peyton Manning Jerseys
Take A Bow with a stage full of dancers in Tim tebow jerseys

Annual Super Bowl Halftime Guessing

We skipped last year for reasons directly related to the Antichrist, audio terrorism, hyperactive and overstimulated costume designers, Autotune, lack of Autotune, bad dancing, and more.

So why are we coming back with our annual halftime musical guest set list predictions? For Madonna? Well, we certainly are struggling to post at all. And Madonna does have some songs I really like. Really.*

SIX SONGS (because Charlie set the 5-song precedent years ago and she will abuse the medleys AND because Madonna has the hits and, we all know, likes to show her hits)
1. the new song with the young blood**
2. the other new-ish song with the young-ish blood***
3. Ray of Light****
4. Vogue*****/Holiday medley
6. Music

Too many hits to ever guess. But those are my guesses and I am sort of standing kind of near to them.

* Don't Tell Me (written by a true Spike favorite– and Madonna's brother-in-law– the great Joe Henry) Music, Ray Of Light, Secret (maybe? ack, I can't decide if I hate it or love it), Take A Bow, What It Feels Like For A Girl, Crazy For You (maybe? again. ack.), Die Another Day, Lucky Star (ACK!), Beautiful Stranger, and how did this list get so long suddenly? I don't even own an album. Or a song, for that matter, in this disposable digital download day. But I wouldn't change the station on most of these.

** Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. are for cred, legacy, broader viewership, and– as always with the Material Girl– spectacle.

*** Justin Timberlake and Timbaland. Is Madonna really gone share 2 of her maybe 4-5 songs with FOUR other people? I kind of don't think so, but who cares?

**** Lenny Kravitz played guitar with her at some awards show once for this song. My guess is that she pulls out her famous ex-"friend" Dennis Rodman for this one.

***** And while the exes are coming out, Sean Penn comes and strikes some poses. Seems like a thing he'd do.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Three Ways For LeBron To Finally Win

1. Break up, fall off the face of the earth, get addicted to drugs, possibly die but then reappear looking half dead, disappear again and then 20 years later reunite with your boys and kick off a barnstorming tour of the country, in which you will only be playing in the biggest of arenas, with a couple of ultra-hyped press only shows that look something like this.

2. Beg George Lucas to make another 3 Star Wars movies and be cast as a Jedi with a green lightsaber* who dies in the first movie of that trilogy and then appears as a wise, blue ghost in the next two.  Not only will this give you incredible powers through the force, but you will become so powerful that you will train Batman, lead the A-Team, hunt down sex slave traders in Europe who took your daughter and then kill them, fight and kill giant wolves in the middle of the Alaskan mountains, be the most powerful of all Greek gods, save Narnia from the White Witch and then protect it forever, captain a Russian nuclear submarine, lead an Irish gang called The Dead Rabbits, and inspire Sam to go after Joanna because she is the love of his life.

*Note: There will be an urge to request a different colored lightsaber, like purple or orange or yellow, but resist that urge.  You want the green one or else you will end up getting eaten by giant sharks, have very frail bones and read comic books all day, assemble a task force anchored by Vin Diesel, never get to perform at Beatrix and Tommy's wedding, be Mr. Incredible's best man, coach a high school basketball team, ride on an airplane full of snakes, chain up Christina Ricci, and appear in 90 second clips after the credits of a handful of successful superhero movies.  Trust me, you want the green lightsaber.

3. Win the NBA Finals, in a 4 game sweep while averaging 40 pts, 15 rebounds, 12 assists all without passing the ball in the last 3 minutes of every game, never missing a shot over those 3 minutes, not turning the ball over either, and posting up every single play over those three minutes and scoring 15 points in that stretch.  Then do that not three, not four, not five, not six times, but some number beyond that.  In a row. 

It's really that simple.