Friday, April 24, 2009


I've been busy doing "work" and "looking busy" lately, and haven't had much chance to post. Hopefully you've been keeping busy yourself by reading Ashton Kutcher's Twitter while I was away.

In my only exciting news, the Avett Brothers are starting to announce tour dates in support of their new album, I and Love and You, and they will be appearing at the Boulder Theater on August 21st. Hopefully coming to a town near you soon as well. Given that tickets go on sale in exactly one week, I am heading down to the box office to set up my tent as soon as I post this.

Finally, I spent the better part of a morning at Kinkos, and of all the employee rage I could see bubbling just beneath the surface, this moment really took the cake:

Assistant Manager: Our shipment of blah blah blah is not coming in until blah blah blah.

Employee: Sounds good, that should work fine.

Assistant Manager: The only problem is we may have to go pick it up at blah blah blah. Hopefully we can send what's his name to pick it up, but beyond that I think it will work.

(here comes the moment you've been waiting for)

Assistant Manager: Is that Cool yo? (or "Coolio?" -- not sure how he would have spelled it)

Employee: Sure. (but at the same time thinking: I hate my life so much right now)

Monday, April 20, 2009

4/20 - not a real holiday; Boulder - not a real place

The one event every year where Boulder kids/people actually show up with any consistency, is of course, 4/20.  Earlier today I was approached my some guys who asked if I knew where they could "score," and after I said I didn't, they told me "Happy 4/20," to which I didn't respond, because, of course, 4/20 is not a real holiday.

The event literally brings in thousands and thousands of potheads from around the area, although I'm pretty sure they typically overestimate the numbers to make it seem like the event is growing every year.  While it's not really a productive event in any way whatsoever, it's definitely intriguing watching hundreds of people start to stream onto campus an hour or two before 4:20 p.m.  While I'm not so great in the photography department, here's a few pictures I took to give you an idea of what goes on.

Here is the Norlin Quad around noon today (click images to enlarge):

And here it is about 20 minutes before the infamous time:

Probably about the best crowd picture I got, but still doesn't really depict how many people were really there (you'll have to enlarge it to really get the idea I think):

I never heard a countdown, and while I attributed it initially to the fact that potheads aren't really good at organizing things, I guess there may have been one I just couldn't hear since I wasn't in the thick of things. Nonetheless, around 4:19, the smoke really started to form into a cloud over the crowd:

The smoke cloud hung around for a few minutes and started to dissipate on account of the breeze that was blowing today:

While I saw a few cops around and even saw the K-9 unit on campus earlier in the day, the event seemed to be relatively conflict free.  Really nothing short of the national guard could have done anything on a large scale, and then that would have just turned into a riot.  CU doesn't like the event at all, but it's reached such proportions that they just can't really control it without causing a major incident, so I guess at least until something majorly bad happens on a 4/20 in the future, I guess they'll probably have to deal with it.

Here's a pretty good aerial photo from the Daily Camera to put the crowd into perspective.

All the while, the Lubbock newspaper is publishing stories about how smoking will make your kids be born naked.

Tom Waits really wants you to buy ringtones

Some idiot with the Twitter address @tomwaits, who has apparently fooled 16,000 people into thinking it really is Tom, has completely blown his or her cover now by posting links to ringtone download sites.  Sure it was mildly clever to grab up the address before anyone else (including Waits' label Anti-), and to post lyrics as though maybe it was Waits himself.  However, for a guy who has made a career out of being cool and tasteful, this online impersonation went south in a hurry.  I really hate to think that some jackass made a quick buck off of this.

This is why the internet is ruined.  Please don't follow this idiot on twitter.

And to this idiot him/herself, the "how I can prove it's really me?" schtick is lame.  How about this? --  take a picture of yourself and post it to twitpic.  You can't fool me dude.

Okay, I'm done now, sorry that this is probably not of interest to anyone else, but that's what this blog is for.

Update:  I guess Tom got shut down.  Oh well, hope you got some sweet ring tones out of it.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ashes of my bank account

I managed to avoid maxing out my credit cards for Record Store Day today, but I did feel like I went a little overboard at times. At least it only happens once a year. Found basically everything that I wanted to, mostly 7 inches, and even ran across some cheap used stuff I'd been searching for while I was there - namely Gilded Palace of Sin from the Flying Burrito Brothers and Texas Cookin' by Guy Clark.

It wasn't necessarily a limited edition or any faux special deal like most of the Record Store Day items, but I did pick up my copy of the Ashes of American Flags live Wilco DVD.

I am always hesitant about buying these borderline mainstream things, not that I'm that cool, but rather I just figure everyone I know will have it and I'll see it eventually. However, I'm really impressed with the DVD so far. It's a great compilation of live performances with short interview pieces in between, with songs spanning most of Wilco's tenure.  Nels Cline pretty well kills the guitar throughout the entire disc.  (Speaking of Nels, I'm still bummed that I missed  90% of the Nels Cline Singers show I won tickets to last year...but I digress...)

Speaking of Wilco's tenure, I really have to admit that I never could get into the Being There album back in the day, as hard as I tried. Really blows my mind that that band has evolved into the Wilco of today. I guess it's been a good selection of new band members along the way as much as anything, but I honestly can hardly believe that the fairly run of the mill band from Being There ended up making Yankee Hotel Foxtrot two albums later. Had BT been their high point, Jeff Tweedy today would be "that guy who was in Uncle Tupelo," rather than the indie rock star he is instead.

And if I could digress just a bit more, does Wilco bassist John Stirratt maybe have the best job in the world? He's in a successful rock band, making a comfortable living, touring wherever he wants, is still a part of a group making relevant music, but is not so famous that he can't walk down the street. His job is to play the bass and look cool. Pretty sweet gig overall I'd think, plus he's pretty good at being the laid back bass player.

Note: The DVD advertises, and even has instructions for, a free Audio download, but oddly when I follow the instructions it tells me to, I have not had any luck getting to the download area. A little help here? Anyone?

Finally, I think I already recommended this, but you need to head over to Slaid Cleaves' myspace and check out his new song "Cry" if you haven't already.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Since you're not working today anyway

You can waste some time on this blog:

Stuff Hipsters Don't Like

Why do I have to keep reminding you?

There are two new What's So Funny?'s that you haven't read:

Both are relatively safe for work (RSFW - no naked pictures, but recommended that you don't read aloud from your cubicle)

Common courtesy

Twitter me this

Also, if you have a Fleet Foxes problem like me, then you should check out this blog with two videos of Take Away shows they did, apparently before they got big. Pretty worth it if you're looking to stop working for 10 minutes or so.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A few things

First off, I still can't understand how there are people in this country who approach a self serve drink machine as though it is a TI-82 graphing calculator.

Secondly, Monahans is coming out with a new album, titled Dim the Aurora. One new track from the album is available here. However, I'm not sure that is going to do you a ton of good, since their albums seem to need to be listened to all together. Nonetheless, I'm definitely looking forward to this one.

Monahans Sandhills State Park (no relation to the band)

Thirdly, I just read here that festival promoters are allowing fans to put tickets on layaway, paying for part now and the rest at a later date. Sounds to me like a situation where the rich keep getting rich on the people who are hoping they can scrape together the $250 to see Dylan at Rothbury this July.

Here are the terms (found here) :
"Weekend Ticket - Layaway
ROTHBURY's Layaway Ticket Program allows you to pay for your ROTHBURY Weekend Ticket in three (3) installments. You pay $99.50 (plus ticket fees and shipping and 100% of Ticket for GOOD donations or RV Pass costs if applicable) at the time of purchase. Then, $75.00 will be automatically be charged to your card on 5/7/2009 and another $75.00 on 5/28/09.

Ticket fees are $26.00 per ticket, and include a $2.00 contribution to the Grant Township Land Improvement Fund, $5.00 facility fee and service fees.

There are no refunds. If you default on any of the payments you will lose any deposits and your order will be canceled."

So in these uncertain times, the promoters are using the failing economy to their advantage. Let's assume you make the first payment of 99.50 (plus I'm sure you pay the fees up front too), and maybe even pay the second payment of $75. But oops, your personal financial situation takes a turn for the worse, and you can't pay the last payment. Now they have at least $200 of your money, and don't even have to accommodate for you, and they can open that ticket up to sell to someone else for $300 or more after you default.

Dear Big Money Music Industry:

Please die now so we can try and live decent lives again.


There was some other junk I was going to post about the Fleet Foxes, but I'll do that later. This layaway business has me all worked up.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Who knew?

So I just learned that this Saturday (5/18/09) is "Record Store Day" across the country, and apparently that means that there are a ton of vinyl and other releases coming out then.  My local record store owner was telling about the day, and having never heard of it, I did my usual "nod head and smile because I don't know what you are talking about" routine.  After talking to a friend who actually knows about such things, I looked into in a bit more detail.

Now I don't really care about most of the releases, but one kind of cool thing that caught my eye is a new Whiskeytown 7".  You can find out more info/backstory here.  Apparently it features two previously unreleased tracks from 1996: "San Antone" and "The Great Divide."  Not sure how limited the release is, but I think my local store received 3 or 4 copies, so probably 2500 or so nationally?  I'm sure it's few enough so that they'll sell out soon and be sold for way too much on ebay before you know it.

Surely not?

While randomly searching for Hayes Carll and what he is up to these days, I ran across this blog that says that he is releasing a Neil Diamond tribute album on 5/5/09. I don't have a problem with it if he is releasing such an album, but I can't find anything else about it, as the story that they cite as the news source is a broken link. I'm going to lean toward the opinion that this might not be true until I get confirmation from a few more places. In the meantime, I guess I'm just helping to spread news that may just be a rumor.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Stanley Marsh 3

(photo from here)

Check out some of Marsh's street signs here.

I guess maybe the fact that west Texas is a place where everything is always the same makes the work of Stanley Marsh 3 so much better than if he were in New York City or Paris or Marfa. I think it's awesome too that his projects still garner so much attention, as I'm writing mainly because just published an article about his new water lily project.

If you are ever in Amarillo, it's almost an addictive thing to drive around and try to find all of the fake road signs that are in people's yards.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A blessing and a curse

Let me set the record straight right away - I don't have anything against Jason Isbell. He's got some good songs, and as far as I know he's a good guy. I also know that an artist doesn't really control who their fans are, and finally, I know that folks who go to see a headliner often don't pay any attention to the opener. Interestingly, he tends to bring really good bands with him on tour, even when they don't necessarily seem to fit with his fanbase.

For example, a couple of years ago, he brought Centro-matic on tour with him, who I was really wanting to see, so I'm pretty grateful for his good taste in openers. The thing I learned during that show that I didn't know beforehand was that Isbell shows really bring out a crowd that I hesitantly classify (because I hate to overgeneralize) as white trash. Once again, these people pay his bills, so like them or not, they are loyal fans, and I'm sure he's not complaining about that.

Last night, this contingent of fans was present once again, as Jason's concert featured opener Justin Townes Earle, who I have really been wanting to see after hearing some of cuts off of his new album Midnight at the Movies. Overall, JTE put on a great show with his sideman Cory Younts. I was surprisingly disappointed at the sound at the Bluebird Theater last night, as the mix made it extremely difficult to hear the vocals, and honestly, I guess they didn't see a problem with it the whole set, because it was basically the same poor mix all night. Maybe there were extenuating circumstances I wasn't aware of, but nonetheless, I was glad that I finally got the chance to see Justin. He embodies the performance style of the old Western Swing and Country folks well, and does a good job of bantering in between songs (when you can hear it).

The factor that made things even worse was that as the Isbell crowd grew, they were talking through the last half of JTE's set, to the point that it really made it hard to hear two acoustic instruments with vocals (did I mention the mix wasn't good?). To make it even worse, I sat in the back quietly judging the crowd. It really blew my mind that a number of people had worn their Drive-By Truckers shirts to the concert, but that gives you an idea of what the crowd was like. Overall, you could tell that the hipster crowd was basically non-existent, given the complete absence of silly hats.

The final thing I got to see, which didn't have anything at all to do with Jason Isbell, was the experience of watching people come up and talk to JTE by the merch table. He was in a hurry to leave, so I didn't see much, but I got a good taste of what his life must be like. The interaction that stands out was an older man who came up to him to shake his hand, and proceeded to tell him how much his dad's music meant to him throughout his life. Quite a heartfelt comment, but when you recognize that Justin's music career thus far probably includes people like this in every town, you start to recognize how good Justin is doing just to be cordial to these people on a regular basis. Comes with the territory I suppose, and he handled it well from what I saw.

If you haven't heard "Mama's Eyes" yet, go to his myspace and check it out.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Free music, but sadly, no free beer

Paste Magazine and Dale's Pale Ale, the beer I consider responsible for bringing cans back to popularity, have teamed up to give you free music to download. Click the above image to sign up. It's pretty simple overall - after you sign up, it takes you to a download page where you can download any or all of the available mp3s.

The first installment has an awesome new track from Slaid Cleaves, and another great one by Laura Gibson (sounds so much like Bosque Brown). Unfortunately I wasn't in the mood to try a ton of new stuff, so I only downloaded a few others beyond those. Nonetheless, it's well worth it. Did I mention it's free?

Monday, April 6, 2009


So thanks to a reader (how a Toby Keith fan found this blog I will never know), it turns out that both Kris Kristofferson and Toby Keith are denying that the reported 2003 exchange between them, noted in Rolling Stone magazine, ever happened. The Tennessean covers most of the details here.

While some have noted that if neither side remembers the story, it probably didn't happen, I have to wonder why the hell Ethan Hawke remembers it, as he is the one that wrote the story? I'm sure some will attribute this to him being some disconnected Hollywood type or (fill in the blank comment about "liberals"). However, of all things to start an article with, this was an amazing account, and I find it odd that he would contrive a story that was going to be read by millions of people, and had to have known it would be subjected to serious scrutiny if it wasn't true. I expect that Rolling Stone didn't hold the article up to normal scrutiny because it was from a celebrity author, but I could be wrong about that too. Or maybe they just didn't want to spoil such a good story.

I guess we may never know, but I for one, am saddened to learn that this is being denied, as it was about to become my favorite story.

Update: While I think all parties involved are hoping this blows over, this blog has a bit of information (evidence? conjecture?) that Kris had told the story to others after it happened and that his memory might not be all it used to be. In summation, we still have no idea where this story came from.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I watch these things so you don't have to

I always feel really embarrassed afterwards when I let people know I watch things like the Grammy awards or the Academy of Country Music Awards, but nonetheless, here I am doing it again. The ACM's are on tonight, and now that Nashville owns Texas country, I couldn't help but watch for the folks who are nominated that I had occasion to share a stage with back "in the day" (Eli Young, Randy Rogers). Sad, I know, but such is life.

Usually my watching the country music awards involves me finding out what the hell has been going on in country music for the last year, typically followed by a good deal of disgust and throwing things at the TV. Nonetheless, here's my thoughts so far:

"Johnny and June" - by Heidi Newfield - I don't respect anyone that sings about Johnny Cash in a way that is this obvious. If you sing about Johnny Cash, you better do it in a way that no one can tell. This song is 100 times worse than all the bad covers of "Folsom Prison Blues" I've heard over the years, and yes, I do still walk out of any establishment for the duration of the song when I hear someone play it.

Toby Keith just played. There's not an online link to it, but the new Rolling Stone, with Lil Wayne on the cover, has a great story about Kris Kristofferson putting TK in his place a few years back. Read it in the bookstore if you can't justify buying it, but it's well worth it if you take some pride any time you hear a real country musician taking the wind out of Toby's sails.

Someone just got compared to Waylon - this is going to be good. Jamey Johnson...this stuff is going to put me in my grave.

Jamie Foxx introducing George Strait. I can get on board with this. No matter what George is doing now, he can do no wrong as a result of his work in the 80s.

Looks like he's still got it. I'm going to have to put in a vote for him for Entertainer of the Year.

The Lady Antebellum performance is taking away my last energy. I'll update again if I can, but I'm pretty sure it's all downhill now that George has played.
I'm back, if only briefly. Sugarland just accepted their award for Best Vocal Duo, and made the comment that their band would "blow your face off." Kind of funny really, with them not being country and all, and makes me think of a real country musician, Billy Joe Shaver, who really did nearly blow a guy's face off. Now that's country music.
John Rich just played. Not even going to dignify him with a degrading comment.

now Miley Cyrus - I guess she's sticking to the demographic that doesn't care (as much) about the racist remarks she made a few months ago and then fake apologized for.
Brad Paisley gets top male vocalist. I can live with that - anything that keeps KC or TK from winning. Plus, he did "When I Get Where I'm Going," which gives him a pass on most of his questionable songs.
and blah blah blah it's over now. nothing of note left to report.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Not a lot to tell you..

But this Telegraph Canyon video is worth a watch. They are on tour out west starting next month, but Lubbock, you don't have to wait that long. They'll be at Bash's 2 with Monahans and One Wolf on April 11th.

Old Dark Hymns from Casey Parks on Vimeo.

Also, just ran across this new interview with Amanda Shires. Thanks to Chris Oglesby with Virtual Lubbock for doing this interview, and also for helping to put together the Lubbock music showcase at SXSW. Please check out his book Fire in the Water, Earth in the Air: Legends of West Texas Music, if you haven't already. Hopefully if you haven't picked up a copy of Amanda's West Cross Timbers you will do so soon. I'll try and post some more detailed thoughts on it later on.