Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Get Out of Town You NIMBY-wimbies!!!

Over the last couple of years, there have been a number of pseudo-controviersies that I classify as NIMBY stories (Not In My Backyard – I realize that this is not an original term).
A couple of years ago, there was the whole downtown loopers controversy. Instead of an easy solution of simply hosting a continual police presence, our showboating city councilors instead gave them the boot, which just meant that instead of congregating in one easy to control area these people were spread out to private parties and empty parking lots all across the city.
Of course, we also have the continued harassment of a small-town strip club by the moral minority in Salem. A couple of weeks ago, I took a small detour on a business trip to Mitchell to check out where Racehorses is located. It’s miles out of town, located literally in the middle of nowhere. If it wasn’t for the publicity, I doubt if most people would even know it exists. I would also bet that its existence has actually been a benefit for quite a few cornfed cows who haven’t gotten any from their husbands in quite some time.
Along the same lines, there’s also the situation with Annabelles. Oh, the outrage. We certainly can’t have an adult toy store in our god-fearing town. Where’s the family values? Again, there should be no ill effects as the building is tastefully designed and is blocks from any residential areas. As for morality of negligee and toys – well, even Christians have sex and nothing but good occurs when bedroom activities between two (or three, four, or more) consenting adults is enhanced.
On a more serious note, there have been a number of issues in recent months concerning rehab centers, halfway houses, and other organizations that offer aid to those that are down on their luck. While I can understand the concerns of the neighbors affected by such facilities, there is a reality that these sorts of buildings need to go somewhere and people in need must have somewhere to go. Until we become a gated community, we will occasionally come into contact with homeless people. As long as these facilities have plans to deal with those that don’t follow the rules or affect others in negative ways, they have every right to exist. The greater good of the Banquet more than offsets the occasional act of idiocy that already occurs in the area in question.
I don’t want to sound like a tree-hugging liberal, but it seems to me that nobody is addressing the big question when it comes to addiction and homelessness. Why do these problems even exist, and what can be done to lessen the numbers affected? Rehabs are generally only used as an alternative to jail, which dramatically lessens the success rate. Affordable housing is growing into a bigger and bigger problem every day, particularly in the downtown area as big-ticket condos and apartments are the latest fad for the handful of realtors who actually run our city.
I’ll admit right now that I’m not smart enough to come up with real-world solutions – the only solutions I can come up with come straight out of John Lennon’s “Imagine”. But there are plenty of bright people in this city that should put their heads together for issues more important than where over-the-hill corporate rock bands and minor league sports teams will play to half-empty crowds. In the meantime, let’s work with (instead of against) those that are willing to put in the time to help those less fortunate.
Jenna the Ipod's Tuesday Treasures

1. The Replacements, "Achin' To Be" (Shit, Shower, And Shave)
2. The Replacements, "I Don't Know" (Pleased To Meet Me)
3. Son Volt, "Ipecac" (Okemah and the Melody of Riot)
4. Jeff Tweedy, "I Can't Keep From Talking" (Vic Theatre, Chicago 3/5/05)
5. Iggy Pop, "Lust For Life" (No Thanks!)
6. Son Volt, "Creosote" (Straightaways)
7. The Velvet Underground, "Hey Mr. Rain (Version One)" (Peel Slowly And See)
8. Whiskeytown, "Mining Town" (Faithless Street)
9. The Replacements, "You Lose" (Hootenanny)
10. The Ramones, "Poison Heart" (Hey! Ho! Let's Go: The Anthology)
11. Bob Dylan, "Tell Me" (The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3)
12. Rufus Thomas, "Walkin' the Dog" (Complete Stax/Volt Singles)
13. The Rolling Stones, "Lies" (Some Girls)
14. R.E.M., "Can't Get There From Here" (Fables Of The Reconstruction)
15. Joy Division, "Dead Souls" (Heart And Soul)
16. Son Volt, "Back into Your World" (Straightaways)
17. Camper Van Beethoven, "Photogragh" (Camper Vantiquities)
18. The Arcade Fire, "Headlights Look Like Diamonds" (The Arcade Fire)
19. The Jam, "Pretty Green" (Direction, Reaction, Creation)
20. Bruce Springsteen, "Born To Run" (Born To Run)
21. Bob Mould, "Underneath Days" (Body of Song)
22. Jason & The Scorchers, "Lost Highway" (Are You Ready For The Country?)
23. Uncle Tupelo, "Stay True" (Anodyne)
24. The Raveonettes, "If I Was Young" (Pretty In Black)
25. Paul Westerberg, "Batman" (Henry Fonda Theatre, LA 2/23/05)
26. Keith Richards & Norah Jones, "Love Hurts" (Tribute to Gram Parsons)
27. Guided By Voices, "Twilight Campfighter" (Human Amusements at Hourly Rates)
28. The Knitters, "Easy Goin' Sunday" (The Modern Sounds Of The Knitters)
29. Bruce Springsteen, "Trapped [Live]" (The Essential Bruce Springsteen)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

This Twit Killed Silkworm Drummer, Two Other Chicago Musicians

Posted by Picasa
Silkworm Drummer Dahlquist Killed in Car Crash

Jessica Suarez reports:
Michael Dahlquist, longtime drummer for Silkworm, died Thursday in an auto collision in Skokie, Ill., that also took the lives of Chicago musicians Doug Meis (drummer for Exo and the Dials) and John Glick (guitarist for the Returntables).

The three men were on their lunch break from Shure Inc., a microphone and audio equipment manufacturer, when Jeanette Sliwinski, 23, plowed her Ford Mustang into their car while they were stopped at a red light. According to the Chicago Tribune, Sliwinski was upset after having an argument with her mother, and "wanted to end it all." Her car had gone through multiple red lights and was traveling at over 70 mph when it struck their Honda Civic. All three men died instantly; two others in another vehicle were injured, while Sliwinski received only minor injuries. Sliwinski was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault, and is being held under guard at the hospital where she is recovering.

Word of Dahlquist's death spread quickly over fan message boards even before police had confirmed the names of the victims. Fans on the Matador Records and Electrical Audio forums, where Dahlquist was a frequent contributor, shared videos and pictures of Dahlquist, while they also planned get-togethers to remember him in cities including New York and Paris.

Speaking with Pitchfork, Silkworm bassist and vocalist Tim Midgett said the outpouring of condolences was not surprising to him: "We're all really grateful for it. But I'm not surprised by it. The band has always had a small but intensely loyal fan base. Michael, in particular, has this uncanny ability to make people feel at ease and comfortable in his presence. He made so many friends right away."

Midgett added that he doesn't foresee Silkworm continuing: "You can't replace him. I'm sure Andy [Cohen], Matt [Kadane], and I will keep on doing music together, but it'll be something else. We'll let that lie for now," he said. "It's hard for me to imagine ever being in a band called 'Silkworm' again."

Silkworm began in 1987 in Missoula, Mont.; Dahlquist replaced exiting drummer Ben Koostra in 1990 when the band moved to Seattle. Silkworm released a total of nine albums, including two on Matador Records, and later, four on Touch & Go, including their last album, 2004's It'll Be Cool. Dahlquist moved to Chicago five years ago, where he was a senior technical writer for Shure, Inc.

Midgett organized a wake for Dahlquist in Chicago. Of the wake, which was open to fans as well as friends and family of the three men, Midgett wrote, "We want[ed] the event to be essentially unstructured but also dignified-- much like Mr. Dahlquist was himself."

Silkworm: http://www.silkworm.net

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

It’s not a closely guarded secret that one of my pet peeves is the proliferation of karoake in Sioux Falls bars. One of my first “Get Out of Town” segments close to three years ago was that very subject. Thankfully, it’s rare that I’m subjected to this garbage…
…until this past Friday evening. The beautiful Deanna called and wanted me to go out drinking with her. Since I can’t turn down any requests from hot chicks (mainly because they’re so rare), I let her talk me into hitting some dive bars.
We first hit a well-known dump on the east side that I’ve always had a soft spot for, mainly because they’re one of the few bars remaining that serves James Foxe, my favorite brand of whiskey.
We walk in to the sounds of some generic 90’s pop-metal song sung by a mullethead whose cover band obviously broke up around 1989. He was the host. For the next two hours, I had to endure the following people: a black dude named Spanky who sang “A Kind of Hush”, “Muskrat Love”, “Jive Talkin’”, and, surprisingly, two Clash songs; Spanky’s wife, who sang “Do That To Me One More Time” (I kid you not); a pair of Nascar honeys (and I don’t mean that as a compliment) with a fetish for Shania and that redneck woman song, and this PBR good old boy’s tuneless renditions of the Toby Keith songbook. We escaped before anybody could subject us to Meat Loaf or songs from Grease.
Next, we headed a few blocks away to a bar owned by some friends. Little did I know that not only do they also feature karaoke but they set the volume so high that one has no hope for any sort of conversation with even the person seated next to you. I knew we were in trouble when I saw the host of this travesty, decked out in a cowboy hat and a Garth Brooks drive-through headset mic. Many of the songs we had already endured were performed again, along with the most straight-laced accountant-type’s feeble attempt at “Billie Jean”. Our only real entertainment was this older gentleman who danced his own version of the waltz all around the bar to every single song. But our patience was really starting to wear thin, so we quickly moved on.
We figured that there was no way our last destination could possibly have any entertainment besides an outdated jukebox. We were wrong; this centrally located working-class establishment also found a few extra bucks to hire someone to hit play. At least there was one hot chick at this place – only one but she was really hot. Too hot for this bar. Great legs, a halter top barely hiding her goodies. The rest of the crowd – well, I’m too much of a gentleman to comment. One woman, whose braless mammaries hung damn close to her belly button, must have been having a terrible night as tears would well up during every slow country tune. Another woman had an opposite problem; too many men were hitting on her but in her words “even eight more beers” wouldn’t be enough to go home with these clems.
The topper was this middle-aged woman who must have once been a stripper…many, many years ago. Decked out in a white mesh top with at least six inches of makeup, she took the mic to Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and attempted to serenade each and every person in her own little…I mean big…way. When she got close to us, I pleaded to Deanna to just look straight ahead and pretend to not notice her. Thankfully, she warbled…and wobbled…right by. It was time to go home.
I’m here today to beg, plead, bribe – anything it takes – to bar owners to just say no to karaoke, which in Japanese translates to “no talent”. It’s bad enough that places like Chammps and Shenanigan’s feature it, but at least we know what’s going on before we set foot in these joints. Dive bars are supposed to be a last refuge for loners such as me; a place for strong drinks, interesting conversation, and oddball characters. Give me a well-stocked jukebox; at least then I can mix in some of my goofy songs next to the terrible garbage everybody else likes.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Youngest Member of the Hudson Fan Club



Here's Gabe and Deanna, his baby/mama.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Jenna the Ipod's Thursday Faves


1. Paul Westerberg, "Born For Me" (Henry Fonda Theatre, LA 2/22/05)
2. Ryan Adams, "Nuclear" (Demolition)
3. The Jayhawks, "Two Angels" (Blue Earth)
4. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros, "Coma Girl" (Streetcore)
5. Bruce Springsteen, "Roulette" (Tracks)
6. Elvis Costello & The Attractions, "Senior Service" (Armed Forces)
7. Shout Out Louds, "My Friend and the Ink on His Fingers" (Howl Howl Gaff Gaff)
8. Paul Westerberg, "Now I Wonder" (Pantages Theatre, 11/6/04)
9. New Order, "Jetstream" (Waiting For The Sirens' Call)
10. The Moaners, "Paradise Club" (Dark Snack)
11. Uncle Tupelo, "Graveyard Shift" (No Depression)
12. The Kinks, "(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman" (The Ultimate Collection)
13. The Pernice Brothers, "How To Live Alone" (Yours, Mine & Ours)
14. Bettie Serveert, "Tom Boy" (Palomine)
15. Ryan Adams, "I See Monsters" (Love is Hell)
16. The Who, "So Sad About Us" (Thirty Years Of Maximum R&B)
17. Foo Fighters, "Friend Of A Friend" (In Your Honor)
18. Paul Westerberg, "Love Untold" (Ogden Theatre, Denver 3/3/05)
19. The Willowz, "Keep On Looking" (Are Coming)
20. Echo & The Bunnymen, "Rescue" (Crystal Days)
21. The Jayhawks, "Pray For Me" (Tomorrow The Green Grass)
22. Bruce Springsteen, "Spirit In The Night" (The Essential Bruce Springsteen)
23. The Kinks, "Sunny Afternoon" (The Ultimate Collection)
24. Bettie Serveert, "White Dogs" (Log 22)
25. The Jayhawks, "All The Right Reasons" (Rainy Day Music)
26. Wilco, "Jesus, Etc." (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot)
27. The Jam, "In The Street Today" (Direction, Reaction, Creation)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Scum Dealers and Our Golden Boy Senator

Three or four months ago, I told the story of a young friend and her treatment at a certain used car dealership. For those who don’t remember that episode, this woman traded in her vehicle and weeks later discovered that they had failed to pay off her original loan. After weeks of getting the runaround, they finally fulfilled their obligations.
What people don’t know is the aftermath of that report. Although I never mentioned the car dealer by name, and even though the people in this room didn’t catch my little hints, somehow all hell broke loose and various threats were made to my friends here at the radio station.
Well, I certainly feel vindicated after days of newspaper headlines. Not only have these fine people filed for bankruptcy, they’re dragging our state’s golden boy into the situation. I guess we now know why they didn’t pay off my friend’s loan – they couldn’t.
In case you haven’t read a newspaper or watched the news in a few days, here’s a rundown of the facts. The owner of this dealership discovered he was being investigated for fraud in September, 2004. One month later, he secured a three million dollar loan. Last month, the company filed for bankruptcy. Our Golden Boy Senator has had a lengthy relationship with the company’s owner; he was at one time his campaign manager and has been described as his “best friend”. Golden Boy was a board member of the bank who loaned the three million dollars. Additionally, the property used as a lien for this loan was being leased to Thune.
Additionally, there are many connections to the minority owner of this dealership. Actually, this guy is now the sole owner of what’s left of the company, as he paid $50 for the remaining 75% of the company. Funny, I would have given almost twice that. Anyway, besides financially contributing to Golden Boy’s campaign, his wife earned almost nine grand as an employee on the campaign. This guy also was the operator of at least one anti-Daschle website, daschlemansion.com, and personally bought full-page ads to promote the site in the Yankton Press & Dakotan.
Golden Boy finally spoke about the controversy this past Friday, and quite frankly he had very little to say. Of course, it helps when our local press is so afraid of being labeled as a liberal paper that they refuse to pose any follow-up questions or challenges to any silly answers. He wasn’t dumb enough to actually deny that he had a hand in any loans to the dealership; he just couldn’t talk about it due to confidentiality issues. He also claimed that he rarely talks to his so-called best friend, although at least one employee disputes that claim, stating that up to the bankruptcy filing they chatted almost every day, sometimes multiple times a day. Yet he had the nerve to blame his enemies for his problems, despite the fact that all of the issues brought forward so far are a part of the public record.
This is Golden Boy’s usual method of deflecting any controversy or criticism. It’s always the fault of Daschle’s former staffers. Some of his people have even claimed that Daschle’s people are responsible for the ongoing investigations against this dealership by the Attorney General of Iowa. How did they pull that out of their ass? This blame-the-bloggers approach is especially ironic when you consider that the infamous Jeff Gannon, the gay escort turned fake White House reporter, was employed by the Golden Boy campaign last year to create dirt against Daschle that was published on anti-Daschle blogs.
Good riddance, you former scum car dealer. Your business is gone, your million dollar home is for sale, and your best friend is apparently throwing you under the bus. As John Lennon once sang, “Instant karma’s gonna get you, gonna look you right in the face, better get yourself together darlin’, join the human race.”

Saturday, July 09, 2005

New Music

I haven't posted any music in quite some time, so here's a few new things:

1. Son Volt's new album, Okemeh and the Melody of Riot, comes out next Tuesday. While it's a new lineup behind Jay Farrar, the band's sound has changed little since the original run in the mid-80's. "Afterglow 61 (Radio Mix)" is the first single off the new album, which will be released in the Dualdisc format.

2. Laura Cantrell is a busy person. Besides a day job at one of New York's largest banks, she also had a widely acclaimed radio show and periodically performed in local coffee shops. After two hard-to-find releases on European labels, she's been signed to Matador Records for Humming By the Flowered Vine. "Letters" is an unreleased Lucinda Williams tune, and is perfect for Cantrell's vocal style.

3. While Graham Parker never really went away, his profile has certainly been much lower in recent years. Last year, he signed to Bloodshot Records and released the country-influenced Your Country. A few weeks ago, he released Songs of No Consequence, an album that harkens back to the great days of the Rumour. Chicago power-poppers the Figgs ably back him on this contentious, sarcastic album, highlighted by "There's Nothing on the Radio".

4. I know absolutely nothing about the Blue Van; hell, I just bought it on a whim. If I would have to categorize their sound, however, it would have to be a rocked-up version of 80's faves, the Lyres, particularly on "I Remember the Days".

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Jenna the Ipod's Fourth of July Musical Treats

1. The Stooges, "No Fun" (Nude & Rude: The Best Of Iggy Pop)
2. The Replacements, "We Know The Night" (All For Nothing Nothing For All)
3. The Brian Jonestown Massacre, "Feel So Good" (A Retrospective: Tepid Peppermint Wonderland)
4. The Fall, "Feeling Numb" (50,000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong)
5. Hoodoo Gurus, "The Mighty Have Fallen" (Mach Schau)
6. Vic Chesnutt, "Naughty Fatalist" (Drunk)
7. Yo La Tengo, "Upside-Down" (Prisoners Of Love: A Smattering Of Scintillating Senescent Songs)
8. John Hiatt, "Old School" (Master of Disaster)
9. Eels, "In the Yard, Behind the Church" (Blinking Lights and Other Revelations)
10. Camper Van Beethoven, "Abundance" (II & III)
11. Soul Asylum, "Sometime To Return" (Hang time)
12. Paul Westerberg, "I Will Dare" (Detroit, 4/22/05)
13. Frank Black, "Calistan" (Teenager Of The Year)
14. X, "Los Angeles (Live)" (Live in Los Angeles)
15. Lucinda Williams, "Ventura" (World Without Tears)
16. Brendan Benson, "Cold Hands (Warm Heart)" (The Alternative To Love)
17. Steve Earle, "Hurtin' Me, Hurtin' You" (I Feel Alright)
18. Tom Petty, "The Same Old You" (Playback)
19. The Pandoras, "You Burn Me Up And Down (Demo)" (Stop Pretending)
20. Elliott Smith, "Rose Parade" (Either/Or)
21. The Dead 60s, "Red Light" (The Dead 60s)
22. Paul Westerberg, "Borstal Breakout" (Henry Fonda Theatre, LA 2/23/05)
23. Close Lobsters, "Foxheads" (Foxheads Stalk This Land)
24. The Brian Jonestown Massacre, "Anemone" (Tepid Peppermint Wonderland: A Retrospective)
25. The Byrds, "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" (We Have Ignition)
26. Lloyd Cole, "Downtown" (Lloyd Cole)
27. X, "Some Other Time" (X)
28. Uncle Tupelo, "Punch Drunk" (Still Feel Gone)
29. Spoon, "30 Gallon Tank" (Series of Sneaks)
Like millions of music fans, twenty years ago I spent an entire Saturday glued to my television – from around seven in the morning to just before midnight. The occasion was Live Aid, the original all-star marathon benefit concert.
The concert was broadcast in its entirety on MTV, and I mean in its entirety. MTV showed no commercials on that day; pleas for donations were hustled between acts and through a crawl screen during the performances.
In fact, the only annoyance during the telecast was a bonehead decision by MTV to focus the cameras on their VJ’s in Philadelphia singing along to Paul McCartney in London. Here was a then-rare performance of a Beatles song, “Let it Be”, and we were forced to watch Martha Quinn, Adam Curry, and their faceless cohorts swaying to the beat.
Another element of the concerts that stood out was the difference in quality between the London and Philadelphia shows. London culminated with rousing sets by U2, David Bowie, Queen, a newly-reunited Who, and McCartney. Philly was stuck with Hall & Oates, Tina Turner, Phil Collins (singing the same awful songs he had sung 12 hours earlier in London), and a drunk collaboration between Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, and Ronnie Wood that was hampered by the fact that their monitors were turned off so that the “We Be the World” finale could be rehearsed behind the stage curtain.
This same division of talent existed this past Saturday during Live 8. London featured return performances by U2, McCartney, and the Who, along with R.E.M., Velvet Revolver, Coldplay, Snoop Dogg, and many other current and classic performers. Philly had Will Smith, Bon Jovi, and Stevie Wonder collaborating with the godawful Rob Thomas and that Maroon 5 guy.
Not that the London show was perfect, as the pacing made absolutely no sense. Many of the big names actually opened the show, long before most of America was even awake. One hit wonders and over-the-hill vocal divas too up much of the prime time hours, although Pink Floyd’s four song set was strategically placed near the conclusion.
None of that really matters, though, as anybody who wanted to actually watch the proceedings was angry and frustrated within five minutes. Although both MTV and VH1 had eight hours slotted for the multiple shows, some brain surgeon decided that both channels should broadcast the same feed.
Even that could have been ignored if they would have actually shown some music. Besides the fact that commercial breaks were included in the broadcast this time around, MTV refused to show a complete song. Typically, they’d jump into some performance about halfway through, show a minute or so, and then jump to morons such as Sway to tell us how cool it is to watch whoever they were showing. Then they’d jump to another of their faceless VJ’s to repeat the process on the next partial song.
Even enduring these partial excerpts was a chore, as the director must have been on some really good Ecstacy. No shot was held for more than a half-second; few shots actually caught what should have been shown. Pete Townshend would start one of his legendary windmills, and the camera would shift to the drummer. The crowd was generally shown more than the artist, generally by those awful crane shots that would start at one end of the stadium and race to the other end in just a second or two. Dammit, Beavis, just show the band!
Frustrated, I turned to my XM radio. They had been promoting for weeks how each of the locations would have their own channel, and the entire show would be broadcast. Bullshit! Talking heads talked over song after song, and whoever was running sound should never be hired again, as all you could hear was the drums and keyboards, with the vocals straining to be heard. They didn’t even live up to their promise of running the entire show, as acts that they determined to be important were cut into the feeds of other locations. That damned Mariah Carey was on five channels!
I’m sure a few of you out there are saying “why didn’t you just check out AOL.com?” From my understanding, they did actually fulfill their promise and showed the whole damned thing, from McCartney and U2’s collaboration on “Sgt. Pepper” to Neil Young and seemingly all of Canada screaming “Rockin’ in the Free World”. If it was a workday, maybe watching all of this streamed on a small computer screen would have been good enough for me. But I use the internet to find and download video and audio to play on my full-size television and stereo. Even with a high-speed connection, the quality of streaming broadcasts still leaves a bit to be desired. I wanted to crank up “Who Are You”, not shush my entire house so that I can hear it on my laptop’s tinny little speakers.