Musings @musicandmeaning.com

I'm hiding out in the big city blinking.
"He had a theory that musicians are incredibly complex, and know far less than other artists what they want and what they are; that they puzzle themselves as well as their friends; that their psychology is a modern development, and has not yet been understood." – E. M. Forster

Archive for July, 2004


Saturday, 31 July 2004

Music to keep me sane and healthy VI

Continuing the list of free and legal MP3s of some of my favorite songs and artists:

  • John Wesley Harding – I first heard JWH on a compilation CD from Acoustic Guitar Magazine, performing "Kiss Me, Miss Liberty" and I’ve always meant to listen to more. His official site houses some full MP3s: check out the "Live MP3s & Rare Singles" sub-section under "Music."
       » Go to the downloads from johnwesleyharding.com (Flash required). (Which one to d/l if you’re pressed for bandwidth or time: my personal favorite is "Pull" — a performance culled from a live solo session at WUMB radio)
     
  • IvyLong Distance (2001). This album is a few years old, but I’m surprised not many people seem to know about it. Or maybe they do? In any case, I first heard Ivy three years ago, when Anne Litt played "Edge of the Ocean" a few times on Weekend Becomes Eclectic (KCRW). It’s catchy music with a lush arrangement and a cool beat; the same can be said for many of the tunes on the album. You might also be interested in the band’s cover of "Sing."
       » Go to the downloads from thebandivy.com (Flash required — click "band" and then "mp3"). (Which one to d/l if you’re pressed for bandwidth or time: without a doubt, "Edge of the Ocean" — there are two versions available, but I recommend the 5.1 Mb, 160kbps MP3 a little farther down the list)
     
  • Anne McCueRoll (2004). Admittedly, I have not heard the full album from this Australian singer/songwriter/guitarist. Anne Litt plays tracks from Roll fairly often on her show, and although I haven’t really gotten hooked to the very ’80s-sounding "I Want You Back," but I’ve been playing "Stupid" and "Crazy Beautiful Child" repeatedly over the past few weeks. If I had to choose, I’d categorize the songs as being more pop/rock with a country flavor, rather than alt-country, but that’s primarily because of the arrangements and the overall sound. Think of a less twangy Lucinda Williams, but still catchy and with interesting lyrics.
       » Go to the downloads from Messenger Records. (Which one to d/l if you’re pressed for bandwidth or time: "Stupid" — but they’re all a little different, so try all three if possible)
     
  • Patrick Park – I’ve mentioned singer/songwriter Park a few times — his site has MP3s of various clips of songs, but only recently put up a couple of full-length MP3s: the original demos (that eventually got packaged into The Basement Tapes) of "Desperation Eyes" and "Nothing’s Wrong." "Nothing’s Wrong" is one of my favorite Park tunes, and although I can listen to the fuller arrangement (and Eric Heywood on pedal steel!) on the album Loneliness Knows My Name, it’s nice to have this sparer, more intimate sounding recording.
       » Go to the downloads from patrickpark.net (Flash required — click "listen"). (Which one to d/l if you’re pressed for bandwidth or time: "Nothing’s Wrong")
     
  • Elliott Smith – I mentioned last time that PasteMusic has many free MP3s from artists, including Smith. One of my favorite Elliott Smith songs is here: "Between the Bars," from Either/Or. If you have time, you might want to grab all four of the songs (all from Either/Or or Elliott Smith) and hear the beautiful and haunting qualities in the stark, no-nonsense arrangements of his music: "Speed Trials," "The Biggest Lie," "Punch and Judy" and "Needle in the Hay."
       » Go to the downloads from PasteMusic (reg required — Smith is under the "Indie Rock/Emo" section). (Which one to d/l if you’re pressed for bandwidth or time: "Between the Bars")
     

And as always, please support the artists and their music by buying their albums and attending their shows (if possible).

Other tunes in my playlist lately:

The latest "caught in my head" tune has to be "How on Earth" by Ron Sexsmith — excellent songwriting. I haven’t heard the entire record yet, but from what I’ve heard, I think I like it better than Cobblestone Runway (2002) — not just musically speaking, but his singing even sounds stronger than I’ve heard before.

And, of course, I’m still listening to Richard Buckner (this time, the more sparse arrangements, e.g. those in Richard Buckner). His new album, Dents and Shells, will be available for pre-order on the 1st of October! From the new songs I’ve heard in his more recent concerts, I can’t wait. It’ll be interesting, as always, to hear how he arranged the music on the record.


Friday, 30 July 2004

Noooooooooo

Dodgers nearing deal to trade Paul Lo Duca

Say it ain’t so….

If this happens, I will be seriously, seriously annoyed. Paul Lo Duca is one of the team’s best players and allies, and he’s handled the wonderful pitching staff and Gagne’s record-breaking streak. What the heck are they thinking? Are they that desperate? Egad. I’m sure I’m not the only one shaking my head over this one.

Don’t they remember what happened the last time they traded away an all-star catcher to Florida?

Not only that, but looking at the full trade:
C Paul Lo Duca, RP Guillermo Mota and RF Juan Encarnacion
for
SP Brad Penny, 1B Hee Seop Choi, P prospect Bill Murphy

it’s seriously a lopsided trade. Lo Duca is an integral part of the Dodgers, and Guillermo Mota has been the most successful setup man for Gagne this season. Even if the Dodgers land Randy Johnson and/or Steve Finley (let’s face it, Charles Johnson is no Lo Duca, and he’s hitting in the .250s for Colorado), they’ll miss two key elements that were working all season long, and severely undercut what had been the league’s best bullpen.

What the heck?

This is one of the things I hate about baseball. In the end, it’s still a business, and loyalty is not high up on the values/priority list.

Update, 31 July 2004: Oh, dear. More cast changes.

OF Dave Roberts, the best scrappy player and base-stealer the Dodgers have had in a long time: traded to Boston for a minor league OF. I doubt he’ll get much playing time now.

RP Tom Martin, the lefty phoenix who rose from the ashes to make a startling comeback last year: traded to Atlanta of a minor league P.

Minor leaguers P Bill Murphy, acquired only yesterday from Florida, C Koyie Hill and OF Reggie Abercrombie: traded to Arizona for veterans OF Steve Finley and C Brent Mayne.

And, nope, no Randy Johnson deal. As of now, the members of the rotation appear to be Odalis Perez, Kazuhisa Ishii, Jeff Weaver, Brad Penny and Jose Lima.

It seems that the team is looking away from speed and scrappiness now, and gambling on the power offense game. Still, the outlook on consistent offense from the primary catcher has plummeted. How does playing new 1B Hee Seop Choi, who’s been touted for his on-base percentage, strengthen the defense? Even 1B-rookie Shawn Green has fewer errors in more games. And by dealing Martin, the team has lost its primary LHP in the bullpen. That leaves LHP Wilson Alvarez. Who will take over for Guillermo Mota? Darren Dreifort? Who will take over for Darren Dreifort? That’s the bigger question.

It’s just still odd that the Dodgers traded away some of its most integral and fan-revered players. I keep reading the same sentiment on various trade reviews: the first-place team has the best record in July: why fix it when it ain’t broke?

The L.A. vs. S.D. game was on the telly last night, and I have to admit, it was probably the hardest Dodgers game I’ve ever watched. Even though they clobbered the hot-on-their-heels Padres 12-3, it was a bittersweet experience, more bitter than sweet. It’s not a good sign when Vin Scully opens up the broadcast by saying he saw "Paul Lo Duca sobbing" and "Guillermo Moto crying." Even if L.A. gets to the playoffs, I’m not sure if I’d be as energized and motivated.

Florida has a three-game series in L.A. in just a couple of weeks. I hope Lo Duca reminds his former management what they lost. And sure, it’s only business, right? So it’s still very possible that he’ll be back in L.A. next year or in the future. Depending on how he feels about the ownership at the time.

But it’s still baseball, and as much as this stings, I’m excited about Steve Finley in the outfield and look forward to watching his defense and hope he’ll continue his consistent hitting at Dodger Stadium. I also hope Choi will be a good addition, and anticipate Brad Penny settling in as well. And I’ll look for "Roberts, D" and "Lo Duca, P" and "Martin, T" in the other box scores.

That’s enough of that for now.

On a different note: I find it amusing yet wrong when, after a trade, graphics artists doctor player photos and digitally replace their former hats/uniforms with the uniforms of their new teams — before the players have even gotten their new uniforms, e.g. Nomar Garciaparra on espn.com in a digitally altered image, wearing a Cubs cap and jersey…it’s wrong. There should be a clear disclaimer saying that the image is not a true photo but a graphic illustration.

Posted at 5:59 pm | Filed under Baseball, sports |  

Monday, 12 July 2004

Says You on KCRW: update

It’s official. Says You! is back on KCRW, Tuesday nights at 7:30.

After my last post speculating whether or not the show was back, I sent an e-mail to the station on Wednesday morning and asked for the lowdown. Here’s a copy of what I said:

Date: Wed, 07 Jul 2004
To: mail ( a t k c r w . o r g )
Subject: ‘Says You’ Q.

Hi there–

I know, you must have gotten asked this dozens of times in the past day, but I turned on the radio and was pleasantly surprised to hear the tail end of ‘Says You’ last night; I was wondering if the show’s back in the lineup now, in the Tuesday 7:30p slot, or if it was a one-time thing? I certainly miss hearing the show on Monday afternoons! I checked the program grid on the website, but it still says ‘The Treatment’ repeat in that slot, and the July newsletter didn’t mention it. Could you post an announcement on the site, or if possible, fire back an e-mail and confirm if the show’s being carried again?

BTW, speaking of the web site, on the ‘Says You’ page:
http://www.kcrw.org/show/sa
the show logo displayed is for ‘Satellite Sisters’ and not ‘Says You.’ (oops)

In any case, I hope SY is back on the KCRW airwaves! If it’s true, count me in as being happy to have it back, different time slot or not. I’m sure Richard Sher would be happy too.

A screen capture of KCRW.org's front page  today.  The relevant bit: 'KCRW welcomes the return of Says You!, Tuesdays at 7:30pm'I can’t remember the last time I checked the KCRW site, but no changes had been made as of, perhaps, Friday. (I’m not sure. I’d have to delve into my browser history and I’m not exactly keen on going to that length.) In any case, a few minutes ago I wondered if the show would be on tomorrow night, so I went to kcrw.org and lo and behold, there’s an announcement in the left sidebar of the front page (here it is with little context remaining).

I checked the station’s page for the show and the logo has been changed from Satellite Sisters to Says You. Also, the KCRW program grid now indicates Says You instead of The Treatment for the 7:30 p.m. Tuesday slot.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who wrote in or called about the lineup. But I wonder if anyone else mentioned the Satellite Sisters logo.

This reminds me of a few years ago when the Charlie Rose web site launched (using its current design). I’d always wondered why the show didn’t have a good site with guest info, so one day while web surfing, I was happy to discover that it finally had an online presence. But I noticed a typo in the quote that’s prominently displayed in the site banner. It showed (my emphasis): "I believe that there is a place in the spectrum of televison for really good communication, if it is informed, spirited, soulful." So I clicked on the feedback link, offered grats on the new site and mentioned the typo. I’m not sure how long the site had been live before I noticed it. IIRC, the typo got fixed quickly — I think the next day, I went back to look at the quote and it was correct. As in this case with KCRW, though, I never got a reply to my e-mail. But that’s perfectly okay, since my questions got answered in another way.

About two years ago, I noticed that KPCC didn’t air Says You for a few weeks. This was after KPCC became the "Southern California Public Radio" branch of Minnesota Public Radio. I found an e-mail address to scpr.org on the station site and sent a query about the show and its KPCC on-air whereabouts; a reply answering my question landed in my inbox three days later, from Member/Listener Services (I won’t reveal the name or the e-mail to protect the guy from spam) at mpr.org. The message in a nutshell: the show had been pre-empted for Garrison Keillor’s Night Out for a while and would be back that weekend.

But that’s enough of that tangent. The important point is, Says You! is back on in SoCal! Punsters rejoice!

Posted at 10:01 pm | Filed under Radio, NPR, etc. |  

Tuesday, 6 July 2004

Surprise! It’s Says You

For a while now, I’ve been making weekly evening trips to the local library — and the car radio typically is set to KCRW. In the past few weeks, I’ve been going home listening to Warren Olney and Which Way, L.A.? or The Treatment. So I got into the car about half an hour ago, ready to head home from the library, and imagine my double take at hearing Says You!, which KCRW had dropped from its Monday afternoon schedule only last month (much to my dismay, and madbard’s, and every other wordplay-loving NPR listener in SoCal). I was so startled by the voices of Richard Sher and the panelists (it was an old episode with Frank Farrell‘s first appearance on the panel); I had to sit there for a moment, look at the radio display, and reassure myself that, yes, it was indeed KCRW (my first thought had been, "Is KPCC carrying the show again?").

Checking the KCRW home page just now, Says You is listed for today’s schedule. However, the station’s program grid still lists The Treatment for the Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. slot. The July highlights update also doesn’t mention the panel game show returning. I didn’t hear the beginning of the Says You episode, so I don’t know if there was any special announcement explaining whether this was a one-time occurrence or if the show was back in new, regular time slot. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if KCRW brought the show back because of listener protest; but then again, Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. certainly won’t accommodate all of the former Mondays-at-2:30 fans.

I suppose I should contact the station and ask what the deal is.

[Update: I did ask.]

Posted at 9:01 pm | Filed under Radio, NPR, etc. | 2 replies »

The streak ends at 84

Eric Gagné‘s amazing, record-breaking streak of 84 consecutive saves ended last night against Arizona — but fortunately, the Dodgers came back to win the game (the win credited to Giovanni Carrara).

Gagné hadn’t blown a save since August 26, 2002. He definitely didn’t earn the nickname "Game Over Gagné" for nothing.

Gagné’s stats during the streak:
Innings pitched: 87 2/3
Strikeouts: 141
Hits allowed: 43
ERA: 0.82

The rest of baseball closers during the streak:
946 blown saves

Time for a new streak!

Posted at 8:35 pm | Filed under Baseball, sports |