Wednesday, April 23, 2008

All around the world, gonna spread the word...

I was on a conference call bored to death today and began clicking around the Sitemeter page that houses Intravenus De Milo’s staggering readership statistics. I’ll admit that I signed up for Sitemeter so I’d have something else to throw in the margin of my blog and normally delete the weekly reports they send every weekend, but I discovered the cool mapping program that displays where the last 100 blog visitors come from by their IP address and was pleasantly surprised to see that IDM is an international phenomenon! The map says I’ve had visitors from:

Mato Grosso Do Sul, Brazil
New South Wales, Australia
Wielkopolskie, Poland
Geneva, Switzerland
Swindon, UK
Glasgow, UK

Of course, this may have been a single reader checking in to IDM from a world tour or something, but more than likely someone bored out their head sitting at an internet café having run out of crap to look at on their “Favorites” list. Either way I’ll take it.

There are so many dots on the United States that the whole county is covered up. Well, okay, there’s still a shit load of dots anyway. Somebody just checked in from Nebraska.

Pretty cool…

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tony Alva’s coolness factor takes sharp dip says, “Arabs are stealing my cool! When do we start drilling ANWR/Gulf of Mexico?”

What Tony was driving to work:

What Tony now drives to work:

AP - Peachtree City GA – The apocalypse is finally upon us. Gas prices have become so outrageous that Tony Alva has had to take severe measures in an attempt to offset the tripling costs of his daily commute to work. “I’ve always driven smaller sporty types my whole life”, Tony exclaimed, “and the decent gas mileage I got was always a byproduct of the smaller more efficient models I’ve owned, but with things the way they are now I’ve had to dig deeper into the Al Gore well”. Mr. Alva went on to exclaim that his worst fear is actually being considered cool by Al Gore and will more than likely elect to wear a paper bag over his head during his drive from Peachtree City to the heart of mid-town Atlanta.

When asked for comment from his family, most mocked, but were supportive of the measure. “While pulling the car out of the drive way, my Father motioned for me to roll down the window. He snickered as I discovered the car lacks even the simplest creature comforts like power windows”, Tony added.

Mr. Alva went on to comment that he’ll be more than happy to bump along in his little beer can car until the government wises up and get serious about divorcing our country from Arab oil, but drilling in ANWR and the Gulf of Mexico will be a necessary step. “Let’s get to drillin’ tomorrow” he was heard to mutter as he slid into the little sneaker car.

Mrs. Alva's reaction was coy, if not a bit elated since Tony's regular car will be availalble for her to toodle around in while their 6 year-old daughter is in school. "It sucks that Tony has to do this, but on the other hand, look how HOT I look driving his car!" she said as she tore out of the drive way to get her nails done.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Black Sabbath Vol. 2...

Well, I got through the ‘Vol. 4’ chapters of “Rat Salad: Black Sabbath The Classic Years 1969-1975 by Paul Wilkinson and he gets it pretty right again. He made me chuckle when addressing the utter silliness of “FX”, choosing in the end to just let it go as something to be skipped over whether it be CD, LP, or Mp3.

Wilkinson now moves onto to the band’s next effort ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ his contention being that this record represents the band’s high water mark. His musical critique is so detailed that I had to again get out of bed late last night and grab the CD from downstairs (my iPod battery was dead). I also for the first time attempted to tune the acoustic guitar I keep by the bed down to “C” in an attempt follow some of Wilkinson’s track dissection. This did not work out very well at all. The strings were so loose due to the low gauge I use that it wouldn’t stay in tune even for a second. I got a good chuckle out of that since back in the day when my band wanted to play some of the tunes from these two records I remember pleading with them to tune down from standard tuning and was denied each time (I could have asked them to simply transpose the songs to their recorded key, but I would have had to know what transposition actually was). The shit was already a throat ripper to sing as it was, imagine trying to sing it two full steps higher than the recordings. Brutal…

Another motive for pulling the music out of the rack is that I’m unfamiliar with the song titles, even though I can recite every lyric from memory and can more or less play every song on both ‘Vol. 4’ and ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’. Both records were always on the turntable when I was a teen and since I’d listen to both from beginning to end, knowing the track listing by name was never a necessity.

‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ did once again raise the bar overall for the band, that I can agree with the author on, but this album also exposes a few chinks in the armor and is foreshadowing for those of us familiar with the decline and ultimate demise of the band. I maintain that Vol. 4 has a higher density of great songs (“FX”, if it’s even a song, is really the only thing ignorable), while on ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ the good songs are SO FANTASTICALLY good that they over shadow and more than compensate for the dreck (think “Who Are You?”). The fact that the band got their drinking buddy Rick Wakeman to spice up a few tunes with his mad skillz is amazing and he really adds a great deal to the songs he performs on.

I’ve been listening to ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ all day today (much to the chagrin of my fellow cube dwellers) and while I stand by ‘Vol 4’as the most worthy up to this point in the books continuum and the band chronological discography, I can easily see the arguments ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ pundits can make and it’s tough to deny them.

Onward to ‘Sabotage’…

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

If you don't laugh outloud at least once...

...after reading a page full of this guys posts you have no feelings and are as numb as a gangrene foot.

Y-Ray X-Ray...

I think for the safety of air travelers the world abound this device needs to be tested on bloggers.

I vote Ginormous Boobs goes first.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Knows she's got a pistol, layed it down on me...

This is such a horrendously bad fucking idea it's hard to comprehend the ocean size idiocy of even suggesting it.

While deeply immersed in my studies at the University of Maryland back in 1985, one of our football teams linebackers knocked on my dorm door and began accusing me of talking shit about him the prior weekend when his girlfriend was dragging his drunk ass through the hall presumably back to his room. I remember letting them in the side door after they banged on it, but NO ONE said a damn thing to the guy or his gal, but there he was, standing there in front of my door, mad as a hatter with a balled up fist ready to lay me out. Thanks to my ability to stay cool, I shrewdly and skillfully convinced him that he had the wrong guy, and perhaps the wrong floor. "Dude, who's she gonna remember (referring to his girlfriend whom he says fingered me by description as the one who made the disparaging remarks)? One of these generic looking fucksticks (pointing to a couple of my fellow hallmates whom I was studying with at the time) , or the 6'4" dude with hair half way down his back and an Iron Maiden tattoo on his arm"?

Shit like that happens a thousand times a day on campuses all across the country. I'm sure nobody will take this proposal seriously knowing the bastion of liberalism our institutions of higher learning have become, but thank god for the bat shit libs on campus for this one. Adding guns to this mix is just plain lunacy.

Monday, April 14, 2008

If they're taking bets...

...I'll put my money on the Hil girl to take Barack down if they ever go shot for shot.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Death will freeze my very soul...

It’s been a very busy week and that’s alright since I’ve been in a sort of blogging lull anyway and it appears most of those blogs I read have covered the news of the day pretty well, teen beat downs and all (FL white kids are charged with felonies for a group beating: I wonder if all the Jena Six ralliers will show up in support of dropping/reducing charges for these kids).

Last night I finally I came upon something worthy of comment. I’ve been reading “Rat Salad: Black Sabbath: The Classic Years 1969-1975” by Paul Wilkinson that Mrs. Alva gave me for my birthday a couple of weeks ago. The overleaf accurately describes the book as such:

Where Rat Salad diverges from routes taken by most rock biographies, however, is in its detailed analysis of the band’s first six albums. These chapters occupy about half the book and persuasively explain the appeal of the music, its compositional artistry and its audacious inventiveness.

I’m half way through it and it’s definitely a different read than I expected. In addition to being a UK homie to the fellows Black, Wilkinson’s a HUGE fan and accomplished musician who musically dissects the tracks of the first six heyday Black Sabbath records in excruciating detail (the self titled debut through ‘Sabotage’, Wilkinson dismisses the next two Ozzy fronted records ‘Technical Ecstasy’ and ‘Never Say Die!’ as not worth listening to. I’m inclined to agree with him for the most part). Each chapter begins with historical context of world events, a brief synopsis of what the band was doing at the time, and a little bit of in studio coverage for each LP. The “compositional artistry” is a bit too much for me at times, but it has inspired me to fact check him and get re-acquainted with some of the tunes that I haven’t queued up in a while. The guy LOVES Tony Iomni’s guitar playing and sometimes his affection for Mr. Iomni’s multi-track solo indulgences is way over the top, but I find myself nodding my head in agreement to much of his analysis about these records and their songs. I forget that most of the tunes that made all these records were born out of his riffs. I think I’ve been hard on Iomni in th that past for being such a dick to Ozzy, but the truth is with that lot, SOMEBODY had to be the leader and he was simply more together than the others. Bill Ward, and Geezer were almost as out of control as Ozzy was it turns out. I’m also reminded that Geezer was the band’s lyricist, a job I seem to always assume Ozzy did.

I put it down last night as I ended the chapters related to ‘Master of Reality’ (awesome album!), as the ‘Vol. 4’ era begins. In his foreshadowing teaser paragraphs teeing up the Vol. 4 album, he states, “Vol. 4 would be a departure from the previous three records in every aspect” and attributes this partially to the horrendous amounts of cocaine the band was now consuming regularly. I thought that was a bit much until I reflected and juxtaposed Vol. 4 with the previous records and realized quickly that the fucking guy is right.

I happen to love Vol. 4. and it is my far and away favorite Black Sabbath album. I can listen to it front to back over and over again and it still gets my blood pumping after all these years. Although the others are great records, the sludginess of the prior efforts can sometimes send me to the stacks to find something else to play after awhile, or cause me to progress the needle forward. Compared to the previous three, Vol. 4 is decided up tempo (“Changes” being the lone standout and the most significant departure from their style up to that point). I’m looking forward to reading his rundown of each of it’s songs.

So, in the spirit of all this I’ll toss out a couple of tracks that kick major ass. If you don’t think so, you’re wrong and simply hate rock.

Give me love and I may let you see me,
Let me hold back the feelings I had
If you really want me to answer,
I can only let you know I'm not dead...

Good stuff.

As always, simply click the player in the margin…

Friday, April 04, 2008

If I had a football team they would be required to wear these...

The offense would wear these...

The defense would sport these...

If you want a pair go here.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Peter Case's Geffen Records Coming to iTunes...

I recently got an e-mail alert from his website that Peter Case's self titled debut album is now available on iTunes. This is a great deal since it's currently out of print and will cost you just short of $50 for it used. You've heard me rant on and on about how incredible this album is and how acrimonious Pete's departure was from Geffen. We all know how much of an assface David Geffen is, so there's no need to go into all that. The good news is that somehow, the two parties have come to an agreement of sorts and 'The Man with the Blue Guitar' is close to follow. If you don't have it, BUY IT NOW!

Along with the e-mail was a Rolling Stone Magazine review of Pete's self titled debut by David Wild that I thought was spot on...

As the leader of L.A.'s Plimsouls, Peter Case seemed like just another West Coast hook recycler whose band got signed to a major label during the post-Knack power-pop blitz. But even back then there was reason to believe that Case was capable of more; the most notable evidence of this was "A Million Miles Away," a melodic, romantic rocker of heartbreaking urgency. But Peter Case delivers far more than even the Plimsouls' finest moment ever promised. This album is not just an unusually strong solo debut, it's a pull-out-the-stops masterpiece, an Americanized Imperial Bedroom.

Backed by an eccentric cast of California players, including Roger McGuinn, Van Dyke Parks, John Hiatt, Mike Campbell and Jim Keltner, Case has crafted a stunning song cycle about (as he puts it in his stream-of-consciousness liner notes) "sin and salvation." Like the best work of the Band and Creedence Clearwater Revival, Case's artfully constructed back-roads narratives have a mysterious, timeless quality. There's also a pervasive wistfulness to Case's songs that's reminiscent of the Byrds. This isn't meant to suggest that Case is any sort of revivalist. If this album proves anything, it's that he has made the big jump and hit upon a powerful sound of his own.

The strength of a song like "Small Town Spree" is the poetic restraint with which Case recounts an acquaintance's apparently murderous indiscretions. Producer T-Bone Burnett (the bornagain hipster who, for a mere mortal, is becoming pretty damn omnipresent behind the boards) frames the song with a delicate orchestral arrangement, just one example of his sympathetic work here. Even more enigmatic is "Walk in the Woods," a haunting, folkie number in which Case trails a number of characters who head off for a stroll only to be claimed by some unnamed fate.

From the ominous lyrical tone, you'd think Peter Case would be pretty bleak going, but the record's harmonica-laden swamp sound and Case's impassioned vocals provide an uplifting musical balance to the pervasively downbeat subject matter. And ultimately what's more depressing is that there aren't more records as good as this melancholy gem. (RS 482)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Lunch Lady Land...

What a weekend! Sorry I was off the grid Monday. Yesterday I had to catch up after being out of the office Monday. I actually took the day off to get my driver’s license renewed and take care of a bunch of other stuff, but low and behold the lazy sons-a-bitches at the Georgia DMV don’t work Monday’s. Thanks guys. All that advelorum tax you bastards collect each year on my cars sure is being put to good use.

Anyway, I ended up spending the day, well, spending. I had received a few gift cards for my birthday, so it was out the door to blow it all wantonly. First we had to stop at my daughter’s school for lunch. They sure didn’t do this when we were in school, but at Huddleston Elementary parents can come have lunch with their kids. It was really cool! If ever you feel the need to get re-energized, poke your head into an elementary school cafeteria. Katie was surprised to see me there and we had a lot of fun together.

The shopping that followed was successful having blown two Home Depot gift cards on a radial saw. I don’t have a project that requires a radial arm saw right now, but Mrs. Alva pushed me to pick it up knowing that I’ll have a project soon that requires one and I’ll bitch about having to borrow one from some kind neighbor. She’s right of course.

Anyway, that’s my alibi for Monday.

Saturday nights Mike Doughty show was a good as I had envisioned. Yoda Jacket met me, Mrs. Alva, and Mathdude at Criminal Records for the 7:00 PM in store appearance after a ride into the city in the pouring rain. While waiting for the show to start, I found a new in wrapper copy of the first Angelwitch record that I was sure Jackson didn’t have and I would be able to proudly present him since the Christmas present I purchased for him got lost on it’s way from the UK. I decided to call and make sure he didn’t already have it and to my disappointment he did. Damn! I’ll find something for the guy in time.

So Doughty shows up out of the downpour and takes requests from the small group of us which are devided into two camps: young Soul Coughing skater dudes (very pleasant group) and us older cerebral types who dig his solo stuff:-). I called out three of my favs and he did them all except for the O’Neill Highschool Alma Mater which he correctly recalled to a laughing crowd was set to the tune “O’ Tannenbuam”. Afterwards, he said hello and I introduced him to my brother Mathdude. My brother asks him if he remembered hanging out with his girlfriends little brother when he was more than likely 10 or 11 years old. He said he did, and then my brother in his CVS old man reading glasses and receding hairline asks him if he remembered the guys sister’s thuggish boyfriend. Of course he says, “That was you? Do you still have that tattoo that spells out ‘Rock Rules’ with the blood dripping off of it? Can I see it?” A teenager getting a tattoo was such a rare thing back then that my brother is remembered for being the first of our generation to come home with one. Hell of a story.

We had some chow and wandered over to the Variety Playhouse which turned out to what I’d say was 90% capacity (about 1,500 folks). Mike and his band were great playing a perfect mix of Haughty Melodic, Golden Delicious, and Soul Coughing material to the delight of us all. He's got a great band and is quite funny and aloof. With all the success this tour seems to be generating, I’d say he'd be doing himself a favor by pulling Mankwe Ndosi out on the road with him for the back leg of the tour. Mankwe’s voice rounds out Golden Delicious well and having her there to fill in that little extra would make it a world class performance not to miss. That not withstanding, they sounded great and the Variety Playhouse is a great place to see a show. Cracker will be there in May and so will we, if not sooner.